Here’s an oldie but goodie that never fails to earn rave reviews on Thanksgiving.
Who wants that cranberry jelly from a tin can when you can make a fresh and flavorful cranberry relish in a matter of minutes. This dish always brings me back to my childhood and to this day I can’t eat turkey without thinking of and longing for this side dish. Try it, you’ll love it.
CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
1 whole organic orange, scrubbed
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
- Working in batches, pulse the cranberries until coarse in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Place the chopped cranberries in a large bowl.
- Cut the orange into eight pieces, leaving the peel on but removing any seeds. Place the orange pieces in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add to the cranberries.
- Add the salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar to the cranberries; stir to combine. Cover and allow to sit for several hours or preferably overnight.
- Stir the relish and add more sugar if needed.
Yields 3 cups
Thanksgiving is just a few days away but are you ready? The turkey and all of the traditional sides might be set but what about adding a healthy and colorful dish to the table? My new go-to dish and one that I will be serving is this kale and butternut squash dish courtesy of Simply Recipes. Because it is only lightly sautéed, the kale remains bright and crisp while the butternut squash adds color and a sweet flavor to the dish. And when you add in cranberries and pecans, this side dish practically becomes a meal unto itself.
It is so good that even the non-kale eaters amongst you will love it. And it will be a dish that you make over and over again long after the Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH & KALE SAUTE
4 cups 3/4-inch cubes of butternut squash
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced red onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups thinly sliced kale
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup slightly broken up pecans
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the squash in a bowl and toss it with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Spread the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and the edges have begun to brown.
- While the squash is roasting heating the remaining olive oil in a large pot set over medium high heat.
- Add the onion and toss to coat. Cook for 7 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the remaining balsamic vinegar and the kale to the pot. Stir until the kale and the onions are combined. Let the mixture cook until the kale is just wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted squash, the cranberries and the pecans.
- Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
Mornings are hectic in our household. Between waking up and getting out of the house on time on the first try with everything we need for the day, eating breakfast is often a secondary thought. But eating a good breakfast is important so I am always on the look out for easy and healthy alternatives to our usual standby of cold cereal. My family doesn’t eat eggs and reheated muffins or waffles work if we have leftovers from the previous weekend. In my quest for finding something that would work I came across this baked oatmeal recipe comes from The Yankee Kitchen Ninja. And it turns out that this recipe is a family wide hit.
The oatmeal is softer than a cookie but more solid than a bowl of cooked oats. Eating it with a spoon is recommended but I’ve also included it in lunch bags as a snack where it is eaten with your fingers. I used golden raisins and dried cranberries as my dried fruit of choice but the options are only as limited as your imagination. And best of all this recipe is super easy and fast to make. Meaning you can whip up a batch in no time at all (you could even make it first thing in the morning and have it on the table for breakfast if you are an early riser). So here’s to the most important meal of the day……….
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup milk
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Stir in the raisins and cranberries.
- In separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg and vanilla.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir thoroughly.
- Pour the contents into a lightly greased 9 x 9 baking pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm.
For me autumn is all about baking and my favorite recipe (and ingredient) resource is the King Arthur Flour company. First and foremost their recipes are always delicious, because after all, who wants to go through the effort of baking something only to have it emerge from the oven to a ho-hum response. Secondly, their recipes are tested and are often accompanied by step by step pictures which allow even the most novice baker to bake up outstanding results. And if this isn’t enough, bakers can send them an email asking about the recipes or why they may have gotten the results they did. What’s not to love?
Of course, the recipes are great year around but this time of year I find myself regularly checking out their website for new ideas. When I came across this recipe for pumpkin scones I just knew I had to try it. The original recipe called for the addition of chocolate chips, cinnamon chips or dried chopped ginger. Having none of these on hand, I used dried cranberries which resulted in a delicious flaky scone filled with sweet and juicy cranberries. Once again we have a winner so I urge you to try these with the add-ins of your choice. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
For the scones:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into a dice
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, chopped
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
For the topping:
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- Using a pastry blender in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
- Mix in the chopped cranberries
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and eggs till smooth.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
- Scrape the dough onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet, and divide it in half.
- Round each half into a 6″ circle. The circles should be about 3/4″ thick.
- Combine the remaining sugar and the cinnamon (for the topping) in a small bowl.
- Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
- Using a sharp knife slice each circle into 6 wedges.
- Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.
- Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.
- Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm.
- Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.
Yield: 12 scones.
As a rule, we aren’t weekday breakfast people. Between the rush to get up, lunches made and get to work and school on time, breakfast often falls by the wayside. But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good breakfast when the opportunity arises. To satisfy the need for breakfast I’ve taken to making easy / on the go / can be eaten at your desk items. And this coffee cake has quickly become one of our favorites.
This recipe started out as one that I had inherited from a relative but then the tweaking came into play. The sour cream became yogurt which became buttermilk. Blueberries morphed into raspberries, apples then eventually cranberries. The nuts were originally almonds or walnuts but then we were gifted with a giant tin of Georgia pecans. The cake here has now become my favorite go to coffee cake. Sure I may substitute ingredients as needed but this version is by far the best.
CRANBERRY PECAN COFFEE CAKE
For the cranberry filling:
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
- Whirl cranberries in food processor fitted with a metal blade until coarsely chopped.
- Stir in the white and brown sugars then set aside.
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla.
- Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. The batter will be very thick.
- Spoon half the batter into a greased and floured 8 inch round baking pan.
- Top with cranberry and sugar mixture.
- Spoon the remaining batter over the cranberries.
- Sprinkle with the pecans.
- Bake at 350o F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
- During the cooling time, carefully run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them.
For the icing
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, combine all of the icing ingredients.
- Drizzle over the coffee cake and serve.
As much as I love to bake I rarely make full fledge desserts unless it is for a special occasion. And when I do make fancier desserts, I have a tendency to fall into a baking rut; I find something I like and something that works and repeat it over and over again whenever we have different guests coming to dinner. And this intriguing dessert from The Splendid Table has become my go-to dessert over the past few months.
This dessert is simultaneously complex yet simple. It is a cookie in pie form while being a fruit dessert and meringue. The crust is essentially a giant shortbread cookie; it is rich and buttery and since it is a pressed dough with no rolling or fussing required, it is a snap to make. The filling is a simple sugar and egg white meringue. But unlike so many meringues which are cloying sweet, this one is tempered by the tartness of cranberries. Simply put, I think this dessert is awesome and once you try it, I’m sure you will think so to.
CRANBERRY CRACKLE TART
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
- Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend.
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely.
- Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and stir until they just begin to break up.
- Gradually add the egg yolks to the flour mixture and process in long pulses until the dough is smooth.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and give the dough a few kneads, ensuring that the butter is fully incorporated.
- Butter a 9 inch tart pan and press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan. Press the pieces of dough in so that they cling to one another and will knit together when baked, but don’t use a lot of force–working lightly will preserve the crust’s shortbready texture.
- Prick the crust all over with a fork and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line the crust with buttered foil and weigh it down with pie weights, dried beans or rice.
- Bake for 15 minutes then carefully remove the weights and foil.
- Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, taking care that the crust does not burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Spoon the jam into the crust and smooth it evenly over the bottom.
- Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip and beat on medium speed until they just turn opaque.
- With the mixer going, gradually add in the sugar in a steady stream.
- Continue beating until the egg whites are shiny and smooth and form droopy peaks.
- Pour the cranberries into the egg whites and just fold until combined. Do not over mix as you do not want to deflate the meringue.
- Scoop the meringue into the prepared pie shell and evenly distribute the mixture throughout the shell.
- Bake for 1 hour until light beige and cracked on top.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Boneless chicken breasts are a cook’s best friend and for this reason I always have a package in the freezer just waiting to be turned into dinner. Some weeks we may eat chicken every night of the week yet never tire of it because what is served on top creates variety. Neutral in flavor and incredibly versatile, they can be dressed up or down. A simple sauce can take them in one of many directions. And as is the case with this recipe, the classic combination of poultry and cranberries takes on a whole new meaning with the addition of a few extra ingredients.
A bread coating is the quickest way to give a chicken breast some crunch. But when you add toasted and chopped nuts to the breading mixture your results are extra crunchy and flavorful. And thanks to the addition of port, this cranberry sauce is anything but ordinary. If you are pressed for time, you can also make the cranberry port sauce ahead of time then simply reheat over low heat while the chicken breasts are cooking.
To complete the comfort factor of this dish I served it alongside oven roasted sweet potatoes and steamed greens.
CRISPY CASHEW CHICKEN w/ CRANBERRY-PORT SAUCE
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tawny port
1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.
- Add the shallot and saute until soft and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and sugar and cook until the sugar has melted.
- Add the chicken broth and port to the berries, turn the temperature to high and bring to boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You want the flavors to meld and the cranberries to begin to break down slightly.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix the cornstarch into the cranberry mixture and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
For the chicken:
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts halves, pounded flat
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the egg in a shallow dish.
- In a separate shallow dish combine the breadcrumbs, sage, salt, pepper and cashews.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium high heat.
- Dip the chicken into the egg then dredge in the crumb and nut mixture being sure to coat both sides of the breasts.
- Place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve topped with the cranberry sauce.