Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Thanksgiving Dinner must-haves for me include the usual suspects…turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Apple Wheat Berry Salad, Green Bean Casserole CEBH Style, some kind of bread, a delicious dessert like the one coming up in my next post, and cranberry sauce.  Unfortunately, in my immediate family I’m the only cranberry sauce aficionado…but that has never stopped me from making it just for myself!  So today I’m sharing my recipe for a simple Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce that you can make days ahead and check at least one item off your to-do meal preparation list!

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

When I was growing up my mom made what she called cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  In reality what she made was actually a cranberry relish since it wasn’t cooked.  I remember her clamping the old fashioned grinder onto the end of the counter, then cranking the handle like crazy to grind a bag of frozen cranberries and a couple oranges into the bowl which I was tasked with holding.  It was a big responsibility for me to make sure I held that bowl still and didn’t let any of the juices dribble onto the floor!  Then she added sugar – what seemed like mounds of sugar – to sweeten that tart relish.  After that, she’d pop it into the fridge to chill and macerate for a day or two before our Thanksgiving feast.  

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

This recipe borrows the basics ~ cranberries and oranges ~ from mom’s cranberry relish, but omits the sugar, and instead, sweetens the sauce with maple syrup and honey.  Then I spiced things up just a little bit with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  And finally to add a little depth of flavor I splash in some vanilla.  The ingredients simmer in a crockpot over low heat for just a couple hours, until the berries are softened.  About 90 minutes into the cooking process I mash the berries with the back of a spoon until they’re somewhat crushed, but still have plenty of texture.  I let it continue to cook about 30 minutes more, transfer the sauce to a storage container, and pop it in the fridge until ready to serve.  The sauce will thicken as it cools and be the perfect texture to accompany your expertly roasted turkey, to top a luscious dessert (subscribe so you don’t miss the next post for just such a dessert), or as a condiment on your leftover turkey sandwiches!

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Whats your favorite food related Thanksgiving memory?  Tell me about it in the comments…I really do love to read them all!!! 

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce
Serves 24
Here's the easiest, most delicious, make-ahead Cranberry Sauce recipe you've been looking for to round out your Thanksgiving menu!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
60 calories
15 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
61 g
2 g
12 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
61g
Servings
24
Amount Per Serving
Calories 60
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 2g
8%
Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
2%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 8 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
  2. 2-3 oranges, zested and juiced for about 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  3. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. Scant 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  5. Scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  8. 1/4 cup honey
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in crockpot, stir to combine and replace lid.
  2. Set heat to low and simmer for a total of about 2 hours.
  3. After 90 minutes cooking time has elapsed, stir sauce.
  4. Using the back of large stirring spoon, mash the berries until there's a good mixture of textures - including a few whole berries as well.
  5. Replace lid and cook another 30 minutes, then stir again.
  6. Mash the berries more if desired.
  7. Transfer to a covered dish and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Notes
  1. The sauce thickens and the flavors meld as it chills in the fridge. This is one more reason to make it a couple days in advance.
  2. Use as an accompaniment to turkey, as a sandwich condiment, or in desserts as desired
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calories
60
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
15g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

The only time we had sweet potatoes when I was growing up was for Thanksgiving, or occasionally Easter.  I guess sweet potatoes just weren’t in vogue 40 or 50 years ago like they are today.  What a shame really – because what I wouldn’t have given for something other than Candied Yams as a Thanksgiving side dish!  I’m not sure if other parts of the country ate them for the holidays like we did here in Iowa, but by the time my mom or grandma got done ‘doctoring’ up those mushy from-a-can yams I don’t they could even be counted as a vegetable anymore!  And yep – they were from a can…yuk…drained and poured into a casserole dish.  Then they were smothered in brown sugar and melted butter and baked until they were hot and bubbly.  But then – because gobs of brown sugar and butter apparently wasn’t gross enough – the last few minutes in the oven they’d get topped with marshmallows and baked until they were golden brown.  I think people like them for the precise reason I didn’t…they were sickly sweet and more like a dessert than a vegetable side dish!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

Thankfully sweet potatoes today are treated with more respect than they were in the 60’s and 70’s!  There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of sweet potatoes – roasting, baking, grilling, in salads and soups, fried, mashed…the sky’s the limit!  And I, for one, frequently include sweet potatoes into my meal plans -only  just the more modern versions.  I think the candied yams of yesteryear should be left off today’s Thanksgiving menus in favor of an updated, healthier, definitely more delicious version like the one that I’m sharing today!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

See…clearly sweet potatoes and apples…no disguising what you’re getting here with a bunch of sugar, butter and marshmallows!

With this dish there’s certainly no attempt to disguise the sweet potatoes- in fact – I want them to shine!  By roasting them with apples and rosemary their natural sweetness is enhanced – not smothered.  And when drizzled with the Maple Balsamic Reduction this dish becomes one of the best things I’ve ever EVER eaten!  Seriously this reduction is incredible!  It’s sweet and tangy, thick and glossy, and the perfect complement to the roasted sweet potatoes and apples!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

And just look at that perfect maple balsamic reduction!

Look how beautiful this dish is in it’s simplicity, yet it’s more than special enough to earn a spot on the Thanksgiving table – or the Tuesday night dinner table for that matter!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction
Serves 8
Kick the canned yams to the curb this Thanksgiving and serve these simple, yet delicious and sophisticated, sweet potatoes instead!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
183 calories
37 g
0 g
4 g
1 g
1 g
162 g
208 g
23 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
162g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183
Calories from Fat 31
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
5%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 208mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 23g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
185%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 or 5 large sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 2 large apples, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
  3. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  4. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for coating the pan
For the reduction
  1. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1 medium shallot, minced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. Pinch of rosemary, salt, and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan bring vinegar, syrup, shallots, garlic, and pinches of rosemary, salt, and pepper to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Reduce to lowest heat setting and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by about one half - about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. While the reduction is simmering, toss sweet potato and apple pieces with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp rosemary.
  5. Spread evenly on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil and roast until tender and lightly browned - about 35 minutes.
  6. Serve sweet potatoes and apples drizzled with maple balsamic reduction.
Notes
  1. I don't peel my sweet potatoes - I just scrub them and remove any spots and eyes - the skins are delicious and full of nutrients!
  2. I make the reduction the day ahead and store it in the fridge, then re-heat immediately before serving.
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calories
183
fat
4g
protein
1g
carbs
37g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Did you know that 2013 was declared “The International Year of Quinoa” by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations?  Did you also know that quinoa was a mainstay of the Inca’s diet dating as far back as 1200 AD?   Me neither, but I’m not surprised!  I’ve got a thing for quinoa.  I mean….I really love it….a lot, and apparently so does everyone else!  But please tell me I’m not the only one who, when trying to spell it, pronounces it in my head as kwin-o-a !  😉  Of course it’s actually pronounced keen-wah, but speaking it and spelling it are two different things!

One of the best things about quinoa is that it’s so versatile.  It can easily switch gears from a savory meal accompaniment or salad, to a sweet dessert or breakfast porridge.  But aside from the joys of cooking, and obviously eating quinoa, the health benefits are significant!  Quinoa is a nutrient rich food which adds many minerals, fiber, protein, and ‘good’ fats to our diet.  There is also some evidence that quinoa can act as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Quinoa is also gluten free and therefore an excellent substitute for those with gluten-free dietary restrictions.

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Since quinoa is one of my favorite foods I’m always trying to find new ways to use it by developing new recipes with it as the main ingredient.  Today I’m sharing a recipe for Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus.  It’s a rich side dish that goes great with grilled chicken or fish, or by itself as a light lunch selection.  Typically risotto is made with Arborio rice because it’s high starch content is what helps lend to the creaminess ( the butter in the traditional recipe doesn’t hurt any either) of the dish.  But I wanted to try a version that has all the same rich flavors and creamy texture of traditional risotto, but with the health benefits of quinoa. Happily, the end result surpassed my expectations!  My Quinoa Risotto is still creamy, it’s richness comes from the addition of white wine (a risotto must), good chicken stock, and refined coconut oil instead of butter.  Add in two of my favorite vegetables, mushrooms & asparagus, some fresh thyme, a healthy dose of patience,  and….voila…..Quinoa Risotto!  The ingredients are simple, the flavors, however are not!  The end result is a dish classy enough to serve guests, but homey enough for a cozy mid-week family dinner!

Tip: There is a slightly bitter natural coating on quinoa called saponin, and most cooking instructions will tell you to rinse it before cooking.  But I have to be 100% honest and say I rinsed my quinoa exactly one time – the first time I ever cooked it!  Frankly it’s kind of a pain.  And truthfully, I can’t tell a difference  in the taste, so why make more work for yourself?!?

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus | cookeatbehealthy.com

Quinoa Risotto With Mushrooms & Asparagus
Serves 6
A rich & luscious spin on a traditional risotto recipe!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
255 calories
29 g
5 g
10 g
11 g
3 g
329 g
628 g
5 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
329g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255
Calories from Fat 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
15%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 5mg
2%
Sodium 628mg
26%
Total Carbohydrates 29g
10%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 5g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
12%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
4%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 4 cups chicken stock
  3. 1/2 cup white wine
  4. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tsp refined coconut oil
  6. 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  7. 1 tsp salt to taste
  8. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  9. 2 cloves, or 2 tsp chopped garlic
  10. 2 shallots, finely diced
  11. 1 pound asparagus, thinly sliced diagonally
  12. 1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Begin by pouring the 4 cups chicken stock into a medium saucepan. Bring to simmer and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Drizzle EVOO in large skillet, toss in diced shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until shallots are soft and somewhat translucent.
  3. Add garlic, S & P, and coconut oil, stirring until oil is melted.
  4. Pour in the 1 cup quinoa, stirring to coat completely, and toast until very lightly browned, or about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the 1/2 cup white wine, stirring until most the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Begin adding the warm chicken stock, 1 ladle at a time, stirring very often, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue in this manner until all 4 cups of chicken stock have been added to the quinoa.
  7. After the first 15 minutes, add the mushrooms and continue cooking as above.
  8. After the next 15 minutes, add the asparagus and thyme, and continue cooking as above.
  9. Expect total cooking time needed to incorporate 4 cups of chicken stock to be approximately 45 minutes.
  10. After most all the liquid is absorbed taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.
  11. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  12. If the risotto begins to dry out, add a small amount of stock to loosen it up again.
Notes
  1. By replacing butter with coconut oil, this becomes a dairy-free dish.
  2. It can also easily be made vegan by switching chicken stock to vegetable stock.
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calories
255
fat
10g
protein
11g
carbs
29g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
I know this recipe takes a bit of a commitment time-wise, but trust me when I say, it’s well worth the wait.  But then, aren’t all good things?  After all…the anticipation is half the fun!  😀