Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cranberry Extravaganza!

This Christmas season has been fun so far.  The boys are just on the verge of crawling and are starting to get into everything.  They love the Christmas tree.  I think they see it as their own personal entertainment center!  Even though they are keeping me pretty busy, I have found some time to cook and bake over the past few weeks.  I was on a cranberry kick and made a bunch of things, some new, and some from The Secret Chef recipes.

Cranberry Chutney
This is one of my favorite holiday recipes.  You can pour it over a block of cream cheese or brie and use it as an appetizer (serve with crackers), use it as a cranberry sauce with your holiday turkey, or serve it with other meats such as ham or pork roast.  It is in the cookbook, however, I forgot to mention in the cookbook that you can add a teaspoon or so of fresh orange zest to give it a little extra flavor.  I usually squeeze a little bit of the juice from the orange as well (approximately a Tablespoon or so).  I find it makes enough for a couple of appetizers or an appetizer and one small bowl of sauce.  The photo above shows approximately  one third of the mixture over a one pound block of cream cheese.

1 (12oz) bag of cranberries
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 large granny smith apple, cored and chopped
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves (you can substitute all-spice)

1.  Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.
2.  Bring to a boil on the stove.  Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until apple is tender and mixture thickens, approximately 15-20 minutes.
3.  Cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature.

Carol's Cranberry Horseradish Dip Mix
My sister recently became a Wildtree sales representative, so I discovered that this fall.  They make some great dip mixes that are perfect to have on hand this time of year--  especially for last minute entertaining.  I bought a bunch of cream cheese and crackers when they went on sale and if I need something quick to bring to a holiday event or have unexpected guests, I can whip one of the dips up quickly.  I love the Carol's Cranberry Horseradish Dip for this time of year.  Everyone likes it and the products are all-natural and peanut free.  You can search Holly's Wildtree on facebook or maybe this link!/topic.php?uid=175145615830108&topic=250 will work?

Chicken with Maple Cranberry Sauce
This recipe is also in the cookbook.  It is sooooo easy but looks "fancy"!  It serves approximately 4 people.

1 cup red cooking wine (burgundy)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken

1.  In a small-medium bowl, combine the red wine, maple syrup, and dried cranberries.  Set aside.
2.  In a large skillet, heat butter over mdeium heat until hot.  Add the chicken and cook for approximately 4 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it warm.
3.  Add the maple cranberry sauce to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes
4.  Combine the cornstarch and 1 Tbs. cold water in a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 1 minute.
5.  Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Simmer one minute.  Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over it.

I'll continue the Cranberry Extravaganza in my next post...  with the recipe for Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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