EASY CRANBERRY RELISH
Makes about 3 cups.
Note: Every menu needs an easy dish. From "Come One, Come All/ Easy Entertaining With Seasonal Menus," by Lee Svitak Dean.
• 1 (12 oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries
• 11/2 c. sugar, or to taste
• Zest from 1 orange or 1 lemon (or from both for extra flavor)
In a food processor or blender, coarsely chop the cranberries.
In a large bowl, toss berries and sugar together. Add zest to cranberries; stir. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight to let flavors blend. Stir again before serving.
Nutrition information per 1/4 cup serving:
Calories 110 Fat 0 g Sodium 1 mg
Carbohydrates 29 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 3 mg
Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 other carb.
CRANBERRY-GORGONZOLA TART WITH WALNUT SHORTBREAD CRUST
Note: Serve as an appetizer, side dish or dessert. Gorgonzola is a blue cheese. From "Yankee's Best New England Recipes."
• 2 c. flour
• 3/4 c. walnut halves, finely ground
• 2/3 c. sugar, divided
• 3/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt
• 3/4 tsp. rubbed sage
• 1 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
• 1 c. cherry or strawberry preserves
• 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries
• 2 tbsp. cherry Heering, kirsch or other cherry liqueur, optional
• 1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (see Note)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
In a food processor, combine flour, ground walnuts, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and sage. Pulse to incorporate. Add butter. Pulse to form a coarse meal, 30 seconds.
With your fingers, press meal into an ungreased 10-inch springform pan or fluted pan. Bake until light golden-brown, about 55 minutes. Cool completely and release from springform pan.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook cherry preserves until melted. Add cranberries, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and cherry liqueur. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have lost their shape, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Crumble gorgonzola over tart crust in an even layer. Top with a thin layer of cranberry mixture.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 485 Fat 26 g Sodium 225 mg
Carbohydrates 60 g Saturated fat 13 g Calcium 62 mg
Protein 6 g Cholesterol 54 mg Dietary fiber 3 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 other carb, 5 fat.
MAPLE-WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES
From Everyday Food magazine; tested by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• 4 lb. sweet potatoes (about 7 medium)
• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
•1/4 c. pure maple syrup
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until very tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, halve the potatoes. With a spoon, scoop out flesh (discard skins) and transfer to a food processor or bowl to use with hand mixer.
Add melted butter and maple syrup; process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 200 Fat 6 g Sodium 52 mg
Carbohydrates 35 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 64 mg
Protein 3 g Cholesterol 15 mg Dietary fiber 5 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 fat.
CHOPPED AUTUMN SALAD
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: You also could add dried cranberries or sliced grapes to the salad. For traveling, cut up the cabbage and romaine ahead of time, prepare the pomegranate seeds and make the dressing, but don't cut the fruit or dress it until just before serving. From "The Earthbound Cook: 250 Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet," by Myra Goodman with Pamela McKinstry, Sarah LaCasse and Ronni Sweet.
• 12 oz. red cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped (about 4 c.)
• 2 romaine hearts, coarsely chopped (about 6 c.), rinsed and dried if not prewashed
• 2 crisp apples, such as Fuji, Gala or Braeburn, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-in. dice (about 2 c.)
• 2 ripe but firm pears, such as Bosc or Anjou, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-in. dice (about 2 c.)
• 2 Fuyu persimmons (these are the kind you eat hard, not soft), peeled and cut into 1/4-in. dice, seeds discarded, if any
• Apple-Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
• Seeds from 1 medium pomegranate, optional
• 20 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Place the cabbage and romaine in a large bowl and toss to combine.
Just before serving, add the apples, pears and persimmons to the cabbage-romaine mixture and toss to combine. Add half of the Apple Cider Vinaigrette and toss again, adding more dressing as desired.
Transfer the salad to a large platter and garnish with the pomegranate seeds, if using, and the mint. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings with vinaigrette:
Calories 174 Fat 7 g Sodium 53 mg
Carbohydrates 29 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 45 mg
Protein 2 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 6 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 1/2 fruit, 1/2 other carb, 1 1/2 fat.
Makes 3/4 cup.
Note: You could make this sweeter with an extra tbsp. of brown sugar, honey or agave syrup. The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 weeks. Let it return to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.
• 1/2 c. apple-cider vinegar
• 2 tbsp.packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• Pinch of salt, or more to taste
In a glass jar, combine the vinegar, sugar, oil and salt; seal the lid tightly. Shake vigorously to combine.
Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:
Calories 50 Fat 4 g Sodium 25 mg
Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 3 mg
Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fat.
• 20 gingersnap cookies
• 2 tbsp. butter, melted
• 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
• 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
• 1 tbsp. sour cream
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
• Whipped cream, if desired
• Caramel sauce, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12-cup mini-cheesecake pan or muffin pan with cooking spray.
In food processor, process gingersnap cookies with on/off pulses until finely ground (about 1 cup). Add melted butter, pulse until mixed. Press crumb mixture firmly into each cheesecake cup to form crust. Bake 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, sour cream and salt, scraping bowl frequently. Add egg, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, beat until well blended.
Divide mixture evenly into crust-lined cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Serve cheesecakes topped with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. Store in refrigerator.
Nutrition information per each cheesecake:
Calories 250 Fat 12 g Sodium 310 mg
Carbohydrates 33 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 60 mg
Protein 4 g Cholesterol 42 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 2 1/2 fat.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHEDDAR BREAD PUDDING
Note: This savory bread pudding from Bon Appetit can be the centerpiece of a vegetarian feast or an ideal brunch dish. To simplify the preparation, roast the squash, chop the shallots and grate the cheese a day in advance. Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• 2 lb. peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 3/4-in. cubes
• 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 7 eggs
• 21/4 c. half-and-half
• 6 tbsp. dry white wine
• 11/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into rough 1-in. pieces
• 1 c. chopped shallots (about 4 large)
• 1 bunch kale (about 1 lb.), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
• 8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add half-and-half, wine, mustard and 11/2 teaspoons coarse salt. Whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by- 13-inch baking dish.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of the dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture evenly over bread pudding.
Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to the touch, about 20 minutes longer.
Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes or so, and serve.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 450 Fat 28 g Sodium 700 mg
Carbohydrates 32 g Saturated fat 13 g Calcium 346 mg
Protein 19 g Cholesterol 220 mg Dietary fiber 5 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat.
GREEN BEAN GRATIN
Note: You can trim and blanch the green beans for this recipe up to 2 days in advance. Store them in a plastic sealable bag in the refrigerator. Adapted by the Detroit Free Press from "The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook."
• 2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces
• 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided, plus more for the baking dish
•3/4 c. sliced shallots
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded, finely diced
• 8 to 10 oz. mixed sliced mushrooms such as shiitake (remove stems) and cremini
• Kosher salt to taste
• 2 tbsp. flour
• 1/4 c. dry sherry
• 2 c. whole milk or 2-percent milk
• 1 round (51/4 oz.) Boursin cheese (regular or light)
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• Grated zest of 1 lemon
• 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon
• 3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
• 3/4c. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
• 3/4 c. sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or casserole dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the beans, then plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking. When beans are chilled, drain and set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and the mushrooms have given up their liquid, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in the sherry, mixing well, then add the milk while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute, then cook for 3 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the Boursin cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, lemon zest and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Add the reserved green beans and toss to combine. Transfer to the baking dish. (The recipe may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
To finish: In a small bowl, stir together the panko, Parmesan and almonds. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pour over the bread crumb mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the green beans. Bake until the topping is golden and the bean mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 250 Fat 18 g Sodium 426 mg
Carbohydrates 16 g Saturated fat 9 g Calcium 204 mg
Protein 8 g Cholesterol 39 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1/2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 2 1/2 fat.