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Early Winter Feast

Fresh Cranberry, Wild Rice, and Kale Pilaf

1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken broth divided
1 cup dry wild rice blend
2 Tbsp butter divided
4 cup medium sage pork sausages
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup halved fresh cranberries
2 cloves garlic minced
5 cups baby kale
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot on the stove, combine 1-1/2 cups broth and wild rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy and soft. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5–10 minutes. Be sure to check rice package for any brand-specific cooking instructions.

While the rice cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet with sausage. Brown sausage for a few minutes until skin is crisp and brown on all sides, remove from pan, and slice.

Add onion to skillet and sauté until golden. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cranberries and cook for 1–2 minutes, until cranberries are softened. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1–2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.

Remove mix from pan and combine with sliced sausage in a large bowl.

Add kale to still-hot pan with remaining 2 tablespoons of broth. Cover and steam for 1 minute. Remove lid, stir, then add to sausage bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Once rice is ready, add rice to bowl and toss ingredients to combine. Serve hot.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee.

Browned Butter Smashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash


Try two side dishes in one. Why not make this a new holiday tradition? Roughly mash potatoes with mellow butternut squash and finish with fresh sage leaves crisped in brown butter. Each serving contains a whopping 1,046 mg potassium, a nutrient that’s lacking in many American diets. Plus, this recipe is gluten-free for those with food allergies.

1 lb yellow-flesh potatoes cut into 3/4-inch chunks (approx. 3 medium potatoes)
1 lb butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter divided
8 fresh sage leaves stacked and cut across into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup milk

In 3-quart saucepan, cover potatoes and squash with water; add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, approx. 12–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the sage to small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook approx. 3 minutes, until butter foams and begins to brown; keep warm.

Thoroughly drain potatoes and squash, return to pan, and shake 1–2 minutes over low heat to remove extra moisture. Roughly mash with hand masher leaving mixture chunky.

Over low heat, gently mix in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and enough milk for consistency desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon into serving bowl and drizzle with brown butter and sage.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Alsum Farms and Produce.

Winter Salad Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms


These winter salad stuffed mushrooms make a hearty, gourmet meal. Bonus points for presentation! Plus, it is vegan.

4 medium portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic smashed
1 cup butternut squash diced small
1 cup cooked farro
1 Tbsp shallot minced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
1/3 cup arugula coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Twist off the stem and use a spoon to gently remove the black gills without breaking the mushroom.

Whisk together extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour into a large sealable plastic bag and add the smashed garlic cloves and mushroom caps. Seal the bag and allow the marinade to cover the mushrooms. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, turning the bag periodically to redistribute the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the butternut squash in a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook until soft but not mushy, 15–20 minutes.

Remove mushrooms from the marinade (do not discard the liquid) and place them cap-side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting, combine the butternut squash, farro, shallot, dried cranberries, pine nuts, arugula, salt, and pepper in a bowl with two tablespoons of the marinade.

After the mushrooms have cooked for 15 minutes, remove them from the oven. Carefully pour off any liquid that has pooled in the mushrooms. Distribute the filling evenly between the mushroom caps (there might be leftover filling depending on the size of the mushrooms). Cook for another 5 minutes and then serve.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Mushroom Council.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

For the Dough:

10 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp demerara or granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Topping:

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup demerara or granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp milk
1/3 cup bitter chocolate chopped

For the dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in the flour and combine to make a dough.

Pat the dough into a 9-inch pie plate.

For the topping

In a small saucepan, combine the chopped pecans, sugar, butter, milk, and chocolate. Heat over low heat until chocolate melts.

Pour the chocolate pecan mixture over the pie dough. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pie sit for an additional 15 minutes. Serve while still warm.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the National Pecan Shellers Association.