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Monday, December 31, 2012

Rio Grande Chili for New Year's Day 2013

This chili was the winner of the Topeka Home Builders Cook-Off Feb. 2006 in the category of Most Unusual.  It's like a cross between a soup and chili and I love, love, love the hominy.  Yes, the sodium content is rather high due to the ranch and taco seasoning mixes, but it's so yummy, it's worth it occasionally. 

Rio Grande Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 yellow onion, diced
2 can pinto beans, 15 oz. each, rinsed and drained
1 can yellow hominy, 15 oz., rinsed and drained
15 oz. diced tomatoes, with juice
14 oz. diced tomatoes with green chilies, with juice
4 cups beef broth
1 oz. pkg. dry ranch dip mix  (approx. 2 Tbs.)
1 oz. pkg. taco seasoning (approx. 2 Tbs.)

In a large sauté pan, brown ground beef with onions.  When cooked throughout, drain off any fats rendered.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 35-40 minutes over low heat. 

Happy New Year,
Chef Alli

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Captain Rodney's Cheese Bake

This recipe was given to me by Jeris Anderson last week, as she was shopping at Hy-Vee.  It is said to be "The Top Tailgating Recipe of the South" and my family loved it! During the Lenten Season, Jeris substitutes cooked shrimp for the bacon. Captain Rodney's Sweet and Spicy Pepper Glaze is located on the top shelf at Hy-Vee Topeka, in the aisle with BBQ and specialty sauces. Other Captain Rodney's recipes and products are available at

Captain Rodney's Cheese Bake
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, chopped
6 Ritz crackers, crushed
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup any Captain Rodney's Glaze (I used the Sweet and Spicy Pepper Glaze)

Mix mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and scallions together and place into a greased casserole dish.  Top with the crackers and bake, uncovered, in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 15-20 minutes, or until hot throughout.  Top with bacon and glaze.  Serve with crackers. 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

P.S.  Happy 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coconut-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Lollipops

Prep Time: 15 minutes prep, Cook Time: 25 minutes cook

1 pork tenderloin, (about 1 pound)
1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Apricot jam
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
ground black pepper
12  6-inch wooden skewers

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread coconut on baking sheet. Place in heated oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, place honey, jam, ginger and garlic in blender container. Cover and blend until well mixed.

Rub tenderloin with oil; season with salt and pepper. Prepare a medium-hot fire in covered grill. Grill tenderloin, over direct heat for 5 minutes or just until entire surface is brown, turning occasionally. Adjust grill to indirect heat; generously brush entire tenderloin with honey-apricot mixture. Cover and grill over indirect heat for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F., brushing generously with additional honey-apricot mixture halfway through grilling. Transfer pork to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil; let rest for 10 minutes.

Brush tenderloin again with honey-apricot mixture. Coat tenderloin in coconut, firmly pressing coconut on pork. Skewer with lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers, from the top straight through to the bottom, at 1/2-inch intervals. Slice between sticks into lollipop-shaped pieces. Pat edges of “lollipops” with remaining coconut, if necessary.

Makes 6 appetizer servings.  

Recipe courtesy of Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet

Nutrition:   Calories: 251 calories, Protein: 17 grams, Fat: 9 grams, Sodium: 180 milligrams    cholesterol: 50 milligrams   Saturated Fat: 6 grams, Carbohydrates: 28 grams
Happy New Year!
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sausage, Egg and Biscuit Bake with Sage Gravy

From Cuisine at Home, Dec 2011, Tweaked by Chef Alli
8 Hearty Servings, 10-12 Regular Servings

The sage in this gravy makes it so flavorful - I was tempted to skip it,
but so glad I didn't!

1 lb. pork breakfast sausage
7 eggs
2 cups half and half, divided use
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 frozen buttermilk biscuits, partially thawed, cut in half
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Sage Gravy
3 Tbs. sausage drippings
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Meanwhile, brown sausage in a heavy skillet over medium heat; break into chunks and cook until no longer pink.  Set cooked sausage aside to drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in pan for gravy.  Whisk flour into 1/4 cup of the half and half until smooth, then pour this mixture into the remainder of the half and half; beat in eggs and add salt and pepper.

Layer 10 biscuit bottoms across prepared baking dish. Sprinkle half of the sausage over the biscuit bottoms, then top sausage with half of the cheese.  Repeat layering (except for cheese).  Pour egg mixture over top of all; transfer to preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese over top; bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until knife inserted into a biscuit comes out clean and center if no longer jiggly.  Let casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

To make gravy, melt butter in skillet with sausage drippings; add flour over medium heat; whisk until smooth, cooking about 2 minutes, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk in milk until entire mixture is thickened and smooth, 5-8 minutes.  Season gravy to taste with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Stir in sage and serve over squares of the sausage and egg bake. 

Merry Christmas - Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Monday, December 24, 2012

Snow Crab Risotto

Snow Crab Risotto

From Hy-Vee Seasons Holiday 2012 Issue

Prep time:  25 minutes                Cook time:  35 minutes

4 ½ cups chicken stock, divided use

2 Tbs. olive oil

3 Tbs. chopped shallots

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups uncooked Arborio rice

1 cup white wine

1 tsp. sea or kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil

1 cup 1/8-inch-thick-sliced portabella mushrooms

½ cup Hy-Vee Italian stewed tomatoes, chopped

1 ½ cup snow crab, cooked, shelled and chopped

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided use

½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

1.      Pour chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer; cover and set aside.

2.     Heat olive oil in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.     Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Cook until the rice becomes slightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until wine is evaporated. Add 1 cup hot stock, salt and black pepper to rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Add another cup of stock, stirring constantly until absorbed.

4.     Add basil, mushrooms, tomatoes and 2 cups stock. Stir slowly until stock is absorbed. Add the crab and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Rice will be done when cooked on the outside with a slight “crunch” in the middle.

5.     Add 1/2 cup stock and remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and divide evenly among 6 bowls. Garnish each bowl with remaining cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 – one cup each

Nutrition information per serving: 420 calories, 53 g carbs, 60 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber, 9 g fat, 25 g protein, 3.5 saturated fat, 1180 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 0 g trans fats

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Honey and Sage Rack of Roast Pork

As Seen on WIBW 13 News This Morning, Thursday, December 20, 2012
Recipe from

Prep Time: 20 minutes prep, Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes cook

2 8-rib pork loin racks, center cut, chine bone off (Frenched)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh sage, snipped

Season pork racks with salt and pepper. Place each rack in roasting pans with bones facing up and sides not touching. Roast at 350 degrees F. for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (20 minutes per pound) until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes. Stir together honey and sage. Brush honey mixture onto roast after removing from oven. 

Serves 16

Note: For serving, two roasts can be positioned with bones interlaced as in photo.


Calories: 230 calories
Protein: 31 grams
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 95 milligrams
Cholesterol: 90 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 9 grams
Fiber: 0 gram
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli


Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, by Ree Drummond

Makes about eight 5” pancakes

7 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour
cream (or light sour cream, or a partial amount of plain yogurt can be substituted )
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl. Dump the sour cream in and fold together very gently;  the texture can be a bit uneven. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and fold them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix.

Melt a bit of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear on the surface, flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve topped with butter and warm maple syrup. 

My boys just love these!

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Spinach Artichoke Fondue with Snow Crab

Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home, Nov/Dec 2012 Issue

2 cups shredded fontina cheese

½ cup shredded Asiago

1 Tbs. cornstarch

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

½ tsp. anchovy paste

¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

 ½ cup white wine

½ cup chicken broth

4 oz. cream cheese, softened and cubed

½ cup chopped artichoke bottoms, drained well

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup cooked snow crab

Toss fontina and asiago cheese together with cornstarch.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat; add spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy paste, and nutmeg; cook until garlic softens, about 1 minute.  Add wine and broth; bring to a simmer.  Whisk in cheese mixture, a handful at a time, letting each handful melt fully before adding more.  Whisk in cream cheese cubes and stir until cubes melt.  Stir in artichokes, lemon juice and crab; season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a warm fondue pot and serve with assorted breads, vegetables, sliced apples, pretzels, and crackers.  Makes approx. 3 cups.
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes

From Recipe Girl:  www.

Yield: Eight 4-inch griddle cakes
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 25 min

These unique pancakes are stuffed with bacon, corn and cheese. A good dose of warm maple syrup makes them a delicious choice for breakfast.

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
warm maple syrup, for serving

1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving- and set it aside.
2. While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick. If you'd like the griddle cakes to be slightly thinner than those pictured, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.
3. Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping 1/4-cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown- 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
4. Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon/onion and a good dose of warm maple syrup. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chef Alli's Top 10 Secrets to Healthy Cooking and Lifestyle

Cooking Fit 4 Life
Smart Strategies That Stir You!
Chef Alli's  Fresh Approach to Promoting Wellness –
 It All Starts in the Kitchen!
Do you want to cook up a healthy lifestyle? Here are my top 10 secrets to better cooking and eating. 

1.      Maintain a well-stocked pantry and keep the ingredients on hand at all times for 3 healthy, family-favorite recipes. Nothing is more frustrating than learning you don’t have what you need to prepare your recipe.  And if you have to sprint to the grocery store to get those needed ingredients, you’ll soon be telling yourself you might as well run through the drive-through instead.  Keeping the ingredients on hand for 3 solid recipes that your family enjoys, ensures that you don’t have to use your energy to figure out WHAT to cook and that’s typically the hardest part!  As you cook and use up your ingredients, be sure to jot down them down on your grocery list so you’re always restocked.

2.      Don’t fizzle, SIZZLE! Use the power of BROWN.  I’m not sure what famous tv chef first came up with this, but it’s so true:  When we cook, brown is not a COLOR, it’s a FLAVOR.  Caramelization and fond (all those delicious little guys stuck to the bottom of your pan!) boost flavor tremendously, so put them to work whenever you can.   Always preheat your pan before adding any ingredients – they should SIZZLE when they hit the pan’s surface – this creates the caramelization we want.  Deglazing your pan to bring the fond up off the bottom is what adds even more flavor to what you are creating – don’t waste it!

3.      Try Cooking with Less Oil.  Heart healthy oils, such as olive, grape seed, and canola are great in most recipes, but they still add about 120 calories per tablespoon (roughly the size of your thumb is a tablespoon), so we got to use them sparingly.  Nonstick spray can help when trying to brown something and this typically allows you to use much less oil.  Also, adding a little wine or broth to your pan for deglazing can help you use less oil when cooking  vegetables to the tender stage. 

4.        Go Green – Grow an Herb Garden to Use Less Salt. Cooking with herbs lets you create dishes that are bright, aromatic and vibrant in flavor, with no added fat, calories, or salt.  Keep a well-organized selection of dried spices on hand, too.  And, yes, spices lose their potency after they sit in the cupboard so learn to “bloom” them in your skillet over medium heat.  Once you smell their aroma, their essence has been released and this intensifies the flavor.  

5.       Make Creamy Dishes Without the Cream.  Ditch heavy cream and make smooth, creamy sauces with low-fat milk or fat free half and half that are thickened with flour.  Combine 1 cup low-fat milk with 4 tsp. flour, then whisk over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, to create a velvety sauce.     For creamy salad dressing, opt for using low-fat mayo or substitute half of the mayo for low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. 

6.      Get Crispy Foods Without Using a lot of FatTry oven-frying instead of deep frying in oil.  Dip chicken, fish, or veggies in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned flour or panko crumbs, then coat with non-stick spray.  Place onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet and bake, uncovered, at 425 – 450 degrees F. until browned and crispy.  Using this technique can reduce calories by about 40%.

7.      Use Whole Grains in Baked GoodsReplacing half the all-purpose flour in baked goods with whole-wheat flour adds fiber (12 more grams per cup) and boosts essential B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.  Or, substitute whole wheat PASTRY flour, cup for cup, in any recipe. 

8.      Add Grains and Veggies to Meaty Dishes.  When preparing ground meat dishes, such as burgers or meatloaf, add whole grains (such as bulgar or brown rice) or more veggies (such as minced mushrooms and bell peppers) to the meat to bulk up the portion size.  A good measure for this is 1 cup cooked grains or veggies for each pound of meat.  

9.      Use less cheese!  Reducing the amount of cheese you use in any dish immediately gives you a healthy boost by reducing the fat and calories.  By using cheeses that are more bold and tangy in flavor, such as sharp cheddar, goat cheese, or feta, you have more flavor pronunciation with fewer calories and fat.  Trying using cheese as a garnish instead of an ingredient in recipes whenever possible.

10.  Cook like a pro:  Use good tools. There’s no way around it – cooking is work.  Instead of making it painful drudgery, why not invest in the three tools that immediately ensure efficiency? A good, sharp chef’s knife, a large wooden cutting board (this supports your knife), and a 12” heavy-bottomed skillet or saute pan. If these tools are high-quality, they will be lifetime purchases and make your time in the kitchen much more efficient and enjoyable. Yes, there are lots of other great cooking gadgets out there, but begin with these three and add to your kitchen collection as you go. 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Caramelized Onion-Cranberry Compote

1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1-2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
zest of 1 orange
1 Tbs. pomegranate seeds

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in oil; add onions and sauté for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.  Stir in vinegar and remaining ingredients; cook for 5-6 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 2-3 Tbs. Stir in pomegranate seeds.  Serve at room temperature.  Can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

Makes about 1 cup.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Monday, December 3, 2012

White Trash Party Mix

3 cups toasted oat cereal

3 cups toasted rice squares cereal

3 cups toasted corn squares cereal

3  cups popcorn

16 oz. M & M’s peanut butter candy 

2 cups salted peanuts

2 cups pretzel sticks or small pretzels

2 – 11 oz. pkgs. Ghirardelli white chocolate chips (may substitute Almond bark)

In a very large bowl, combine cereals, candy, nuts and pretzels.  Meanwhile melt white chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until chocolate is slowly melted, taking care not to burn chocolate.  Pour melted chocolate over mixed ingredients in bowl and gently toss to coat everything.  Spread out over large parchment or foil sheets to let this mixture set up, then break into mouth-size pieces.  Store in zip lock bags or sealed containers. 

Now You’re Cookin’,

Chef Alli

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

This recipe was shared with me by Amber Groeling, Hy-Vee Topeka Dietitian.  She recently made these as part of a gluten-free baking class, substituting quinoa flour in place of the all-purpose flour - they were a hit!  These treats will fall almost immediately after coming out of the oven, the perfect place for a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup skim evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners. *If using paper liners, evenly coat them with cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. 

Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.

Distribute batter evenly in the muffin tin. (they should be about 3/4 of the way full.)

Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. (They will sink as they are cooling.)

Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 12-14 cupcakes

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thai Corn Chowder with Shredded Turkey

Recipe from Simmering Soups and Stews Class, November 2012, at Topeka Hy-Vee.

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil
1 tsp. cumin
2-3 tsp. red curry paste
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into thirds
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups of corn
14 oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
2-3 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cans light coconut milk, 14 oz. each
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Juice and zest from 1 lime

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, heat olive oil and stir in cumin and curry paste; cook for one minute, stirring constantly, to infuse the oil with the spices.  Add the onion; cook and stir often for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, and cook another minute.  Add the corn, tomatoes and broth; cover and bring to a high simmer.  Add coconut milk and shredded turkey; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer soup gently for 20-30 minutes, taking care not to let it boil.  Just before serving, add cilantro, lime juice and zest; adjust salt and pepper, if needed.  Remove lemon grass stalks before serving.  Serves 6
Nutrition Facts:  195 calories, 8 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 15 g carb, 1.5 g fiber, 17 g protein
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Autumn Sangria

The amount of ginger ale you use is up to you, depending on how strong you want the drinks.  I generally buy six pack cans or bottles and use as needed, so any leftover will store without going flat.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ vanilla bean
2 whole star anise
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 (7-ounce) packages mixed dried fruit
2 (750 ml) bottles red wine
Ginger ale

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat, drop in the vanilla bean, star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Cover and leave to infuse and cool.  When cool, pour the syrup and the spices into a jar, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.  The spiced syrup will keep for a week.

The night before you want to serve your sangria, put the dried fruit into a large pitcher and pour over the wine.  Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Up to four hours before serving the sangria, strain the spices from the syrup and stir the spiced syrup into the fruit and wine. 

Serve over lots of ice in tall glasses, topped with ginger ale.  I’d say about 2/3 sangria mixture to 1/3 ginger ale.  You can add ginger ale to the pitcher, but if it is not large enough, mix the drinks in glasses as you serve.  Drop a few pieces of the dried fruit in each glass to garnish.

Easily serves 12, but will stretch to serve more
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Cran-Apple Butter

This recipe was recently featured in our Canning Class, All Things Apple, taught by KSU Extension Staff, Cindy Evans and Karen Blakeslee.  Cindy gave me a big, fat jar of this yummy stuff to take home for my family - I ate the WHOLE thing with a SPOON the next day - it's delicious!   I am anxious to make this to give as holiday gifts this season. 

6 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and chopped
8 cups cranberry juice cocktail
4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt (the original recipe did not call for this)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (the original recipe did not call for this)

1.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apples and cranberry juice cocktail.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Using a potato masher, crush softened apples just until a uniform texture is achieved.  (Original recipe says to transfer cooked apples in batches to a food mill or food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until a uniform texture is achieved, but do not liquefy.  My apples always softened enough after cooking 15-20 minutes that I was able to use the potato masher method,  making the perfect consistency!)

3.  In a clean large stainless steel saucepan or dutch oven, combine apple pureee, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat; boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds it shape on a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

4.  Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.

5.  Ladel hot apple butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot apple butter.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar; screw band down just until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight only.

6.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring water to a boil and process apple butter in jars for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes, remove jars from water, cool and store, making sure all jars seal properly. 

Makes about nine 8 oz. jars or four 5 pint jars. 

Now You're Cannin',
Chef Alli

Cranberry Apple Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa

1 tsp. grapeseed or canola oil

1 pork tenderloin, approx. 1 lb., seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

Cranberry apple chutney, recipe follow below

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooking directions follow

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until sizzling, then add tenderloin and brown off on all sides.  Remove from skillet and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast tenderloin, uncovered, in oven for approx. 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees at the center.  Cover tenderloin and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving into medallions.

Cranberry Apple Chutney
2 lbs. honey crisp apples (3-4 large), peeled and cored, cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup splenda or sugar
2 Tbs. maple syrup
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 ½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place apples in a large sauce pan with ¼ cup water, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, salt and cranberries; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until apples are tender and sauce is thickened.  Uncover pot and mash mixture just until pulpy; stir in lemon juice.

1 cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well

Bring water and orange juice to a boil in a large saucepan. Add quinoa, bring back to a boil and cover, cooking over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. 
Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli