Slow Cooker Sunday: Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

The book I got this recipe from touts them as satisfying your craving for Thanksgiving, while that may be true, I think they are a great appetizer if you are having a small get together, a game night, or a nice accompaniment to stuffing – if you are really hankering for that Thanksgiving flavor.

Begin by combining ground turkey along with panko breadcrumbs, an egg, chopped onion, sage and salt. Gently mix to combine. I used a cookie scoop to scoop the mixture and then rolled it into golf ball-sized meatballs. I baked them in a 425 F preheated oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

While the meatballs were in the oven I combined a can of jellied cranberry sauce and chili sauce in the insert of my slow cooker and stirred it until the cranberry sauce had completed broken down and the two ingredients were well combined. Once the meatballs were cooked I added them to the sauce and gently mixed them in. I covered the slow cooker and cooked it on low for 90 minutes, until the sauce was heated.

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

  • Servings: Makes about 20
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Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

12 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 14 oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

3/4 cup chili sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the cranberry sauce & chili sauce. Gently mix the turkey mixture until just combined and roll into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

In a slow cooker mix the cranberry sauce and chili sauce together. Add the meatballs gently toss with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 90 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Brussels Sprouts & Cranberry Sauce

So, I’m working a little backwards here. Yesterday I brought you a delicious pie you can serve for Thanksgiving dessert and today I am bringing you two sides. A roasted Brussels sprouts dish and homemade cranberry sauce. Come back on Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday where I will tell you how I slow cooked a turkey breast – see, definitely working backwards!

I know Brussels sprouts is not a favorite vegetable for many, but, I think the reason is because they are not preparing them the best way. Yes, they have a bitter flavor, just like broccoli rabe, but, when you season and roast them in the oven they take on a whole new flavor. Even the little charred sections taste good. And, they get perfectly tender. The recipe I recently tried called for them to be roasted in the oven and then topped with a glaze made with grapes, honey & scallions… YUM! I can’t wait to make it again and I am pretty sure it will make any Brussels sprout skeptic think twice about that vegetable that looks like a baby cabbage.

I grew up eating cranberry sauce from a can, not the whole berry sauce one, but, the jellied version. It’s weird, I won’t eat the whole berry one from a can because I feel like it’s too fake but I will eat the jellied version. Yes, I will still eat it with my turkey and stuffing. I don’t really know what prompted me to try making cranberry sauce myself since I was content with the can stuff, but, I’ve used the same recipe now for quite a few years and it’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I look forward to a sandwich with leftover turkey warmed up with melted cheese (preferably provolone) and topped with cranberry sauce every year after Thanksgiving. I am dreaming of it now as I type… LOL! So, what is so special about this sauce? I think it’s the simplicity of it. There are no out of the box ingredients. It’s simply a bag of fresh cranberries, sugar, water, fresh ginger, orange zest, a cinnamon stick, ground cloves and salt. I tried getting a little fancy one year, but, it just didn’t top the simple yet delicious taste of this cranberry sauce. Make a few days before you intend to use to really get the best flavor.

So, I hope these two dishes will make their way to your table, or, they have given you ideas of something else to try.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Grapes

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups red seedless grapes

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread them on the hot baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through until tender and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the Brussels sprouts are in the oven…. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the grapes and thyme and cook until the grapes starting to burst, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions and honey. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the juices thicken and the grapes are glazed. Season with salt and pepper.

Once ready, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a dish and drizzled the grape mixture over them

Recipe from Food Network

 

Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 Cups
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Ingredients:

1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger, orange zest, salt and cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool before refrigerating

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Cranberry Cupcakes

While everyone is so focused on pumpkin being the “it” flavor of the Fall, another fruit quietly makes its way into the fold – albeit mainly to be a nice accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey… the cranberry. Granted most of us don’t (or won’t) eat raw cranberries due to their bitterness, but they are quite tasty when dried, blended into wonderful juice combinations (thanks Ocean Spray!) or made into a sauce (my personal favorite.) So when I came across a recipe for Cranberry Cupcakes  in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I had to try it.

To begin, I whisked together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a bowl and set it aside.

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I then mixed together my wet ingredients. Starting with the sugar and butter, then adding in an egg and vanilla extract.

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Next I added in the flour mixture and mixed it until the two mixtures were just incorporated.

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And finally I added in sour cream, which allows for a denser cupcake. After mixing it with the mixer I gave it a couple of extra stirs with a spatula.

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The batter was the perfect amount for 12 cupcakes.

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I baked them for 20 minutes in a 350F preheated oven and voila…

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Next, I made a small indentation in each of the cupcakes…

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And then added in a few teaspoons of canned cranberry sauce into the indentation. Since the cupcakes are denser there are no concerns about them falling apart due to the liquid of the sauce.

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While they cooled I made a Cranberry Buttercream Frosting.

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Once they cooled completely I piped a 1M Swirl of frosting on each of the cupcakes.

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Final verdict… They’re a keeper! Although next time I’m thinking of trying them with a different fruit, maybe blueberries.

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Cranberry Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce

For The Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Dried cranberries, for topping

1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 3 more minutes. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.

3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then gently press the back of a small spoon into the center of each cupcake to make an indentation. Fill each indentation with a few teaspoons of cranberry sauce. Remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low; gradually add the remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high; beat in the cranberry sauce, vanilla and salt until combined. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top with dried cranberries.

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

So I ate the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday and they were definitely good while they lasted. Ironically cooking a turkey on Thanksgiving has never intimidated me like cooking on an everyday basis used to. Go figure! I would like to say that I turned those turkey leftovers into something creative, but, that just never happened (although I did have a thought or two about it.)

Along with my turkey (which I must say came out really juicy and tasty thanks to brining and an herbed butter rub)…

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I also made a Sweet Potato Casserole (it was the first time I ever made one and it will definitely become a staple of mine), Williams-Sonoma’s Focaccia Stuffing and Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions…

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And in my opinion Thanksgiving is just not complete without some Cranberry Sauce.

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For dessert I decided to make a Pumpkin Pecan Pie. I usually just make a plain old Pumpkin Pie but after seeing a recipe that included pecans I was intrigued to try it. In all honesty I didn’t particularly care for that recipe so originally I decided to add pecans to the usual recipe I follow for Pumpkin Pie, but, I decided this year to try out Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. They are known for their packed pumpkin in cans so I figured they should know a thing or two about turning that into a delicious pie.

To start I toasted about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 350 degrees preheated oven for five minutes. After they cooled I scattered them on the bottom of a deep-dish pie shell. I took a major short-cut and opted to buy a frozen pie crust.

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Next, I made the pumpkin filling by beating 2 large eggs in a bowl and then adding in the pumpkin and a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. And then I gradually stirred in a can of evaporated milk.

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And finally I poured that into the pecan covered pie crust and baked it for fifteen minutes in a 425 degrees preheated oven and then dropped the temperature to 350 degrees and baked it for another forty-five minutes.

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I loved the texture the pecans added to the pie as well as the nutty flavor.

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And while many were out scoring Black Friday deals I opted to stay in and work on some Christmas crafts… Stay tuned!