Easy Holidays/Entertaining

The Scramblog

Low-Sugar Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Low-Sugar Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce I briefly forgot how incredibly easy it is to make your own cranberry sauce.  I couldn't resist buying a bag of beautiful red cranberries during Thanksgiving season. As I've been trying to eat little to no added sugar lately, I wanted to make a low-sugar cranberry sauce. This version of low-sugar orange-ginger cranberry sauce is tart but we love the flavor to perk up the muted taste of turkey. You can, of course, always add more maple syrup to taste.Makes about 2 cups of sauce, 8 servings, 1/4 cup each Prep + Cook = 15 minutes1 lb. fresh cranberries 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or more to tasteIn a saucepan, combine the cranberries, juice and ginger, bring it to a boil. Partially cover it and simmer it for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are very tender and the sauce is thick. Stir in the...
  Nov 6, 2015   Easy Holidays/Entertaining, Recipes

Festive and Easy Holiday Cocktail Recipes

While some people know me as a family dinner expert, one of my favorite hobbies is mixology. I have a great time mixing cocktails and someday I hope to write a book of easy and fun cocktails and appetizers, which I have been developing for years.I am a member of a professional culinary organization called Les Dames d’Escoffier, and when they were looking for members to do a holiday demo in Washington, DC, I volunteered to teach people how to make some festive and easy holiday cocktail recipes.Because I too often don’t do things the easy way, I challenged myself to come up with all new cocktails for the event. In addition to daydreaming about the recipes, the most fun part was having friends over to concoct and test cocktails with me.  We came up with some wonderful combinations (although the sriracha margarita was very divisive) and these holiday cocktail recipes were the winners of the bunch. (Thank you to my talented friend and photographer Linda Wolpert for taking...

Ghostly Beef Stew Dinner Recipe for Halloween

Halloween is such a fun yet hectic time.  Cook this spooktacular recipe in advance or use your slow cooker to fill your goblins’ tummies with a delicious, nutritious fun meal.Our photographer Linda Wolpert whipped up these adorable mashed potato ghosts which you can serve on top of my Hearty Beef Stew for a Halloween-themed dinner before or after your children romp around on a chilly autumn night.Feel free to substitute other root vegetables like turnips and parsnips for the carrots and potatoes.To make the mashed potato ghosts, make our mashed potatoes or use your favorite recipe, adding extra water or milk as needed to make it smooth and creamy.  Put the mashed potatoes in a strong plastic bag (sandwich-sized Ziploc works well), snip 1 inch off the bottom corner of the bag on the diagonal, and squeeze out the ghosts. The eyes can be peppercorns, coriander seeds, pieces of olives or carrots; use your imagination! Hearty Beef Stew (Ghostly Beef Stew Dinner...

Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Corn and Pinto Bean Stew

This smoky, sweet stew has endless variations.  It can be served over rice, inside of a tortilla, or simply in a bowl topped with Cheddar cheese or crushed tortilla chips.  Now that I’ve learned that there’s no need to soak dry beans before cooking them, I’m going to be making them a lot more often instead of using canned beans.  Serve it with Apple Cheddar Cornbread.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Corn and Pinto Bean Stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 6 hours    Total Time: 6 hours and 10 minutes
16 oz. dry pinto beans, rinsed 16 oz. frozen roasted corn, or use regular frozen corn kernels 1 yellow onion, diced 2 medium white or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups) 1/2 lb. smoked ham or soy chorizo, chopped 16 oz. medium or spicy salsa 6 cups water 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. minced garlic, (about 2 cloves) (can use Dorot frozen garlic) 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, with a little of the sauce...

Italian Shotgun Wedding Soup (Easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe)

Everyone loves Italian Wedding Soup, but the thought of making both the meatballs and the soup on a harried weeknight is a little daunting.  So I love this shortcut Italian Wedding Soup recipe that uses flavorful sausage instead of the meatballs, while still using the fresh vegetables that makes this soup so nourishing.  This is also excellent with 15 oz. diced tomatoes stirred in with the broth. Scramble recipe tester Amy Stanley said, “We all gave it 5 stars.  A perfect balance.” Serve it with garlic bread.
Italian Shotgun Wedding Soup
Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes 8 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 - 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup) 3 carrots, halved (or quartered if large) and finely chopped (about 1 cup) 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup) 12 oz. pre-cooked Italian turkey, chicken or meatless sausage (use wheat/gluten-free if needed), sliced into 1/2-inch slices 1 tsp. Italian seasoning...

Chicken or Steak Fajitas

Who doesn’t love sizzling fajitas, especially when each family member can design their own?  The marinated meat makes these fajitas especially flavorful.  Serve the fajitas with guacamole and a mango, cucumber and lime salad.
Chicken or Steak Fajitas
Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 - 2 lime, juice only, about 1/4 cup 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless steak, sliced into thin strips, or use black beans or portobello mushrooms 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 green or red bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced 8 medium whole wheat or flour tortillas (soft taco size) 1 - 2 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced, (or use guacamole), for serving (optional) 1 cup nonfat sour cream, for serving (optional) 1 cup salsa, for serving (optional) 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)
 In a...

Menu for Homemade Valentine’s Day Dinner

Staying in on Valentine's Day? Need a menu for homemade Valentine's Day dinner? Here is a beautiful and easy 3-course meal to serve to your special Valentine(s).APPETIZER Grapefruit margaritas Delicious, tart and pink! Even if it's cold outside, just shake the ingredients together and feel the warmth.2 servings2 oz. tequila 2 oz. orange liqueur 1 lime, juice only 1 grapefruit, juice only 2 slices jalepeno (optional)Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and serve on the rocks.MAINSalmon with Maple Soy Glaze This sweet, caramelized salmon recipe is heart-healthy. Serve it with steamed brown or white rice with fresh parsley and with an Asian cucumber salad.6 servings1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup 1/4 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tsp. minced fresh 2 lb. salmon fillet, preferably wild salmon(Start the rice first, if...
  Dec 8, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining

Does Holiday Eating Have Your Stomach Begging for Mercy? How to Improve Your Energy and Digestion Fast!

Guest Column by Mari J Hahn, Holistic Health Coach and author of Gut Guide 101:Three Weeks to Better Digestion and Increased EnergyThe month of December always gets a little crazy when it comes to food – it’s easy to get carried away with party food and too many cookies, not to mention indulgent holiday meals, eggnog and cocktails. Before long, you may be suffering with heartburn, low energy and the dreaded weight gain, which can take a lot of the fun out of the holidays.Taking a few minutes each day to take care of your digestion will keep your immune system strong, improve your energy, and help you have a healthy December.Your digestive tract will function much better with plenty of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water every day and less of the depleting stuff like processed foods and sugar. High stress levels also negatively impact the digestive system, so whatever you do to manage your stress such as exercise, yoga, a daily walk or journaling,...
  Dec 1, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining

Holiday Gift Ideas for Food Lovers, Gift Ideas for Busy Parents, Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Cook, Plus Edible Holiday Gifts

If you’ve been part of The Scramble for a while (thank you!) you may remember that I’m not a huge shopper or consumer.  Because a) I feel I have everything I could want or need, b) our house is small so we don’t have a lot of room to put new things, c) Since I’m a crazy environmentalist, I don’t put a huge focus on giving or receiving traditional holiday gifts. I usually focus on giving consumable gifts or gifts of experiences for my friends and family, and those are the things I prefer to receive, too.That being said, The Scramble team put our heads together and created a list of some of our favorite gifts for busy parents, food lovers and cooks in your life.  I would love you to add your ideas to our list by leaving a comment at the end of the post—then we can update the list to include your ideas of gifts for food lovers, gifts for busy parents, gifts for kids who love to cook and edible holiday gifts.Holiday Gifts for Busy Parents• You’ll never...
  Nov 25, 2014   Easy Holidays/Entertaining, Recipes 1

Holiday Treats: Chocolate Bark with Pomegranate Seeds, Coconut and Ginger

This chocolate bark with pomegranate seeds gets a tiny kick from the ginger and a pop of texture from the juicy pomegranate seeds.  This is so easy to make, just like our Dark Chocolate Bark with nuts, marshmallows, and dried cranberries.  This chocolate bark makes a great holiday gift or colorful holiday dessert. Thanks to my fellow Her Corner member Alison Cardy for introducing me to the idea of pomegranate chocolate...