Shortcut to Festive Red Berry Crostini

 Short•cut  noun: a shorter, quicker, or easier way  to do something

This holiday season,  my survival plan involves taking some short cuts. I’m not talking about traveling the back roads (although all Wilmington locals know this is how we roll). I’m talking about cooking short cuts… to make healthy eating… and entertaining less stressful. It occurred to me, last week when I made my ‘colder weather red berry sauce’,  this could  be doubled and frozen for putting together festive appetizers like these red berry crostini.

Shortcut to Festive Red Berry CrostiniThis simple short cut allows you to  serve  your family and friends appetizers with the same standards you have for the rest of the meal:  made with fresh ingredients,  superb in taste, and  stylish. Join me in making a double batch of this healthy and delicious red berry sauce for Thanksgiving, freezing half, and  making festive Red Berry Crostini in December.  What cooking short cuts are you taking to survive the holidays?

Shortcut to Festive Red Berry Crostini 

Festive Red Berry Crostini

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

    for the slow-cooked red raspberry cranberry sauce

    • 12 ounce package of frozen red raspberries
    • 12 ounce pakcage of fresh cranberries
    • 1/4 cup water

    for sweetening, option 1/Traditional

    • 1 cup sugar

    for sweetening, Option 2/Reduced Sugar

    • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bag
    • 1/3 cup Stevia in the Raw
    • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

    for the crostini

    • 1 French baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (about 60)
    • 3/4 cup olive oil(for brushing)
    • sea salt
    • 2 cups red raspberry cranberry sauce (recipe below)
    • 12 ounces goat cheese
    • 1 cup chopped pistatchios
    • 1/2 cup parsely, chopped

    Instructions

    for the slow-cooked red raspberry cranberry sauce

    1. Add frozen red raspberries, fresh cranberries and water to a 3 or 4 quart slow-cooker. Stir to combine. Place the lid on slow-cooker and set on low for 8 hours.

    2. Stir once or twice during cooking; replace lid to cover completely.

    3. At the end of cooking, the berries will have cooked and formed a sauce. Now add either sugar or alternative sweeteners. Cool and use as topping for crostini.

    For the crostini

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange baguette slices on two large rimmed baking sheets; brush both sides with oil and season with salt.

    2. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. (If undersides are not browning, turn crostini over once during baking.) Let cool on baking rack.

    3. Spread each crostini with goat cheese and top with a spoonful of red raspberry cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with parsely and chopped pistachios. Serve immediately.

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    ‘Colder Weather’ Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce

    Last Friday afternoon, while winding down from a busy week, I was listening to some tunes from the  Zach Brown Band and thinking about how much I adore the flavors of fall …#Iaintevergonnachange. But sometimes, it’s the weather that keeps me from enjoying my favorite foods this time of year. What I mean is, I don’t eat according to a calendar. If it’s November, but the weather feels like August, I ‘m NOT craving  seasonal foods, like warm comforting soups, pumpkin spice lattes or cranberries #OhIwannaseeyouagain. But the weather will change… #Ican’twaittilthen.

    Now that I’m out of warmer weather…I’m enjoying this.. 'Colder Weather' Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce

    my first batch of ‘cranberry’ sauce. But it’s a  bit different than years past. I ‘ve mixed  those anticipated cranberries with another healthy and delicious berry; frozen red raspberries. Then, I  simplfied the cooking process by using a slow-cooker.   Mmm, the aroma of red berries lingering throughout my kitchen all day. It was as though I had lit a scented candle.

    There are so many reasons for making this homemade cranberry raspberry sauce. Both cranberries and raspberries are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This sauce is so tasty and versatile, it’s an easy way to boost the nutritional value of many holiday foods.  (Please note:   it’s not just for turkey and stuffing. Stay tuned because I’ll be showing you how to make a delicious holiday appetizer with this sauce in my next post). Secondly, it’s quick and easy;  toss the 3 ingredients into a slow-cooker and leave them unattended. Did I mention the aroma therapy? Yea, it’s worth it. And finally, YOU are in control how much or how little sugar you use. Traditional cranberry sauce has about 26 teaspoons of sugar in one cup.  I’ve included two different versions of my Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce, one traditional and the other reduced sugar. Use what suits your appetite or customize your own with something in between.

    ‘Colder Weather’ Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

      for the sauce

      • 12 oz package of frozen red raspberries
      • 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
      • 1/4 cup water

      for sweetening, option 1 Traditional

      • 1 cup sugar

      for sweetening, option 2 Reduced Sugar

      • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bad
      • 1/3 cup Stevia in the Raw
      • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

      Instructions

      1. Add frozen red raspberries, fresh cranberries and water to a 3 or 4 quart slow-cooker. Stir to combine. Set on low for 8 hours and cook with the lid on.

      2. Stir once or twice during the cooking process replacing lid to cover completely.

      3. After the berries have cooked and have formed a sauce, add either sugar or alternative sweeteners. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

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