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‘Featured Ingredients’ Category

  1. Cranberry Bundt Cake

    December 16, 2013 by betsy


    Ho! Ho! Ho! Tis the season to be jolly and to eat cake! (Ok, I made up that last part) All joking aside, the holidays are usually a time to indulge, and this cranberry bundt cake will really get you in the spirit. Seasonal cranberries add an awesome tang to this moist and fluffy bundt. I served this cake for dessert, but ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day.


    I know right? What’s says “holidays” more than cake for breakfast?

    Nothing in my book.

    So bust out your bundt pan, and bake up one of these fantastical cranberry bundt cakes for your next evening (or other) holiday gathering.


    Cranberry Bundt Cake 

    2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    8 oz cream cheese, room temp
    2 1/2 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    1 lemon, juiced and zested
    1/4 tsp almond extract
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 1/2 cups cake flour 
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups fresh cranberries tossed with 1 Tbsp flour

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Thoroughly grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside

    In a large bowl cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir in lemon juice and zest, almond extract and vanilla extract. 

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture beating until thoroughly combined. Fold in cranberries. 

    Pour mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 60-65  minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clear. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and cool completely. 



  2. Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars

    December 3, 2013 by betsy


    Streusel topping, buttery shortbread, sweet/tart cranberry filling – what’s not to like about these bar cookies?!  These were a few steps, but don’t let that deter you because they are easy to make.  If there is a time to use a quality, European style butter, this is it.  The rich flavor will really shine through.  I made these bars as a Thanksgiving dessert, but they’re festive color would make them an excellent candidate for a Christmas cookies.  Plus, they keep for a good week at room temperature, so you can make them ahead of time too!

    I really enjoyed these bars, so much so I think I’ll add them to my December cookie list.  Hope you enjoy too!  And don’t forget to check out and link up to our CRANBERRY link page!

    Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars, adapted from Fine Cooking

    For the crust and streusel:
    • 10-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 tsp. table salt
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 14-1/4 oz. (3 cups plus 3 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
    For the cranberry topping:
    • 12-oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 2 Tbs Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
    Make the crust:

    Line a straight-sided 13×9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the prepared pan, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

    Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and another near the top. Heat the oven to 325°F.

    Bake the dough until the crust begins to set but does not brown at all on the edges (the center will not be firm yet), about 20 minutes. While the crust bakes, prepare the streusel and the topping.

    Make the streusel:

    With your fingers, combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the reserved dough until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when pressed, but readily break into smaller pieces.

    Make the cranberry topping:

    In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool 5 to 10 minutes—the syrup will continue to thicken as the mixture cools.

    Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the hot crust. Scatter the streusel over the cranberries (don’t crumble the streusel too much or the texture will be sandy). Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the bars near the top of the oven until the streusel is golden and set, about 25 minutes. (Baking these bars at the top of the oven helps the streusel brown faster without overbrowning the crust.)

    Place the pan on a metal rack to cool until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour. (For faster cooling, put the bars in the fridge once the pan is no longer piping hot, or even outside in winter.)

    When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-3/4-inch squares.

    The bars will keep at room temperature for one week.


  3. December is Cranberry Month!

    December 3, 2013 by betsy


    It’s finally here!  I’ve been waiting for December for months.  For some reason I have been very anxious for the holidays this year.  I also love cranberries.  I buy bags of fresh cranberries this time of year and freeze them so I have them on hand for baking all winter.  Fresh ones will last for a couple of months though if you remove the soft ones and store them in a plastic bag.

    I have always loved that tartness of cranberries, and using fresh is so much better in your muffins and breads in my opinion.  Cranberries are really good for you too!  They are of full of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.  Cranberries be can easily added to your granola, cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt too for some quick color, flavor and vitamin C!

    Head on over to our CRANBERRY link party and share your cranberry recipes or find some great ones to try.

  4. Persimmon Gingerbread

    November 6, 2013 by betsy


    One thing that really says “winter” to me is baked goods for breakfast. I’m definitely more inclined to eat a coffee cake or donut in the winter as opposed to the summer. I guess its a heat thing, but I’m not really sure.

    The temps have been dropping here in San Diego, and I’ve been craving something cozy in the mornings. Since we’re featuring beautiful persimmons this month, I thought I’d go in search of a persimmon breakfast bread recipe. The Hubs loves gingerbread, so this one from Cooking Light hit the mark. This loaf totally satisfied my baked breakfast hankering. The only problem is, I started also craving it mid-morning….and for lunch…..and after work. Whoops! Needless to say it didn’t last very long around here.


    Persimmon Gingerbread recipe adapted from Cooking Light 

    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 1/2 cups ripe Hachiya persimmon puree (about 3 fruits)
    • 1/3 cup molasses
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/3 cup boiling water
    1. Preheat oven to 375°.
    2. Place brown sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add persimmon puree, molasses, and eggs; beat well (about 1 minute).
    3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves). Add flour mixture and 1/3 cup boiling water alternately to persimmon mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

  5. November is Persimmon Month

    November 4, 2013 by betsy


    Winter and fruit are two words that usually don’t go together. However, persimmons are the exception to that rule as they are coming into season as we speak. I can honestly say I have never purchased, nor cooked with, a persimmon until now. One time my neighbors made me a batch of persimmon cookies, and that is about the extent of my exposure to persimmons.

    It’s always exciting to me to try something new. I’m hoping I’ll become a huge fan of persimmons like I did with sweet potatoes, and butternut squash in previous years.  I’m looking to all you fabulous readers to help me! Link up your PERSIMMON RECIPES on our NOVEMBER page, and leave a comment telling me what’s great about persimmons.

  6. Rainbow Chard “Cannelloni”

    October 2, 2013 by betsy


    I found some pinspiration lately when I saw someone make enchiladas without tortillas by substituting swiss chard. “Genius!” I thought to myself.

    I’ve never been a big carb gal. I find bread, tortillas, pasta and the like to be filler. I always whittle these additions down to the bare minimum then devour what’s inside. I guess that’s why I love soups and salad so much. All the flavor, no filler.


    This idea got me thinking of ways I could trick The Hubs into thinking we were having pasta for dinner. The man loves his pasta, and I almost never make it for him because of my filler aversion. I was hoping if I used classic cannelloni flavors, he would hardly realize that the pasta part was missing.


    Ok, so it was pretty obvious that this was NOT actual pasta, but boy did he love it anyway! He even ate the leftovers the next day. I was right in believing that the flavors were what he REALLY loved, and not the filler. This is why we’re the perfect match.


    By using ground turkey I made this dish even lighter. Its gluten free, low carb, and packed full of homey flavors. Give it a try and see what your family thinks about chard “cannelloni”

    Be sure to check out more great chard recipes over at our October LINK PARTY

    Rainbow Chard “Cannelloni”

    1 1/4 lb ground turkey

    2 Tbs olive oil

    1 small onion, diced

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 large carrot, diced

    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

    1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

    1/2 cup ricotta cheese

    1/2 cup cottage cheese

    2 bunches rainbow chard, stems removed

    2 cups marinara sauce, divided

    1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. Dip each chard leaf into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then submerge in the ice water. Repeat with all leaves. Pat dry and set aside.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add in the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.

    Add parsley, basil, red pepper, ricotta and cottage cheese to turkey mixture. Mix until well combined.

    Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Lay one chard leaf flat on a cutting board and spoon a heaping mound of turkey mixture in the center. Carefully roll up the leaf and place in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and mixture. Top the rolled bundles with remaining one cup of marinara sauce and shredded parmesan cheese.

    Bake for 20 minutes until cheese begins to bubble. Serve.


  7. October is Chard Month!

    October 2, 2013 by betsy


    Mmmmmm chard! Leafy greens are sounding way good to me right about now. I could use some nutrients after a few weeks of being on the road. Kale, Chard, Spinach, Mustard greens….they’re all nutrient packed and probably more versatile than you think. Old iceberg lettuce can take a hike! These super foods are great in everything from salad, to soups to casseroles.

    Chard is a personal favorite of mine as the rainbow variety is just so darn pretty! A food stylist’s dream come true if you will. We’re not bias here at Seasonal Potluck though, so feel free to link up your chard recipes that feature any variety of chard. If you’re more of a spinach aficionado, perhaps now is your chance to step outside the box and give chard a whirl. Head over to our LINK PARTY page for recipe inspiration!

  8. September is Bean Month

    September 2, 2013 by betsy


    For September we’re featuring beans…..another thing that I failed at growing in my garden this summer. I got quite an education in gardening this year. Although I’m disappointed with my crop, I am confident that next year will be epic! My bean lesson is this: Do not plant nasturtiums in with your beans. They WILL attract aphids away from the rest of your garden, but the aphids will also eat your beans. #beanfail I’m always accepting gardening advice if anyone would like to share with me their secrets on growing a massive crop of beans in raised beds.

    Anyway, all sorts of beans are popping up around my farmers market. Last week I bought a variety pack of green, purple and yellow ones and plan to cook up some seasonal goodness over the next few days. I can’t wait to see what everyone else is making with these seasonal beauties. Head on over to our SEPTEMBER page and link up your BEAN recipes!

  9. Grilled Plum and Ricotta Flatbread

    August 5, 2013 by betsy


    As much as I love plums, I’m sad because their appearance at the farmer’s market means that we’ve reached the beginning of the end of summer. I plan to enjoy these last few weeks to the fullest, which means lots of pool time, dining at places with outdoor patios, and cooking without turning on the oven. It’s hot out there folks!

    I made these simple grilled plum flatbreads over the weekend. Grilling stone fruits really brings out their flavor and juiciness. Paired with peppery arugula, these make the perfect quick snack for after a long day in the sun.


    Grilled Plum and Ricotta Flatbread

    3 small plums

    1/3 cup ricotta cheese

    3/4 cup arugula

    1 T balsamic glaze


    Heat a grill pan to medium high heat. Slice the plums and cook slices on grill pan until charred, about 4 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook the tortilla until crispy, flipping once. Spread the ricotta cheese on the crispy tortilla. Top with arugula and grilled plums. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 


  10. August is Plum Month!

    August 1, 2013 by betsy

    plumsAnother month of summer has passed us by.  Hard to believe it’s August already!  It’s been unseasonably cold here in Chicago over the last week or so.  Definitely does not feel like the middle of summer around  here.

    When I was growing up, my grandparents had a plum tree in the backyard.  It was one of those Italian or prune plum trees.  They weren’t my favorite for eating, but man do I wish I was still able to pick them.  It was considered a chore when I was a kid, but now I’d be begging to get my hands on a bowlful!  They were great for baking.  I remember my mom making this plum “pizza” every year.  I could have eaten the whole pan.  It’s funny how certain foods can stir up such vivid memories from the past.  Makes me feel like I need to call my mom to see if she can dig up that recipe for the plum pizza now!

    Head on over to our August link page and share all your favorite watermelon, peaches, corn and plum recipes!