Grapefruit & Sage Bees Knees

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Last week I brought you a decadent, rum-laced, coffee drink–perfect for dessert or an indulgent, fancy-ass brunch. But, this drink is something else. It’s refreshing and herbal, bright with a floral sweetness. Something you might sip on a hot day on the patio…which is exactly what we did. We, FINALLY, finished up our patio project (do you guys wanna see it?! I took pictures of the process) and celebrated with these cocktails. I used some of the sage from my new herb garden–fingers crossed I don’t murder it all–and made a syrup with it using equal parts honey and water. It’s easy and refreshing and will maybe make a repeat appearance in the coming days because my pal, Megan (aka Take a Megabite!), is visiting! She lands tomorrow night and I am pretty sure there will be some cocktails, in addition to pink wine, donuts, froyo, and she’ll be meeting Casper for the first time! We’re attending the Indulge conference this Saturday, so on the chance that you’ll be there…say “hello!!” CHEERS!

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Grapefruit & Sage Bees Knees

Okay, I know this isn’t a true Bees Knees–besides the addition of sage, there’s grapefruit in place of lemon and I’ve topped this off with tonic and ice. But, I promise, this drink lives up to it’s namesake–it really is the bees knees!

for the syrup:

1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup water

for the cocktail (makes 1):

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce honey-sage syrup

2 ounces gin

a dash or two of bitters, if you have them

tonic

ice

To make the syrup, add the sage leaves, honey, and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil 1 minute, and remove from the heat. Pour into a heatproof jar and cool. Strain out the a sage before using.

For the cocktail, shake or stir the juice, syrup, and gin together with a few dashes of bitters (if using). Pour it into a glass over ice, and top with tonic.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cranberries & Feta

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Quinoa and I have a tortured relationship. One that I am adament on mending. I have to admit, it may be my fault. Our introduction wasn’t entirely agreeable. I totally didn’t realize you were supposed to rinse quinoa, so the first few times I tried to force us to like this magical grain, we totally hated it. It tasted weird and soapy and gross. So, I left it alone for 2 solid years before realizing I was doing it all wrong. For shame!

Since, I’ve dabbled in quinoa. Adding it to bean burgers and turkey meatballs, letting it hang in the background, no longer hating it, but continuing to let it underwhelm me. Not giving it a fare shake. Recently, though, I’ve become obsessed with this “autumn couscous salad” from the deli of my favorite grocery store, New Seasons. I decided to remake it at home, but sub out the couscous for quinoa in yet another attempt at making it something we could love. And, hallelujah! I’ve done it!

This salad just gets me. It’s full of texture (my favorite) and perfectly balances sweet, nutty, salty, and tangy. I love the way quinoa retains some texture even after it’s cooked and sort of pops when you chew it. Plus it makes this salad so filling, making for a great lunch on its own.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Feta

Make 4-6 servings

I like my vinaigrettes pretty tart and tangy, using a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and olive oil. If you like a smoother dressing, go ahead and reduce the vinegar by a tablespoon or so, to taste. The dressing also includes quite a bit of shallot, which makes for a chunky vinaigrette, but totally adds a ton of flavor to the salad without making for an overwhelmingly onion-y dish. There may seem to be a lot of vinaigrette, but the quinoa really soaks up the dressing. If you are worried, add half and see where you’re at before adding the rest to taste.

3 cups sweet potato, diced small (about 2 small sweet potatoes)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped sage

1/4 cup finely diced shallot (about 1 medium shallot)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1-2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Toss the diced sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the sweet potatoes in an even layer on a sheet pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, stirring once after about 15 minutes, until tender and some pieces begin to brown. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a mesh strainer. Add it to a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the quinoa begins to boil reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa stand, uncovered for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While the sweet potatoes and quinoa cook, mix up the dressing. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallots, with the red wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, the remaining salt, and pepper. Shake well to combine.

Add the still warm, cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and combine with the dressing. Fold in the cooked sweet potatoes, spinach, cranberries, pepitas, feta, and sage. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. [/recipe]

Recently at Betty’s: Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples & Crème Fraîche and Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Enchiladas

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas

 Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas

I have a couple low-brow vs. high-brow chicken dishes to share with you today!

The low-brow is a super easy Chicken Enchilada dish that includes bacon and a creamy ranch sauce. It’s perfect for those ranch fiends in your life (we all have them)! Sean loves an enchilada and he was crazy for this version. It’s savory, a little spicy, cheesy, and so easy. The high-brow is a Slow Cooker Chicken with Apple and Crème Fraîche that includes my favorite cooking booze–calvados. It’s creamy, herbal, hearty, a little sweet, a lot savory, and perfectly autumnal. I’ve made this several times already this fall. The most important thing is that they are equally delicious. Win.

Slow Cooker Chicken w/ Apples and Crème Fraîche

 Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples and Crème Fraîche

Click on over to the Betty Crocker for the recipes and how-to’s:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas and Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples & Crème Fraîche

Click HERE for a list of all of my Betty approved recipes!