30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon

This 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon is an easy from-scratch recipe that will fool people into thinking you spent hours slaving away over a hot stove. It’s the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu!A bowl of cranberry sauce topped with orange zest and rosemary.

Well, I was supposed to be taking a little break from new recipes while I work on some other fun things for you, but after whipping up this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon for our Friendsgiving this past weekend, I couldn’t resist sharing it with all of you. It is THAT good.

What Cranberry Camp Are You In?

So, tell me. Are you staunchly in the canned cranberry camp or do you HAVE to have something homemade? Or could you not care less? To be honest, I grew up eating the canned stuff with our family’s Thanksgiving meal, but once I found my love for cooking and realized just how easy it can be to make a fresh batch from scratch, I’ve forced my entire family down this road with me and we’ve never turned back.

As with everything else “made from scratch,” I love the idea that you can control all of the ingredients you use to create the finished product. There’s also no high fructose corn syrup in a homemade version, which we can probably all do without with all of the pumpkin pie, whipped cream and other sweets we’ll be consuming for the next two months.

What Goes Into this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce?

The answer: Just enough ingredients to make it truly NEXT LEVEL without getting totally crazy. That’s right, you’re likely to have most of these ingredients on hand in your pantry or in your crisper already.

Here’s what you need:

Fresh cranberries (this time of year they’re easy to find in the produce section of most grocery stores)
An orange
Orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
Cinnamon sticks
Water

That’s it! I don’t know about you, but EASY from-scratch recipes without a ton of weird ingredients in them are totally my jam when it comes to the holidays, much like these Pumpkin Popovers or this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad.

An overhead shot of a bowl of 30-minute cranberry sauce topped with orange zest and rosemary.

How Do You Make It?

Let me tell you, if you’re looking for a simple dish to make for Thanksgiving that will wow your crowd, this is it. If you know how to add ingredients to a pot and turn on the stove, and can remember to stir your ingredients every once in a while, then you can totally master this dish. Because that’s all it takes!

Simply add all the ingredients to a saucepan and let it simmer away until the cranberries have burst and an enticing aroma is filling up your house.

How to Store Cranberry Sauce

 Another great thing about this 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce – aside from how few ingredients it takes and how easy it is to make – is that it can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days. So, Meal Prepping Mamas, this one’s for you!

Just transfer it to an airtight container after it’s come down to room temp and then pull it out right before you’re ready to serve. It doesn’t even need to be reheated!A bowl of cranberry sauce flanked by fresh rosemary, cranberries and orange.

How to Serve Cranberry Sauce

I’m normally not one to make a big deal about serving dishes, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s worth paying a little extra attention to what we’re putting all of these delicious homemade recipes in. Here are some serving dishes that would be perfect for your fancy Cranberry Sauce! (These are affiliate links.)

3 crystal serving bowls for serving cranberry sauce
This 3-bowl crystal serving set let’s the bright red color of your sauce really pop!
This serving boat is a modern way to dress up your Thanksgiving table.
I love pumpkin coquettes from Staub so much that I own two of them! Such a fun way to jazz up any holiday table.


Now, tell me, are you adding this to your Thanksgiving menu or what??

30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This 30-Minute Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Cinnamon is an easy from-scratch recipe that will fool people into thinking you spent hours slaving away over a hot stove. It’s the perfect addition to your
Thanksgiving menu!







Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry, meal prep, quick-and-easy, side dish, Thanksgiving, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 59 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur Such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

  2. Simmer on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the cranberries have popped and mixture resembles classic cranberry sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks.

  3. Let cool and serve at room temperature or store in an airtight refrigerator in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

 

Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate

This Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate is just the recipe you need to kick your guacamole up a notch. You’ll never want plain guacamole again!

An overhead shot of Festive Guacamole in a bed of tortilla chips.

Don’t get me wrong – I love me a good traditional guacamole – but when it comes to stepping it up a notch, what better way to do so than with salty, crumbly cotija cheese and tangy pomegranate seeds? (Okay, besides than with kimchi and bacon).

This recipe takes me back to my Napa days, and the one semi-classy Mexican restaurant (now defunct) that we had in our little ol’ town of St. Helena. It was a regular spot for us to take a long work lunch or meet up for an early Happy Hour, and one of the signature dishes was none other than a guacamole sampler, complete with three or so different spins on traditional guacamole. My very favorite spin – that I still think about now, over six years later – was the pomegranate and cotija version. So naturally, I had to try making it myself!

Guacamole is one of those classic party dishes for which you always need to have a good recipe up your sleeve. I’m now in a position where I’ve made it so much that I do it completely off-the-cuff without any sort of reference. BUT, I’ve made an exception for you, and when I whipped up this Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate I made sure to write down every portion and ingredient so that you can now have your own go-to guacamole recipe on hand whenever inspiration (or a tailgate, backyard BBQ or 4th of July get-together) comes along.

A wooden mortar filled with Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate, surrounded by a platter of tortilla chips.

It is, in most senses, a classic guacamole recipe, it simply gets dressed up with cotija cheese and pomegranate seeds at the very end. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, though, because its flavor meter is through the roof.

Cotija cheese seems to be fairly widely available at grocery stores these days (I found mine at Sprouts), but if you’re having trouble tracking some down, queso fresco would also be a great substitute.

This dish is fantastic as is, but if you’re so inclined you could also add some toasted pepitas at the very end to add a little extra savory crunch. Though it could easily be loaded into tacos, nachos or burritos, I find that Festive Guacamole is best enjoyed simply piled on top of fresh tortilla chips.

An overhead shot of a wooden mortar filled with Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate nestled in a bed of tortilla chips.

I hope you’ll give it a try, and let me know how it turns out in the comments!

Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This Festive Guacamole with Cotija and Pomegranate is just the recipe you need to kick your guacamole up a notch. You’ll never want plain guacamole again!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: appetizer, guacamole, Mexican, pomegranate, side dish, snack
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 147 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 3 medium avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
Instructions
  1. Combine onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, avocados and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl, using the fork to mash up the avocado as you stir. 

  2. Stir in the salt, add more to taste if necessary.

  3. Scoop guacamole into whatever dish you will be serving it in and top with cotija cheese and pomegranate arils. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)

These tasty miniature Brazilian cheese breads are packed with cheddar and fresh chives with a wonderfully chewy texture. Pao de queijo is the perfect snack or accompaniment to any meal.

This Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) is the perfect quick and easy side dish to accompany any meal!

Cheese-lovers, this one’s for you.

I’ll be the first to admit that cheese is one of my favorite food groups, so I’ll take any excuse to come up with recipes that happen to be loaded with it. When I found myself with some extra tapioca flour on hand from last week’s No-Bake Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, I decided it was the perfect time to try out a recipe that had been on my mind for at least a couple of years – Brazilian cheese bread!

Believe it or not, I tasted my first pao de queijo in Hawaii at the ever-so-popular KCC Farmer’s Market on Oahu. It was piping hot, wonderfully chewy and oh-so-cheesy. When I learned that it was in fact made with only tapioca flour (making it entirely gluten-free) and still so flavorful, I knew I had to figure out how to make it on my own.

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread is gluten-free and can be made in under 30 minutes!

Fast forward a couple of years, with a huge bag of tapioca flour just begging to be put to use, I knew it was time. Brazilian cheese bread was happening. But of course I couldn’t make it your typical Brazilian cheese bread, I had to give it my own little twist with sharp aged cheddar cheese and fresh chives. I have to say, the end result was all that I had hoped for…and more. I think it’s safe to say there will be a lot of pao de queijo in my future.

After being so intimidated to even go to the store and buy tapioca flour, I was– as is often the case for me when exploring new recipes and techniques—extremely surprised by how EASY it was to make this cheesy deliciousness. I mean, we’re talking “throw everything in a blender and call it a day” easy.

The end result was these chewy, cheesy, popping bread rolls. They’re not unlike popovers in batter consistency and looks, but when you bite into them you’ll be surprised at the soft yet chewy texture that’s undeniably full of flavor.

Serve this Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) hot out of the oven with your favorite dinner.

Did I mention they take almost no time to make? The batter comes together in less than five minutes, and they’ll be hot out of the oven in less than 15. And you’ll want to eat these bad boys HOT if you want the ultimate cheesy- and chewy-ness.

In short, Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread is PROBABLY going to become your new go-to side for all of your homemade meals.  Or maybe your favorite after-school snack? Or weekend brunch addition? Whenever you make them, you’re not going to be disappointed!

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) has a wonderfully chewy texture, is gluten-free and can be made in under 30 minutes!

Cheddar and Chive Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
17 mins
 

These tasty miniature cheese breads are packed with cheddar and fresh chives with a wonderfully chewy texture. Pao de queijo is the perfect snack or accompaniment to any meal.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: baking, bread, cheese, gluten-free, side dish
Servings: 24 rolls
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a two-dozen mini muffin tin (see notes for link.)

  2. Combine all ingredients except chives in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  3. Stir in chives.

  4. Pour or scoop batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are a light golden brown. 

  5. Enjoy warm!

Recipe Notes

Shopping link for miniature muffin tin.

Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil

This homemade shallot olive oil is perfect to have on hand in your own pantry, or to give as a hostess or holiday housewarming gift.

This Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is incredibly easy to make and adds tons of flavor to any dish!

Easing back from the long holiday weekend with the simplest of recipes for you! In fact, much like my Three-Ingredient Calabrian Chili Spread, this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is so simple that I even hesitated to share it with you all. But guys, it’s just as the recipe title says – stupid simple – and will be such a life-changing addition to your pantry that I just couldn’t NOT share it with you all. So here goes!

Flavored olive oils have been gracing grocery and specialty store shelves for quite some time now but, to be honest, do we really know where those “flavors” are coming from? Are your favorite flavored olive oils that you buy at the store done so artificially? Are you absolutely positive that all the flavoring comes from the freshest ingredients? Are you sure you want to drop a few extra bucks on the so-called high end “fancy stuff” when you could just as easily invest in a Costco size jug of extra-virgin olive oil and flavor it on your own for pennies on the dollar?

If you’re anything like me, I’m going to guess you’re in the latter camp, which makes Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil the next best thing to hit your kitchen table this holiday season.

Use this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil as a dip for your favorite bread, or use it in place of regular olive oil for cooking and dressing salads!

Sure, making your own Shallot Oil requires just two simple ingredients, but the ways in which you can use it are endless. We love whipping up a batch to dip pizza in (ranch dressing, you can take a back seat) and I also used it in place of the regular olive oil I called for in this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs. Basically, you can add a dash of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil to any ol’ dish that calls for olive oil to really up the flavor game (just make sure the crowd you’re entertaining is down for boatloads of flavor!)

As far as the making of this deliciousness goes, it really couldn’t be easier. Simply slice up some shallots, throw them in a bottle with some olive oil, let it sit for a day or two and, voila, you now know why we dub this tasty concoction “Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil.”

A bottle of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is the perfect holiday or housewarming gift!

Grab the recipe below and let me know what great ways you end up using it!

Super Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This homemade flavored olive oil is perfect to have on hand in your own pantry, or to give as a hostess or holiday housewarming gift.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 2 cups
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a glass bottle with a stopper and/or drizzle lid. Let sit for a day or two before using. 

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing

I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of holiday deliciousness today.

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini stuffing is an easy, tasty holiday side dish that everyone will love!

Because this is quite literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing not only due to its insane flavor, but also because it is sooo easy to make. Yes, your holiday menus are about to change forever.

I’m letting you in on a little secret today, because this stuffing is actually a family recipe that I’ve held near and dear to my heart….until now. I’ve debated sharing it for a while, and after receiving my Dad’s blessing (he’s the mastermind behind it all) I decided there’s no time like 10 days before Thanksgiving to do it!

So, I bet you’re wondering what makes this The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing when it only involves 5 ingredients? Well, let me tell you, those five ingredients are chock full of alllll the flavors and work together so perfectly that you will never regret making this your new go-to stuffing recipe for years to come. We’re talking not only the obvious zucchini (which also, BTW, makes this recipe fairly healthy as far as stuffing recipes go) but also fresh basil and plenty of garlic. Of course we also mix in some breadcrumbs and tie it all together with some high-quality butter. Have I won you over yet?

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.

What if I told you this stuffing is perfectly safe to eat raw (if you just can’t wait until you bake it off to try it) AND you don’t even have to stuff it into any sort of bird to enjoy it in all its glory? That’s my kind of stuffing.

Now, I know I’m sharing this with you before Thanksgiving just in case you’re looking for that perfect way to dress up your turkey a little bit, but in all honesty my Dad usually whips up this recipe for Christmas Eve. In fact, we usually rotate whatever type of poultry we use (sometimes we do chickens, sometimes Cornish game hens, etc.) but The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing is the one constant on the menu.

The best thing about this Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing? It can even be eaten raw!

For Thanksgiving, my mom has her own special stuffing recipe, but I’m not ready to disclose that one quite yet 😉

As far as making The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing, it’s going to be a snap as long as you have a food processor on hand. (But yes, you can also make it without one.) You can use the grater attachment of your processor to grate the zucchini, and the chopper attachment for the basil, breadcrumbs and garlic.

After you have all of the ingredients prepped, you’ll sauté the zucchini and garlic in butter, then at the last minute stir in the breadcrumbs and basil before dumping everything into a baking dish (or stuffing it into a bird). If you’re using a baking dish, I might recommend one with a lot of surface area so you maximize the crunchy golden topping, but that’s just me.

This is literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing and you need to add it to your holiday cooking schedule!

Once you have the stuffing in the oven, it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and relax with family and friends, hopefully with a delicious cocktail in hand. Because isn’t that what the holidays are REALLY all about??

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

This healthy stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful with just FIVE ingredients. It can be made as a vegetarian side dish or stuffed into a bird!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: family-friendly, holiday, side dish, stuffing, Thanksgiving, vegetables, zucchini
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature you’re cooking your bird at.)

  2. Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a cheese shredder, shred the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water using a few paper towels and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shredded zucchini and garlic. Sauté until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then turn heat to low.

  4. In a clean food processor fitted with the blade attachment, make your fresh breadcrumbs using whatever type of bread you have on hand. Add fresh basil at the very end just to give it a rough chop.

  5. Stir breadcrumb mixture into zucchini mixture, then transfer into a baking dish, or stuff into your bird. Bake at desired oven temperature for about an hour, or until the surface of the stuffing takes on a nice golden-brown color.

  6. Serve with your holiday meal!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing | CaliGirlCooking.com