Cranberries ROCK!

Ladies & gentlemen: start your ovens!! Tis the season for cooking from scratch!!

I love this time of year for many reasons… one of which is finding excuses to ditch the cans & boxed meals — come on, even if you are the best cook on your block, if you have kids, you know you have a box of Kraft mac & cheese in your pantry &/or a frozen pizza in your freezer. Gathering up ingredients I can pronounce and creating something from scratch gives me such a great feeling of pride. I make a lot of soups and other creations from scratch year-round… but I don’t always have the time, or let’s face it, the energy, to create daily masterpieces in my kitchen. 
Guess what, friends? The recipe I’m about to share is not only super easy, but really good for you AND incredibly yummy. I stock up on cranberries whenever I’m at the grocery store this time of year (they can be frozen for at least 6 months!) and make my cranberry chutney every Thanksgiving and throughout the year (add it to grilled pork or chicken in the summer — it’s fantastic!) and always receive rave reviews. 
I’m partially reluctant to share it. Almost feels like I’m allowing you to see the wizard behind the curtain. 
But since I almost always get complaints that certain people actually enjoy that jellied canned cranberry-crap… and maybe I shouldn’t even bother going out of my way to make my awesomely fantastic cranberry-chutney from scratch, I challenge those can lovers to take a chance and try Momma’s cranberry recipe. Your house will smell like a dream even if you still end up being partial to the canned sauce. But trust me on this one, 95% of people who try it never look at another canned-shape pile of cranberry flavored jelly again. 
Momma’s Cranberry Chutney
1/4 stick butter
1 cup thinly diced celery
1 cup diced & skinned apples 
1 16oz bag of fresh, whole cranberries 
1 orange, zested & fully juiced
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine or brandy
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
dash of nutmeg &/or cinnamon (if desired)
Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan, add celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add apples, saute another 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the cranberries start popping, stir & turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and taste. Feel free to add more sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for your liking. You can serve the cranberry chutney immediately or make it today and store it in an airtight container in your fridge, it’ll keep for well over a week! Serves about 8.
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