Caramelized Onion, Apple & Cranberry Cheese Toast – A Vibrantly Healthy Appetizer

Carmelized Onion, Apple & Cranberry Cheese ToastIs relaxing with friends and family one of your favourite past-times? If you’re anything like me, you LOVE spending time with the special people in your life. Adding good food to these events helps make them even more of a celebration, having a great appetizer is a huge part of this.

There is something magical in the time spent before dinner visiting with friends and family (And it’s not just alcohol, strictly speaking I’m a sparkling mineral water and cranberry girl :-) ).

When you serve a great appetizer that also supports your guests’ vibrant health, you’re giving them a wonderful gift. However, finding an appetizer to make that is healthy and that fits into an already busy schedule is often difficult.

Here are 5 things to look for in an appetizer that will delight your friends, your family and you while adding a bit of magic to the moment…

5 Keys To A Great Appetizer:

1. It is relatively easy to make

2. It can be mostly made ahead – doesn’t takes you away from enjoying your company

3. It tastes great (an interesting texture and presentation are huge a bonuses)

4. It is as nutritious as possible and low glycemic

5. It has reasonably priced ingredients

Tall order to fill!

Enter a Crockpot Recipe…

Yup – crockpot

Crockpots or slow cookers are not chic, but are a busy women’s best friend especially when you’ve been out all day working, skiing or enjoying yourself at the cottage.

Here is a creation I took to a recent get together I attended.  It got great reviews, meets all of the above criteria and is great for serving on a busy day.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Caramelized Onion & Cranberry-Apple Cheese Toasts

Prep: 25 minutes

Slow Cook: 5 – 6 hours (low) or 2 ½ to 3 hours (high)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups thinly sliced sweet onion – Vidalia or Walla Walla. (I used a mandolin, but watch your fingers).
  • 2 large apples coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 1 tbs. butter or ½ coconut oil and Ghee if possible*
  • ¼ cup “rendered down” medium aged balsamic vinegar**
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut sugar (it has a lower Glycemic index than sugar)
  • 1 – 2 tsp. xylitol (also a low Glycemic Index sugar)
  • ½ tsp. finely shredded orange peel
  • 8 ounce package soft goat cheese (Chevré)
  •  ½ cup or 4 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 32 or 36 Toasts – You could also slice a baguette into 32 pieces and toasted
  • 1/2 package of rice crackers for your “gluten-free” friends
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)

 

Tips:

  •  *I recommend that you substitute coconut oil and Ghee (clarified butter) for butter wherever possible. I use ½ and ½ coconut oil and Ghee or just coconut oil where possible. It will improve the overall health benefit of your food.
  •  **The rendering down (simmer on the stove until ½ the volume) of a good medium quality balsamic vinegar will give you a sweeter and thicker balsamic vinegar. This is much like a medium quality aged balsamic vinegar at ½ the price. Yes!!

 

Method:

  1. In a 5 – 6 quart crock pot combine onions, apples and cranberries. Top with coconut oil & Ghee.
  2. In a small blow, combine vinegar, coconut sugar, xylitol and orange peel; pour this mixture over ingredients in the cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 ½ to 3 hours. (If your cooker has no heat setting – cook for 4 hours.)
  4. In a small bowl, cream together goat cheese and yogurt with a spoon until smooth and whipped together. Place cheese/yogurt mixture in a small serving bowl. You can garnish with parsley or cilantro as desired.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, spoon caramelized onion mixture into a small serving bowl.
  6. Place cheese and onion bowls on large serving dish to serve together with toast and rice crackers. Note: Alternatively, spread cheese/yogurt mixture on individually sliced/toasted pieces of baguette and spoon caramelized mixture on top. Garnish as desired.

 

Enjoy!

 

Do you have a favourite appetizer? Is it vibrantly healthy or could it be changed to meet the above criteria? I love to hear from you. Share it with me and you might even be showcased in a future blog.

Happy cooking and eating!!

Croped Signature Andrea - 11-1-12

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