Chef Tse: Quinoa Stuffing & Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

      To me, Thanksgiving and the holidays is all about making food with love. So instead of reaching for a can or a box, why not make dishes from scratch? Not only is it simple but the flavors will blow you away. Here are two of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
      The first, quinoa stuffing, has great texture and flavor. As an added bonus, it's gluten free and good for the vegetarians or vegans at your table.
      The second recipe, homemade sweet potatoes, is quick and easy. I like to toss it into the oven while the turkey is roasting or if you have too much in the oven, make it the night before and reheat it while the turkey is resting.

      Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Pecans and Dried Cranberries
      From the kitchen of Chef Tse
      Serves 6

      2 cups water
      1 cup quinoa
      2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
      2 cups cubed butternut squash, about half of a small squash
      1 tablespoon fresh thyme
      1/4 cup water
      1/4 cup chopped unsalted pecans
      1/3 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
      1/4 cup chopped parsley
      Juice of half a lemon
      Salt and pepper

      Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Add quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat, don't lift cover, and let quinoa steam another 15 minutes.

      Meanwhile, heat a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Add squash and thyme and saut until squash begins to brown on all sides. Add water and continue cooking until liquid evaporates and squash is cooked through.

      Pour quinoa into a medium bowl and fluff with a fork. Add squash, pecans, cranberries, parsley and lemon and fold together. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

      Homemade Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
      From the kitchen of Chef Tse
      Serves 4

      1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
      1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
      2 tablespoons maple syrup
      1 tablespoon unsalted butter
      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1/4 cup pecans, chopped
      Nonstick cooking spray

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange sweet potato slices in rows overlapping each other in baking dish. Set aside.

      In a small saucepan bring orange juice, maple syrup, butter, nutmeg and pinch of salt to a boil. Pour over sweet potatoes and sprinkle pecans over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until liquid becomes a syrup, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Serve hot.