A Cranberry Dressing Worthy of Praise

Cranberry dressing is almost always a staple on the Thanksgiving menu. There’s something about the tartness of cranberries that compliments turkey, or any other meat you might be serving, as well. However, it’s been my life-long experience that cranberry dressings are not all equally created. I’ve had some spectacular dressings, and, well, some not so fabulous versions, like the few times my grandmother served the gelatinous canned cranberry, simply sliced in rings. Need I say more?

A few years ago, my father began to make a version of cranberry dressing, which was delicious. It incorporates orange juice and zest, which is the perfect balance to the tangy cranberries. The original recipe calls for chopped pecans, but I have used other nut varieties, such as hazelnuts and walnuts, with equally great results.

This recipe requires very little effort or time, which is another reason why it makes for a fantastic addition to the Thanksgiving menu. You can make this dressing the day before your event, as it requires at least a two-hour chill. However, if you prefer, you could always warm it slightly before serving. Either warm or chilled, I think you may just adopt this version into your yearly menu. As always, happy eating, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Yield: 2 cups

2 oranges, juiced (about 1/2 c.)
zest of 1 orange
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
8 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. raisins, or golden raisins
1/4-1/2 c. chopped pecans (or hazelnuts)

In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice, zest, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cranberries and raisins. Bring to a low boil. Allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans. Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Cranberry Slaw (An Alternative Salad for Turkey Day)

Can it really be that Thanksgiving is only a few short days away?? I checked my calendar yesterday, and realized that indeed, it is. Luckily, this year we are invited over to a friend’s home for the big Turkey Day, so I won’t be stuck roasting, basting, blanching, and baking solely. (Ok, enough crudité, which will be my addition for the planned fiesta, for about 36 people is quite a bit of work, but at least it only requires peeling and chopping!) For those of you who may not want to go the traditional route, I thought I would offer a healthy and extremely tasty salad, which incorporates that quintessential Thanksgiving ingredient: cranberries.

During the winter months, when cabbage is plentiful, I usually make a cabbage salad, with grated carrots, chopped parsley, and fresh lemon juice. But one day, my father, who tends to call me when he’s come across an exciting recipe, was itching to tell me his latest find. Apparently he stopped in for a quick lunch at his local deli, and they were serving a cranberry slaw alongside their sandwiches. My dad enjoyed it so much that he went home and recreated it for a dinner one night. (Hmmm, maybe that’s where I get my obsession with food.) He sometimes adds baked strips of chicken, on occasion, to turn this salad into a main course. However, it could be a welcomed side to just about any main dish.

Whether you end up making this slaw for Thanksgiving, a lunch, or dinner, I hope you enjoy it as much as my father and I do. Thanks for checking in with us. We hope you all have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving. And if you have a few moments to spare, share some time and food with someone you know who may need it. Happy Eating!

Cranberry Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage chopped (red or green)
1/2 c. dried cranberries, or orange flavored cranberries
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 large carrot, peeled and grated (optional)
3/4 cup sweet and sour salad dressing *
salt, pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

*Sweet & Sour Dressing Recipe:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, or liquid measuring cup with a spout. Whisk and chill in the refrigerator. Tweak the ingredients to your liking. I have seen recipes that include celery seed and use dry mustard powder instead of Dijon.

This salad can easily be prepared hours before your meal or event. Just place it in the refrigerator and allow the dressing to nicely blend with the cabbage. Because you don’t have to worry about any of the ingredients wilting, this salad also makes for some fantastic leftovers!