Janet's Notebook
Cranberries Play Starring Role In Creative Holiday Eats

Sparkling Cranberry Punch

It's cranberry time again! And despite their cheerful color and bold flavor, they remain to many of us a once a year fruit. Well, who's ready to break the (cranberry) mould and start mixing things up? Have we ever got berry fun ideas for you!

For starters, kick off your holiday festivities with Jane McMillan's fabulously festive - and colorful - Sparkling Cranberry Punch! This has become a year-round favorite for us, making regular appearances at baby showers, luncheons and church functions. And to think it all started with an impulse buy...

"Years ago I spotted a pretty punch bowl in an antique store, and fell in love with it," says Jane. "I told my hubby that I wanted it for Christmas. He said, 'Why? You don't ever make punch.'" Jane's reply? "That's because I don't have a punch bowl!"

And, as she says, the rest is history. That punch bowl has since seen years of active duty, and led to Jane perfecting her holiday punch recipes.

"I always make punch during the holidays because it is something special and non-alcoholic for the kids. And, of course, for the adults you can add some 'cheer.'"

Now before your guests get a little too "cheerful," be prepared with some fun party appetizers. A new favorite app idea comes from Tonna Canfield of Ashland, KY. Made in a crock pot, her Cranberry Glazed Meatballs are a choice pick for any gathering, even a holiday potluck.

"I made these yummy meatballs for my daughter's bridal shower," says Tonna. "They are quick, easy, and delicious!"

In fact, we see these snappy meatballs being a hit at any gathering! The cranberry glaze is super easy to prepare. Simply combine jellied cranberry sauce, mustard, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar! Use your favorite meatball recipe or use frozen meatballs as a time-saving shortcut.

Ready for the main course? Well, while there's no way we could ever replace the classic Thanksgiving bird, we CAN highly recommend it be accompanied by Darci Juris' Butternut Squash, Carrot, Apple & Cranberry Salad. Lovely, seasonal flavors are served up in this light, slaw-like dish.

"Five servings of vegetables a day, that's what they say," extolls Darci. "This recipe should easily help you get there. It's light and crunchy, with a sweet flavor. Makes the perfect side dish to any meal."

Indeed, we love the freshness of Darci's recipe, both literally and figuratively. The fresh veggies brighten the holiday dinner table, while at the same time adding a delightful twist to your more traditional fare.

And after preparing (and eating!) all this cranberry yumminess, kick back with a steaming mug of Deanne Dyer's homemade Hot Cranberry Tea. A holiday tradition in her family, Deanne recently shared her delicious recipe for all of us to enjoy as well! Part citrus, part cranberry and wholly enjoyable, this is the perfect way to wind things down for the day.

Ah yes, so many cranberries so little time! Free yourself up for a little recipe experimentation this holiday season. You may just discover a few new family traditions of your own.

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Carol Junkins - Dec 1, 2012
So glad you all enjoyed it Deb ~ sounds like a wonderful day you had, and thank you for getting back to me too ! ;)
Deb Kreeger - Nov 30, 2012
Carol, thanks for the recipe! I used my cranberry relish and whipped in some cream cheese. I spread it on leftover rolls and topped it off with turkey and lettuce. My friends came over for leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, and they loved it!! I'll be using your recipe next year! Thanks again!
Denise Byrd - Nov 28, 2012
Thank you for these recommendations. I have added almost all of them to my recipes. I look forward to trying them in the near future. Denise Byrd
Marian Arbour - Nov 14, 2012
turkey breast...in slow cooker add one can of cranberry sauce .whole preferred add turkey.12 dried apricots. 3 shallots cut in half. dried mango and pineapple ..cook on high for 2 hours then add potatoes thhe small ones about 10..cook for another hour..serve over cooked rice..I buy the dried fruits in a bulk barn store
Carol Junkins - Nov 13, 2012
Hi Deb, I have this recipe and sounds what your looking for:
Cranberry Spread:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped Pecans
Assorted crackers
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, sugar, peel and cinnamon until blended. Fold in cranberries and pecans.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with cranckers.
Yield 1-1/2 cups.
Hope this is it Deb.!!!!
Deb Kreeger - Nov 13, 2012
I'm looking for a cranberry spread recipe. I remember using leftover homemade cranberry relish and I think cream cheese?, that you spread lightly on rolls and fill with leftover turkey and lettuce..yum! Does anyone have ideas?
Kay Tilley - Nov 12, 2012
It was cold and rainy here in Oklahoma, today. And celebrating Veterans Day for my hubby, I had the kids over for a cozy Sunday evening family gathering.
WE fixed that delisious Cranberry punch and the kids loved it as much as the adults! I am going to have it again for our Family Traditional Christmas Eve Party. And maybe at the V.F.W. for our annual New Years Eve party?
Jane's punch is forever going to be a favorite for us!!! Thanks Jane and Janet and Kitchen Crew, "Happy ~ Holidays~"
Carol Junkins - Nov 9, 2012
I will make my Cranberry Cream Torte this year. So easy and good, I have alot of cranberries.
Linda Stevens - Nov 9, 2012
I use the dried ones alot when I can stop snacking on them that is. My favorite is droping about 3/4 cup into my zucinni bread!
Nancy Landa - Nov 9, 2012
I always toss a few cranberries into my stuffing along with a chopped apple, chopped onion and chopped celery. My family has come to expect it. lol
Paul Bushay - Nov 7, 2012
HI Janet & crew!

A couple of years ago you featured my Bunyan's Diabetic Chicken Fried Steak recipe! A lot of JAP members have commented on how much they like it, and that makes eel good! Well my lil ole recipe won me $15,000 in a cook off here in Phoenix a while back, and I meant to send pictures, but spaced that out, and in the mean time I've had a couple more heart attacks! I was checking my camera and unfortunately I must have deleted the pictures! If I enter it in another cook off I will be sure to send pictures! It's a little tougher to do my thing now because I'm in a wheel chair most of the time now as I've lost the feeling in my feet. I can still walk, but my gait is dead slow ahead, and every 50 feet or so I have to stop and rest!
Polly Anna - Nov 7, 2012
Thanks for all your good ideas. I am loving the Holiday Baking hints too.
Rosemary Walt - Nov 6, 2012
They're really good for you too. They can be mixed with apples and cherries or raspberries, for either a pie or a triple berry crisp. Coarse chopped cranberries work best in these recipes. They're also really good chopped together with apples and oranges. Makes a great relish.
Carol Junkins - Nov 6, 2012
Glad to find more people like cranberries, they are my favorite !
Jan Wilson - Nov 6, 2012
perfect timing! I've been looking for new ways to use this lovely berry, thanks will pick some up tomorrow and start with the meatball recipe