It’s almost the holidays, and that means it’s cranberry time! If you’re crazy for the tangy, bright-red fruit like I am, try fixing an entire meal with the lil’ guys.

Cranberry Punch

Cranberry Punch is a fun holiday drink for the kids.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

Cranberry Chicken

It’s the cranberries in this Blue Ribbon recipe that’ll give your chicken a saucy kick.

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

Cranberry Cookies

Your Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies won’t be left on the plate for long!

Photo Credit: Sarah Landicho

I wanted to make something really delicious, so I turned to the experts at the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association for some of the best recipes around. Some of these delectable delights have even won awards.

So let’s start off with a little something to drink. This sweet and tasty beverage is sure to whet your whistle:

Cranberry Punch

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
  • 1 cup orange juice, chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • 12 ounces 7-Up®, chilled
  • 1 pint raspberry sherbet, slightly softened
  • Mix the cranberry juice, orange juice and orange flavoring. Just before serving, add the 7-Up®. Pour mixture into individual serving glasses and top with a tablespoon of sherbet. (Makes 12 4-ounce servings.)

Now let’s get cooking! This First Prize entry in the Eagle River Cranberry Festival Bakeoff’s “Miscellaneous” category is a true dinnertime winner from Catherine Snedden of Eagle River, WI:

Blue Ribbon Cranberry Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce can of whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 8-ounce bottle (or about 1 cup) of reduced-calorie Russian salad dressing with honey (or regular Russian salad dressing works, too)
  • 1 envelope of regular onion soup mix
  • 1 2½- to 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • Hot, cooked rice (optional)
  • Fresh rosemary (optional)

In a bowl, combine cranberry sauce, salad dressing and soup mix. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. (Remove and discard skin, if desired.) Arrange pieces in one layer in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Pour cranberry mixture over chicken pieces. Cover and chill the chicken in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree F oven for about 1½ hours, or until the chicken is done, stirring the glaze and spooning over chicken once or twice during the baking process. Serve the chicken and glaze on a platter with hot, cooked rice (if desired). Garnish with fresh rosemary. (Makes 4 servings.)

Consider replacing the suggested side of regular rice with this special version from Joyce LaPorte of Manitowish Waters, WI.

Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients

parsley
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • Cook wild rice in 4 cups water until almost done (about 45 minutes). Drain well and cool. Add remaining salad ingredients.
  • Dressing Ingredients

    • ½ cup cranberry juice
    • 1 teaspoon basil
    • ½ cup white vinegar
    • 5 tablespoons olive oil
    • sugar & salt to taste

    Combine dressing ingredients, add to salad and mix together. (Serves 10-12.)

    For another good side, try this traditional cranberry sauce recipe (which you can also use in your Blue Ribbon Cranberry Chicken, instead of using canned cranberry sauce).

    Whole Cranberry Sauce

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups fresh cranberries
    • ¾ cup water
    • 1½ cups sugar

    Combine cranberries and water. Simmer, while mashing cranberries with a potato masher. Add sugar and simmer 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Put into container and refrigerate. (Makes about 2 cups of sauce.)

    And what meal would be complete without dessert? The nice thing about this cookie recipe (featured by the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis) is that you can pack any leftovers in your lunch – or just enjoy them at home for days!

    Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookie

    Ingredients

    • ⅔ cup butter or margarine, softened
    • ⅔ cups brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1½ cups old-fashioned oats
    • 1½ cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 6-ounce package Craisins™ sweetened, dried cranberries
    • ⅔ cup white chocolate chunks or chips

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.

    Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and chocolate.

    Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. (Makes 2½ dozen.)

    If you’re excited that cranberry season is here and want to go beyond your typical holiday traditions, give some of these recipes a try, courtesy of the experts at the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. You might like them so much, you’ll be making them throughout the new year!