Eat Right Around Chicago

Make Turkey (and your Health) Better with Cranberries

Sara Cran relish.jpg

I use this with my turkey...it's so tasty!

Mac without cheese, peanut butter without jelly, turkey without cranberries...all just crazy.  Thanksgiving without a cranberry dish would be insane, tradition-breaking and dinner destroying.  I'm being dramatic, but oh how I love cranberries.  The super tart, face-twisting tangy, humble berry is both an American tradition and a health-promoting powerhouse. 

Maybe you didn't know that cranberries have one of the most outstanding antioxidant profiles and contain a phytonutrient unlike its berry mates.  Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins and the cranberry has a type of proanthocyanidin that is unique.  Subsequently, this out-of-ordinary berry has special powers - antiadhesion properties.  This means that it prevents stuff from sticking to cells, like bacteria.  So, in the urinary tract, it helps prevent E. coli from sticking to the urinary tract walls.  The result?  Helps prevent urinary tract infections.  This antiadhesion property may also make the cranberry good for your heart, teeth and reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.  Go cranberry!

Enjoy these cranberry recipes this Thanksgiving sent by more awesome dietitians.  You'll note that many cranberry recipes (or even beverages) have some sort of sweet source with them  - sugar or another juice, for example.  Totally needs it...ever try to eat a raw cranberry?  It's so freakin' tart that it would be difficult to endure.  Even though it has a bit of sugar, the benefits of cranberries are worth it and a little sugar with cranberries shouldn't be a diet disaster unless you're a sugar fiend at every meal!    
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Cranberry Salad
 
1 large package (0.6 oz) sugar-free strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 ½ cups cold water
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 can (15 oz) of pineapple tidbits, in its own juice, undrained
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 package (12 oz) fresh cranberries (can be frozen or partially thawed)
 
4 hours before serving or the night before, place gelatin in a large decorative serving bowl and dissolve with boiling water.  Add the cold water, apple, pineapple and chopped pecans or walnuts.  Place the cranberries in a food processor and process until partly chunky, mostly smooth and stir into salad.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

- Zonya Foco, RD Lickety-Split Meals for Health Conscious People On the Go!  Visit:  Zonya.com

cran relish.jpg
Cranberry Relish
 
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: ½ cup
 
4 cups fresh raw cranberries
½ cup orange juice
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. sugar or 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, undrained.  (Add pineapple after saucepan removed from heat.)
 
In saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until cranberries pop.
 
- Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, President/Medical Nutrition Therapist, BRG Dietetics & Nutrition, P.C.  Recipe is from her book: Recipes to Remember: Heart Healthy Can Be Delicious.  Visit:  www.brghealth.com.

dried cran.jpg
Roasted Butternut Squash with Fresh Sage and Dried Cranberries
 
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium sweet onion (or shallots), large chunks
2 tablespoons Fresh Sage, chopped
4 tablespoons dried cranberries
 
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange butternut squash and drizzle with half olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange onion chunks.  Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.

Combine in a bowl and toss with fresh sage and cranberries.  Serve warm.

Salt and Pepper to taste.
 
Marjoram works in place of sage and you can try dried cherries, too.
 
This recipe is dairy free and gluten free.
 
- Melissa Nodvin MS, RD/LD Chief Wellness Officer, visit:  www.Health-ally.com


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