Cranberry Recipes for Thanksgiving Feasts + Health Benefits

Check out What's Thanksgiving Without Cranberries?!

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

This post is sponsored by Foodie.com.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without cranberries on the table and I’m happy to be sharing a collection of cranberry recipes I put together for Foodie.com – you’ll find healthy cranberry recipes for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the holiday season.

12 Healthy Cranberry Recipes for the Holidays - thefitfork.com

If you’ve wondered why we mainly eat cranberries in the fall, it’s because they are in season October, November and December – the primary holiday meal making months! However, this sweet-tart berry has so many health benefits that I like to eat them year round.  Many of these health benefits are attributed to the phytochemicals known as proanthocyandidins found in cranberries – this compound in cranberries inhibit bacteria from adhering and multiplying in the body – that’s why drinking cranberry juice is a natural remedy for urinary tract infections. Cranberries may lower incidence of cancer; studies show polyphenolic extracts from cranberries diminish the growth of prostate, lung and esophageal tumor cells – cranberries have the highest level of this powerful antioxidant than 20 fruits and vegetables tested. As an athlete, cranberries are also a great source of natural carbohydrates to fuel workouts. Health Benefits of Cranberries - thefitfork.com

So, how can you enjoy cranberries year round when the store shelves are cleared out at the New Year? You can freeze fresh cranberries to use later in sauce, relish and other recipes. If you’re in a hurry, simply place original packing inside a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze for up to one year. If you have more time, I’d suggest rinsing and drying the cranberries and then freezing in a single layer on a baking sheet before placing in an airtight container. This allows you to grab a handful at a time without the berries being clumped together.

Do you have a favorite cranberry recipe? Please share!

Skinny Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad + Jump Rope Workout

lightened chicken salad

I love chicken salad. Cool, creamy and packed with lean protein, chicken salad is a go-to meal on my family’s overscheduled evenings. With multiple obligations that have us crisscrossing each other’s paths, I make dinner less stressful and more healthful (avoiding fast food) by whipping up a big batch earlier in the day, plate it up on lettuce and leave waiting in the fridge for self-serve meals as people arrive home.

Unlike deli chicken salads, my recipe for Skinny Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad is much friendlier on your figure. No-fat Greek yogurt replaces most of the mayonnaise used in traditional chicken salad; just a bit of reduced-fat mayo is added in for the familiar flavor. Dried cranberries add a hint of natural sweetness and toasted pecans give a satisfying crunch!  Serve on lettuce (my favorite way) or sandwich between bread, dollop atop crackers or roll up in a wrap.

Skinny Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Recipe

  • 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced (including tops)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-tat mayonnaise
  • 6 ounces 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  1. Add first 9 ingredients to a large bowl, and stir with a fork to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight before serving. This gives the flavors time to mingle.
  3. Serve over a bed of romaine lettuce.

Serves 6.

 

Jump rope workout

Now that you’re fueled up with a healthy salad topped with Skinny Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad, you’ll have plenty of energy later in the day to knock out my “Just Jump & Plank” WOD I created for Core Power. All you need is a bit of space and a jump rope and you’ll be getting a great cardio workout along with some core-strengthening action. Have fun!

 

 

Fuel Up Festively – Gingerbread Cranberry Protein Granola Recipe

 

jennifer fisher thefitfork gingerbread granola text

Some might say it’s “too soon”  — too soon to post a gingerbread-flavored recipe or even hint at the Christmas and winter holiday season.  But, when I was in my neighborhood grocery store today, I noticed that the displays had changed overnight from pumpkins and Halloween candy just the day prior to stuffing mixes, tree trimmings and fruit baskets (yes, I shop for food every day – three teen boys)! Halloween hasn’t even officially happened yet!

Some might also say that it’s “too soon” to do another granola recipe seeing as that’s what I just shared in my last post for Pumpkin Protein Granola. But, hello – look what showed up on my doorstep today – a mountain of muscle-making products from Designer Whey as part of their 20th anniversary celebration. I knew I had to whip up more good-for-me goodies and this time it would be Gingerbread – Cranberry Protein Granola.

designer whey year supply

Their 100% Premium Whey Protein Powder is what I’ve been using in these recipes for various protein granolas. Lots of great flavors that whisk up really easy with the liquid ingredients – no lumps or clumps! I love putting a little protein powder in my recipes; it helps me build lean muscle, gives me longer lasting energy  and curbs my hunger between meals. Adequate protein for all my meals and recovery snacks (I aim for 100g a day) keeps me ready to take on the world!

A busy weekend - podium finish at 10 mile race, practicing crow pose & cartwheeling at Prevention Magazine's #R3Summit.

A busy weekend – podium finish at 10 mile race, practicing crow pose & cartwheeling at Prevention Magazine’s #R3Summit.

jennifer fisher thefitfork gingerbread granola 

Gingerbread – Cranberry Protein Granola Recipe

jennifer fisher thefitfork gingerbread granola ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder (2 scoops)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried cranberries

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 F degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, hemp seed, nuts, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir thoroughly to combine; set aside.

In medium pot, stir in the oil, maple syrup, molasses, water, applesauce, protein powder and vanilla over medium-low heat. Use a whisk to incorporate ingredients until smooth and just starting to bubble, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add dry oat-mixture ingredients into pot; use spatula to stir and coat evenly. Turn the granola out onto prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes; remove to stir up granola so that it cooks evenly. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes for a total of 40 – 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. The granola will continue to dry out a bit more during the cooling process. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 6 cups of granola.

Plethora of Pears? Try this Cranberry-Ginger Pear Crumble Recipe

When you have a plethora of pears that won’t last until the morning, make pear cobbler. It’s that whole lemon-lemonade philosophy! I came into a large windfall of sliced red pears that didn’t get used in a recent cooking demonstration because I couldn’t bear to see them be thrown away. I mean, not are pears a favorite winter fruit high in fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins, they are just darn tasty. Plus, someone else had already done all the legwork, lovingly slicing them and tossing with a bit of lemon juice for freshness. So, with no shame (my son calls me a raccoon for this behavior), I skillfully rescued them from their ultimate demise in the dimpsty-dumpster.   “Wait, I’ll take those!” I say like a brash bandit! And, when I got home, I whipped up this scrumptious Cranberry-Ginger Pear Crumble from ingredients I already had squirreled away in the pantry. That reminds me, next time I will add nuts!

Cranberry-Ginger Pear Crumble Recipe

  • 6 pears, sliced (choose pears that are ripe yet still firm)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into bits

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss first six ingredients together in a bowl. Pour pear mixture into a 9” x 13” baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients and mix with the back of a fork until crumble and butter is broken down into very small pieces.  Top pears with topping and pat down. Bake uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or alternative of your choice.

This is what it looks like before baking, if you wanted to do omit the topping!

Note: You can peel the pears if you like; however I prefer to keep the skin intact because it’s a rich source of nutrients. Remember, natural color (not artificial) usually indicates lots of vitamins and anti-oxidants.