Happy week after Thanksgiving! The holidays are here and I could not be happier, my tree is up and I’m baking to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. But while I’m moving full on into the next holiday, I can’t help but see that remnants of the holiday before are still lurking in my fridge, begging me not waste them.
For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to try and prepare as much as I could completely from scratch and without using many cans or prepared sauces. Everything ended up quite tasty but the recipe I was most pleased with the cranberry sauce/dressing. Not only did it blow the can away in flavor, the preparation could not have been simpler: dump, stir, boil, stir, cool. I had expected it to be more of a process and was excited to find it was not. I enjoyed my cranberry sauce thoroughly on Thanksgiving (and the day after, and the day after….) and at that point decided that I needed to find a way to make it fresh and new. Enter cream cheese. Mashed with cream cheese, pecan bits and then chilled, my turkey day second string became my snack time star! If you took the plunge and made from scratch cranberry sauce, make this creamy and amazing dip now! If you did not and are still interested, in the Tips section, I’ll give you the template to make your own cranberry sauce. Trust me, you will be making the sauce just to make this dip, it is that good!!
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Serves: 4-6
- 1 cup prepared cranberry sauce (not canned sauce)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup pecan bits
- 1 tablespoon orange zest or 1 teaspoon orange juice (optional, see Tips)
- In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, cranberry sauce and pecans. Mix well until well combined
- Chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving with crackers
- First off, as mentioned above, do not use canned cranberry sauce for this recipe. The flavor and texture are completely different and will result in a much different flavor than if you used homemade sauce.
- To prepare a simple cranberry sauce, add 2 tablespoons of water and about 2 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounce package) to a saucepan and heat on medium heat until cranberries begin to boil, about 8-10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest or 1 tablespoon orange juice. Lower heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 10 minutes or until the cranberries begin to burst. Allow to cool completely before using.
- If you prepare your cranberries without orange zest or juice, I would recommend adding a tablespoon to the dip. The orange adds something wonderful to the cranberries that while it would still be good, it would feel like it was “missing something”.