Two Generations of Festive Cranberry Recipes { by Page Mathias • guest post }

One of the things I love about the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is pulling out my family recipes, which have been passed down from my grandmothers and my mom. Both of my grandmothers have passed away, but I can hold their recipes in my hand, written in their distinctive handwriting, and remember happy times spent at their houses during the holidays.

My two favorite cranberry recipes are Fresh Cranberry Salsa from my mom, Ellen, and Cranberry Apple Casserole from my Grandmama, Margaret. We always laugh about calling the second dish a “casserole,” which means it gets placed with all of the side dishes on the Thanksgiving table. Honestly, it’s more of a not-too-sweet cranberry apple dessert and would easily fit on the dessert table. I guess we just like to pretend that it’s a healthy side dish, so we can save room on our dessert plate.

Fresh Cranberry Salsa

(From my mom, Ellen Martin)


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1-2 Gala apples
  • 2 oranges
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro (or more)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Tortilla Chips


  • Wash & pick out any bad cranberries.
  • Place cranberries in food processor and pulse lightly until chopped roughly. Do not over-process. (You want chunky pieces.)
  • Chop apples into small pieces. Remove peel if desired. (We don’t.)
  • Zest one orange and reserve in a bowl.
  • Peel remaining oranges. Remove white pith and seeds, if needed. Chop orange into small pieces.
  • Chop jalapenos into small pieces and remove seeds.
  • Chop green onions, cilantro, and red onion.
  • Mix fresh ingredients and orange zest in a large bowl.
  • Measure sugar and add the salt to the sugar in the measuring cup. Mix into salsa.
  • Finish with fresh lime juice according to your taste. (We add the juice of one lime.)
  • Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or eat with turkey or pork.


  • This salsa can be customized to your taste. We like 2 jalapenos and find them to add just the right touch of heat. (It’s not too spicy.) We also add more than 2 tablespoons of cilantro.
  • Sometimes we add a pear into the salsa.
  • Let it sit for at least an hour before serving–if you can wait that long!


Cranberry Apple Casserole

(From my Grandmama, Margaret Beard)


For the Filling—–

  • 4 medium sized Granny Smith apples
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Splash of apple juice, cider, or water

For the Topping—–

  • 1 ½ cups oatmeal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cups pecans
  • 1 stick butter, melted


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
  • Chop apples with peel left on.
  • Wash and sort any bad cranberries.
  • Mix fruit in large bowl.
  • Add white sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour to fruit mixture then pour mixture into baking dish.
  • Add a splash of apple juice or cider.
  • Make the topping:
    • In a bowl, mix oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and pecans.
    • Melt butter in the microwave then mix into dry ingredients until mixture is moist.
    • Evenly distribute topping over the fruit mixture.
  • Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes until apples are tender but not mushy.
  • You decide whether this belongs with the side dishes or desserts!


  • Feel free to leave out pecans & substitute gluten-free flour for food sensitivities.


Page Mathias is an art teacher, mother of 4 girls, and a lover of travel and experiencing new cultures. She has been married to Greg for 21 years, and they enjoy serving together in their local church and helping equip seminary students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary who are preparing to serve as missionaries all over the globe.





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