I can't tell you how much I love the holidays and spending it with loved ones—BUT, I must confess—I have always had a weakness for the home-cooked feasts that will keep my tummy happy for days... My mouth is watering just thinking about the awesome dinner spread that takes most of the day to prepare. Being raised in the Deep South, there are some things that are reserved for such a special occasion....yes, beyond the juicy fried turkey, a mountain of side items, and the delicious desserts with whipped cream on top—oh my!—there's a secret weapon that many may not know about. It's called the Old Fashioned Cherry Coke Salad and it's the best darn companion to the Turkey Day feast that you'll surely dream about for years to come.
Move over boring cranberry sauce...this is a heck of a lot tastier and memorable. Believe it or not, I normally NEVER share this recipe because I've tweaked it a zillion times over the years to my liking...but because this is my first Thanksgiving with the lovely Naughty Author Chicks, I'm spilling the best kept secret that I've ever kept. :P
Now you can stash this recipe away to pull out for your next holiday feast. Bon Appétit!
Old Fashioned Cherry Coke Salad
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapples (I prefer Dole brand), drained but juice reserved
1/2 cup water
1 large (8 serving size) cherry flavored Jello
1 can (21 ounces) can of sweet Bing cherries or dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup (must be this type only!), drained but syrup reserved
1 (12 oz can) of chilled Coca-Cola
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, marshmallows
Drain pineapple and cherry, save the juices in saucepan; set fruit aside in refrigerator. Bring fruit juices to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the Jello powder until fully dissolved. Measure off 4-Cups of liquid from the Coca-Cola (can substitute with Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke), transfer to a bowl or mold and stir in the pineapples, cherries, and nuts (optional). Add marshmallows when it just starts to set and can still sink into the bowl/mold. Allow to set from 3-5 hours and do NOT stir!
For topping: Mix cream cheese and sugar in a bowl; fold in Cool Whip or whipped cream until it is fully combined. If you'd like a simpler topping, just add a dollop of cottage cheese to each serving.
To increase this recipe: Add 4-Cups of liquid to every large package of Jello or 2 cups per 1 package of small Jello.
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! May it be a safe and joyous one!
Here's also a shout out to all the men and women serving in the military...a big THANK YOU for all you do in keeping us safe. I'll be raising a glass (or two) of wine to you!