CRANBERRY ALMOND WILD RICE CASSEROLE

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Thanksgiving hostesses are planning their menus and checking their grocery lists twice. It is time to put the extra leaf in the dining room table and iron our best tablecloth. We are also hunting in the back of our closet to find our fall centerpiece and the cute little turkey candles. I was reminiscing about my childhood Thanksgiving dinners since my sister and I helped my mom prepare for the big day. We usually invited my grandfather and  grandmother as well as my great uncle and aunt from my mom’s side of the family over to enjoy dinner with us. We feasted on roast turkey with all the trimmings which also included mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, frozen cranberry salad, green bean casserole and of course pumpkin pie with real whip cream from our small town creamery. Next, all the men and boys would watch the football game while the women and girls would laugh and chat as we we washed and dried the dishes. We didn’t have a dishwasher in those days but we never even missed it.

CRANBERRY ALMOND WILD RICE CASSEROLE
Author: 
Recipe type: side or main dish
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 11 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz uncooked wild rice, rinsed or 1½ cups rice if purchased in bulk
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 15 oz can of no salt added chicken broth, or broth saved from roasted chicken or turkey
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 2 TB Promise soft tub margarine
Instructions
  1. Rinse your wild rice in a small colander. Toast the almonds in your skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until evenly toasted. Set aside. Place the toasted almonds and chicken broth in a glass covered pyrex-type dish. Melt the soft tub margarine (or butter if you prefer) in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and add to the chicken broth. Add the wild rice to the remaining margarine in the skillet just until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes. Place the broth, almonds and mushroom mixture in a well oiled (or spray with non-stick spray) casserole dish. Add wild rice and stir until well combined. Cover the casserole dish and bake at 300-degrees for 45-60 minutes.. All of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove the casserole dish from the oven . Carefully remove the cover to let the steam escape. Add the dried cranberries or cherries and gently stir in. Place the cover on again and let sit until the casserole is cooled off and the dried fruit is moist. Serve immediately.
Notes
I modified the above recipe and added 1 cup finely chopped celery to the recipe also. If you use the celery in the recipe, saute it with the mushrooms. If you are not on a sodium restricted diet, consider adding ½ tsp of salt to the recipe and fold in just before baking. The sodium content of each ½ cup serving would then increase to 133 mg of sodium per serving. The recipe is also very good if you add 2 TB of turkey broth (from your roasted turkey) to the wild rice at the table.
Nutritional information for the recipe was calculated using http://nutritiondata.self,com/facts/recipe
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup cooked Calories: 144 Fat: 5 grams Saturated fat: 0 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 20 grams Sodium: 33 mg Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 6 grams Cholesterol: 0 mg

My husband and I usually spend Thanksgiving with my mother in law Greta.  My favorite food is always the wild rice side dish that she prepares. She shared her recipe with me over the phone. She doesn’t have the recipe written down since it is in her head. First of all, she cooks up her wild rice on her stove, preparing about eight servings according to the wild rice package instructions. Next, she will saute approximately 1  cup each chopped onions, celery and fresh mushrooms in butter until well cooked.  She then adds 2 TB of soy sauce to the sauteed vegetables and stirs this in. The last step of the recipe is to place your cooked wild rice and sauteed vegetable mixture in your serving dish and toss together lightly and serve immediately. Now this is a wild rice recipe to die for! The picture below shows Greta and I relaxing on our garden patio last summer.

Greta and Becky relaxing on the garden patio

Enjoy your time together with your family members and friends this Thanksgiving and be sure to thank God for your many blessings. We can be thankful that we live in a nation  in which we have the freedom to vote for our leaders and may choose to worship in the religion of our choose. Many people in other countries do not take these same privileges for granted. The United States is also the bread basket of the world and although some people in our country do not take good meals and easy access to food for granted, the majority of us have been blessed to have enough for ourselves and our family to eat. We also have great organizations such as the Salvation Army and food pantries to help those in need.

Wild rice is a very nutritious food. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, magnesium and phosphorous.  One quarter cup of uncooked wild rice  contains 170 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber.  It is very filling due to its fiber content and  can be used in soups, casseroles, stuffing and side dishes. It is a very popular food at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners here in Minnesota but is actually very good any time of the year. This grain’s use  dates back as far as 12000 years ago. It has been a staple of Native American diets for centuries.  Minnesotans have also enjoyed this healthy food for more than  150 years.  I was searching for just the right wild rice recipe to feature in my Thanksgiving blog and came across the above recipe for Cranberry (or Cherry) Wild Rice on the Moose Lake Wild Rice website. This recipe is from Terri Worrath, one of the owners of the Moose Lake Wild Rice Company. I spoke to their website designer on the telephone and was granted permission to share this recipe in my blog. This company sells wild rice that is 100% naturally grown  in the clear lakes and rivers of northern Minnesota and Canada. According to their web site, this is real wild rice or what many people refer to as organic wild rice. It has not been genetically modified. The website includes interesting information about wild rice and its harvest, recipes, how to purchase their wild rice and a preparation guide for wild rice. The website is info@mooselakewildrice.com . The company is located at 35653 Johnson Road, Deer Lake, MN 56636. Their telephone number is (218) 246-2159.

Wild rice is grown and harvested mainly in the great lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Maine and Canada also grow and harvest wild rice. Wild rice is still harvested by hand by many Native Americans and farmers using their canoes and wooden paddles to bring in the harvest here in Minnesota. Other farmers with many acres of wild rice harvest it using specially adapted combines View the very interesting process of harvesting wild rice by clicking on the links provided below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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