Chunky Cranberry Spread

Questions or Comments? Email Alice Henneman, MS, RDcranberries

(16 servings, 1 tablespoon each)

(Source: Adapted from Chunky Cranberry Spread, American Institute for Cancer Research at www.aicr.org)

  • 1 8-oz. package low-fat cream cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (See Alice's tip 1)
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds or other nut (See Alice's tip 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, preferably fresh (See Alice's tip 3)
  1. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl and allow to soften at room temperature. Mash and work with a fork until texture is light enough to combine easily with other ingredients. (See Alice's tip 4)
     
  2. Gradually add just enough milk so cheese becomes soft and easy to spread.
     
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead. Flavors will blend and mellow if this recipe is made ahead of time and allowed to refrigerate at least a few hours before serving. Spread on slices of a whole-grain bread.

Nutritional Information: Makes about 1 1/2 cups, or 1 tablespoon per average slice of bread. Per serving: 36 calories, 2g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 3 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. protein, less than 1 g. dietary fiber, 29 mg. sodium.

ALICE'S TIPS:

  1. Other chopped, dried berries--such as blueberries--or combinations of berries may be substituted for the cranberries in this recipe.
     
  2. When purchasing "blanched" almonds, this means almonds that have the skin removed. For added fiber, substitute almonds with their skins.
     
  3. To make orange zest for this recipe, first thoroughly wash the outside of the orange under running tap water and dry with a paper towel. Be careful to just remove the orange portion and leave the more bitter white pith behind. Measure the zest lightly into the measuring spoon; do not pack. For grated zest, a rasplike zester, such as a Microplane® zester, yields a fluffier zest than does the small holes of a regular grater.
     
  4. Avoid letting cream cheese sit at room temperature over 2 hours TOTAL time. This includes during food preparation and while you're serving the food. To quickly soften 8 oz. of cream cheese, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 10 to 15 seconds.