Posted by: Erica Retrochef | December 4, 2014

Turkey Salad and Cranberry Orange Ring

For us, a Jell-o fruit salad was a standard part of the Thanksgiving table — at least until a majority of family members objected strongly enough that Grandma finally realized nobody was eating it.

She stopped making it about ten years ago, and so there’s been a distinct lack of gelatin during this time of year. It’s time to change that.


And for extra fun, let’s throw leftover turkey on the middle!


Cranberry Orange Ring

2 oranges
1 package (6 oz.) Jello-O Strawberry Gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups (one 16-oz. can) jellied cranberry sauce
2/3 cup chopped nuts

Grate 1 tablespoon rind from oranges. Section oranges; finely dice and drain sections. Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water. Stir cranberry sauce until smooth; blend into gelatin with orange rind. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in diced orange and nuts. Pour into 5-cup ring mold. Chill until firm. Unmold. Makes 4 1/4 cups or 8 servings. Fill with 6 cups of turkey salad.

Turkey Salad. Combine 5 cups diced cooked turkey, 2 1/2 cups diced celery, 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise, and 1/4 cup lemon juice; season to taste. Chill.


We’re going to use mandarin oranges. And I’ve eaten all my delicious homemade cranberry sauce, so I had to buy the canned stuff.


Making Jello is fast, but stirring in jellied cranberry sauce is slower — it took forever to get a smooth mixture. I probably should have whisked it instead of mushing around with a fork.


Because mushing around with a fork led to a lot of splashing, which led to a lot of Jello-stained hands. I felt like Lady Macbeth. (What, will these hands ne’er be clean?)


I think this is the most successful I’ve ever been at pinpointing the “slightly thickened” stage! Look at that slooooow blob of Jello trying to move….


Oranges and walnuts were folded in.


I really need to get my hands on some retro Jello molds. This bundt pan just isn’t right, for so many reasons.


After an overnight chill, I asked Buzz to invert the gelatin onto a serving plate. “Dunk the mold in hot water for a few to loosen it,” I said.

I meant “a few seconds.” He interpreted “a few minutes.” So there was a bit of strawberry-cranberry juice slopping around the plate… but it did come out of the mold very easily.


The turkey salad was very fast to throw together.


All things considered, Jello salads usually look surprisingly impressive. (Also terrifying.)

We were not too surprised that the Jello was much too sweet, although the oranges and nuts were a nice addition. We were pleasantly surprised, however, that the turkey salad tasted amazing. Everyone really enjoyed that part of the meal. So when you’re making a leftover turkey salad and cranberry orange jello salad, feel free to accidentally not buy the boxes of gelatin. “OH DARN.”

Thanks to Shelf Life Taste Test for posting all sorts of hilarious ads like this one.


  1. The thing about Jell-O is that it’s the equivalent of food Play-Doh. You love to make it, because molds! And nuts! And orange bits! But eating it … is just not at all satisfying, usually. Although, next time you can try mixing it up with seltzer water, that always makes things interesting…

    Nah. Just make turkey salad and pop some dried cranberries in it. Done and dusted.

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