Canned cranberries? Never!
Here's my very-tweakable recipe for cranberry sauce. Of course, it isn't really sauce, it's more of a gelatin salad. You won't rat me out, will you?
2 bags of cranberries.
2 large boxes of orange gelatin
4 cans of mandarin oranges
4 cups of water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
variations: include one or more of the following: 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped. 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin. 1 can of crushed pineapple, drained. Replace 1 cup of the water with 1 cup of sweet white wine. Add a shot of your favorite liquor: orange, pomegranate, cherry or cranberry would all be good. Add a cup of mini-marshmallows. Add a cup of pecan pieces.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, bring the cranberries, the water and the sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the cranberries pop. Cook five minutes longer. Stir the gelatin into the cranberry mixture, sprinkling the gelatin slowly in while you stir to avoid lumps. Which is silly, I know, since the stuff is full of chunks of fruit. Somehow, a lump of gelatin in there just feels weird. You know what? I don't care if you want to throw the whole box of gelatin in and stir like mad, go ahead. Take your chances.
Stir in the vanilla. Let cool about half an hour.
Meanwhile, drain the oranges very well and put them into your mold or whatever pretty bowl you'll serve the sauce in. Now is the time to add any other tidbits you want to include. Pour the cranberry-gelatin mixture over the top, give this mess a good stir to distribute the fruit fairly evenly. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap IS touching the surface of the sauce (to avoid getting a gelatin skin on top. Blech.) and chill.
That's it. Easy and ever so variable.