Dad’s Cherry Jell-O Salad Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on December 22, 2015

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Traditions are what connect us with those who have come before us. They are things to be treasured and passed down to those who come after us.

Traditions come in all forms – beliefs, foods, practices that are done over and over again and bring with them meaning. Unlike laws and rules, traditions are things we observe because we want to, because they have become special to us, because they connect us to those who may no longer be with us.

A tradition my family observes at every holiday is to eat what has become known in our family as “Dad’s Jell-O.” For years, this was my father’s contribution to our holiday dinners. As time went by, he passed the recipe (or receipt as he called it) on to me and my sons to prepare. It would not be a holiday meal in our home without Dad’s Jell-O.

This Thanksgiving was the first holiday I experienced without my father. After over 91 long and remarkable years, he passed away – quietly and gently, just like he lived.

Carol Kicinski Father - James O'Neal

Our little 4 year old, Harper, remarked as she was helping me prepare Dad’s Jell-O for our Thanksgiving feast, “Granddad won’t be able to eat it this year because he’s not here but we can think about him while we eat it.”

So very, very true.


Dad’s Cherry Jell-O Salad Recipe


1 large or 2 small packages cherry Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
1½ (13.5-ounce) jars natural maraschino cherries (preferably Bing Cherries or dark Bordeaux type), stems removed
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice – do not drain
½ cup chopped pecans, chopped then measured
½ cup white wine, such as Chardonnay


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the Jell-O in 2 cups boiling water. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the cherries and the pineapple along with the juice from the pineapple. Add the pecans and wine and stir. Let cool a little, then pour into a serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Can be made several days ahead.


Serves 8

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