Ingrid Rockwell, cook at Deerfield (WI) Elementary School, has been in the school foodservice profession for less than a year, but she’s already ahead of the game. She recently won the $2,000 grand prize in the 2014 Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) USA/Wisconsin School Foodservice Cranberry Recipe Contest.

School foodservice professionals in Wisconsin were challenged to ‘get their cran on’ and show off their best “creative, kid-friendly recipes that catered to school lunch guidelines and featured the U.S.-grown cranberry,” says Scott J. Soares, executive director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee USA.

Rockwell, who operated a food cart at the Dane County Farmers’ Market for nine years prior to her current gig, says cooking with cranberries works so well because of their versatile, tart flavor, which works in both sweet and savory dishes.

The Cranzy Chicken Taco, which can be served as part of a ‘Build Your Own’ food bar, combines baked chicken that’s coated with a cranberry sauce-honey mixture with a tangy bean salad and a creamy cranberry-mayo sauce, all on a whole-grain tortilla.

The grand prize is divided into two parts, $1,000 for Rockwell, and $1,000 for the school kitchen. Rockwell says the school plans to purchase an industrial food processor.

The runners up include: Dianne Swiontek, foodservice manager, Clayton (WI) School District, whose recipe is Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad and Pamela Zuberbier, head cook, St. Peter’s Lutheran School, Fond du Lac, whose recipe is Razzy Cran-Grape Gelatin.