Four Ways To Make Stuffing

Stuffing

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving tradition, but it hearkens back to a much earlier time. The act of putting dried bread, celery, and onions in a meat product dates back to ancient Rome. Medieval people called it "farce," while Victorians called it "dressing." While the FDA now recommends that we cook the stuffing separately, it's still an integral part of our holiday meal.

Stuffing has long been a flexible food. The ancients stuffed creatures like dormice and hares with nuts, cereals, and vegetables. While stuffing now traditionally comes in a bag, it can be bland on its own. Luckily, its flexible nature- it can absorb the taste of many different ingredients- gives you plenty of room to get creative.

Wild Rice Stuffing

Traditionally, stuffing uses dried bread. But for the gluten-free crowd, you can also use wild rice instead of gluten products. For a nice wild rice stuffing, use a cup and a half of wild long-grain rice instead of regular stuffing. Begin by cooking the rice: bring it to a boil and let simmer for ten minutes. Stir in celery, chicken broth, onions, and dried cranberries. Once the mixture is done, you can cook it in the oven for 50 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the broth.

Using wild rice is a slightly healthier way of making stuffing. Regular stuffing is composed of dried white bread, but wild rice adds protein and fiber to the dish. If you're looking for a fiber-rich alternative to regular stuffing, consider using long-grain wild rice.

Orange Juice Stuffing

This recipe uses store-bought stuffing from the bag, but spices it up with the addition of orange juice, sliced apples, and chopped walnuts. Instead of cooking the stuffing in a regular chicken or vegetable broth, try substituting orange juice instead. Add the sliced apples and walnuts, then cook in the oven according to the package directions. It's a low-sodium alternative that gives the dish a delicious, fruity taste.

Many other fruits work well in stuffing. In addition to adding fruit juice to your stuffing (we recommend fresh-squeezed), you can add dried cranberries, sliced apples or pears, or raisins. You can also use lemon or orange zest in your stuffing if you like a fruitier flavor.

Challah Stuffing

For many people, Thanksgiving falls around the same time as Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. You can use challah, which is the traditional Jewish Shabbat bread, in your stuffing. Chop up two loaves of challah and leave for a day to go slightly stale. You can then substitute it for store-bought stuffing packages and make in a regular recipe.

Mushroom and Bacon Stuffing

Stuffing doesn't always have to be about sweeter flavors. You can add more of a savory taste with wild mushrooms, bacon bits, and chopped walnuts. Other savory stuffing foods include figs and toasted brioche cheese, which both go great with mushroom and bacon. When it comes to stuffing, the world is yours- you can customize it to your favorite flavors, whether they're sweeter, spicier, or more savory.

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Spicing Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

You've just enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. As you open the fridge the next day, you're overwhelmed with leftovers: roast turkey slices, sweet potato casserole, bowls of cranberry sauce, and rolls of fresh bread. It seems like there's enough food for your family for the next week. So how do you create new dishes out of leftover food?

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Many families make rolls of fresh bread for Thanksgiving, which can quickly go stale in a day. We recommend using the bread first so it doesn't go to waste.

  • Slice a roll in half. Spread some cranberry sauce, turkey slices, and stuffing on the roll. A little cheese can also work, too.
  • You can experiment with what goes into the sandwich. You can also put leftover sweet potato or green beans in there, too.

Thanksgiving Casserole

You can add many of your Thanksgiving leftovers to this casserole that puts a fresh twist on the holiday feast. You'll need leftover roast turkey, a cup of frozen green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cheese- all items that you've either cooked recently for Thanksgiving dinner or have around the house.

  • Spread leftover stuffing on the bottom of a baking pan.
  • Layer turkey, green beans, and half a cup of mayonnaise over the stuffing.
  • Combine a cup of cheese with some leftover mashed potatoes in a separate bowl, then layer over the existing mixture in the pan.
  • Cook at 375 F for 30-40 minutes until done.

Turkey and Potato Pot Pies

You've probably got a significant amount of turkey left over, and maybe some mashed potatoes as well. Here's a delicious pot pie recipe using those leftovers.

  • In a skillet, cook four slices of bacon until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • In the skillet, cook four cups of sliced mushrooms and three cups of leeks for about 12 minutes, seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Add three tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add two cups of chicken broth and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • Add three cups of turkey and the bacon, then cook for a minute.
  • Pour the mixture into eight ramekins for individual pot pies, then spread mashed potatoes over each ramekin.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • You can also add a golden touch to the potatoes on top by putting them in the broiler for a few minutes after the ramekins have finished baking.

Thanksgiving Salad

Leftovers are also ideal for sprinkling on top of salads. If you have leftover green beans, cranberry sauce, or turkey, you can create a delicious salad from your holiday feast.

  • You can turn cranberry sauce into a dressing by blending it up and adding a little olive oil.
  • Chop turkey up into tiny bits and layer on top of a salad.
  • If you have cheese left over from appetizer dishes, you can also cut it up into small pieces for a good salad accompaniment.
  • Green beans also work very well in salads.

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Thanksgiving Stuffing, A Day Early

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Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes

The trick to mastering the Thanksgiving meal is finding time saver recipes that can be prepared at least one day in advance. To help you do this, here are two make ahead stuffing recipes that can be prepared days ahead of time. Anything you can prepare ahead will lessen the stress on the holiday.

Traditional Stuffing

16 cups cubed white bread, dried out in advance
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Cut a loaf of crusty white bread into 1-inch cubes. Let sit for at least 24 hours to dry. You may also place the pan of bread cubes into a warm oven for 30 minutes to speed up the process.

After the bread cubes are completely dried, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and celery. Cook until tender, stirring frequently.

Add salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, thyme, and sage. Stir in chicken broth.

Place bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Ladle the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes, tossing lightly as you go.

Spoon stuffing into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

This make ahead stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. After spooning it into the casserole dish, simply cover, and place into the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving day, remove it from the fridge while the oven is preheating, and then bake as directed.

Cornbread Stuffing

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
6 cups cubed cornbread, dried out in advance (or 16 ounce package cornbread stuffing mix)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped Granny Smith apples

Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add white wine and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add broth, and cook until heated.

In a large mixing bowl, pour chicken broth mixture over cornbread. Add cranberries and apples. Gently toss.

Transfer stuffing to a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This cornbread stuffing can be a real time saver when covered and kept in the refrigerator up to one day in advance. Remove from fridge while oven is preheating, and then bake on Thanksgiving day.

Thankful for Leftovers!

Rosemary Pie
It's the day after Thanksgiving. It's the biggest shopping day of the year and you're at home staring into your fridge full of Thanksgiving Day leftovers. Whether you're going out to take advantage of all the sales today or not, you have to eat. In all of the food available to you for reheating, nothing looks interesting, and the last thing you want to do is stand over a stove again for hours on end. You, my friend, are in luck. There are so many recipes available now that you can effortlessly make a new meal out of your leftovers in just minutes.

A traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and sometimes much more. For starters, a lot can be done with turkey. Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey salad (like chicken salad), turkey on your salad, turkey added to macaroni and cheese (a children's favorite); the possibilities are endless! Turkey is very versatile and can be used in place of chicken in nearly any recipe. Turkey can also replace beef and pork in many recipes.

Who remembers Shepherd's Pie? They served it in our elementary school cafeteria and it is such a yummy (but simple to make) comfort food. It is made up of ground beef, mashed potatoes and cheese. The beef can easily be switched to turkey, and you can even throw in a vegetable if you have left over corn or green beans. You just mix together your meat, cheese and potatoes (and veggies if you like) and heat in the oven in a casserole dish. Voila! Lunch (or dinner) is served.

A favorite of mine is "Crispy Rosemary Potato Cakes." This recipe uses up 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes and is absolutely delicious.

3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 1/2 cup(s) chopped onion
1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped rosemary
3 cup(s) leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup(s) panko bread crumbs
Salt
Pepper

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until onion is soft and golden, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread panko in a shallow dish. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Using a 1/3 cup measure, form potato mixture into 12 cakes. Gently press panko on both sides of each cake. Cook cakes in batches (adding more oil as needed), turning once, until golden brown and heated t

Turkey tetrazzini is a creamy pasta dish made with turkey and your choice of vegetables. There are many variations of this dish. I like this one.

8 ounces spaghetti, ready cut
1 lb white mushroom, sliced
1/3 cup butter
3 cups chopped cooked turkey or 3 cups cooked chicken
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper
chopped parsley (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. In large skillet, saute mushrooms in butter. Add the turkey, sour cream and soup. Cook just till heated and combined. Fold in noodles. Season with salt and pepper. Put in buttered casserole. Top with parsley if desired. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through.

No matter the selection in your fridge, a quick internet search can bring endless possibilities your way. There are also cookbooks available specifically for using up leftovers. Get creative and enjoy...again!

Thanksgiving’s Almost Here: You Can Do It!!

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Thanksgiving is again almost upon us. For many of us that means the traditional holiday meal. The thought of Thanksgiving may evoke images of Grandma's stuffing or Mom's pumpkin pie, or the pictures of the golden turkey featured in the television commercials. What if the thought of trying to create the perfect dinner sends you into a panic? Don't worry. Thanksgiving is about family and friends, not food. There are many ways that you can replicate a traditional dinner with minimal effort.

Use a turkey breast instead of a full turkey

If you are cooking for a small group, consider purchasing a turkey breast. Cooking a turkey breast requires less prep time and less overall cooking time.

Consider purchasing the turkey already made

Many supermarkets and restaurants offer a ready-made turkey. To many, the turkey is the most important thing. Having it already prepared leaves you free to be innovative with the side dishes.

Use boxed stuffing

If you don't have a favorite stuffing recipe, consider using the packaged variety; it has the advantage of being incredibly easy to make.

Purchase frozen or ready-made pies or other desserts

Frozen pies have come a long way. Consider serving traditional pumpkin, pecan or apple pies. Pies can easily be baked the night before. Bakery cakes or cookies are also a good option.

Pick your favorite things to make from scratch

The major advantage to using shortcuts is not simply to save effort and time. It is to give you the freedom to create your own dishes and have fun with cooking. Knowing that the expected parts of the meal will be there gives you the opportunity to focus on making the things you want to make, so choose a favorite recipe and enjoy!

While it may sometimes not seem so, it is actually the positive family memories that you create that are important. While planning the holiday meals, take time to think about the impressions you want to create. Let the kids help with meal preparation. It's really not just about the food.