Stuffing is one of those dishes with the most liberal of interpretations, depending on who makes it and what ingredients are used. Technically, what I make is not stuffing, but rather dressing. It’s not stuffing because it’s not stuffed in anything. (I never roast my bird, and frying a stuffed turkey would just be bad news.) But I like calling it “stuffing” anyway, because that word is just more fun to say than “dressing.” (Plus I always think of salad vinaigrettes when I hear “dressing.”)

One of my earliest memories of stuffing was when I was in college and had a box of StoveTop for whatever reason. Maybe I was looking for an easy side to accompany some chicken I’d made. But I quickly became addicted to StoveTop and would eat it by itself as a full meal. There was so much flavor, and there was something about the pillowy texture that exuded comfort.

Fast-forward 10+ years, and I am still making StoveTop for Thanksgiving. Stuffing, I’ve read, is one of those dishes that even the most elaborate and experienced of cooks cheat on, many preferring to use the instant mixes instead of cooking it from scratch. I mean, it’s rare you’ll find someone who can tear apart stale breadcrumbs, toss them with the right amount of herbs, and shove them up the bird’s rear end, and have it come out perfect and delicious. (And if you do find that someone, give them a big, sloppy kiss.) I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. Besides, the ways with which I cook my turkeys, from-scratch-stuffing would be an impossible feat.

So yes, I still reach for that StoveTop every holiday, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. BUT, I do like to dress up my stuffing to personalize it a little bit. You can pretty much personalize your stuffing any way you’d like—mushrooms, oysters, bacon, walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, etc. The possibilities are endless. Here’s the recipe for the stuffing I made for this year’s Thanksgiving. If the Blind can Cook it, you definitely can. GO wild with that imagination here.

Do you like stuffing? What do you like in yours? Which brand of stuffing mix do you like best?

Recipe: Dress Up Your Stuffing Mix

Summary: I personally like the StoveTop chicken flavor best for stuffing mixes, but you can use any kind you find in stores. Also, ideally, I would’ve add button mushrooms to mine, but the hubster has an unreasonable fear of mushrooms, so I omitted them here.

Ingredients

  1. 2 c chicken broth
  2. 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  3. 4 c stuffing mix
  4. 1 lb ground sausage
  5. 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  7. 1 Granny Smith apple; peeled, cored & finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the ground sausage with the onion and celery. Once the sausage is browned and the veggies tender, drain the fat and set aside.
  2. To the same saucepan, add butter and chicken broth; bring to boyl. Remove from heat and stir in apple and stuffing mix. Let stand for 5 min. Then fluff with a fork, being sure to taste. (Someone’s gotta make sure it’s good.)

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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7 Discussion to this post

  1. Teri says:

    Stove Top isn't bad at all. I'll fix it right out of the box or add onions, celery and mushrooms cooked in butter. For many years the recipe my family used was Uncle Ben Long Grain and Wild Rice stuffing. Cook one box of the rice. Cook celery, onions and mushrooms in LOTS of butter. Mix together with 8 ozs of seasoned bread cubes. Add broth…about 2 cups or so. Bake in a greased pan for 45 mins to 60 mins.

  2. Paul says:

    I love you for justifying why you call your dressing stuffing, because I call mine the same thing even though I never stuff birds with it. My mom poisoned quite a number of us one Christmas with the stuffing from her roast turkey – quite accidentally, of course, but it was incredibly painful, and my wife and I swore off bird-cooked stuffing after that. But I still won't call it dressing, because as you pointed out, that makes one think of a vinaigrette.

    The brand of stuffing I typically use is Mrs. Cubbison's – for no reason other than I grew up on it. My recipe is almost identical to yours: the only thing I add is walnuts. We made stuffing on Christmas day, so your post was super timely. And I LOL'd at your husband's "unreasonable fear of mushrooms". My wife has an unreasonable fear of tomatoes, which is rather tragic because my side of the family is Italian. Do you have an unreasonable food fear you'd care to share? 🙂

  3. Tedde Bear says:

    My wife has problems with Stove Top – the way that the celery is dehydrated does not please her mouth (very tough for her).

    She prefers using the seasoned stuffing cubes, then adding a little more sage, some butter, and some parboiled vegetables (carrots, onion, portabella mushrooms, and celery), as well as turkey broth (she hates the thought of eating giblets, but loves the broth I make from them, with some mushroom base added – however, the liver never goes into that pot, because it is quickly sauteed with some of the extra celery and popped into my mouth!)

    The one thing that I would like to try someday is to add an apple to my wife's basic stuffing recipe, and use a salmon stock instead of turkey stock. Mmmmm! (I wonder, if one precooks the stuffing, if one could make a pinwheel salmon, stuffed? And if it would be any good? Or if I would ever have any salmon after making poke?)

  4. Murphy says:

    If you do decide to add mushrooms, how many cups and do you mix it with the onions and celery? By the way, my son and I loved watching you on Master Chef. You are very inspiring.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Thanks!I would add about 1/2 c of mushrooms. Depending on which mushroom you use, you could either add at the same time as the celery and onion or fold them in at the end before you let it sit. With simple button mushrooms, I’d add them with the onion, celery, and sausage.Happy Thanksgiving!

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