Stuffing or dressing? What does your family call it?
According to the experts at Butterball, those who call it dressing typically cook it separately from the turkey and probably live in the South. Those Northerners calling it stuffing usually cook it inside the bird.
Our family called it stuffing and probably always cooked it inside the bird, so I still call it stuffing, even thought I now typically cook everyone’s favorite Turkey Day side in a casserole dish.
No matter what you call it, here are three easy recipes that you can make the day before and refrigerate overnight so you have more time to enjoy friends and family on Thanksgiving Day.
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The first recipe is my grandmother’s original Italian stuffing made with capicola, which is a red-peppered Italian ham, hard-boiled eggs and lots of good quality Romano cheese. With this recipe, it’s important not to add the raw egg until just before it goes in the oven.
The second recipe is my favorite oyster stuffing made with French bread, thyme, sage and oysters that might just become your family’s new favorite.
The third is the easiest of all for those who don’t have time or the inclination to fuss. It uses the old standby, Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing mix, with pre-cooked packaged sausage and dried cranberries added to create a savory and sweet stuffing that is a real time-saver.
Time-saving tips: Use pre-chopped onion and celery, found in most grocery stores, and pre-cooked packaged pork crumbles in the Pepperidge Farm cheat recipe. No one will ever know!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and remember to make as many of your dishes ahead of time as you can so you can truly enjoy this wonderful holiday.
Nancy Farrar is the Chef Impersonator. Reach her at ChefImpersonator@gmail.com or visit www.farrarfoodphotography.com and click on Chef Impersonator Blog.
- Turkey giblets
- 1 loaf sliced white bread
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound capicola, cut into 1-inch square pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste (add salt sparingly, as the cheese is already salty)
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 or 2 raw eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil turkey giblets in water a small pan for about 5 minutes, cool and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
2. Tear each slice of bread into 1-inch pieces and put into a large bowl. (Just tear it into small pieces, the shape doesn’t matter.) Add onion, celery, hard boiled eggs, giblets, capicola, cheese and salt and pepper, and mix well. If making the day before, at this point cover bowl and place it in the refrigerator.
3. When ready to cook, remove mix from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Add one raw egg, beaten slightly, to bind mixture together and mix well by hand. If needed, add a second raw egg.
4. Place stuffing into a greased casserole dish and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 6: 266 calories, 11 grams fat, 21 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams protein, 204 milligrams cholesterol, 842 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 38 percent of calories from fat.
- 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 10 cups
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 16-ounce tub shucked oysters in liquid, undrained (can be found at Central Market)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Place cubed bread into large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Cook bacon pieces in a skillet until crispy. Remove bacon and place on paper towel, reserving bacon fat in the skillet.
3. Add butter to the skillet and melt. Add onion and celery and cook on medium high until soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquid, stock, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium low about 5 minutes.
4. If planning to serve right away, remove from heat and add liquid mixture to the cubed bread. Add bacon and stir well. If making the day before, do not add the oysters. Cover and refrigerate.
5. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stuffing from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about an hour. Add oysters to the stuffing if you have not already, and stir gently, being careful not to crush the oysters. Place in greased casserole and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove cover and bake another 30 minutes until golden brown.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 6: 370 calories, 16 grams fat, 42 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 68 milligrams cholesterol, 892 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 38 percent of calories from fat.
Sausage and dried cranberry stuffing
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 14-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, diced (about a cup)
- 2 stalk celery, diced (about a cup)
- 2 cups chicken stock, plus an additional 1/4 cup
- 2 9.6-ounce Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Original Pork Crumbles
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Cooking spray
1. If using walnuts, roast them in a dry pan on very low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until they are golden with a nutty aroma.
2. Prepare Pepperidge Farm Stuffing according to package instructions, using butter, onion, celery and chicken stock. While prepared stuffing is still in the hot saucepan, add the pre-cooked Jimmy Dean sausage and dried cranberries and stir. (Note: No salt or pepper is required in this recipe. The sausage and the stuffing mix lend plenty of salty flavor.) At this point, if making the day before, place in a bowl, cover and place in refrigerator.
3. When ready to cook, remove mixture from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about an hour. Place in a casserole dish well coated with cooking spray. If needed, add 1/4 cup more chicken stock to moisten it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake covered for 40 minutes until hot. For crispier stuffing, bake uncovered.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 6: 710 calories, 47 grams fat, 54 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams protein, 84 milligrams cholesterol, 1,736 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 58 percent of calories from fat.