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Stuffings for a Thanksgiving meal

November 14, 2018

Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune
There are many different kinds of stuffings to present at Thanksgiving, from traditional to modern.

I count the stuffing as my favorite part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal (not counting dessert, of course). But I find that cooking the turkey with the stuffing on the inside is my preferred method.


I have baked the extra stuffing that could not fit into the turkey by placing it in a casserole dish, and while it is still good, it lacks that savory roasted-in-the-bird flavor, probably because it lacks the rendered drippings.


Having said all that, I would never think that those who do cook their stuffing outside the bird are wrong. It is a personal choice, as simple as that.


Here are some recipes to get you thinking about delicious stuffing when Thanksgiving rolls around.

Keto stuffing


The keto diet is spreading like wildfire, so here is a recipe for those who are trying to cut carbs. Hint for cleaning leeks: split each leek in half lengthwise before washing, to expose any hidden dirt.

4 slices keto bread or rolls, crumbled (see following recipe)


3 tablespoons butter, melted


2 stalks celery, chopped


1/4 cup leeks, washed and chopped


1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced or pressed


1 teaspoon poultry seasoning


1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper


Olive oil


1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350. Crumble the keto bread, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.


2. Saute chopped vegetables in olive oil for a minute or two to bring out flavors. Mix together with melted butter and chicken broth.


3. Bake in preheated oven, covered with foil, for 10 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes.

Keto rolls


2 ounces cream cheese


3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1 egg, beaten


1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


1/3 cup almond flour


2 teaspoons baking powder


1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl, add cream cheese and mozzarella. Microwave on high for 20 seconds at a time until melted.


2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg until beaten. Add dry ingredients and mix well.


3. Work mozzarella and cream cheese mixture into dough. Dough will be sticky. Stir in Cheddar cheese. Spoon dough onto plastic wrap. Dust the top with almond flour. Fold the plastic wrap over the dough and gently start working into a ball. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.


4. Cut dough ball into 4 pieces. Roll each section into a ball. Cut the ball in half. (If you were to use these rolls for hamburger buns, this would make the tops and bottoms.)


5. Place cut-side-down on parchment paper or very well greased sheet pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and set up.

Healthful apple stuffing


4 cups prepared stuffing (1 box stuffing mix)


1 cup diced apples (or 1/2 cup diced apple and 1/2 cup dried cranberries)


1 cup diced onion


1 cup diced celery


1 tablespoon butter


3 cups cooked brown rice


1 cup low sodium broth

1.Preheat oven to 350. Saute the apples, onion and celery in butter until soft.


2. Add the prepared stuffing, cooked rice and broth. Mix well, place in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.


3. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Traditional stuffing


I do not use any eggs when I prepare stuffing, but many people do. Also, you can use 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning in place of the sage and thyme (or use as much as you prefer). As an extra note, I like to add in some crumbled cornbread to the stuffing.

4 tablespoons butter


1 medium onion, chopped (or use more if you wish)


3 celery stalks, chopped


1/2 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon ground sage


1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves


10 cups unseasoned bread cubes


1 1/2 cups turkey broth (depending on how moist you like it)


1 egg, optional


1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute onions, celery, salt, sage and thyme for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat. Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and then pour the onion and celery mixture over the bread cubes. Mix evenly.


2. Slowly pour desired amount of broth over the bread cubes folding everything carefully so the bread cubes do not break apart too much. In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix. Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.


3. When mixture is cool, use it to stuff the turkey cavities or place uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasted on top.

Sausage and apple stuffing


16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)


1 stick unsalted butter


2 cups diced onion


1 cup (or more) diced celery


2 Granny Smith apples (or your favorite), unpeeled, cored and diced


2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1 tablespoon kosher salt


1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed


1 cup turkey or chicken broth


1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 300. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.


2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter and add onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.


3. In the same skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.


4. Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm. Note: You can also stuff this mixture into a turkey.

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