Thinking Out of the Box with Stuffing!

In 1972 General Foods introduced a food product that moved a holiday staple to an everyday side dish. “Instant” stuffing helped the harried holiday cook to concentrate on other holiday food offerings and expand the family’s everyday menu. By 2005, Kraft Foods (Kraft and General Foods merged in 1990) reported selling some 60 million boxes of Stove Top Stuffing at Thanksgiving.

Not all of those boxes are used “as is.” Many cooks add ingredients to make the stuffing/dressing their own. But with just a few basic ingredients and not a lot of time, this year’s turkey stuffing can be completely your own.

For those looking for quick fix, Patricia Adam, Julie Koerber’s mom, has an Herbed Stuffing recipe with five ingredients and a taste that can be your new family tradition.

Thanksgiving 2013 could be the time to go Southern and Southern Cornbread Dressing from the family recipe files of local Southern cook extraordinaire Teresa Harrington could be that great start.

So this year, leave the stuffing on the shelf, and make the dressing something special.
               Recipe from Patricia Adam


1 finely chopped onion
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
Dried sage
1 large loaf of French bread (best if day-old)
2 T. butter

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté finely chopped onion and celery in the butter until tender. Tear bread into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle dried sage to lightly coat the bread, and mix in sautéed onion, celery and butter until moistened fully. If bread isn’t moist enough, you can supplement with chicken broth or additional melted butter. Stuff into prepared turkey and cook turkey as directed.


               Recipe from Teresa Harrington,  Serves 15


7 c. cornbread (without sugar), crumbled
3 c. homemade biscuits, crumbled
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. celery, chopped
2 sticks of butter, divided
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1 T. sage, rubbed
64 oz. chicken broth, heated
2 eggs, beaten 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Finely crumble all the breads. Finely chop the onion and celery. (There should be equal amounts of onion and celery, and equal in size). Sauté the vegetables in one stick of butter over medium heat until they begin to soften and turn somewhat clear. Add cornbread/biscuit mixture along with pepper and sage (start with a small amount of sage and add more to taste after the chicken broth is added). Heat the chicken broth with the other stick of butter, until butter melts and broth is steaming. It is OK to boil but is not necessary. Add half to 2/3 of the broth to the cornbread mixture, and stir to combine. This is when you start to taste test and adjust the pepper and sage. The sage flavor will soften and mellow as it bakes, but you still don’t want it to be extremely strong uncooked. It also depends a lot on age and strength of your sage. I have used anywhere from 1 to 3 tablespoons of rubbed sage, but be sure to start small. After you have the flavors adjusted, add more chicken broth until it is pretty soupy. Put a ladle-full of broth in your greased baking dish (9x13 pan). Beat the 2 eggs and mix them into the dressing. Pour dressing into prepared pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until browned around the edges and set in the middle.


NOTE: The cornbread and biscuits should be somewhat stale and dried out. If you are making them fresh for the dressing, they can be crumbled and dried in a very low oven. This is about one large pan of cornbread (6 to 8 cups) and half of a large pan of biscuits (3 to 4 cups). Cornbread to be used in dressing is best if made without sugar.  Other breads can be substituted for part or all of the biscuits, but they should never be more than half of the amount of cornbread you’re using.


               Recipe from Teresa Harrington

2-2/3 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. all purpose flour
2 T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
2 t. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2-½ c. buttermilk
4 T. vegetable oil (for pan)

Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Mix all the ingredients until well moistened. Heat oil in 9”x13” pan. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 425 degrees until golden brown (about 20 to 25 minutes).



               Recipe from Teresa Harrington


4 c. self-rising flour

½ t. baking soda

10 T. shortening

2 ½ c. buttermilk



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Blend the ingredients with the shortening with a pastry blender or two forks until the shortening is covered in flour in pea-sized pieces or smaller. Add the buttermilk and stir to form a soft dough. (Add more buttermilk if the dough is too dry, or more flour if it’s too wet). The dough should be kind of soft and still a bit sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead slightly. Pat out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out with biscuit cutter or small glass, and place on greased pan or sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.


NOTE: I make this the weekend before Thanksgiving. We enjoy them for breakfast and save the leftovers for Cornbread Dressing. You need 3 to 4 cups of crumbled biscuits for the dressing.




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