Thanksgiving is getting closer and closer and many of us are looking forward to having our favorite traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. I am one of the folks already imaging a table laden with all those goodies. I also like to try something new or different, to see how well it goes over (hopefully, it doesn't go over the deck railing and onto the ground). I love all sorts of stuffings, and not just the ones that go along with the turkey. I am including a recipe for stuffed acorn squash that I thought was very good and I hope you like it too. I am also sharing a recipe that I have written about before, just because some folks have asked for it again. (I am glad to know that I am not the only one who clips recipes and then sometimes loses them.) Even my youngest son preferred that stuffing to the traditional one. I came up with it when I was doing the no-carb thing, or rather, cutting way back on carbs. I will post that one first in line. So, on with the show, and it is my hope you are all keeping warm and cozy. I have a feeling we are in for some extra-cold weather this season.
Healthful apple stuffing
4 cups prepared stuffing (1 box stuffing mix, such as Stove Top or something similar)
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 or margarine of your choice
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. If you are not using a large skillet, transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the stuffing, rice and broth to the veggie mixture. Combine well and place in a greased casserole dish.
3. Bake casserole in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Makes about 16 1/2 -cup servings.
Acorn squash with apple, cranberry and sausage stuffing
If you plan to make this recipe all in one day, go ahead and place the squash in the oven for its first baking, while you prepare the stuffing. Less time in the kitchen that way.
2 cups whole wheat bread (preferably from a bakery, processed bread takes longer to dry) **See Note
1 cup white bread
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 pound ground pork sausage with sage (bulk style or remove casings and break up)
1/2 teaspoon each dried sage, rosemary and thyme
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1 apple, cored and diced into small chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 acorn squash
Additional butter (small amount)
1. **Note: Break the bread into small pieces and leave out to get stale for a few days, breaking it down more and more each day. If there is no time for this, break the bread up and place in a 350-degree oven for about 5 to 7 minutes. Allow it to cool and continue to break it up into pieces that are smaller than 1/2 inch in size.
2. In a large skillet, add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom of the pan and add the onions, celery and sausage. Continue breaking up the sausage into little crumbles. Cook until the sausage is thoroughly cooked. Add the dried sage, rosemary and thyme, blend well.
3. Add the apple, cranberries, dried bread, parsley and butter. Drizzle with the chicken stock until the mixture is moistened to your liking. This could take as little as 1/4 cup or as much as 1/2 a cup.
4. Cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds. Add a little olive oil in the middle and use a pastry brush to coat the edges.
5. Place the squash halves open side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Flip the squash over and run a fork through the middle making little strings. Add a small bit of butter and top with the stuffing.
6. Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and the stuffing is heated through. Makes 4 servings.
Dried cherry, sausage and cornbread stuffing
3 boxes (6-oz. each) range top cornbread stuffing mix (dry)
1 box (6-oz.) range top savory herb stuffing mix (dry)
1 cup dried cherries
1 bag (6-oz.) dried apricots, diced
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
12 ounces bulk pork breakfast sausage
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced
2 cups chopped celery
1 carton (32-oz.) chicken broth
1. Place first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to mix thoroughly.
2. Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and, stirring to break it up, cook 5 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Add the onion and celery and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add broth; bring to a boil.
3. Add to bowl of stuffing mixture; toss to mix and moisten evenly. Use to stuff a turkey (or bake in greased, shallow baking dish, covered, about 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
Old-time oyster and cornbread stuffing
I can see some readers cringing at this one, but perhaps there are some fellow oyster lovers out there? This is a baked-in-the-oven casserole recipe, but I used to add oysters to the stuffing I placed in a turkey, with no problems. Just a trivia tidbit: Oyster stuffing dates back to 17th century Europe.
1/2 cup butter
2 cups diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced green onion
4 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (I leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (I cut this in half)
36 fresh oysters, chopped, along with the oyster liquor
5 cups day-old corn bread, cubed (use your favorite non-sweet recipe or mix)
2 tablespoons water, chicken or vegetable broth, as needed
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare oyster dressing: In a well seasoned 4 quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-heat on stove. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, green onion, parsley, salt, ground red pepper, and ground black pepper (according to your taste). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add chopped oysters and oyster liquor and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cubed corn bread and mix well. Should mixture appear too dry, add water or stock to moisten as needed.
3. Transfer mixture from stove top to oven and cover with lid. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking until browned, about 5 more minutes. Serve hot.