Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I really do enjoy hosting it. This year I get that chance to have everyone over for dinner. While making all of the food in my small kitchen is a challenge, all of our guests have volunteered to bring side dishes or desserts. I'm responsible for making the Turkey, the gravy, the pumpkin pies, and the stuffing. I'm also making some glazed carrots, which the kiddo originally requested but now denies!
I did buy the canned cranberry sauce, but I also want to try making the Boston Market recipe for cranberry walnut relish. I was delighted to find the recipe in the November issue of Food Network Magazine. I love this cranberry relish and have always wondered how to make it. It could not be more simple. It's a mixture of fresh cranberries, an orange, sugar and chopped walnuts. I am sure most of the people at Thanksgiving will not like it, but that means more leftovers for me: it would taste great on a turkey sandwich!
As for the stuffing, or actually dressing since I don't usually stuff the bird, I make up my own recipe each year. I've decided to call it a harvest stuffing recipe. I'm not sure why I need to name it, but I figure I better write it down. I make the same thing every time I make stuffing from scratch, which in reality is once a year or less often if I am not hosting a big holiday dinner. I have been making this for years. It started when I had the chance to make up my own recipe. You see, I hate finding flecks of onions and celery in stuffing! Blech! So one year I made up my own recipe using the ingredients I liked. Turns out others like it too, so I kept making it each year. I recall being influenced by Martha Stewart and my mom's recipe in those early years of making this, but I know I never really followed a recipe. The ingredients that are listed are what I use, however I tend to eyeball most measurements. To help write this up, I consulted the November issue of Food Network magazine that has a stuffing recipe calculator on page 157 for a measurement guide.
- Bread cubes (I use about 1 1/2 to 2 bags of Peppridge Farm stuffing mix because it is easy!)
- Stick of butter
- 3 cups of chicken or turkey broth or stock (or water)
- 8 oz of baby bella mushrooms chopped
- 2 or 3 carrots, chopped (or about a cup of shredded carrots if that's on hand)
- Penzey's poultry seasoning, 1 tsp or so
- Penzey's toasted onion, 1/2 to 1 tsp.
- salt and pepper to taste
- one apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- about 1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
In a very large mixing bowl, add bread cubes, salt and pepper, poultry seasoning and onion powder. Prep mushrooms, carrots, apple. In a saute pan melt about two T of the butter. Saute the mushrooms and carrots until soft. Heat the chicken broth in the microwave for about two minutes, or until hot but not boiling. Cut up remaining butter into small slices and add to bread cubes. Pour 2 cups of hot broth over cubes and combine. The hot broth will melt the butter. Add more hot broth as needed until mixture is wet enough for your taste. I like my stuffing moist and mushy! Use less broth for a drier stuffing. Stir in apple, mushrooms, carrots and craisins until well combined.
Bake in a 9x13 inch baking dish (or similar) at 375 degrees F for about 30-45 minutes. Or, stuff your turkey with some and bake the remainder. I learned this trick from my mom: wrapped the stuffing that doesn't fit in the bird in a double layer of foil to form a rectangle packet. In a small oven, it's sometimes easier to wedge a foil packet in alongside other dishes or the turkey to bake than a baking dish.
Do you have a favoite Thanksgiving recipe that you make each year?