Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away? I couldn't be happier. It's my favorite holiday and my favorite time of the year. It's all about family and tradition, and of course good food. In our house, it always starts off with an argument of which parade to watch on tv, the Philly parade or New York's Macy's parade (I'll admit, I'm a fan of the Macy's parade. Willard Scott IS the voice of Thanksgiving!). Then it's off to Mom's for the best dinner of the year. Follow that up on Black Friday with a trip to G-Boys in Marlton, NJ to check out their amazing Christmas displays and take pics with Santa, then off to spend some good time with my wife's family. Wrap it up on Sunday with the neighborhood tree lighting...a perfect start to the holiday season!
A few of my friends are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, and have asked me for some serving suggestions. Since my mom hosts the 'big dinner,' I don't have many suggestions of my own to offer. That's my mom's gig and I dare not get in her way. Now, we do bring a few sides, and I posted them last year (click here to check them out). However, my mom was gracious enough to share with me her sausage stuffing recipe. This may be my favorite part of the meal. Lots of flavor, and a great mix of crispy and moist texture. I love it even more when reheated on leftover day. My mom prefers to bake it in a pan rather than stuffing it in the turkey. It cooks faster and more evenly. Also, she does not prefer to use the gizzards (the heart and liver of the bird). But if you prefer to use the gizzards in the stuffing, have at it! Just chop them up and saute with some butter, onions and seasoning, then add to the mixture. It does make for more texture and flavor, but it's not necessary to complete the dish.
We're also going to experiment this week with a few alternatives to the traditional desserts. I'll be sure to post them next week!
THANKSGIVING SAUSAGE STUFFING
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 stick butter
1lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, removed from casing
(add all seasonings to taste)
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Herbal Stuffing Mix
In a large pan, melt butter. Add onion and celery and cook until soft. Add sausage, season with salt, pepper, celery salt and oregano. Cook until sausage is brown. In a separate pan, cook 1/2 bag of herbal stuffing (entire bag for larger crowd). Follow instructions on bag for butter and water measurements (for extra flavor, substitute chicken broth for water). When finished cooking, combine herbal stuffing with sausage mixture; stir together. Spoon into a greased 13x9 baking dish (I prefer an aluminum dish for this), cover with aluminum foil and heat in oven at 350º for approximately 30 minutes.
For extra crunch, you can add chopped walnuts, pecans or chestnuts to the mixture before baking.