I'll be honest, we've never had this debate at our holiday gatherings. Our debate is usually centered around if deviled eggs should have relish in them -- but that is for another time!
When I started thinking of Thanksgiving fixings, specifically dressing, I found all sorts of different dressings, er, stuffings! So I had to dig a little deeper, is there really a difference?
My findings: similar ingredients, different process. Dressing is a prepared side dish, whereas stuffing is crammed in the turkey cavity. (there is some mention to locale: sort of like the soda and pop debate) The ingredients do vary a little. Bread is the by far the most common ingredient, followed by celery and onion, and a plethora of herbs. But as you will see below, some cooks include meat, seafood, and even rice!
Whether you call it dressing or stuffing at your festivities, we hope you enjoy the following twists! (our personal favorite is of course Mom Hollinger's)
Lemon and Sage Dressing
up to 1/4 c Butter Olive Oil
up to 1/4 c Wild Mushroom and Sage Olive Oil
1 c sliced celery
1/2 c sliced green onions
1/2 c shredded carrot
8 c unseasoned stuffing cubes
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/4 c ready to serve chicken broth
Saute celery, onions, and carrots in butter olive oil. Prepare casserole dish with a little Mushroom and Sage olive oil. Place blended stuffing cubes, lemon peel and seasonings. Combine sauteed items with stuffing mixture. Pour chicken broth over top. Drizzle Oils over top. Bake covered in 350º oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 15-20 minutes.
TWIST: Can sub Wild mushroom & Sage oil for Lemon Olive oil.
Gingered Rice Stuffing
2 c chopped celery
1 medium onion chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
up to 1/2 c Butter Olive Oil
2 c cooked rice
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/3 c unseasoned dry bread crumbs
In medium skillet, cook and stir celery, onion and ginger root in oil, until tender.
In medium mixing bowl, combine vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients; mix well.
In greased casserole, bake stuffing covered at 350º for 30 minutes uncover and bake additional 15 - 20 minutes.
TWIST: Add Honey Ginger Balsamic vinegar on top of the dressing before baking.
Corn Bread Stuffing
5 slices bacon
3 T Butter Olive Oil
1 small chopped onion
1/3 c chopped celery
1 1/2 sliced mushrooms
4 c cornbread stuffing mix
1/3 c snipped parsley
1 c stock
1 egg, beaten
In medium skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, drain, crumble; set aside.
Over medium heat add olive oil to bacon drippings. Add onion and celery. Cook and stir in 3 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In medium mixing bowl, combine cornbread stuffing mix, parsley, reserved crumbled bacon and vegetable mixture. Mix well. Add broth and egg. Mix well. In greased casserole, bake stuffing covered at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-25 longer.
Spicy Sausage Dressing
up to 1/4 c Butter Olive Oil
5 c cubed French bread
1/2 lb spicy pork sausage
1 Small chopped onion
1/3 c thinly sliced celery
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 c stock
In skillet, heat olive oil, add bread, stirring to coat. Cook and stir over medium heat until bread cubes are lightly toasted, adding oil as needed. Transfer cubes to mixing bowl. Set aside.
In same skillet, cook sausage and crumble. Add onion, celery. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender and pork is cooked through. Add sausage mixture to bread. Add apple and pecans. Mix well. Add stock; mix.
In greased casserole, bake covered at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover for additional browning.
TWIST: Use Roasted Onion and Cilantro or Chipotle oil. As an alternative serving option: Scoop out an apple and serve the cooked dressing in it.
Mom Hollinger's Dressing
This is the staple recipe at our Thanksgiving dinner. The kids (including the ADULT "kids") might revolt, if we change it up too much! But hands down, this makes the best day after breakfast!!! And yes we bring our own containers, and grab our portion and hide it in the fridge, so we can have it the next day. This version is very moist in comparison to the other options.
1 loaf of white bread, torn and dried 24 hours; bag and seal
1 onion chopped
2 stalks chopped celery
2 can creamed soup: chicken, mushroom or celery
2 T Wild mushroom and sage olive oil
1 tsp chicken parsley base
small can oysters (optional)
turkey bits (optional)
Bread prep: tear one loaf of choice of bread into bite sized bits, and air dry for at least 24 hours. This can be done weeks in advance and frozen.
Bring 4 c water with onion and celery to a boil until just tender (add optional turkey, too); add creamed soups, and olive oil; blend. Put bread in large bowl, pour soup mixture over bread; cover and let sit 5 minutes. Then, toss with fork and place in greased casserole. If using the oysters, chop them and bring 1 c water in a separate pan, combine liquid and oyster with bread. Reducing the starting water from 4 c to 3 cups. Place casserole uncovered in 350º oven for 45 - 60 minutes. If it is too moist, add additional time--but remember as it cools, it will firm up.