Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Make Homemade "Boxed" Stuffing (also How to Doll Up Your Regular Boxed Stuffing)

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

(Yours will have more green flecks that this if you use dried herbs. I plan to use fresh ones, so this is a little bland looking today.)

Last year my sister gave me a super easy super good recipe that juiced up boxed stuffing. The problem was that it was, like, Wednesday and I didn't have any boxed stuffing. Enter the Internet.

And the glorious thing is that homemade boxed stuffing is pretty much just as easy as walking down an aisle to find the pre-prepared stuff. Except for one detail: you either have to dry your bread ahead of time by leaving it out in a bowl (as I did this year) or you've got to toast it in the oven so it's dry (as I did last year when it was Wednesday and the time for air-drying had passed). Otherwise, be prepared to be amazed at how easy and tasty your own homemade non-Stouffers can be.

You can just leave it at that or you can add some fresh veggies and herbs to make it a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Which is what I recommend. Though I hardly insist. Anyone else double dog tired even though it's only Tuesday? (Note: I can't blame Thanksgiving for being tired, well, not too much--I think this tiredness is just from regular life:).

Homemade "Boxed" Stuffing
Makes a couple "boxes" worth
Prep time: 5 minutes (not counting any oven-drying time your bread might need)

Note: One of the fun things about doing this at home is that you can use an assortment of bread. When you have some lying around, just toss it into a bowl (a bowl that gets some airflow). This year I did this with whole wheat, white, potato, corn bread, and Italian bread. It makes for a fun mix.

Note: If you happen to have fresh herbs about from a garden or that you bought to use for your bird, you can use those instead of the dried herbs listed below. It's really really and really good. You'll use tablespoons in place of teaspoons-->1/2 tsp dried sage = 1/2 Tbsp fresh chopped sage)

6 C bread, dried and cubed
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
3 cubes chicken bullion
1/4 C minced onion (or about 1 Tbsp onion powder)
1/2 C dried minced celery (I skipped since I didn't have it, but I did use a bit of celery salt and then cut down the salt)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt

Combine it all in a bowl. Done.

Now if you just want to make it up like that, you'll add 1/2 C water and 2 Tbsp melted butter. Combine it all together, cover it, and let it sit 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. [Note: I ended up needing more water than this. I think it's because my pieces of bread were a bit large and chunky.]

However, if you'd like to take it up a notch (and if you've got 5 extra minutes to chop, it is well, well worth your time), leave it dry and follow the instructions below:

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in large skillet

1/4 C onion, finely chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
the dry recipe above (or one store-bought box of stuffing mix)
1/2 C water [Again, I had to add more water than this, probably an extra 1 1/2-2 C--I think due to my large chunky pieces of bread. Next year I'll get those smaller.]

Stir well, cover, remove from heat.

If it's really dry, add a bit more butter or water.

Then add:

1 apple, diced
1/3-1/2 C craisins

Stir in fruit and serve.


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