Biscuits and Cornbread Thanksgiving Dressing

biscuits-and-cornbread-dressing


Biscuits and Cornbread Thanksgiving Dressing


Can’t decide between cornbread dressing or traditional bread stuffing? Here is a recipe that combines the best of both! Please also see the included printable recipe.

Living in the center of the Heartland can make Thanksgiving a little confusing. Should I make a cornbread dressing like they make in the South or a bread stuffing that is more common in the North? My family has roots on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, so choosing one or the other means somebody isn’t happy.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just prepare the family recipe because it was no more than a list of ingredients. No quantities were listed. Well, unless you count my grandmother’s not at all helpful “ten cents worth of sausage”…and I don’t.

So, I struck out my own. I researched on-line, asked friends to share their favorites, and made batch after batch of dressing over several years. I am happy to report that I finally perfected my favorite by piecing together components of several different recipes. Everyone who has tasted it raves about the flavor.

The main secret to this dressing recipe is the use of biscuits AND cornbread AND dried stuffing cubes. In a nod to my grandmother, I do use sausage, but not ten cents worth. It turns out that 12 ounces of raw breakfast link sausages works well. Oddly enough, after removing the casings and mixing the raw sausage into the dressing, it is not readily apparent that sausage is even in the dressing, but it adds a LOT of flavor.

I strongly recommend making this as a dressing baked in a dish separate from your turkey. Because this recipe contains both raw sausage and an egg, it cannot cook to a safe temperature when used to stuff a turkey.

Here is a nifty little trick that I learned from my mother and grandmother–start with the minimum amount of salt and poultry seasoning. Then, after you mix the dressing, form a small amount into a little pancake and fry it it in a little butter to cook the egg and sausage. This will allow you to taste it and decide if you prefer more salt and/or poultry seasoning.

This recipe makes an ENORMOUS amount of dressing. I usually fill a 9 x 12 inch dish with the dressing for Thanksgiving day and then use the rest to make some Stuffing Muffins. These freeze exceptionally well. Since I also freeze some cooked turkey, we are all set to enjoy some quick turkey dinners all winter long.

You might also want to save a cup or so of dressing to add to your gravy. It helps gravy to thicken while adding additional flavor. Just be sure to let it simmer until it is dissolved.

Serves 18
Ingredients:
10 ounces refrigerated biscuits, baked according to package directions,
8 1⁄2 ounces Jiffy cornbread mix, baked according to package directions,
1 egg, for cornbread mix,
1⁄3 cup milk, for cornbread mix,
1⁄2 cup butter,
1 onion, minced in food processor,
3-5 stalks celery, chopped fine in food processor,
1/2-1 teaspoon salt,
12 ounces breakfast sausage links, raw (slit casings and remove meat, discard casings),
1 egg,
1.5-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning,
1⁄4 cup dried parsley flakes,
12 ounces herb-seasoned or country-style CUBED stuffing,
4 -6 cups chicken broth,

Instructions:

The day before:
1. Bake cornbread and biscuits using the instructions on the label.
2. Cool and roughly chop biscuits into large cubes.
3. Let biscuits and cornbread sit out uncovered overnight to dry (or put in cooled oven).
The next day:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add onions, celery, and salt.
4. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft.
5. Scramble egg in a very large mixing bowl.
6. Add raw sausage with the casings removed, poultry seasoning, and parsley. Mix well.
7. Add cubed stuffing and mix well.
8. Lightly toss with chopped biscuits and cornbread.
9. Add broth and mix again. Avoid over mixing, but incorporate most of broth for a heavier dressing, less for a slightly fluffier dressing.
10. Place in a large baking dish and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes-1 hour at 350. The top should be light brown. Alternatively, portion some or all of the dressing into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. Bake for about 30 minutes. If you put half of the dressing in a muffin tin and the other half in a regular baking dish, the dressing in a baking dish will take about 30-40 minutes to bake.

Due to raw egg and pork, do not stuff a turkey with this recipe.

Biscuits and Cornbread Thanksgiving Dressing

  • Servings: 18-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

10 ounces refrigerated biscuits, baked according to package directions
8 1⁄2 ounces Jiffy cornbread mix, baked according to package directions
1 egg, for cornbread mix
1⁄3 cup milk, for cornbread mix

1⁄2 cup butter
1 onion, minced in food processor
3-5 stalks celery, chopped fine in food processor
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces breakfast sausage links, raw (slit casings and remove meat, discard casings)
1 egg
1.5-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1⁄4 cup dried parsley flakes
12 ounces herb-seasoned or country-style CUBED stuffing
4 -6 cups chicken broth

The day before:
1. Bake cornbread and biscuits using the instructions on the label.
2. Cool and roughly chop biscuits into large cubes.
3. Let biscuits and cornbread sit out uncovered overnight to dry (or put in cooled oven).

The next day:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.
3. Add onions, celery, and salt.
4. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft.
5. Scramble egg in a very large mixing bowl.
6. Add raw sausage with the casings removed, poultry seasoning, and parsley. Mix well.
7. Add cubed stuffing and mix well.
8. Lightly toss with chopped biscuits and cornbread.
9. Add broth and mix again. Avoid over mixing, but incorporate most of broth for a heavier dressing, less for a slightly fluffier dressing.
10. Place in a large baking dish and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes-1 hour at 350. The top should be light brown. Alternatively, portion some or all of the dressing into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. Bake for about 30 minutes. If you put half of the dressing in a muffin tin and the other half in a regular baking dish, the dressing in a baking dish will take about 30-40 minutes to bake.

Due to raw egg and pork, do not stuff a turkey with this recipe.

littletudorontheprairie.com

I hope that you enjoy this dressing, at Thanksgiving or anytime of the year.

Happy Cooking!

Freezing Aromatic Flavor Cubes for Asian Stir Fry Suppers

Freezing Aromatic Flavor Cubes for Asian Stir Fry Suppers

 

Do you love stir fry, but find the prep work tedious?  I felt the same way until I learned some easy short cuts that not only cut back on my prep time, but also meant less clean up time.  One of those short-cuts involved the mixture of garlic, ginger, scallions, and red pepper flakes that add complex flavors to my stir fries.  No matter what meat or vegetables I cook in my stir fry, I always make a little well in the center and quickly fry some aromatics in it before adding a sauce.  Unfortunately, it takes a long time to mince the aromatics small enough that we don’t end up biting into a big, unappetizing hunk of garlic or ginger. I could use the food processor, but I don’t want to get it dirty for such a small job.  I also don’t want to have to buy ginger every time we have a stir fry and ginger doesn’t  really last all that long.  The solution that works for us is to prepare enough aromatics for several stir fry dinners at once and then freeze them in ice cube trays.

Asian Aromatic Flavor Cubes

Ingredients

4 heads peeled garlic (about 8 oz once peeled or 1 cup minced)

2 oz peeled ginger (about 1/4 cup minced)

Whites of 16-20 scallions

1 TB red pepper flakes (optional, adjust according to heat preferences)

¼ cup sesame oil

Unless you love chopping food into tiny bits, use a food processor to mince the garlic, ginger, scallions, and red pepper flakes.  I try to process until it is just short of a puree. Asian aromatics after mincing

Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray in 1 TB portions, making about 18 portions.  Press the aromatics in tight and then spread the sesame oil over the top where it can soak in and fill in any holes before freezing.

When you are ready to make a stir fry, get an aromatic flavor cube out as soon as you start cooking.  This will allow it to thaw a little before mixing into your stir fry.  I set the cube near the pan to help the thawing process.  This mixture can also be used to flavor a marinade for grilling meat.

Simplify stir fry with aromatic flavor cubes.  Happy Cooking!

 

Simple Stir-Fry Suppers

 

Simple stir-fry suppers 2

I fell in love with Asian food the first time that I ate it. And by first time, I am not referring to the canned chow mein that moms like mine served in the 1970s. No, I fell in love with real Asian cooking at the homey Asian restaurants I could not afford to visit very often during my years as a poverty-stricken university student. So, I decided that I would make my own. How hard could it be? I added chicken, a ton of different vegetables at once, and doused the pan with stroke-inducing amounts of soy sauce before eating the whole mushy mess over Minute Rice. Let’s just say, it was a bit disappointing.

Once I finally learned how to properly make a stir-fry, I realized that it is not so hard once you understand some very basic steps.  Once you master those basic steps, the options for a successful dinner are endless. We have a stir-fry at least once a week and every one is at least a little different than the last. Additionally, stir-fry is a fairly healthy cooking method of cooking. It can be accomplished with minimal fat and you can include a large portion of vegetables in your final dish.  This post is not a recipe for stir-fry, but rather a general description of the method, so that you can pull together a stir-fry from ingredients that you have on hand.  Here are some ingredients to keep on hand:

Stir Fry Ingredient List
Some ingredients that are useful when concocting a stir-fry.

A stir-fry also does not require any special equipment. I recall a college classmate who was from Asia laughing at the idea of using a wok. She said that she just used a large skillet. You will also need a knife, cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, and a wooden spoon.

If you are going to make rice or noodles with your stir-fry, start preparing that first because you want it to be done before your stir fry. As long as you drain the noodles or keep the rice covered and off-heat, they will not be ruined while you finish your stir-fry.  Your stir-fry, however, will be ruined if you are waiting for your starch to cook before you eat it. One final note, I beg you to use a delicious rice like basmati or jasmine, or at least brown rice.  I deeply regret all the years that I wasted eating tasteless Minute rice.  I stock up on a large bag of basmati rice at the Asian market about an hour from where we live, but I have also seen these rices at our small Wal-mart.

Step 1. Prepare all of your ingredients BEFORE you start cooking. Once you start cooking, things move quickly and you will not have time to quickly chop some more vegetables without ruining what you already have in the pan. You can choose from a lot of different proteins, but our favorites are chicken breast, shrimp, steak, pork chops, and tofu. All of these will brown best if you dry them out with some paper towels before cooking. You will also want to chop up your vegetables into bite-sized pieces. This is probably the most tedious part of preparing a stir-fry, but there are lots of options to avoid this. For instance, you can buy pre-cut vegetables in the produce, salad bar, or frozen section of your supermarket. There are even some canned options to keep on hand like water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and baby corn.  One of my favorite strategies is to buy vegetables that are already bite-sized, like sugar snap peas. It is usually best to use only 2-3 types of vegetables.

Be sure to go ahead and mix your sauce at this time, as well.  Please see the end of this post if you need a sauce recipe.

Step 2. Heat 1 TB canola oil over medium high heat. Watch this very carefully and add your protein IMMEDIATELY when you see a tiny bit of smoke coming off the pan. You need to add right away when this happens because letting your oil smoke for too long could lead to a fire. It’s important to have a really hot pan, however, if you are going to get a nice sear on your protein.  Once you add the protein, wait at least a couple of minutes before stirring; it is ready to stir when it isn’t sticking to the pan too much. Then, stir every 1-2 minutes until the protein is just cooked. You will then need to remove the protein from the pan to keep it from being overcooked and to give the vegetables a chance to cook evenly. I skipped this step for years because I didn’t want to dirty another plate, but that was a big mistake. Now, I just use one of the plates that we will be using for dinner.

Step 3. Heat another 1 TB canola oil until you see it shimmer in the pan and then add your vegetables. This part can get a little tricky because you don’t want to add all of your types of vegetables at once. If you do, then some will be overcooked and some will be undercooked. There are also individual differences in how crisp people like their vegetables, but hopefully this chart will be a good starting point.

How long should I stir-fry vegetables before adding a sauce

Step 4. Use your wooden spoon to create a well in the middle of the vegetables. Add 1 tsp. canola oil or sesame oil and then immediately add your aromatics. Aromatics include garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and the white part of scallions. If you aren’t sure how much to use of each aromatic, I recommend about 1 TB minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger, 2-3 scallion whites, and/or a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Mash this mixture around in the well for about 30-seconds-1 minute until the ingredients become aromatic (see what I did there?). Then, mix all of the vegetables in with the aromatics.

Step 5. Give your sauce a quick stir, making sure the cornstarch is incorporated. Then, add the sauce and protein into the pan. Stir for about 1-2 minutes, just until the sauce slightly thickens.

If desired, you can add a garnish such as chopped scallion greens, bean sprouts, herbs, nuts, or seeds to your final dish.

Do you need a sauce recipe? There are so many interesting and complex sauces out there, that I almost hate to share this one because it is quite basic.  However, it is a good sauce to start with because it is versatile, and has just a few easy-to-find ingredients.

  • 1 cup chicken broth (Better than Bouillon soup starter is an acceptable substitute)
  • 1 heaping TB cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB rice vinegar

Kicking it up a notch:

  • Use peanut oil, instead of canola since it tolerates a higher temperature.
  • Use sauce recipes with more interesting ingredients like rice cooking wine (e.g., sake, mirin), oyster sauce, fish sauce, curry powder or paste, coconut milk, hoisin, or chili sauce.
  • Learn how to “velvet” your protein with cornstarch and egg white.