Celery

D's Holiday Stuffing

Guys, I have something to tell you. It’s Thanksgiving Week. If you’re excited, good. If you’re not, sorry. There’s literally nothing I can do for you. Unless wine would help you. Then, I can help. Also, I didn't really mean it when I said sorry.

But, if you are even somewhat like me, that means cooking paradise. Thankfulness? Eh. I can do without it. But cooking/eating? Life. Necessities.

From my childhood, like most people, there are memories and moments I have carried with me and will (hopefully) never lose. For example, my grandfather lived close enough to us that we had Thanksgiving and Christmas with him every year. And, obvi, he loved to cook and was a teensy bit awesome at it. Every year, he was in charge of stuffing, giblet gravy and/or “the turkey.”

Truth be told, I hated stuffing as a child. It was not even close to my favorite thing. But, the smell of the kitchen while he made it was something that would be engrained in any person’s memory. It’s a fact that really cannot even be described. It’s like mixing warmth, love, and happiness in a big bowl with a little “holiday” smell and baking at 350 until the whole world gets just a little bit happier. Maybe that’s why I love this recipe now.

D's Holiday Stuffing
D's Holiday Stuffing

So, if you’re looking for a stuffing recipe that doesn’t come out of a box, seriously consider this one. Because, Thanksgiving is about making memories and what better category of memories than food.

D’s Holiday Stuffing

1 Package Corn Bread, made ahead

4 Eggs, hardboiled and diced

1 Package Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix

1 Large White Onion, diced

4 Stalks Celery, chopped

1 Stick Butter

¼ Cup Corn Meal

32 oz. Chicken Broth

Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper

Poultry Seasoning

Ground Sage

If at all possible, make the package of corn bread mix the night/day before. When it is done, shred it up a bit and leave it out in the pan overnight to dry. This part always weirded me out but, it’s just the way it goes.

Start by sautéing the onion and celery along with the stick of butter. I personally like to add the seasonings at this point because the oil and heat jazz them up a bit from their “dried” state. And I don’t really measure, I just go nuts. But, if you really need a measurement, I would probably guess around ½ Tablespoon of each.

While that is going, add the cornmeal along with about half of the chicken broth in a small sauce pan. Stir well and let it start a slow simmer until it begins to thicken a bit.

In a bowl that is substantially bigger than your head, combine the Pepperidge Farm mix with the crumbled cornbread. Notice how I was specific with branding. Do not use Stove Top. Find this one and use it. It is so much better and your guests will think you were sent from heaven with the sole-purpose of satisfying their gluttonous desires. They make a few different styles and honestly, I've tried pretty much all of them. They are all good.

Add the veggies and cornmeal broth and stir well. You’re going to need a little elbow grease for this one but, I truly believe in you. If you like hardboiled eggs in stuffing, add them now. If not, feel free to leave them out and suffer from boring stuffing and a boring life.

No one likes dry stuffing so, use your little eye balls to judge and add more broth as necessary. If you were also in charge of a turkey, I like to get some of the drippings from it to use instead of the pre-made broth. Cause, NOM NOM.

Pour the stuffing into a pre-greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. You will know it is done when the top turns a golden-sexy brown.

I hope your Thanksgiving is memorable and chock-full of laughter and giggles!

Chicken & Dumplings Florentine

Remember how I hate Chicken and Dumplings? Well, I do. I do not remember ever liking them. It’s a real thing. However, I really love me. So, when someone asks me to make Chicken and Dumplings, I am going to make it in a way that I know I will like.

It’s just more convenient that way. Everyone ends up happy. I know what people need.

And seriously, it’s the polar vortex. Or, snowpocalypse, if you prefer. And I do.

And, whenever it is the snowpocalypse, you just need soup. So, don’t object. Try this recipe and warm your soul.

Chicken and Dumplings Florentine

2 Chicken Breasts

Salt & Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Bay Leaf

Oregano

Garlic Powder

2 Carrots, diced

2 Celery Stalks, diced

½ White or Yellow Onion, diced

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ Cup Flour

Chicken Broth

Italian Parsley

Fresh Spinach

Start by boiling the chicken along with the bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. This gives it a tremendous flavor. Especially when boiling chicken without bones, this makes for a really good broth. When the chicken is cooked through, chop it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Sauté the vegetables with the minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons Olive Oil until tender and translucent. Stir in the flour and allow it to thoroughly cook out. If not, your soup will be chalky and gross and you will be a failure. No one wants that.

After the flour is mixed in and cooked, gradually stir in the chicken broth. I personally like to gather as much of the left over seasoning on the side of the pot as possible but remove the bay leaf. Because, obviously. Stir well until you have your desired consistency. If you like it to be a little less thick, you can add a little water as well. Add the chicken and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to boil lightly for about 5-10 minutes while stirring every once in a while. If you like the dumplings cooked into the soup, use this recipe and add them in uncooked dollops at this point. If not, bake them in the oven like I did and pour your soup over them when you're ready to eat. It’s basically perfection.

Once the soup has been boiling for a bit, turn down to a simmer.

About 5 minutes before you are ready to eat, stir in a handful of fresh spinach and a bit of chopped Italian parsley. I like both a lot, so...you do you.

This recipe is delicious and I hope you like it!