Monday, November 25, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! In the spirit of family togetherness, I asked my little brother Schuyler to write a post about something he is more knowledgeable! I hope you enjoy this recipe and a few family photos. I'm thankful for all the friends I have made through this blog and all the information we've shared. I hope you have a wonderful week full of family and love. 

Are you in need of something new for Thanksgiving? Good news! There is still time; it is only Monday! 

Thanksgiving is a big deal to my family. Ever since I was a little kid, I always remember being super involved in the kitchen for the big Holiday meals.  As I got older and went off to college, I started bringing recipes back home for us to try. My poor Mother, ha ha. I am sure she was wondering how much of a pain these recipes would be to try for the first time, on one of the most important and already complex meals of the year. I mean why would you chance a new recipe on Thanksgiving Day? No pressure!?!

Well, I am here to give you a recipe for the most amazing Thanksgiving Stuffing you will ever have! Just ask Lea, as she has had it on multiple occasions, in fact, the whole family loves it. You see, I am a self taught, amateur home cook. I have LOVED cooking since I was kid. I have many memories of Lea and I making chocolate chip cookies together! Now that I have a bit more time, I have been able to work on my culinary skills. While I am the youngest in the family, I am the one who gets the random (and sometimes panicked) phone calls and texts in the evenings from family and friends asking me how they’re suppose to cook something, what can be substituted for what, or how to fix something that’s gone wrong. And I love it!

This recipe does take a bit of work and some serious prep time, but the payoff is well worth it!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started (for approximately 18 lb turkey):

- 2 packages seasoned dressing (croutons)
- 8 pieces of Bacon
- 1 medium Onion
- 1 bundle Celery
- 2 cups chopped Mushrooms
- 15oz can Chicken Broth
- 2 Eggs

Side note: We are a picture taking family to the max! I went through the books and pulled out some classic family photos for this blog. We have used this recipe at so many holiday occasions I have a great mix of photos at various steps!

An abbreviated version of the directions is at the bottom of the blog if you want the quick step by step without all the commentary (i.e. you know to sauté an onion and cook bacon).

Step 1: Chop up the onion, bundle of celery, and mushrooms, and set aside in individual bowls. 

Ever wondered how to chop the perfect onion? Here’s a great video on a technique that gives you uniform pieces, and keeps everything together (Gordon Ramsay is one heck of a chef). Bonus, I think it reduces tears:

Step 2: Bacon makes everything better. We joke in my office that you can pretty much add it to anything.

Start with a cold sauté pan. Lay the strips of bacon down in the cold pan and turn the burner onto medium. Use a bacon screen if you have one (it’s like a lid made of screen or mesh to keep the bacon from splattering grease everywhere). They’re pretty awesome! Let the bacon do its thing. When the underside looks to be crisping up, flip it over, and let it keep cooking. The second side always cooks faster so keep an eye on it. You want it to be pretty crispy so you can easily crumble it.

Once the bacon is cooked, remove it and set it on a plate lined with multiple paper towels. Leave all the bacon grease in the pan as you’ll want it in the next step.

Step 3: Next sauté the onions and celery in the bacon drippings. Use a large pan so that things are not over crowded. Since it’s a large amount of veggies, it may take a bit. Be patient. Once sautéed down and the onions have become translucent, add mushrooms, and continue to cook until mushrooms are a golden brown color. You may have to add butter to the veggies as you sauté if your bacon drippings get soaked up.  While your veggies are sautéing, check to see if your bacon has cooled. If so, crumble it up!

Step 4: Open your packages of seasoned stuffing (croutons) and pour into a LARGE bowl. You will be mixing everything in here, so be ready for a bit of overflow. If things aren’t too hot I like to use my hands, otherwise have a set of tongs or mixing spoons ready to go.

Step 5: Heat chicken broth up in the microwave. You just want it warm, not boiling. Set aside for use in the next step.

Step 6: Mix sautéed veggies in with the croutons. If you let it cool a bit you can use your hands, but be careful not to burn yourself! Next add the crumpled bacon and chicken broth. When you add the chicken broth, add enough just to get things moistened up. You are NOT looking to make soup. Let this mixture cool a bit until it is cool enough to work with your hands. Then you want to whisk up your two eggs, and pour them over the crouton mixture, being sure to thoroughly mix everything together.  If you don’t wait for your mixture to cool it will start to cook your eggs and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in your stuffing.

Step 7: Get your stuffing ready to cook! We’re traditionalists when it comes to stuffing, and we normally stuff our bird! If you go that route, clean the large cavity of your bird thoroughly, and then season the inside by rubbing a handful of salt around the cavity, then stuff!

If you don’t go the stuffing the bird route, you can easily bake this it in a casserole dish alongside your bird, or in its own oven.  Dressing is not too picky, so you can cook it in the oven that your turkey was in, on 350 for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes has passed, check it to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly, but not dried out.

Step 8: Enjoy! That’s it. All of your hard work is now paid off! You get to sit down and enjoy some amazing stuffing with the rest of your Thanksgiving feast!

Another thing to know about me is I am a HUGE Wino! So if you’re looking for the perfecting pairing for your Thanksgiving meal, I recommend a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Okay, so I am a little bias as I live in the Valley which produces some of the best Pinots in the world (named 2013 wine region in the world by Snooth

Searching for the best pairing for your Thanksgiving? I recommend you checkout Food Network’s posting “If it grows together, it goes together.”

I wish all of you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the feast!

Already have your Thanksgiving Day feast planned? We also use this same recipe for our Christmas dinner!

Abbreviated directions:
1) Chop veggies 2) Cook bacon, and crumble 3) Sauté veggies in bacon drippings 4) Mix veggies, crumbled bacon, warmed chicken broth (just until moist), and eggs with stuffing mix 5) Stuff bird or casserole dish 6) Cook 7) Enjoy.

Adapted in 2007 from the following recipe: Each year we vary this recipe depending on the size of turkey we use, how many people are coming, and the amount of extra stuffing we want left over for a casserole dish.