Editor's note: This column was previously published in 2016.
Stuffing or dressing? Yes, please.
Both names are correct. Just like the dish itself, there are no wrong answers. It’s simply a tomayto-tomahto situation and one that I admittedly tip toe around, switching between “stuffing” and “dressing” depending upon with whom I’m speaking.
My heart says “stuffing,” but I can easily switch to “dressing” for conversation’s sake. I’m a stuffing/dressing flip-flopper — I will say whatever I need to say to get it on my plate.
Some say “dressing” is used in the South while “stuffing” is what it’s called everywhere else. There are definitely holes in that theory.
Others have come to the conclusion that “stuffing” is what’s shoved inside the bird to cook while “dressing” is the same delicious substance but cooked separately. That’s when it starts getting too complicated and tomayto-tomahto, potayto-potahto — let’s call the whole thing off.
All that really matters is that this dish, my very favorite of all the Thanksgiving carbohydrates, is present. It’s one of those dishes that people feel strongly about, which results in multiple versions of the same dish at a gathering.
“I know you said you were making the dressing, but so-and-so just loves mine. He likes it crumbly. Yours is so moist.”
Lie if you must, but I know you’ve heard a version of this.
There is no right way to make stuffing. This happens to be my opinion while also being completely true; I love it when that happens. Just as in life, keeping an open mind will make things more pleasant.
Knock down the rigid walls of stuffing expectations and accept what is laid before you, whether it be moist, dry, in the bird or out. The base may be white or wheat bread, cornbread or grains, and there may be bits of fruit, olives and meat.
Go with it. All stuffing is good stuffing.
For one of my first Thanksgivings living away from my family, I was invited to a friend’s family dinner. The casual feast included what appeared to be the standard dishes, until his mom began going on and on about her famous oyster dressing. I was beyond taken aback. Born and raised landlocked, I couldn’t imagine my beloved stuffing riddled with mollusks.
It was delicious, of course, as all stuffings are. In case it wasn’t, I would have been fine. Someone else brought her own version of stuffing because “so-and-so just loves it.”
In the event you find yourself in possession of leftover stuffing and you don’t enjoy cold spoonfuls of it eaten over the sink sporadically until it’s gone, these recipes will be right up your alley.
Leftover stuffing waffles
- 4 cups crumbled leftover stuffing, warmed for easier mixing
- 2 large eggs
- Chicken broth or turkey stock, as needed
- Leftover cranberry sauce, for serving (optional)
- Leftover gravy, for serving (optional)
Preheat the waffle baker and grease it with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the leftover stuffing and eggs. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth and mix until well combined. Continue adding chicken broth as needed until the mixture is well moistened.
Scoop half of the stuffing mixture into the prepared waffle baker, spreading it evenly. (The stuffing will not spread or expand like regular waffle batter as it bakes, so it’s important to arrange it in an even, thin layer.)
Close the lid and let the waffle bake until golden brown and the egg is cooked throughout. Stuffing waffles take longer to cook than regular waffles. Don’t be afraid to let the waffle bake until it’s golden brown and crispy.
Transfer the waffle to a serving plate then repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining stuffing. Serve the waffles with leftover cranberry sauce and warm leftover gravy or use waffles as the bread for an incredible sandwich.
Recipe adapted from wwwjustataste.com.
Mushroom spinach turkey quiche with stuffing crust
- 2 cups leftover stuffing
- 8 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup turkey, diced
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Press the stuffing into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and black pepper together; set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic, saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach, saute 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Add this mixture to the eggs, along with the diced turkey. Pour this mixture into the stuffing crust. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Place back into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until set.
Leftover stuffin’ muffins
- 3 cups precooked stuffing or dressing
- 1 cup chopped turkey or ham
- 1/4 pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the stuffing, turkey, and spinach to a bowl, then stir gently to combine. Liberally coat each well in a muffin tin with nonstick spray (or butter). Divide the stuffing mixture between all 12 cups. Leave the stuffing loosely packed in the cups so that the egg mixture can fill in the empty spaces.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Divide the egg mixture among the 12 cups, filling each 1/2 to 3/4 full. The egg and stuffing mixture will expand during cooking, so try not to over fill.
Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crispy on the top. Allow the muffins to cool slightly, then run a knife around the edges to loosen and remove each muffin.
Recipe adapted from www.budgetbytes.com.