Dad’s Cornbread Dressing

   

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I didn’t like dressing as a kid. I’m not sure why it took me so long to evolve into a rational human being with properly functioning taste buds, but fortunately I wasn’t crazy forever and now I’m an honest to goodness dressing fiend. Like most families, our Thanksgiving table is steeped in familiarity and tradition. The spread rarely changes – roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, token green veggie casserole of some sort, dinner rolls, and of course good ol’ cornbread dressing. Dressing – or stuffing if that’s what you prefer to call it – seems to be a very personal thing and the idea of what makes it good varies from family to family. But if someone were to ask me about the dressing I crave (I’m going to pretend you just did), then I would tell them it would definitely be this adaptation of the recipe my dad makes every year.

 

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

My changes from the original are probably a little bit obvious if you are aware of the fact I ate meat until I was 18 – so naturally the main adjustment was making it vegetarian friendly. Dad also prepares his with chopped up hard-boiled eggs, something that’s never been my cup of tea but a lot of people really enjoy eggs in their dressing. If you’re a vegan and looking to adapt this to your lifestyle, substitute the butter with olive oil or margarine and omit the parmesan cheese. Adding a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast would be awesome in its place. You’ll also want to make sure that the breakfast sausage you use is vegan friendly. On the other hand, if you’re a meat-eater you can use regular sausage – but make sure it is cooked before adding it to the recipe.

cornbreadstuffing2

One of the great things about recipes like these is that they are so easy to change to suit your personal tastes. Someone that likes a more dry and crumbly dressing (no doubt for its optimal gravy absorption qualities) can use less stock, whereas the people that want their dressing thick enough to slice can use more. I would say that anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 cups is the range you want to stay in. The force with which you pack it into the casserole dish before baking will also have an effect on the end texture. Personally I like a bit of balance between the two extremes and I’ve written up the recipe to reflect that preference. You can substitute other nuts for the pecans, toss some sauteed button mushrooms into the mix, use a different combination of fresh herbs, bake individual servings in muffin tins, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Hell, try using jalapeno cornbread and chorizo for a southwestern twist. Once you’re acquainted with the basic ingredients, it’s pretty simple to take this recipe and make it your own. Ahh, the beauty of cooking…

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

Dad's Cornbread Dressing
Serves 12
A vegetarian friendly cornbread dressing with fresh herbs, sausage, and pecans.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 8″ skillet (or 8×8″ pan) of cornbread
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (this was about 12 medium sized sage leaves for me)
  7. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 4 vegetarian breakfast sausage patties, cooked and chopped (this ends up being about 1 cup of sausage)
  11. 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  13. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  14. 2 cups prepared stock (give or take depending on how crumbly or moist your prefer your dressing to be)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter your casserole dish (I used an 8″x11″ oval dish) and set aside.
  2. In a nonstick skillet heat butter, sage, and rosemary on medium heat until the butter just starts to bubble.
  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper then cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and transfer the contents of the skillet to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Wipe the skillet clean and toss in your chopped pecans. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and then add them to the mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble the cornbread into the bowl with the sausage, parsley, and cheese. Toss everything until well combined. Taste and add a little more salt if needed (I find the individual ingredients usually have enough sodium on their own that it doesn’t need it).
  6. Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared baking dish and lightly pack it down. Pour stock evenly over the top.
  7. Place dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. If you prefer the top to be a little more crisp, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two.
Calories
  1. 255
Notes
  1. You can easily get this recipe under 200 calories by using half of the pecans and cutting the butter back to 1 tablespoon. Add a touch more stock to compensate for the reduced amount of butter.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
 

Dad's Cornbread Dressing


Small Batch Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

   

Whether you’re cooking for a small number of people or you’re just wanting to limit carb-centric indulgences in the kitchen, there are a few reasons why making small batches of baked goods might appeal to you. For me it’s a combination of these two things. I generally prepare food for 2-3 people and if there is a full batch of piping hot muffins on the counter we are going to polish off every last one. I love this recipe, not only for its small yield, but also for the fact that it’s a total cinch to prepare. Toss everything in a food processor, spoon into muffins tins, wait 20 minutes, done.  It’s hard not to love that sort of simplicity, right?

 

I made these muffins with reduced fat cream cheese, but not so much that it lends an intense cheesy flavor to the muffins. It’s more of a textural element that I used in place of butter to keep them fluffy and tender. You could modify the recipe by adding in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese if you’re feeling a jalapeño cheddar vibe. Alternatively, you could omit the jalapeño entirely and have a great, simple cornbread on your hands.  Toss in a little bit of sugar if you prefer a sweeter cornbread.

Small Batch Jalapeño Cornbread
Serves 6
The batter for these flavorful, tender muffins comes together in minutes.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup corn meal
  3. 1/4 cup dry polenta (this provides a texture that we enjoy, but you can use all corn meal if you don’t have polenta on hand)
  4. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 2 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
  7. 2 jalapeño peppers (remove seeds for less heat)
  8. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  12. 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could use regular or soy milk, but it will increase the calorie count slightly)
  13. 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer dissolved in 2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk (or one egg)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Put all dry ingredients + the peppers into a food processor and pulse until the jalapeños are roughly “chopped”. You will pulse the dough a few more times so don’t worry about making it too fine.
  3. Add butter, olive oil, and cream cheese then pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Pour in almond milk and egg replacer and pulse until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix or you may end up with tough muffins.
  5. Spoon the mixture into your muffin tin, making six muffins. It will be thick so you may want to pat it down just a little. I leave it rough for a rustic texture on top (and because I’m lazy).
  6. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until the muffins start to brown slightly at the edges.
Calories
  1. 149
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/