Some call it stuffing and some call it dressing. Is there really a difference?
Yes and no. Some people believe that stuffing is placed in the turkey and dressing is served alongside. The truth is this popular holiday side dish tends to be called stuffing in the northern states and dressing in the southern states no matter how it is prepared.
Full of comforting carbs, stuffing (or dressing) even has a day dedicated to it; November 21 is National Stuffing Day – but National Dressing Day does sound so much more refined.
If you have been thinking about shaking things up a bit this holiday season, consider switching your traditional dressing with one of these variations. One added bonus to cooking each recipe outside the turkey and in its own dish: it all cooks more quickly!
Note: No matter its name, there is a 50 percent chance that you stuff the Thanksgiving bird despite the increasing encouragement from the FDA to cook it separately for safety.
Serves 8 to 10
A uniquely Texas-style twist to traditional cornbread dressing, this tamale-filled version starts with prepared tamales. The result is an incredibly addictive, spicy, southwestern dressing that is as good with pork roast as it is with a fried turkey!
- 12 fully cooked pork tamales
- 1 8-inch pan of prepared corn bread, broken into crumbles
- 30 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped poblano pepper
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 3 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided use
- Heat oven to 325°F.
- Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Chop the tamales into bite sized pieces.
- Mix the tamales, corn bread, and (drained) tomatoes in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet.
- Add the onion and pepper. Sauté until tender.
- Add the onions and peppers to the cornbread mixture along with the cilantro and cumin.
- Taste and add salt as needed.
- Stir in 2 cups of the cheese.
- Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.
TIP: Cover with aluminum foil partway through baking time if the dressing seems to be drying out.
Sausage Rice Dressing
Although you might not associate rice with Texas, it is an important crop, as the Lone Star State produces about seven percent of the nation’s supply. Here, it is paired with sausage, celery, onion, and green pepper for a lighter side dish than usual. If you prefer, try using brown rice or a mixture of brown and wild rice.
- 1½ cups uncooked rice
- 1 pound bulk, pork sausage
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 2¾ cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour rice into a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet, brown and break up the sausage over medium heat until crumbly and cooked through, Remove the meat from the pan and drain off grease, patting with a paper towel.
- Add the celery, onion, and green pepper to pan.
- Cook until tender – about 3 minutes.
- Add the sausage back to pan along with chicken stock, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and poultry seasoning. Stir well.
- Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Carefully pour boiling broth over the rice and stir.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Let stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Slow Cooker Cornbread Dressing
Once you have experienced how light and fluffy dressing made in a slow cooker can be, you might never make it any other way. Be sure to scrape down the sides to peel off the good, crunchy, crusty bits. It is not only delicious, it keeps the oven clear for more important things… like pie.
- 4½ cups cornbread crumbs
- 1 14 to 16-ounce package herb stuffing mix
- 1 10.75-ounce can cream of chicken soup
- 1 14-ounce can creamed corn
- 28 ounces chicken stock- you might not use all of it
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup butter, cut up
- Stir together cornbread crumbs, stuffing mix, and next nine ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pour cornbread mixture into a greased 6-quart slow cooker.
- Dot with butter.
- Cook, covered, on LOW for 4 hours or until cooked through and set.
- Fluff with fork if needed.