Fake It >> "Stove-Top" Stuffing Mix
Boxed stuffing mix is good for one thing: convenience. But beyond that? It's salty and full of who-knows-what unpronounceable "ingredients". And stale? just exactly how long has it been sitting in that box, anyway? Here is a excellent Fake-It that I think you'll enjoy. It is easy to make ahead and then store in the freezer until needed. The bonus? You'll know exactly what is in it, how fresh it is, and have all the convenience of the boxed mix.
This recipe makes 12 cups of mix, enough for 2 batches of stuffing. Cool the vegetable mixture completely before adding the softened butter or the butter will melt. If you double this recipe, toast the bread in two batches.
1 (24-oz) loaf Hearty White Sandwich Bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 Tablespoons Butter, softened, divided
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 Celery Ribs, chopped fine
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped fine -OR- 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons Dried Sage Leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons Dried Thyme Leaves
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Pepper
Toast the Bread:
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350*. Divide cubed Bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets and toast until golden brown, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Transfer toasted Bread cubes to two freezer zipper-lock bags (6 cups Bread cubes per bag), and freeze for up to two months.
Saute' the Vegetables:
Melt 2 Tablespoons Butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Onion and Celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parsley, Garlic, Sage, Thyme, Salt, and Pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.
Make the Seasoned Butter:
Combine the remaining 6 Tablespoons Butter with the cooled vegetable mixture, divide in half, and shape into two logs. Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap, then foil. Place in Bread Cube bag, freeze for up to two months.
To Make One Batch of Stuffing: Makes 6 cups, serves 6 to 8
Heat 1 1/2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth and 1 unwrapped Butter log in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add 6 Cups frozen Bread Cubes and gently stir until liquid is absorbed. Lightly pack down bread, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir Bread, replace lid, and let stand 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy "Stove-Top" Stuffing.
If you shop at a Win-Co grocery, one large bag of their stuffing croutons (in the bakery area during the holiday season) is the perfect amount to make this recipe, eliminating the need to toast your own bread. Can't get much easier than that!
One of my favorite quick dinners is to bake a seasoned Turkey Tenderloin in a glass loaf pan (35-50 minutes at 350*), fix a batch of Stuffing, open and heat a quart of Green Beans, and open a can of Cranberry Sauce, and Presto-Change-O: an "Instant Thanksgiving Dinner!"
From Cook's Country magazine, December/January 2011