Thanksgiving Is Just Around The Corner

IN THE KITCHEN

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Thanksgiving is just two weeks away. Are you ready? Each family has its own Thanksgiving traditions, so I suspect it is a fairly rare cook who actually tries something new for this feast.

Personally, I think I would be disappointed if some strange, untested dish showed up on the holiday table at my mother’s.

The one, occasional exception is with the stuffing.

My favorite is a combination of cornbread, sausage and pecans, but on occasion I have added mushrooms, apples, raisins, either individually or in some combination of whatever was on hand. I have never tried a different cornbread recipe though.

So, that might be something to consider.

There are a surprising number of cornbread recipes out there and some you just stumble on by accident.

For instance, earlier this year I shared a corn casserole recipe. When we recently made it, we used a 9x13-inch cake pan instead of a smaller 7x9-inch pan. Because the batter was more thinly spread, it cooked to a crisper, cornbread-like consistency, as opposed to the more moist casserole-like version.

I think that version of cornbread, with its cheese and green chilies and creamed corn, would make a decent cornbread dressing with pecans and sausage added, plus maybe even some mushrooms.

Corn Casserole

2 eggs

1 package cornbread mix

1 can creamed corn

1/4 cup milk

1/4 to 1/3 cup melted margarine

1 large can green chilies (diced are best for this)

1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly, stir in cornbread mix, corn, milk and margarine.

Grease a six-cup casserole with oil and pour in half of mixture. Top with half of cheese and all of chilies, add rest of mix and top with remaining cheese.

Bake in a 9x13-inch pan for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Generally with cornbread stuffing, you let the cornbread sit overnight to dry out a little so it soaks up all the goodies used in making the stuffing.

The amount of ingredients used when my family makes stuffing for Thanksgiving depends on the size of the turkey being prepared.

I always hope the bird is big enough, and we have enough stuffing and cranberry sauce left over to make those fantastic post-feast sandwiches.

Cornbread Stuffing

1-3 cups dried corn casserole cornbread, crumbled

1/3 cup to 1 whole onion, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup mushrooms, chopped

Butter or margarine, enough to saute the onion, celery and mushrooms

1/4 to 1/2 pound sausage, crumbled

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Salt, pepper, sage or poultry seasoning to taste

Chicken stock to moisten (optional)

To have a moist stuffing, soak cornbread in enough chicken stock to moisten slightly. Remember, the stuffing, if prepared in the bird, will absorb juices from the meat. Set aside.

Saute onions and celery in butter or margarine, until onion begins to become translucent, add mushrooms and continue to saute briefly. Set aside.

Brown sausage with pecans, drain.

Combine all ingredients with seasonings and either stuff into turkey or prepare in separate, well-greased casserole dish. If baking separately, put in oven when bird has 45 minutes to an hour left to roast.

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