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i REALLY need help 'fixing' a stuffing recipe

r
redgirl Nov 15, 2010 05:58 PM

ok...my sister can't be with us for tgiving and my parents are traveling to my house (they usually have tgiving with her). so, to make her feel included, i asked her for her stuffing recipe (and it's true that i never make stuffing) so that mom and dad would know i made her recipe and she'd feel good. here's the problem...it's full of margarine and mega-eggs. i don't mind eggs...but i cook with a lot more olive oil and almost never use butter and haven't tasted margarine in a lifetime.
so, help me fix this so that i don't cringe making it but that it stays somewhat in the same vein. (i don't think my parents will notice that there is more olive oil and chicken stock and less margarine and eggs???)

here's what i have to work with. all advice REALLY REALLY appreciated.
------------------------------------------------------

this recipe will feed about 10-12 people,
with some leftovers.

Ingredients

4 large loaves assorted breads, cubed (multi-grain; potato; oatmeal; dark; sweet challah: whatever types you like). Leave out to dry a bit overnight, turning pieces several times to expose them to air; cover loosely with waxed paper.

1-2 bunches celery, diced

3-5 large sweet or yellow onions, peeled and sliced or chopped

3-4+ lbs fresh mushrooms (white or mixed types, whichever you prefer; the more, the better!), sliced

6-10 eggs

milk, about 1/4 cup (Dad can't digest milk, so you can use any of these: extra margarine, chicken broth, jam, egg beaters or egg whites and/or lactose-free milk)

raisins (optional; 1 cup golden, for sweetness; note: Mom can't eat any raisins)

1-2 chopped apple pieces, optional, for sweetness (skin apples if desired)

1/4-1/3 cup sweet jam (i.e., apricot, mixed fruit, blackberry)

1/2 cup wheat germ OR walnut OR pecan pieces (1-2 cups, to taste)

2/3-1 cup oatmeal (I add this when mixing at step #5 only if I haven't used many multi-grain breads.)

margarine,1-2 cups;(I use Smart Balance Heart Healthy Omega-3; it has a good taste)

Assorted spices, to taste:
Add some garlic to mushrm-celery-onion mixture!
salt
1-2 tsp white pepper OR 1/2 cup mild green chopped chiles (canned) OR 2 tsp. mild red chile powder
parsley OR dill (optional)
cinnamon (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Lower heat to 375 after the first 15 minutes of baking the covered stuffing. Monitor temperature.

1. Simmer onion and celery in "butter" on low-med-low heat in a very large heavy-duty pot until they begin to soften; approx 20-40 min. Stir occasionally and do not let the mixture scald; add a little water or chicken broth if needed.

2. Add mushrooms and stir in spices and jam. Simmer slowly for 30-40 minutes in lidded pot, being sure to stir occasionally. Taste to check on adding more spices.

3. When the mixture is beginning to soften and meld, add raisins (IF you are using them).

4. When entire mixture is soft, take off heated stove and let cool a bit.

5. Mix bread cubes into several large bowls. Add lightly mixed eggs and stir into the bread pieces. Add milk or cream, a bit at a time so it doesn't get overly moist.

6. Add onion, celery, mushroom mixture to bread cubes.

7. Add nuts or wheat germ. Stir well to moisten all the bread.

8. Oil or use Pam on the bottom and sides of one or more ceramic or enameled large casserole dish(es).
Fill each dish not quite to the top with stuffing mixture, but do not press down.

9. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes-1.25+ hours in preheated 375 degree oven on middle shelf; note that it will burn on the bottom shelf.

10. Check at 45 minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter to ensure the stuffing is fully cooked and not burning. Remove foil the last 15 minutes to form a slight crust on the top, if desired.
Note: Add extra melted margarine/butter if mixture is too dry when folding cooked mushroom-onion-celery mixture into dry bread cubes and other ingredients.

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    tzurriz RE: redgirl Nov 15, 2010 06:14 PM

    If you like how it tastes, why change it? It's a once a year thing. Honestly, 6-10 eggs to feed 10-12 people is not that much. It's less than a full egg per person. Alright, it does call for a lot of margarine. I'd sub 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil for the margarine, but that's just because I never buy the stuff. You're talking about a HUGE amount of stuffing here, and it isn't that much fat considering. Plus it's only once a year.

    In other words, IMHO If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tzurriz
      greygarious RE: tzurriz Nov 15, 2010 07:25 PM

      This sounds like enough to feed 50 people - halve the recipe and you will still have plenty left over. It calls for eggs and margarine where most recipes would use less egg, just as a binder, and broth. Two eggs per loaf of bread. You can easily cut out the margarine or just use a few tbsps. I would omit the jam. Instead, use some apple cider in addition to the broth.

    2. ZenSojourner RE: redgirl Nov 15, 2010 08:21 PM

      Honestly, if you asked for the recipe, I would make it as is. Why ask for the recipe and then change it? You've been eating it all these years so you HAVE tasted margarine in your life time - if only once a year.

      As other's have noted, its only once a year. With a recipe this large, don't play Russian Roulette trying to change it at the last minute. There is a very very noticeable difference in flavor between margarine or butter and olive oil and many people (I am among them) do not care for it in those dishes which normally would use butter or margarine.

      Go ahead and make it as is this time. Then you can spend the next year or so fiddling with the recipe (cut down to size) to get something you like that meets your nutritional standards. Then you can present that to your family next year as a finished product instead of a raw experiment.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ZenSojourner
        ZenSojourner RE: ZenSojourner Nov 15, 2010 11:05 PM

        BTW, I just wanted to make it clear - I'm not saying not to try to alter the recipe. I'm just saying it might be better not to do it for a high-stakes event like Thanksgiving dinner for an item you've never made before.

        Thanksgiving's not 'til the 26th, right? You could try making some test runs (with smaller quantities) before then and see how it comes out. I'd need more time than that to be sure I got it right, but I'm old and slow, LOL!

      2. Cherylptw RE: redgirl Nov 15, 2010 08:52 PM

        Four loaves of bread and a mountain of veggies and other stuff is a helleva lot of stuffing for 12 people....Personally, and I'm keeping in mind that I'm not eating this but to me 10 eggs is way too much I don't care if it is for 12 people. You have so much other moisture in that recipe that I'd go with 5 eggs max. which is enough to bind everything. I would not use olive oil in a recipe like this that calls for butter or margarine but I would use butter instead of margarine and use only half.

        If your father can't digest milk, leave it out and use water or broth; it's only 1/4 cup and again, it's for moisture..it's obvious you're not going to be able to tell you left out the milk with that small amount. I'm curious why your sister uses raisins and milk in a recipe that she knows causes dietary problems for your parents.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cherylptw
          ZenSojourner RE: Cherylptw Nov 15, 2010 09:09 PM

          The recipe says:

          milk, about 1/4 cup (Dad can't digest milk, so you can use any of these: extra margarine, chicken broth, jam, egg beaters or egg whites and/or lactose-free milk)

          In other words, the directions say to substitute any of the items from that list for the milk because the father can't digest it. Ditto with the raisins which are noted as "optional" with the additional information that the mother can't eat them. I hardly think the sister has been feeding her parents something that "causes dietary problems" for all these years. Quite the opposite, in fact.

          Also I would call the sister and make sure she makes this quantity. Many families like to make extra so family members have leftovers to take home. Dressing is typically the item that runs out - I made huge quantities of stuffing/dressing to try to forestall the inevitable cries of "WHAT! No more stuffing???"

          Also the recipe doesn't call for a minimum of 10 eggs. It calls for a MAXIMUM of 10 eggs. 6-10 eggs. So going to the lower end of that still stays within the parameters of the recipe. 1/4c of jam isn't all that much either. I'm pretty sure this is about the same amount of dressing I used to make when I was doing bird day dinner for the family.

        2. iL Divo RE: redgirl Nov 15, 2010 09:23 PM

          this sounds like way overload to me.
          I personally wouldn't make this, it just doesn't look right to me.
          sorry to be so blunt but the list of ingredients sounds like you're making for an army instead of 10-12. Why would it call for 1-2 bunches of celery or 3-5 onions? 3-4 lbs mushrooms? 1-2 cups of marg? 4 LARGE loaves of breads? this sounds like it's a recipe, seriously, for 25 people, at least. my thoughts are to use butter, much nicer flavor than marg and only use half, with 3 or so Tablespoons olive oil. sounds to me like you're already able to change out ingredients due to dad not processing milk so I'd use Rice milk.
          you know what? you asked for the recipe and here it is, probably swallow the angst and make it with the suggestions of these people who have posted, maybe that'll help you..................good luck..............the leftovers you'll have will be more than enough for mom and dad to take home with them and they'll eat them for the next year, gad that's a lot of stuffing you're making girl..................... :))))

          1 Reply
          1. re: iL Divo
            sunshine842 RE: iL Divo Nov 16, 2010 12:11 AM

            I'm with you, Divo -- that recipe looks odd -- with the milk/cream instead of broth and the jam and raisins, it's headed full-speed down the ramp toward bread pudding rather than dressing.

            BUT if it's the family recipe, it's the family recipe, and take it from somebody who's done it -- you do NOT mess with the family recipe for Thanksgiving. It will not go well, I guarandamntee you.

            Use margarine (use butter if you really have to - but olive oil changes the taste profile too much, IMO). Use the number of eggs she listed (that's 2 eggs per loaf of bread, which isn't that much). Use the milk or cream.

            If you HAVE to mess with it, halve it (because yeah that's an ungodly amount of dressing for 12 people. I fed 27 people last year at my house, and I used THREE loaves of bread and had plenty of dressing left over).

            But don't mess with the family recipe.

            If you just can't bear the thought of eating it - make another kind of dressing alongside. But you asked for the recipe, so now you have to use it as she sent it to you.

          2. shanagain RE: redgirl Nov 15, 2010 09:34 PM

            Your sister is being a sister. First, that's "dressing" (cooked outside the bird) and second, she's trying to make you cook for a high school football team. (I know, I've done it.)

            Your next post REALLY needs to ask for a good basic (non-cornbread) stuffing/dressing recipe to feed 10-12 - there's nothing in there that's out of the norm... and I guarantee no one will know the difference. (Although, gotta say... I use butter in my dressing. It's Thanksgiving, not Lent!)

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