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"If it's not Stove Top, it's not Thanksgiving!"

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I just needed to share my horror. Last night, I made roast chicken and vegetables for myself, my boyfriend, and his parents. We have a few boxes of Stove Top in the pantry (NO idea where they came from; I certainly didn't buy them) and I figured this was a good chance to get rid of them. His family loves that stuff.

I read the instructions and almost died. Boil 1-1/2 cups of water with 1/4 cup... not butter, not even margarine. "53% vegetable oil spread". Except I think they managed to make it sound even more gross; I can't remember the exact wording. (Apparently, my bf's family always uses this for Thanksgiving. He'd never tasted homemade until having Tday with my family.)

And then, in an attempt to find the exact wording from my box (can't find, everything says margarine or spread), I stumble across their website. "If it's not Stove Top, it's not Thanksgiving!"

So, I have to wonder. Are there people who have made their own stuffing but still prefer the boxed stuff? Or have Stove Top consumers never experienced the homemade stuff? Does anyone here use it?

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  1. I have never tasted stove top. My mother was a very lazy cook by the time I got to high school, and even she made everything from scratch for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was the only day of the year where stuffing was on the table.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      Their cornbread stuffing is good.

    2. Homemade stuffing can mean a lot if different things. Stovetop is consistently what it is, for better or for worse. I can't imagine my MIL making her own or being terribly interested in eating others' homemade.

      1. Sure - It's just small croutons and spices, in shelf-stable packaging. It's reasonable quantities for two rather than a huge bag of seasoned croutons, which many use for their "homemade" stuffing. There's no requirement to use butter-blend when making it, nor to only use it stovetop.

        I've not made it for Thanksgiving, but I got & made a "gussied up" Target recipe last year with apple juice in place of water, butter (not margarine), and stirred in dried cranberries and pecans. Served beside roasted chicken.

        I've also made a recipe that calls for it under oven-baked porkchops.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MidwesternerTT

          That reminds me, In my Pepperidge Farms haze, I have always lowered the butter by about 2/3, and haven't gotten a complaint yet.

        2. I prefer home made but for TDay it is always Pepperidge farms because that' is what husband grew up eating and people don't like you messing with tradition on TDay.

          1 Reply
          1. re: thimes

            "and people don't like you messing with tradition on TDay"

            What an understatement! I have NO DOUBT that 20+ years down the road, my son's spouse will be on Chowhound complaining about how her FIL refuses to deviate from "his" Thanksgiving menu.

            My DH cooks Thanksgiving and everything must remain the same year after year. I will say, everything is homemade and tasty but also extremely labor intensive. Who wants to help me shell 2 pounds of chestnuts?

            This year we are having the meal a week early and I brought up the idea that maybe we mix up the dishes. Nope, he will not even consider it.

          2. In my family, Stove Top and stuffing are two different dishes.
            I make homemade (and like to play around with new recipes) while Mom prepares the Stove Top. Everybody takes a helping of both. God forbid we leave the Stove Top out one year.. That'd be ruining Thanksgiving tradition!

            1. My family prefers it because it is a dry stuffing. We east the cornbread one, not the chicken/turkey flavor. I actually like it as well even though I've made some fabulous homemade ones. I use real butter to make mine.

              A lot of stuffing/dressing can be very wet and squishy, which is disgusting to most of my family.

              7 Replies
              1. re: eperdu

                Isn't the squishy factor just a matter of how it's prepared? If you fix the Stove Top (I had the turkey kind) as instructed (add mix to boiling water, let sit for 5 minutes, serve) it's very mushy and, to me, unappetizing. I put it in the oven for the last 20 minutes with my chicken and it was dry and completely reasonable.

                1. re: Kontxesi

                  Certainly it's how you make it, you can say that of anything. I'm just giving you my experience of many stuffings I've had that were squishy. Most of my relatives from MN make hideous wet, squishy stuffy and it's horrible. I find that stove top is drier and holds its texture (though it can get sandy if mixed too much). I think it's because the bread is so dried out and tight.

                  I don't buy stove top and I don't make it in my own home but I am certainly aware of its popularity, know why it's popular, and don't mind the flavor.

                  This easily falls into the "to each his own" category. :)

                  1. re: eperdu

                    Some of us LOVE the squishy 'wet' stuffing... the crunchy outside is good too, but if stuffing is too dry you might as well eat a piece of toast. I haven't ever used the 'stovetop' stuffing, I usually get the Pepperidge Farm or do it from scratch if I'm just doing a little bit.

                    1. re: Kajikit

                      Aaack- SIL likes the dressing "really dry"- probably because her mother was a really shitty cook (and I know this for a fact, having known her since I was 13). I don't, I like crispy edges with a semi-moist interior. I don't like it biscotti-style.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        You don't want it to "clink" when you spoon it onto your plate?

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          It depends on what's clinking, but generally, no. Thanks for asking! :-)

                  2. re: Kontxesi

                    I like a wetter stuffing. Ours is made with chopped mushrooms so it is failry moist.

                2. While in college one of my kids would talk about a study partner who dined on stove top stuffing. He'd make a cup in his microwave and then top it with whatever the mess hall was making that night (beef in brown gravy, spicy chicken fingers) and call it dinner. I thought it was crafty on the cheap!

                  Would I serve the box stuff at a holiday, no. But, who am I to find fault with those who do.

                  1. The company who makes Stove Top is making a lousy attempt at hijacking the traditional American Thanksgiving. Shame on them. Ideally, Thanksgiving meals should all be made from scratch.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Tripeler

                      I honestly can't tell if this is sarcastic or not. My impression from the north is that "traditional American Thanksgiving" has long strayed from the pilgrims' meal to include things like Stove Top, canned jellied cranberry "sauce", etc. So much so that these things are now traditional for many. Not desirable for chowhounds, but traditional as of several generations for many (not all) families. And in case I sound snooty, we do eat these things in Canada as well, but we don't have the same cultural significance around our Thanksgiving.

                      1. re: julesrules

                        jules, you don't seriously believe that a Chowhound (a member of this very large community) won't open a can of jellied cranberry sauce or a box of Stove Top, do you? Not a single Chowhound?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Did I say that? All I said is that these foods might not be desirable for chowhounds. Perhaps I should have said "might not be the pure ideal most desirable for some (not all) chowhounds".

                          1. re: julesrules

                            Oh come on jules, I was just pulling your leg. I didn't mean for you to rewrite or rethink your post.

                          2. re: HillJ

                            I am a devoted foodie, chowhounder and cook from scratch weekly.
                            Yet a few times a year I like me a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.

                            As for StoveTop brand stuffing, in years of yore decades ago, it was an acceptable side for a weekely meal. I was served it once or twice a month growing up.

                            Having tried the current rendition I find it a far cry from what it was, or at least to me it is.

                            Far too salty. Far more mealy and lacks an ability to come together. To make it palateable means adding sauted onions, celery and several other ingredients. By that time you are back to making scratch.

                            Hey, the old skool green bean casserole (using frozen green beans)canned cranberry sauce and mashed potateos are always welcome at my T'giving table.In fact they are demanded. There may be a new "guest dish" that shows up but no swapping out the standards.

                            I may get all fancy schmancy with many a home cooked dish but ya mess with the formula at T'giving dinner for 20 family members and mutiny is in your future. Really. Ugly. Mutiny.

                            BTDT. Lesson learned. Harshly.
                            :-)

                            1. re: jjjrfoodie

                              What a fun post, jjj! I think most of us can relate to the grand T'giving meal and the input, both welcomed and dreaded, that can come of such feasts.

                              Thankfully (pun intended) we all live another day to eat how we please!

                              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                We use OS canned cranberry sauce for a recipes similar to this:

                                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                so good!

                            2. re: julesrules

                              Jules,
                              Granted there was a little hyperbole in my post, it was written without a touch of sarcasm. I find it outrageous that a company determines its product is the essence of an old holiday tradition.

                              1. re: julesrules

                                Thanksgiving is totally about tradition. If the canned stuff is your family's tradition, it should be on the table. If Stovetop is what people remember from their family's celebration it's what they want.

                                I am a very adventurous cook and my family has a fit if I vary the stuffing too much (it has to be a mix of cornbread and whole wheat toast cubed) or if I don't have brussels sprouts in some form. Thank Ja I never made Stovetop for Thanksgiving or we'd be tied to that as well.

                                And someone from our extended family always asks for the canned cranberries.

                            3. My own homemade stuffing did not go over well the first time I served it to the inlaws ( i make the whole thanksgiving dinner) so I always use Stovetop, with a lot of enhancements. I bake it so that it's crispy on top and moist but not mushy inside.

                              It's honestly pretty good.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                Sounds like something i'd eat the hell out of. But I should urge you to continue to improve your homemade version.

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  Once in a while, I will do Stovetop as a side dish and there is something about the spice combination that appeals to me. I have been known to eat it dry out of the can, like snack mix.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    Same with me and the Pepperidge Farms. I use equal parts cube and cornmeal. It just does it for me, and I do a lot of personalizing, but in the end I love it and will probably always use it.

                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                    I will when I get different inlaws, which hopefully is never.

                                    My SIL dumps canned yams into a pot and tops it with mini marshmallows and they cannot get enough of it. I make maple/Dijon glazed roasted butternut squash out of (sort of ) spite but only a few people will eat it.

                                    They do appreciate my turkey and the gallon of gravy that they have no idea how hard it is to produce. And my famous mashed potatoes.

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Realize that I would be right there eating the hell out of that. All of it, actually.

                                2. I have never met a stuffing I didn't like. When married, I made stuffing just like my mom's for my family and Stovetop for my wife, (just like her mom's). I love it all!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wadejay26

                                    I think I did once, but it's a faded memory and I'll go so far as to say it was just my imagination.

                                  2. homemade! but back in the day, i enjoyed my fair share of stove top, replacing the water and butter (back then the instructions called for either butter or margarine) with a can of chicken broth.

                                    a couple of years ago, i tried a box out of nostalgic curiosity and found it unbearable salty. i suppose if i ever get the itch again, i'll try the low-sodium.

                                    1. The ingredients list: http://fitblogger.ca/whats-in-kraft-s...

                                      High fructose corn syrup of course, that ubiquitous staple of every pre packaged American food.

                                      36 Replies
                                      1. re: mcf

                                        mcf, I can always count on your for an ingredient lesson...followed by a health lesson. I think if you flip the lid on a homemade holiday feast you'll find a meal lovingly prepared with its share of sugar, salt, fat and calories.

                                        How do you address a healthier feast for you and yours this time of year?

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Most low-carbers don't concern themselves with fat or calories (or salt, particularly). Just sugar/starch. It's easy to make a Thanksgiving meal with neither, or to avoid those dishes that contain them and concentrate on the turkey and vegetable sides.

                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                            Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and pie. I just got a brain freeze :)

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              I have someone coming this year that doesn't like butter . . . . I just about died . . . . how do you cook thanksgiving without butter . . . . I just don't think it is possible. . . . panic

                                              Thankfully after some clarification, thanksgiving has been saved. Phew.

                                              1. re: thimes

                                                My MIL brings her own butter (no joke) because the running gag since the day I met her was Mom would you like a dish of roasted carrots with that butter? The lady loves her butter!

                                                1. re: thimes

                                                  I don't like butter in and of itself... but if it's used in cooking it doesn't TASTE like butter any more. I just don't put it on my bread or potatoes.

                                                  1. re: thimes

                                                    My MIL had a fit the year we spent Thanksgiving with her because I used two sticks of butter in the stuffing recipe. Well DUH. It's Thanksgiving. I'm not making stuffing with two sticks of butter every day! She's not invited any more.

                                                    That said, my family tradition is everything made from scratch. I occasionally like the green bean casserole with Campbell's soup and fried onions, but we don't eat it on Thanksgiving.

                                                    1. re: thimes

                                                      I knew who a girl who didn't like butter and would substitute olive oil for butter in recipes for baked goods, such as cookies.

                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                      LOL. I don't care about mashed potatoes (and if I did, mashed cauliflower would be a fine stand-in), but I do LOVE pie. I am not nearly as strict as mcf about my low-carbing (she has health issues to control, where mine is strictly about weight control), so I do eat pie on Thanksgiving - but if I didn't want the sugar, there are definitely ways around it. Crusts can be made with crushed nuts or nut flours, fillings like pumpkin can be artificially sweetened.

                                                      Also, more to the point of her original post, why on earth does stuffing require HFCS? Makes no sense to me either.

                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                        Absolutely good points all, biond. If you have health issues or are accommodating guests during Thanksgiving who do, I totally get that. I totally get preference for taste alone too. And a mashed cauliflower sounds just as delicious to me as a mashed potato, so I'd love either one.

                                                        I suppose my reason for jumping in a thread like this and teasing it up is the idea that anyone could suggest there's only one way to enjoy xyz food (like stuffing can't come from a box) at the holiday when we all know that's not ever the case. Brands that stand the test of time only do if the consumer is loving it and making stuffing from scratch is the delight of my older daughter-so who am I to question either choice? To each their holiday-loving own.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          I wasn't judging anyone by posting that info; I'm an information junkie and since we were talking about it, and I used Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix many years ago, I thought I'd go see what all was in there.

                                                          And posted it, free of judgment or reccos.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            Judging, hell no. Including the ingredient link without any commentary threw me though. I'm clear now.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              I posted it without commentary because I specifically did not want to offend those who use it or tell anyone what to think about it. :-)

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                Except that happened anyway. Clarifying why you would lead me to the ingredients label would and did prompt my question.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  What happened?

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    LOL, nothing earth shattering :)

                                                        2. re: biondanonima

                                                          I eat dessert on occasion, not just low carb ones. They have to be very worthy, and I have small pieces of whatever appeals to me. I plan for it, too. I don't eat stuffing, glazed sweet potato and apple, or twice baked potatoes, potato gratin, etc.

                                                          But a good dessert, you betcha.

                                                        3. re: HillJ

                                                          No stuffing either! It's just not Thanksgiving without starch... I did cut down when DH was diabetic and I was trying to lose weight, but we still had our turkey day carbs. I just made an itty bitty little ramekin of stuffing instead of a bit pan.

                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                            So here's the thing; after having totally reversed my diabetic related kidney damage and neuropathies with diet alone in 1998, I splurged several years back and ate the carbs at Thanksgiving. The payback was feeling awful, bloated, woozy and neuropathic pain returned in my feet for the first time in years. That means very bad things are happening all over that you can't see and feel.

                                                            Took me a week of almost zero carb and high dose alpha lipoic acid to get rid of it. I never have a carb blowout, it's not rewarding, it's literally painful, fatiguing and not worth it for me. I budget my carbs all day for a holiday and I have a delicious meal and some dessert.

                                                            Pain and feeling like crap are deprivations. Starch skipping not so much.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              There's no argument there. If I over eat I pay for it, so I don't. And even without specific food related issues to watch over, I still watch. I probably eat half my meal tasting as I cook and prepare. By the time I sit down, I'm ready for dessert :)

                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                        I use TONS of butter, sugar, brown sugar, and starch for this holiday for those who love and count on it. Just not the day for it, but I have a great collection of low carb T day and Xmas recipes I saved from a long ago forum for folks who want a reference, with detailed instructions and nutrition data. Anyone interested can email the addy in my profile and I'll send them. Too long to post here, though if anyone wants and individual recipe, for stuffing, or desserts, I'd be happy to oblige. Trying to search up the link to it online, too.

                                                        My husband's family is Irish and my relatives are not low carb; I don't regard this holiday as the time to give them a metabolic lesson. All I eat is turkey, my savory cranberry sauce, rutabaga puree.

                                                        The ST stuffing box just has so much stuff in it that raises more issues than just carbs/sugar related ones, IMO.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          Oh my mcf, rutabaga puree-love it!

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            It was a revelation to me, the first time I tasted it at my husband's family's holiday. Turns out the one thing my dad told my mother he'd never eat was "turnips" so I never experienced them nor rutabaga. I use it instead of noodles with meat loaf or stew, even under chicken tagine instead of cous cous, etc... always have a container of it on hand all fall and winter.

                                                            They're great for low carb, and I use them a lot.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              It's one of those vegetables I don't give enough attention to until I read about it. Thanks.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                butter mashed turnips are such a delicious, delicate treat when fresh!

                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                  I use 2-3 lbs of Kerrygold unsalted or similar every Thanksgiving. Much of it in the rutabaga. :-)

                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                Mashed rutabagas (made just like mashed potatoes - butter, milk, salt, pepper, and mashed manually) are an absolute must have every year on our Thanksgiving table. Most of our guests pass them over, or take just a tablespoon out of politeness but that leaves more for DH and me. We adore them.

                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                  That settles it, I'm buying some. Now I'm just plain curious. Thanks.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Mashed is a breeze, but I also use it as a sub for potatoes in a gratin I make with lots of cheese, cream and fresh herbs. Great with meatloaf, pot roast (in place of potatoes, in chunks, too) holds sauces really, really well.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      HillJ, just in case you've never worked with rutabaga before, I offer this advice: Err on the side of buying multiple small ones, rather 1 large one. The exterior is very hard, which makes them difficult to cut up, especially if the diameter of the rutabaga is as big or bigger than the length of your knife blade.

                                                                      1. re: masha

                                                                        I thank you both! Something to look forward to.

                                                                    2. re: masha

                                                                      My family always made mashed turnip (their term for rutabaga) but no milk or seasoning and I never liked it because it was literally just cooked and mashed. Now that we do it more like the potatoes I like it better. I really want to make some this year for Thanksgiving but not many people will eat them I fear.

                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                        I use plenty of butter, some s and fgbp, and a blender stick. It's really smooth and good.

                                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                                    One of the best things about shopping for food at Thanksgiving is that every supermarket no matter how dire has turnips and rutabagas and parsnips and sweet potatoes.

                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                      Tried to get parsnips this week and couldn't find them. I only wanted 1-2 but then I saw them and it was a hug bag like carrots. Very disappointed. I wish more things didn't come packages.

                                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                                        The two of us can put away a big bag of parsnips in one or two meals. They're fantastic roasted. One of my favorite vegetables.

                                                              3. My mom was a wonderful cook who occasionally used boxed ingredients for short cuts. I think if you learned to cook in the 50's, doing such was ingrained in your psyche. She always used Stove Top at Thanksgiving… but she doctored it up to such a degree you would never know. She would sauté onions, celery and green peppers in butter while making the stove top (with chicken broth, not water), then combine the mirepoix and the stuffing with other ingredients. We were cajun so she often would add shrimp, crabmeat, spices, cheese and a little cream, then put it all in 9 x 13 casseroles and bake it. Another version had Jimmy Dean sausage and additional spices. While I make mine now from scratch, her stuffings were always a big hit and no one ever knew she started with Stove Top.

                                                                1. I'm intrigued by the posts I'm seeing about it being too salty. I definitely did not have that reaction, and his parents (who often give me crap about salting my eggs) didn't either. Interesting! Do you guys know what variety you used that was so salty?

                                                                  1. When feeding the ravenous hordes, Stove Top is the go to. Any cook always has a fall back and this works for me when it comes to stuffing. My favorites are chestnut, oyster, and corn bread with pecans. But they have all been met with less than acclimation by the an appreciable percentage.

                                                                    So you can feed them what they want, and receive the plaudits, or educate their palates and get stuck cleaning up the next year.

                                                                    1. I don't know anyone personally that hasn't eaten homemade stuffing or dressing. I grew up on homemade, although I do not like my moms at all. Everyone I know makes homemade.

                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                                        Including homemade bread cubes? I've made homemade 100% from scratch including the bread and wasn't happy with the results actually so I invested my time in other aspects of the holiday menu instead.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          I make mine with homemade French bread, but mine is a rustic, looser style, where the bread cubes are supposed to remain distinct from one another. I can see how homemade bread might not work well if you're going for a more traditional, squished-together style.

                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                            And making bread from scratch only to let it go stale in order to hold up to a liquid (turkey broth) seemed like an incredible waste of limited holiday prep time. I make chestnut stuffing and cornbread stuffing now. But my cousin will bring the bread stuffing and she uses either French or rye.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              A few times I bought rustic artisan breads that I cut into largish cubes and let stale... but husband's family really likes their way, which was based on white bread. I mean, they love anything, but really missed his grandmother's stuffing which seems to have been onions, celery and a ton of Bell's seasoning with butter. So be it; I love giving the people what they want for a holiday meal.

                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                Me too. I love holiday entertaining. And whatever the family wants that I don't get around to making they are free to bring with them. It's a long beautiful day & night get together.

                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                No, no, most folks I know save stale bread they've made in the freezer for the stuffing, if they're going to go that far.

                                                                                1. re: lemons

                                                                                  Yeah, that's what I thought. Just wondered what other CH's did.

                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                  I don't find it that time-consuming - I often make it weeks ahead and freeze, or just make it the weekend before so it gets extra stale. I have used store-bought, rustic artisan breads and used those before, but I didn't like the texture as much as I do my own. Also, I can make as much as I need for pennies, whereas the store-bought loaves cost a fortune!

                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    I know this is a preference but I don't freeze freshly made bread; bakery or homemade. I'd let it get stale on the kitchen counter for stuffing though and since another member of my family now brings the bread stuffing, I don't need to. When I do bake bread I bake what I need until I need to do so again. I really adore bread baking.

                                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I don't have limited prep time. I stay home. And yes I make the bread products from scratch, cube and toast/dry it for my dressing.

                                                                                    I make my cranberry sauce from scratch too and I can't remember the last time one of those ocean spray cans was served on my holiday table. I like my homemade stuff better.

                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                      I make two scratch cranberry sauces. But I have to buy the sliced crud that is neither sauce nor berry, too, for those who grew up loving it and crave it still.

                                                                                  3. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    Yes I hate mush dressing, and I don't buy bread cubes for mine.

                                                                                3. re: rasputina

                                                                                  My mom's stuffing was a brown rice/wild rice stuffing and that was always made from scratch. That's the one that I always make. I always preferred it to my relative's mushy bread stuffing. I like bread stuffing, but don't usually make it for Thanksgiving unless we're hosting because it isn't part of my own TG tradition and we have limited kitchen space. When I do I make it from whatever bread we have available to get stale. But I usually do keep a box or two or StoveTop around for TG in case it turns out that a guest would like it - it only takes a few minutes to make, after all. I like the ST cornbread one the best. Also this thread reminds me I need to go out and make sure I have a bag of gluten-free stuffing mix too in case I need it.

                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                    I am one that has never eaten homemade stuffing/dressing. We don't eat a traditional American Thanksgiving or Christmas. And I have never been serve either or do I order it when I go out if I see it. Never really been tempted to even try it.

                                                                                  2. I've made StoveTop as a side for roasted chicken or pork chops but I wouldn't serve it on Thanksgiving. I'm going to make my own for the holiday.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                      Same story here. I don't think StoveTop is terrible if doctored with sauteed onion and celery, plus fresh herbs. Quick week night side a couple times a year.

                                                                                      Thanksgiving, definitely homemade.

                                                                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                        Same thing. My husband likes stuffing, but I'm not a fan, even after trying multiple versions. I make homemade for Thanksgiving, but a few times a year I'll make a box of Stovetop as a side for him - though I do use real butter, chicken or turkey broth, and fresh onion.

                                                                                      2. I've never had it myself but my husband claims it's good. Of course, he hasn't eaten it in probably 20 years, so I blame faulty memory and nostalgia.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                          I haven't had it for years, but I remember liking it. I think they come in "flavors" and I had chicken flavor. I always pick chicken flavored junk food. I like chicken flavored top ramen too...and chicken canned soups. I think I just like the way the MSG works with chicken flavor, lol.

                                                                                        2. The only problem I have with any processed food issue, is when some people don't consider it "junk food" and act accordingly.

                                                                                          I can appreciate junk food for what it is. I wouldn't serve it at a holiday centered around food though. Maybe for a nice "trash food night" once in a while. That is what boxed stuffing, boxed Mac and cheese, top ramen, Campbell's soups, etc. are meant for at my house :)

                                                                                          1. I haven't had Stovetop in a long time, but I remember liking it as a kid and sometimes making it for myself as a snack. And I was someone who also enjoyed my mother's homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving.

                                                                                            1. I bought stove top once. I don't get it.
                                                                                              However, my family always used the Pepperidge Farm seasoned or cornbread bags as the bases for our stuffings.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                Does the PF brand include salt and other additives to the bag? I've never bought it.

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  http://www.foodfacts.com/NutritionFac...

                                                                                                  They didn't list ingredients on the PF site.

                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                    There are different versions. One is the cubed bread only, others come with seasonings. The one without seasonings is a good compromise for us cause my family prefers that texture, but I get to play with the flavorings

                                                                                                    1. re: autumm

                                                                                                      Thanks mcf & autumn.

                                                                                                  2. re: melpy

                                                                                                    I usually use a little of the PF as a base, in the bottom of the big "Thats A Bowl" that I mix the stuffing in.

                                                                                                    It helps catch the excess liquid, much better than my cubed toasted french bread (or corn bread, when I use that).

                                                                                                    Usually there are two full That's A Bowls of stuffing (ok, dressing) , most often one with oysters and one without. It is especially important to get every last drop of the oyster juices into the stuffing.

                                                                                                    However this year I picked up some of the cubes from Whole Foods, and I will smash those to use at the bottom of the bowl. (I didnt look but I assumed the WF variety didn't have all the nasty stuff that the PF does)

                                                                                                  3. As far as the directions to use 53% vegetable oil spread, that is probably strictly for their Nutrition info to look as low fat as possible?
                                                                                                    We used to doctor up Turkey flavor Stove Top for Thanksgiving, but not for the past 15 years or so, since I discovered making my own broth/stock and using fresh herbs, etc. The stuffing takes more effort than the turkey now , but it is worth it.

                                                                                                    1. my ex loves stovetop stuffing and instant mashed potatoes and minute rice.................

                                                                                                      ex being the operative word...................

                                                                                                      1. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                        Okay my sister just emailed me a holiday hint-hint link off of Serious Eats. Now this is my kind of repurposed leftover!

                                                                                                        1. Does anyone add apple to their stuffing?

                                                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            I have, in the past. It was a cornbread stuffing, with sage sausage, onions, celery, apple, herbs and stock. And lots of melted butter. I can't remember what kind of apple....maybe a Granny Smith.

                                                                                                            1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                              The idea being that it has moisture? sweetness? both?

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                I think both, HillJ. I must have read the recipe somewhere, because I'm pretty sure I never would have thought of it myself!

                                                                                                                1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                                  If you don't mind, I might learn something in the process. I'm having a 'hard' time understanding why diced apple would make a bit of difference w/all of the other ingredients going on...

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    Here's a link to a Martha Stewart recipe; that may be where I got the recipe originally!

                                                                                                                    http://www.marthastewart.com/349068/c...

                                                                                                                    I'm pretty sure I used yellow onions, and I know I didn't use the dried cranberries.

                                                                                                                    1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                                      Thank you, I really appreciate the link. I'm going to try a mini batch one night next week and see if I like it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                        You're very welcome. After scrolling further down my googling, I found where I originally got the recipe; it was the Silver Palate Cookbook.

                                                                                                                        Here's a link:

                                                                                                                        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                        Enjoy! And let us know what you think of your test.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                                          Excellent, now I have two sources for reference, much appreciated kcsh!

                                                                                                                          1. re: kcshigekawa

                                                                                                                            I've made that Silver Palate version for probably 20 years. THAT'S Thanksgiving to me!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Liz K

                                                                                                                              I need to get that back out and re-look at it. That was a great cookbook. Thank you for reminding me that I have it!

                                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                        Hill: A long time ago some people I knew made a "stuffing" that was all fruit and vegetable; apples, orange segments, carrots, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, green onion, spinach, grapes and in the very center a whole lemon that had been pierced several times with a knife. No bread/starch at all. It was really tasty (kind of a surprise) and whether it was because of the stuffing or just because they are both good cooks, the bird was very moist and flavorful.

                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                          Wow, I've never heard of such a combination and still called stuffing. That's a very interesting lineup of flavors.

                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                            I have had stuffings like this made for fatty birds like duck and goose. Interesting to do it for turkey.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                              Is there a formal name for this fruit/vegetable stuffing?

                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                Probably, but I don't know what it is. All the older recipes I've ever seen for duck and goose involve fruit/vegetable stuffing. Bread stuffings are kind of a mistake in this case IMO - they absorb way too much fat and are pretty disgusting, plus obviously you waste the wonderful useful fat on the inedible stuffing.
                                                                                                                                But that's not true for turkey, which I why I think it's an interesting way to do it, and one that hadn't occurred to me frankly.

                                                                                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                              This was an immigrant family, have no idea where the idea came from, they swore they didn't use a recipe, just overheard people talking about what to put in stuffing. Presumably who ever it was they overheard just 'omitted' the obvious bread portion. Two years later they were very proud to serve the aforementioned Stovetop - I guess it came along with their green cards, real American food for newly minted Americans.

                                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      Yes. Our stuffing recipe has granny smith apples in it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                        Granny Smith apples appear to be the favorite variety for stuffing. I went shopping this morning and picked up ingredients to test out the stuffing and the rutabaga. I'm really looking forward to trying something new to my T-day menu.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Granny Smiths are my favorite apples- so sweet, tart, crisp, everything an apple should be. But I like either dried tart cherries in my dressing, or cranberries, with or without chestnuts. I'm open to a lot of little tasty bites in my dressing, within reason. And by reason I mean something that appeals to me. Hey- it's my dressing...

                                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                        Yes, I do for apple cornbread stuffing (Pepperidge Farm). I also add slivered almonds that have been sauteed in butter and a pinch of cinnamon. Typically this stuffing is served with pork crown roast but I have been using it with the turkey because my in-laws are picky and they like apples more than mushrooms.

                                                                                                                      3. I consider myself to be a Chowhound, but I like Stovetop stuffing. (shrug)

                                                                                                                        I'm not a fan of the dried out stuffings that many people make. I prefer a moister stuffing, and Stovetop fits the bill. I do make my own homemade stuffing on Thanksgiving, but for other times of the year, I'll buy a box of Stovetop to make as a side for fried pork chops or something. I've even used it as a base for stuffing mushrooms before (last minute appetizer needed).

                                                                                                                        Some people seem to be under the impression that if you are a Chowhound, you are forbidden from using any sort of prepackaged or canned foods. I don't think that's the case at all. I think a Chowhound is someone who appreciates and enjoys good food, regardless of whether it is 100% homemade, organic, free from HFCS, etc. I like to eat at high end restaurants, but I also like to indulge in an In and Out burger and tacos from the taco truck down the street sometimes. Doesn't make me less of a Chowhound.

                                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                          I doubt that anyone thinks that about eating pre packaged stuff as a rule, though we vary in how often or regularly we do it, from person to person.

                                                                                                                          I think most folks probably don't think of Thanksgiving as the day to use it. We're here because most of us are passionate about cooking as well as eating, and T day is the ultimate home cooking holiday, IMO, anyhoo.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                            bah humbug.
                                                                                                                            i hate turkey,and I'm skipping thanksgiving.
                                                                                                                            *nods*
                                                                                                                            ...oh, maybe i'll make some pizza.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              "..most folks probably don't think of Thanksgiving as the day to use it.."

                                                                                                                              Or is it the perfect day to use it? T-day is as much about tradition as it is food. Maybe Stovetop is what they grew up with, and prefer it for nostalgia. I personally don't feel like it's Thanksgiving unless the cranberry sauce comes out can-shaped with a "shhhhhlllllp" noise. I don't eat it any other time of the year, but it's a must in late November. To each their own.

                                                                                                                              1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                I completely agree, about both. But I was answering a point that I thought painted a negative view of the flexibility of CHers on the point.

                                                                                                                                Not everyone has the time, skill, money or desire to put on a big, expensive or time consuming dinner. For those folks, using convenience foods may make the difference between having a holiday celebration or not having it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  Fair enough. :)
                                                                                                                                  I'd also rather use canned cranberry sauce and spend more time with the family than all day in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and washing dishes. To a certain extent anyway.

                                                                                                                                  Shhhhhhllllp.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                    Except that you can make a basic home-made cranberry sauce with 3 ingredients, in virtually no time and with few utensils. Our recipe:
                                                                                                                                    1. Gently boil cranberries, sugar & water in medium sauce pan, uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Actually, because my son & husband are T-1 diabetics, we use Splenda, added afterwards, in place of the sugar.)
                                                                                                                                    2. Remove from heat & mash with potato masher,
                                                                                                                                    3. Place cranberry mixture into container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

                                                                                                                                    Yes, you can make it more complex by adding orange zest or juice, straining the sauce to remove the skins, and otherwise jazzing it up with spices and flavorings, but it's not necessary.

                                                                                                                                    Total dirty dishes are: (a) the measuring cup for the water & sugar (measure sugar 1st); (b) the sauce pan; (c) the potato masher; and (c) one spoon.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                      But it doesn't go Shhhhhhhlllp, nor does it have the imprint on the end. Grin.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                        As others have said, it depends on what you grew up with. My mother and MIL always made home-made so my husband & I think of that as what belongs on our T-giving table. Indeed, one of the nicest gifts my MIL gave me was the serving dish that her mother (my husband's grandmother) always used for cranberry sauce on T-giving.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                        I still like the can-shaped stuff. It reminds of me of childhood, my grandparents house, etc. Sure, I've made home-made cranberry sauce before, and it's fine - but I just gotta have it old school. Shhhhhhhllllp.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                          It lasts forever. I have some from a while ago. Still good!

                                                                                                                                          I would make this way ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                            That's the classic recipe- I'm glad that there's a sugar-free version. I use my stash of vanilla sugar (big canister of sugar that I put a vanilla bean in whenever i find one, been doing that for 25+ years), and my two variations are minced jalapenos and raspberries. Getting tired of the raspberries, though. Jalapenos are a really great addition to the sweet-tart thing.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                            It doesn't take all day to make cranberry sauce. I've made both cooked and raw. The raw is actually our favorite and takes all of maybe 10 minutes to make. In fact it needs to be made ahead so the flavors can meld, so I always make it 1-3 days before TG.

                                                                                                                                            I use this recipe from Bon Appetit for the raw one.

                                                                                                                                            http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cran...

                                                                                                                                          3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            I personally was referring to the OP's comments about how "horrified" she was about the Stovetop, how "gross" it was that it asked for vegetable spread instead of butter, how she "certainly didn't buy it", etc. The OP came across as being disgusted that people actually buy and like Stovetop. Not only do many chowhounds buy and use convenience foods, but many of them enjoy them!

                                                                                                                                            Like NonnieMuss said, Thanksgiving can be a perfect day to use convenience foods, not only for nostalgia reasons, but also for the convenience factor -- if you've got 30 people coming for T-Day dinner, and 90% of them like "average" food, you can take a shortcut and make a few boxes of Stovetop in 10 minutes and call it a day, instead of spending 2 hours preparing and baking homemade stuffing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                              Oh, no no no. I was only grossed out by the 53% veg spread nonsense. I certainly wasn't judging those who use it. I just meant that I didn't buy it, so I'm not sure where it even came from!

                                                                                                                                              I use Rice-a-roni, for God's sake. I'm not about to cast judgement on someone for using a convenience product. I was more commenting on Kraft's slogan and wondering just how many people are actually using their product for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                              I'm sorry if I came across as being snarky.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                I'd use it. then again, I don't like turkey.
                                                                                                                                                I always put butter in the Stovetop stuffing
                                                                                                                                                mostly because it was what we had around.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                  I'm pretty sure the answer way above explains the 53% spread, its the only way to get the calories to be as listed. No doubt something insisted on by the legal department.

                                                                                                                                                  I had a friend who was mystified that he wasn't loosing weight on the 'subway' diet. He ate all the recommended sandwiches in the recommended length (6"). For whatever reason it eluded him that asking for extra cheese, extra mayo, and olive oil on the sandwich invalidated the diet. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                    Huh! I can't imagine why that stuff would make a difference. :p And even when I asked for "a little oil", they always put a pretty good amount on there. Easily a diet buster.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                  I didn't read it that way... In context of the subject title, I find it objectionable, as if it's the absolute necessary and essential form of holiday stuffing, nothing else will do.

                                                                                                                                                  In the context of other people's lives, I don't find it gross or offensive.

                                                                                                                                        2. When faced with such instructions, I disregard and use butter. Sometimes, I double the amount.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                            Oh, I definitely used butter. I was just kind of grossed out that they didn't even say "margarine". I guess they get points for honesty, though!

                                                                                                                                          2. Moot point now that I'm gluten-free, but hell yeah I loved me some Stove Top, to the point where occasionally I still get cravings for the mushroom flavor. Though I used butter or Earth Balance, whatever I have in the house.

                                                                                                                                            I've had homemade stuffing. I used to make homemade stuffing for Thanksgiving and sometimes Easter, depending on what I was making for Easter. I make one hell of a fine homemade stuffing. But stuffing is only as good as the maker of it, too. I've also had homemade stuffing made by others that has been too dry or too mushy or too bland or too full of other stuff that I no longer consider it stuffing (I'm celery stuffing purist...so bread left out to dry overnight, lots of celery and onion, sage, more sage, and then just when you think you've put in enough sage put in some more, thyme, chicken stock, butter, and poultry seasoning - maybe one addition might be ok with me, but when you start throwing in rice and sausage and dried fruit and shredded carrots and apples and nuts or maybe oysters we're sort of trumping flavors and muddying them up a bit and it starts heading into savory bread pudding territory.

                                                                                                                                            So homemade doesn't necessarily trump Stove Top for me. Every cornbread stuffing I've had has been bordering on mushy and gritty. I'll take a box of stove top over that any day and back when I still ate it I routinely used Stove Top the other 364 days of the year to serve along pork chops or baked chicken.

                                                                                                                                            1. In my house growing up, we used Pepperidge Farms cubed stuffing. When I struck out on my own I added a Pepperidge Farms cornbread stuffing bag to the cubed. Then I began to add dried cherries or cranberries, or chestnuts, or something else that sounded good, and I really get into it. I've since been to other relatives' houses, and you know what? Their dressings/stuffings were all good. MIL's was Mrs Cubbisons, no doubt following the recipe on the box, I loved it. J&A have made their own several times, and it was always great. Maybe I'm not too particular when it comes to dressing, I've been blessed with tasty options, I guess. I've never had StoveTop, BTW, so I don't know what it's like.

                                                                                                                                              1. There's nothing at all wrong with it, especially if you fix it up a bit. I made scratch stuffing/dressing for many years and finally gave up. Now I do a hybrid of boxed mixes and fresh ingredients -- years before Sandra Lee was doing it -- and people say it's the best they've ever had and they never believe me when I tell them how I did it.

                                                                                                                                                Here we show you how:

                                                                                                                                                http://youtu.be/HiA2_Xe4j-E

                                                                                                                                                http://youtu.be/CNyNjk-C5bE

                                                                                                                                                Sure, it's got some chemically stuff in it, and if you don't like that kind of thing, you shouldn't use it. But mostly it's the same stuff you'd put in it if you made it from scratch, only dehydrated.

                                                                                                                                                So to answer your questions, Yes, Yes I'm sure many have and found it horrible, and absolutely.

                                                                                                                                                1. You'll get no sympathy from me!

                                                                                                                                                  Before there was Stove Top Stuffing there were Royal Lunch Milk Crackers. And since they have been discontinued my in laws have searched near and far for a substitution for there trifecta of holiday stuffing.

                                                                                                                                                  They demand all three versions, and any other stuffing goes untouched.

                                                                                                                                                  1 box milk crackers crushed and softened with steamed milk or hot water
                                                                                                                                                  1 stick butter
                                                                                                                                                  1 onion finely chopped
                                                                                                                                                  1 egg

                                                                                                                                                  Version one - in the bird that comes out like a moist porridge
                                                                                                                                                  Version two - casserole with crisp out side and soft center
                                                                                                                                                  Version three - fried in more butter like little latkes for a pre dinner snack

                                                                                                                                                  MUST have all three versions!!!

                                                                                                                                                  Don't even get me started on a root vegetable mash!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Not Stovetop, but Pepperidge Farm (croutons only!) *is* traditional in my family. With butter, onions, celery and Swanson Chicken Broth.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                      Mine too, or sometimes mrs. Cubbins, or another dried cornbread dressing. I prefer the commercially dried cornbread dressing to homemade dried out cornbread. The end product has a preferred texture.

                                                                                                                                                      I made 2 pans of really expensive homemade cornbread one year for dressing. It sucked. Took a day of getting stale and time in the oven to dry it. I couldn't get it dry enough so it would absorb the right way. It was too moist and tasted too "corny".. I went back to commercially dried breads.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                        I'm with you both.
                                                                                                                                                        Mom used the PF crouton stuffing and added chopped celery, onion, and sweet Italian sausage--all cooked down together with in salted butter with a dab of bacon drippings.
                                                                                                                                                        I liked the stuffing way more than the turkey.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Growing up in my house meant T'Day at Grandma's (mom never, ever cooked) and that meant plenty o' Stove Top on the table. Nowadays, I make my own stuffing,but honestly, maybe once a year I sneak a box of StoveTop if I'm just feeding myself for meal as a guilty retro treat.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I've made stuffing from scratch baking my own cornbread or yeast bread. I've used boxed mixes - Stovetop, Mrs Cubbison, Pepperidge Farms, local bakeries... etc.

                                                                                                                                                          To be honest, when all the herbs, spices, mirepoix and seasoned meats are added you really can't tell what the original base was.

                                                                                                                                                          I've started using boxed stuffing/croutons for convenience.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                            I know it is shocking, but an unimaginable number of people eat it with only water and butter added. Not that I would ever do such a thing at 2 in the morning when there isn't anything else starchy and filling in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Does anyone make wild rice or a rice side instead of bread stuffing? Lots of rice box mixes vs homemade there too.

                                                                                                                                                            I made the rutabaga last night just roasted with grey salt and olive oil and forked mashed it a bit. LOVED IT!

                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                              every year a wild rice dressing based on my aunt's recipe, basically wild rice and pork sausage with a cream sauce and herbs. thyme, rosemary, sage, and marjoram i think. some years I add mushrooms, some years water chestnuts, some years both, some years neither.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                Yeah that's right up my alley! I really need to rethink my T-day sides a bit. I'm getting very won over on this thread!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                Yes, that's my mom's stuffing. Brown and wild rice, onions, sage, scallions, pecans, walnuts, currants. THAT is Thanksgiving to me. Terrific used to stuff acorn squash, also - when I was a vegetarian I often made that as one of the mains.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh stuffed in acorn squash sounds like a wonderful T day leftover main. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                  So glad you liked the 'bagas, HillJ. I've never roasted them. We typically cut them up in chunks and boil. Will have to try roasted some time.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks to you and others for the inspiration. I roasted the rest with carrots earlier today and liked the combination even more. This time, I tossed both in olive oil and a dash of yellow curry paste.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                    You just gave me a great idea- I think i'm going to make wild rice for thanksgiving

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                      I never have before, but I'm planning to make a farro (wheatberry, actually), caramelized onion, and wild mushroom stuffing this year, in addition to the old standby. I have high hopes!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                        Great choice. We enjoy farro on a regular basis. With the onion and mushroom delicious. So many choices!!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. My traditional dressing is cornbread and sausage with butter and white vermouth, Preferably Noilly Prat.