Janet's Notebook
The Great Stuffing Debate: Where Everyone Is A Winner!

Thanksgiving Stuffing From Robyn Bruce

Do you use cornbread or white bread? Is it called stuffing or dressing? Ah yes, it's that time of year again! This delicious debate is making waves in kitchens all across the country and we just love hearing what you folks have to say!

The gals in the Kitchen Crew recently mixed things up a bit with a poll on the Just A Pinch Facebook page. We asked you about your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, and the results were overwhelming... You love STUFFING! In fact, much to our amusement we received more than twice the number of votes for 'stuffing/dressing" than for "time spent with family."

So what does this tell us? Stuffing is serious business and everyone has THE best secret recipe! And let me tell you, we sure are grateful that you fine cooks have been sharing your secrets to stuffing success with us here on the Club.

In fact, longtime Club member Judy Sprague won one of her first Blue Ribbons for her family’s recipe for Cornbread Dressing. "This is a tradition at our Thanksgiving Dinner each year," says the Florence, KY cook. "Nothing like old traditional Southern cornbread dressing to complete the meal!"

Indeed, Judy's family recipe has become quite a hit with folks far and wide! Karen Etchison of Hohenwald, TN had this to say about Judy's dressing: "I have never been able to make cornbread dressing like my Mom. I tried this recipe on Christmas Eve [last] year and it is a keeper! Finally something that I could say was a close second to Mom's." Around here, that's about as high of praise as anyone could hope for!

Now, while some of our roots are firmly planted in traditions of cornbread dressing, an equal number are definitely on Team White Bread! My own mother made her magical Thanksgiving stuffing by using bread cubes, and she is clearly not alone. Home cook Robyn Bruce of Middletown, PA grew up looking forward to her mother's bread stuffing. "My mom is 91 years old now, but through the years - when I was a kid - the best thing about Thanksgiving was the stuffing. Hers was the best I ever ate. When I got married and started my own family, I made sure I had this recipe in my recipe box. I've used it all my life."

And what makes this stuffing recipe so good? Well, aside from the tender loving care goes into each batch, this stuffing recipe boasts classic flavors and a few unexpected surprises. Oregano, poultry seasoning, onion and celery mingle with green onion and garlic to create big bursts of flavor. Robyn recommends using a combination of homemade bread cubes and prepackaged stuffing mix for the perfect finished product, one that she describes as "loaded with flavor and completely delicious."

Now, for those who feel like taking a slight turn from the traditional, Karen Figgatt of Cross Lanes, WV is serving up her yummy Zucchini Dressing! Bound together by eggs and baking mix (instead of bread), Karen describes this fantastic dressing recipe as tasting "like the best stuffing ever!" Like Judy Sprague’s recipe, this dish is prepared completely outside of the bird. As a result, it is classified as “dressing” rather than “stuffing”. In every other respect, though, this terrific recipe really does have that same wonderful richness of classic stuffing. Oh, and it has the added bonus of a gooey topping of cheese! "[It's] just like regular bread stuffing," says Karen, "but is so moist and flavorful. It's a great way to use excess zucchini from the garden, or just freeze the grated zucchini and use for future enjoyment in this dish." Indeed, this recipe has been a big hit in the Test Kitchen and we look forward to making it a new tradition of our own.

So many of our fondest memories are linked back to the food we’ve shared with family and friends. Isn't it amazing how easily a well-made recipe can transport you back to those simpler days? We’re grateful for these special moments, and for each of you who have shared a part of your kitchen with us.

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Deborah Smith - Nov 28, 2011
@Kimmi ... thanks for that 'review' on the White Castle dressing! I'll probably make it soon ... my curiosity has gotten the best of me now! :)
bud locke - Nov 28, 2011
stuffing is in the bird dressing is a side dish bud
Kimmi Knippel (Sweet_Memories) - Nov 28, 2011
Yum Deborah that sounds great! Do you have that recipe posted?
Deborah Jean Schmidt - Nov 28, 2011
Looks like East TX has the vote! We only make cornbread dressin' (yes, IN the pan!) and ours has 1 lb bacon fried crispy; then onion, celery, bell peppers cooked down in drippings. Stir all that into crumbled cornbread that was already baked with sage, savory, thyme, etc. We add a little broth the moisten & re-bake until nicely browned on top. Smother in a rich brown gravy & it will make you want to slap your brother its so good!!
morgan kenal - Nov 28, 2011
Hi, Jan. You might try a toaster oven for the things you usually put in your oven. (REALLY nasty time to lose yours. I'm so sorry!) Or you could heat maybe ask a neighbor to cook it the day before and then heat it in your microvave. As for the sweet potatoes, have you ever tried the Candied Sweet Potatoes in the older Betty Crocker books? I cook mine the day before, peel them, cool them in the fridge. 10-15 min before serving, melt butter in frying pan, add brown sugar, drained crushed pineapple and a dash of salt. (If you like, add cinnamon and/or nutmeg and ginger). Cook & stir until bubbly & smooth. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch slices, nestle them into the pineapple sauce & heat through, turning often so they don't burn. Yum. Hope your oven gets 'better' soon.
Renee King - Nov 27, 2011
I will not compromise on the stuffing it has to cornbread
Renee King - Nov 27, 2011
I call it stuffing other family members call it dressing but my family likes the stuffing in the bird while others who share holidays with us have me make stovetop on the side
Sharon Carlson - Nov 27, 2011
The last of the left-over dressing went into the turkey soup last night! The bones and turkey scrappy pieces simmered for 2 days, Thursday night until Saturday afternoon when I added more chopped celery, onion, grated carrots, dressing, poultry seasoning, barley, 'Better Than Boullion'turkey base, and black pepper!Yummy!The soup is my favorite!! It freezes very nicely, too!!
Paul Bushay - Nov 27, 2011
Niether! I used the heals of the cracked wheat bread I buy for 50 cents a loaf at the Sara Lee Bakery Outlet store down the street. I save then in a paper bag in the freezer. Then when I get enough to make some dressing I'll take em out let em thaw, dry them out in the microwave, and do my thing! I make dressing all the time just because it's a change from potatoes
Jeannette Wilary - Nov 27, 2011
Kimmi Knippel (Sweet_Memories) - Nov 27, 2011
Polish Cabbage Stuffing? Sounds good Colleen....is that recipe posted?
Betty Bills - Nov 27, 2011
I love cornbread stuffing or dressing(from mother's recipe) but my family doesn't but someday I am going to make cornbread for me. I use white bread, sausage, onions, garlic, celery and green pepper and then rubbed sage, poultry seasoning, a little rosemary and bay leaves and chicken broth. I also make a rub of butter, sea salt, ground pepper and rosemary for my turkey along with sage and poultry seasoning.
Linda Stevens - Nov 27, 2011
I grew up in the North on old fashioned bread stuffing. My dad, who was once a chef taught me how to make my first batch of bread stuffing...yeah, that's right, the kind you stuff in the bird! But, after moving to Texas and marrying a Texas man, I am afraid bread stuffing in the bird would be grounds for divorce! LOL

So, I have now graduated to making these last 10 - 12 years cornbread dressing. His mama's recipe calls for cornbread and white biscuits and sometimes she puts chicken in it. My hubby prefers it without the chicken. I have gotten to where I like it even better than the stuffing I grew up on.

Now, this past Thanksgiving (just a few days ago), my step-son brought the dressing (and he had made it). I must get the recipe, because it had spicy sausage in it and was delicious! We are still eating the leftovers!

One year I made dressing with sausage and jalapenos in it - it was called Mexican Dressing. It was very good too.
Danielle Belford - Nov 27, 2011
I experienced Oyster stuffing while I lived in Maryland, and I loved it. It's no surprise that oyster adds so much flavor to the dish; oysters are so delicious!
Robin Martin - Nov 25, 2011
I live in MD, Here we make Oyster Cornbread stuffing! Cornbread, lots of onions cooked down till translucent! Apples, lots of sage & of course Chesapeake bay oysters! Yum!!