I have tried other recipes for stuffings and dressings that were delicious, but for the holidays, I want the comforting and delicious flavor and aroma of Mom's. It's just not the same without it. We grow our own herbs, so I've added a small amount only because they were available. They enhance the flavor and aroma very subtly, but may be omitted.
1*Note: Cooking time does not include final bake time. Stuffing, which has visited the inside of a bird, MUST ALWAYS be removed from the bird and placed back in the oven until it reaches 165ºF. DO NOT stuff a bird until ready to roast. All ingredients followed by this symbol (+) are my additions and were not used by Mom.
2Pour herb stuffing mix into a mixing bowl; set aside.
3Melt butter, over medium heat, in a medium-large skillet or sauté pan.
4Add onions and celery; sauté (stir frequently) until vegetables begin to soften and become slightly translucent (about 5 minutes.)
5Stir in fresh sage, parsley, salt and pepper; sauté another minute; remove from heat.
6Add sautéed vegetables to stuffing mix.
7Add broth; mix together lightly.
8At this point, you MAKE A CHOICE:
(a.) STUFF a bird, one of two ways (see *NOTE.)
#1. Spoon stuffing into prepared cavity of bird and roast your bird as usual. As soon as roasted bird is removed from oven, use a long handled spoon to scoop the stuffing from the cavity and into a buttered casserole dish or pan. Place stuffing in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer, inserted at various points in the stuffing, consistently reads 165ºF.
#2. Use a cheesecloth "stuffing sock" or make your own by lining a mixing bowl with a double layer of 1 1/2 ft. square cheesecloth. Spray cheese cloth with cooking oil spray or brush with melted butter. Spoon hot dressing into cheesecloth; pull up ends of cheesecloth and tie with butchers string, leaving some "wiggle room" for the stuffing, if possible. Push wrapped stuffing into cavity of bird and roast as usual. When bird is finished roasting, remove the bag from cavity immediately. Open bag, scrape stuffing into buttered pan and bake at 350ºF 20 minutes or until meat thermometer, inserted in stuffing in several spots, consistently reaches 165ºF.
(b.) Place in a lightly buttered 8"x8" pan (or 9"x13" if doubling recipe.) Bake at 350ºF for 1/2 hr.
(c.) Place small, palm sized mounds or balls on a lightly buttered, or parchment paper lined, cookie sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 1/2 hour.
(d.) Place in buttered muffin tins (or use cupcake liners.) Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
9Serve as soon as possible. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of removing from oven.