“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-time takes 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” Erma Bombeck, American humorist
I’ve been cooking a long time and I like to make things from scratch. So, for me, Thanksgiving has become a chance to pull out all the stops. But, when I was a young cook and it was just my husband and I, I used every shortcut in the book to bluff my way through the holidays.
One of my favorites — which I used just last night — was this heavily doctored version of boxed stuffing. I add so much fruit and veg that the calorie count is seriously reduced at the same time the taste is being seriously enhanced.
So, if you are facing higher cooking expectations than you have experience this Thanksgiving, don’t despair. This recipe is one of many holiday hacks out there. And, pssst, it is likely that no one will know you didn’t start by growing your own sage and making your own bread to grow stale in a basket that you wove from reeds gathered from your backyard stream… 😉
Fancied-up Box Stuffing
Start with a box of stuffing mix. (There are many varieties to choose from, including ones that are vegetarian and/or gluten free. You pick.) Prepare the mix according to box directions. Set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, combine two coarsely chopped apples (peel on), a 1/2 cup of finely minced onion and two ribs of thinly sliced celery. Saute in 1 Tablespoon olive oil about seven minutes or until just fork tender.
Combine fruit and veggies with prepared stuffing. Add one cup black or golden raisins (or a mix if you’re really fancy). Gently stir.
If you are eating this right away, put in a microwavable serving dish and re-heat for no more than a couple of minutes before serving. If you are serving later (this recipe improves with a day or so of age), cool and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Re-heat before serving in a low-temp oven (covered with foil) or in microwave (covered with a paper towel).
This recipe serves 4-6. When doubled — which it does well — it will fill a 9- by 13-inch dish.