Dressing or Stuffing?

When I was young, I remember my sister saying that cornbread dressing was her favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Back then, I thought it was an unusual dish to pick as a favorite, but now I have a much greater appreciation for this beloved side dish and tend to agree that it is one of the best parts of the meal. Like many traditional recipes, cornbread dressing is a tribute to resourceful Southern cooks who created wonderful recipes with only the ingredients they had on hand. We love cornbread down here, so I guess it’s not surprising that we would add it to our dressing.

What does your family call this traditional dish – dressing or stuffing? They are basically the same thing, but in the South we usually bake it in a separate dish rather than stuffing the bread mixture in the bird – and call it dressing. I do not know exactly why we bake it in a pan, but my theory is that the bird just doesn’t hold enough to go around and we love that crisp buttery crust.

Dressing is a pretty simple dish. It is basically a seasoned mixture of crumbled cornbread and biscuits or white bread moistened with broth and baked. As easy as that seems, there are countless variations for such a simple dish.

Do you use white bread or biscuits with the cornbread? What about texture, seasonings and extra ingredients? Are onions, celery and sage your seasonings of choice? Do you ever add meat, fruit or nuts? If you want to add a special twist to your Thanksgiving dressing, try this recipe that I love.

Cornbread Sausage Dressing with Apples and Pecans

Ingredients

Southern Cornbread
Martha White “Hot Rize” Biscuits
Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped unpeeled Granny Smith apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth

Preparation Directions

1. PREPARED cornbread and biscuits as directed. Cool 15 minutes. Crumble enough cornbread to make 5 cups; crumble enough biscuits to make 5 cups. Set aside.
2. HEAT oven to 375°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish or pan with no-stick cooking spray. Cook sausage, onions and celery in large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. COMBINE sausage and vegetable mixture with crumbled cornbread and biscuits in large bowl; add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
4. BAKE 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Pecans: A Gift to Southern Cooks Do you say Puh-kahn or Pee-can?

For generations, the pecan groves that sweep across the South have provided cooks with a wonderful ingredient to use in their holiday baking. If you are lucky enough to have a tree (or a generous friend with one), all you need is a nutcracker to reveal the treasure within.

Of course, pecan pie is one of the most beloved holiday dessert recipes. Some bakers enjoy the whole creative process of making a pie from scratch. Others like to take a few shortcuts to get an equally delicious finished product.

For purists, a homemade pecan pie is a testament to the way simple ingredients come together to create a classic. The filling is easy to stir up, but depends on good pecans to give it distinction. I personally think it’s the slightly salty flaky homemade crust that perfectly complements the sweet filling and makes the whole pie delicious.

A unique alternative to a homemade pie, is a bar that reflects the attributes of the pie, but is simple to make and easy to serve or share. You will be amazed at the crust a chocolate chip muffin mix makes for these Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars

Whether you love to bake from scratch or prefer to take shortcuts, the recipients of your efforts will always appreciate the time and care you took to bake something special for them.

Martha White® Pecan Pie

Martha White Pecan Pie
Martha White Pecan Pie

Martha White® Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars 

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars