This week I was given the opportunity to read a series of thoughts by ‘Nurse Nancy’, at Silver Dollar City. The theme for November was putting ourselves into an active state of gratitude. Since this is Thanksgiving week, and my favorite holiday, I wanted to share just a few perspectives.
Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings, being thankful for a good harvest, health, jobs, homes, family and friends. Gratitude (in my opinion) is the attitude, and blessings are the outcome, of a heart full of thanksgiving. There are so many blessings in store for us each day. Having a heart full of gratitude that is reflected through our hearts and mouths will provide meaningful health and a lifetime of happiness.
There are so many clichés about life I.E. ‘What you get out of it depends upon what you put in.’ All of these quotes and sayings return us to gratitude. If you have any doubt in this subject, and you think I’m too wrapped up in being positive, try this experiment: Every time something good happens, no matter how small, rejoice and say ‘thank you’. Someone opens a door for you, they greet you with: ‘good morning’. Not only respond, but have a grateful heart. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to contain all the blessings that are flowing your direction. Whether we approach the subject from a psychological viewpoint or that of a more Biblical foundation, the end result equals ‘blessings’.
Dressings and Thanksgiving Dinner, hm…just how am I supposed to connect gratitude and blessings into the recipe of the week? During this season I am grateful for the cooking foundation provided by my mother, Betty, my grandmother, Lucy, and my friend & mentor, Sharon. The Thanksgiving table just wouldn’t be complete without at least one version of stuffing/dressing. How about this: ‘Gratitude is the mental dressing that creates abundant blessings.’
As I have reminded my readers over the years, stuffing and dressing are the same dish. It doesn’t matter if you stuff it inside the bird, or bake it in a dish, they are one and the same. The first name given to this dish was stuffing. During the Victorian era they felt the word was despicable and they changed it to dressing.
Dressing is delicious with turkey, chicken, pork and ham dishes. You just get creative with the ingredients and approach. A very economical dish even in present times. As you read through the recipe you will find various suggestions on how to change the dish. I have also been experimenting with quinoa dressings and/or stuffing. You might give it a go if the carbs are too heavy in your holiday dinner.
The subject at work is always: ‘What are you having for Thanksgiving Dinner?’
Well, let’s see, so far I have the following planned: Turkey, ham, gravy, whole wheat rolls, cranberries, Orange winter green salad, (from last week) mashed potatoes, dressing, homemade noodles and a couple of vegies. Pumpkin Pie and Oatmeal Pecan Pie. My biggest suggestion is eat slowly and take small portions, yeah right!
Thank you readers for allowing me to share my recipes and thoughts with you each week. I am so very blessed! Happy Thanksgiving-
The Covered Dish
1 stick of butter, divided
1 medium to large onion, diced to your desired size
3-4 stalks celery, diced as desired
18-20 slices dried bread, broken into cubes
18 ounces chicken stock or broth, warm (amount may vary)
2-3 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, taste, add as desired
Options: Apples, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, mushrooms. Saltines, cornbread, peppers, cooked sausage, diced turkey or giblets.
For a cornbread dressing mix pull back on the bread by 4-6 slices and use an 8 x8 pan of crumbled cornbread.
If you desire saltines add one crushed sleeve and pull back on the bread by about 4 slices.
1-2 days ahead of serving, break the bread into cubes, place it on a jelly roll pan and allow it to dry. Sauté’ the onion and celery in 2-3 tablespoons of butter until tender. Gather a large mixing bowl and begin placing the celery, onion, bread, and sage together. Slowly begin to add the warm stock over the mixture blending. Pour, mix, and pour again, until everything is well blended. Always have additional stock ready in the event that it takes a bit more than what is noted on the recipe. Add salt and pepper, stir, and sample a spoonful. If the sage, and salt and pepper aren’t up to your perfection add additional amounts. Pour the dressing into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven until it is brown around the edges and the center is firm. This can run from 45 minutes to an hour. Just before baking you can slice the remaining butter over the top of the dressing, or you may leave it out entirely, if desired.
Every region, state, and family prepares dressings differently. For many using a recipe for dressing is just not done!