As we all know, the Holidays can be a wonderful time for family and friend reunions/ get-togethers, but can also be fraught with the stress of old family tensions, age old regressive behaviors, and the reminder that our lives are and never will be perfect (wow, that sounds depressing). But seriously, it is important that we take a moment to take a deep breathe, feel gratitude for all we have and from where we have come and face the holidays with a calm and positive attitude. By preparing ourselves mentally beforehand, and accepting that we have these feelings, the Holidays just may prove to be more enjoyable.
The Holidays can also cause our feelings about our cooking limitations to surface more than ever. We may have promised ourselves that we would make an effort this year to plan ahead, make that shopping list, learn how to make that cornbread stuffing, make and freeze the cornbread in advance, but no, here we are again, pressured almost at the last minute, possibly feeling deflated and discouraged.
Fear not! If you have not already made and frozen your cornbread for your stuffing, I, Alma Schneider of Take Back the Kitchen, am giving you permission to use a mix or buy it already prepared from Whole Foods (the cornbread, not the stuffing-I haven’t completely lost my integrity). I confess that I used to make Jiffy Cornbread from a box when I was in High School since it cost only 35 cents-you can’t beat that-and it was delicious. Your homemade would be better but we only have a week left and I don’t want you to get too overwhelmed considering you have a lot of other food to prepare-right? Also, the other flavors of the ingredients will somewhat mask the homemadeiness of the homemade cornbread anyway so feel free to go ahead and take a short cut.
In essence, if we prepare ourselves for life situations ( which include cooking), both mentally and practically, we may evolve and eventually be able to accomplish our goals in a calm and successful fashion. It just takes a few moments to plan ahead but it can make all the difference in the world.
My parting words: Our lives and our families may not be perfect, but our delicious cornbread stuffing may make up for it. Enjoy eating it AND making it!
Take back the Kitchen Cornbread Stuffing:
3 cups crumbled cornbread (buy it already made, from a mix, or make my maple jalapeno cornbread without the jalapenos and maple syrup that is already on the blog-make this in advance so you have less to do on the day you plan to make the stuffing. Either freeze it and defrost, or make it up to a couple of days before and keep in the fridge).
2-3 TBS butter
1/2 lb chopped mushrooms, very finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped onions
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-2 TBS finely chopped fresh sage or1 tsp dried sage
1 TBS finely chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
about one cup sliced, cooked sausage of your choice, I use Chicken sausage (optional since you may want to make it vegetarian but you can use veggie sausage too, if you want)
salt and pepper
In a large, heavy skillet, like a cast iron skillet, melt the butter. Add the onions, until they begin to get soft. Then, add the garlic, mushrooms,sage and thyme. Cook this mixture until all the liquid evaporates (mushrooms can be very watery). Add the parsley and stir.
Take the skillet off the heat and add eggs, sausage,cornbread crumbs, and pecans. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff this mixture in the turkey.
If you are not using the cornbread to stuff the turkey and want it separate, leave the skillet over the heat and cook the egg and cornbread mixture to make sure the eggs are not raw. Cook for at least 5-10 minutes or until the eggs cook or put in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!
P.S. The photo is a tender moment with husband and baby.