Thanksgiving Dressings

A collection of recipes from family, friends, and my personal library.

Leftover Breads Dressing

  • 6-8 cups cubed breads – Any and all leftover breads or fresh bread you just bought. The heels of store bought loaves, stale cornbread or biscuits. Last year I made this with leftover cornbread, biscuits, and baguettes we had saved and frozen from a dinner party. This recipe can be made with any kind or combination of breads!
  • 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (depending on how moist you like your dressing)
  • 1 purple onion – chopped
  • 1 sweet apple – Honeycrisp is my jam – chopped
  • 1 lemon – zested and juiced
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped
  • 1 stalk fennel – chopped (the white and lightest green parts)
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Prepare all ingredients. Tear your bread, chop the vegetables, zest and juice your lemon. In a skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, and fennel until translucent. Add the apple, zest and juice of the lemon, and the garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes and then allow to cool.

In a LARGE bowl, the biggest one your have, toss your breads and veggie/fruit mixture until well combined, seasoning with salt and peppers every few turns. You want to make sure you have an even coating of seasoning.

Transfer the bread mixture to an oven safe pan. Drizzle a cup of stock at a time. You want to moisten every bit of the dish, without drowning it. I prefer the middle ground on dressing. Not dry, but not dripping. Depending on how fresh your breads are to start with, you may need more or less liquid.

Bake at 350, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover and broil for 5 minutes until crispy on the top!


Aunt Kim’s Chicken & Dressing

by Kim Meeks

My Aunt Kim has been making this recipe at family reunions and camp outs for years. It is always delicious and perfect for feeding a crowd…and our family is a crowd. I know a few people hitting the woods this Thanksgiving and I cannot recommend this dish enough!

What really happens…

A day or so before you plan to make dressing, cover the carcass of a roast chicken, or a family sized package of chicken legs, with water and simmer until the meat falls off the bone easily.  Cool. Pick the meat off the bones, feed the cartilage to the dogs and throw the sharp bones into the woods.  Save the broth and meat.  

Bake a double batch of Butter Dip Biscuits the next morning, making them thin because the color from the crust is what you want.  There is no point in washing the bowl yet.   Have bacon, eggs, biscuits and sorghum for breakfast and break up the leftover biscuits into a large roasting pan.  While the oven is still hot, stir up a double batch of  cornbread using the same bowl, again making it thin like flatbread, or make corn sticks.  Eat soup and cornbread for lunch.   Break up the leftover cornbread and add to the biscuit pieces.  If you have any leftover pancakes or waffles, add them to the mix.  Add store bought bread or dinner rolls to fill the roasting pan about ½ to ¾ full of the bread mixture.  It is best to start freezing stale breads a week or so in advance.

Chop up a large onion, medium dice.  Chop up several celery stalks, medium dice.  Saute them in butter until the onions are translucent.  Mix with  the broken bread.  Sprinkle the top of the bread mix with dried minced onion for extra flavor.  Grind pepper over the whole thing. Then generously sprinkle fresh rubbed or ground sage on top of the bread until it is green.  My husband says you can’t have too much sage.   Stir well.

Pour in the broth and meat from the previous day.  Don’t stir.  Keep adding chicken broth, either homemade from the freezer, from cartons from the store, or bullion mixed in hot water until you can see the liquid barely below the surface of the bread mix.  Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold the bread mix and broth, lifting from the bottom.  Do not actually stir or you will have a gelatinous mess.  You want it extremely moist, but fluffy.

Gently and loosely spoon into cast iron dutch ovens. Do not pack.  Add more broth if the dressing looks dry.  Place the dutch ovens over coals and heap more coals on top.  Rotate the ovens ¼ turn every 15 minutes for about an hour.  Everything in the dressing is cooked already, so you are just heating it through and developing a golden crust while the flavors meld.   

What could be done…

Saute skinless, boneless chicken thighs.  Saute a large onion and an equal amount of celery.  Add to broken up cornbread and assorted other breads in a large container.  Sprinkle in extra dry minced onion, black pepper, and a generous amount of sage, 3-4 tablespoons?   Fold in chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. Taste to adjust seasonings.  Gently transfer to 9 by 13 cake pans, fluffing the dressing with a fork.  Add extra broth as needed.  It is even a good thing to have little puddles of broth.  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or when the top is starting to brown. 

(Fills two, cast iron Dutch ovens and feeds a crowd, but it freezes well.)


Cranberry Swirl Cornbread Muffins

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill, gluten free, 1 to 1 baking flour)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce

Combine all dry ingredients. Whisk the egg, milk, and vegetable oil and pour into the dry ingredients. Combine until smooth. You may need a touch more milk…it’s pretty flexible.

Blend the cranberry sauce until smooth and pliable. Oil a muffin tin and spoon the cornbread mixture evenly into each spot. Take a tsp of cranberry sauce and drizzle into the cornbread mixture. I sometimes use a toothpick to spread it around a bit. You want it to be marbled in the top part of your muffin.

Bake at 425 for 18-20 minutes.

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