Package stuffing mix saves you time in the kitchen, but if you're having a special dinner, it can seem a little plain. Before you scrap the boxed stuffing in favor of making a batch from scratch, try adding a few ingredients to enhance the flavors and add more texture. Additions, such as sausage, nuts and dried fruits, can elevate your boxed stuffing from a boring side to one of the main attractions at your table.
Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of sage or poultry seasoning, mix well, then taste. Add more seasonings or additional seasonings, such as garlic, onion salt and celery seed, to taste. Using the seasonings the stuffing mix already has means it will enhance the flavor without clashing with what's already there.
Cook ground sausage in a skillet, then spoon it into your stuffing. The bread will absorb some of the fat from the sausage and the meat itself will add texture and weight to bland stuffing. Mix in a diced apple to balance out the savory and the sweet.
Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of nuts and dried fruits, such as a mixture of walnuts and dried cranberries.
Add different types of bread, such as leftover cornbread, rye cubes, roughly chopped pumpernickel slices or torn pieces of crusty Italian bread. Compensate for the extra bread by adding chicken or turkey stock, 1/4 cup at a time, and mixing until the stuffing has the right texture. Add more seasonings if the stuffing now tastes bland.
Dice one-fourth of a small onion and a stalk of celery per box of stuffing. Saute the vegetables in butter until they are tender but still firm. Mix them into the stuffing. Experiment with other vegetables, such as carrots, shallots, kale, spinach or bell peppers.
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A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.
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