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To Stuff or Not to Stuff

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, let’s talk turkey. My mom always stuffed the bird. Her dressing was full of flavor and you never had to use gravy to moisten it.

My (ex) mother-in-law’s dressing, however, did not fall into that category. She wasn't about to get up at the crack of dawn to stuff the bird. Instead, she baked her dressing in a dish so you definitely needed gravy.

Growing up, my kids experienced both methods on Thanksgiving. So which tradition is better?

I combine them for my Thanksgiving dressing. When you mix them together, you get a fluffy moist and crunchy consistency.

First, I stuff the bird (which I have found doesn't require getting up at dawn to accomplish).

Second, I place the massive amount of remaining dressing into a buttered dish. I baste it with turkey drippings and the homemade broth I have simmering on the stove.

I bake the pan of dressing until the top is crunchy and golden brown. Then I combine it with the dressing from the bird. The end result is a soft, crispy texture that goes great with or without the gravy!

One of my key ingredients is hamburger buns. They make a really tasty dressing. I buy the cheapest ones on the shelf, plain white and no seeds.

I simmer the neck in chicken broth to be used for the gravy. I don’t put in the giblets (they gross me out). I also trim off some of the loose skin on the turkey and add it to the broth. This adds extra flavor.

Classic Turkey Dressing

1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 large, fresh garlic clove, crushed

1 cube butter

Sage or Poultry seasoning

2 packages Hamburger buns, chopped into bite size pieces


  1. Sauté the onions, celery and garlic in the butter until tender.

  2. Add the Sage or Poultry seasoning to taste. I like a ton of flavor in mine, so I start with a full tablespoon.

  3. Toss the butter mixture with the hamburger bun pieces.

  4. Stuff the bird.

  5. Take the remaining dressing and place it in a buttered casserole dish. While the bird is cooking, take out some of the drippings and baste the dressing with it.

  6. Once the turkey is done, remove from oven.

  7. Take just enough broth to make the pan dressing moist and toss it in the buttered dish.

  8. Place in the oven and bake until golden and crunchy.

  9. Take the stuffing out of the bird and place in a large bowl. Add the pan dressing and toss together.

Whatever method you use, it's all relative. Bake with love and share with your family and friends!


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