“Dressed” for the Holidays

Jula Kinnaird



Holiday meal preparations tend to focus on the main dish and desserts, but side dishes play an important supporting role. To make sure your holiday meal boasts an all-star cast, try your hand at some homemade dressing this year. It’s easy and will give your main dish some real pizzazz – whether you’re serving poultry, beef, pork or even vegetarian.

Little is known about the origin of “stuffings” – the practice of filling the cavity of meats or vegetables with mixtures of herbs, grain, spices and even fruits. The Roman cookbook, Apicius’ “De Re Coquinaria,” is believed to contain the earliest recorded evidence, containing recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig and dormouse.

In the 1400s, dressing was known as “farce” from the Latin farcire which means “to stuff.” By the 1600s, it was more commonly referred to as “forcemeat.” In the late 1800s, the Victorian English decided to give it a less “earthy” name – thus introducing the term “dressing.”

Whatever you call it in your family – dressing, stuffing or filling – it has become a holiday tradition. Try these new twists on a centuries old favorite and remember, dressing is great as a leftover – be sure to add some to your next turkey sandwich!


 Dressing Cups

Dressing Cups  

Ingredient List: 

1 cup light margarine
1/4 cup dried celery flakes or1/2 cup fresh celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup dried onion flakes or 1/2 cup fresh onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper
8 cups dried bread cubes, ½-inch cubes (about 20 slices)
2 - 10.25 ounce cans of French onion soup
1 large egg, beaten slightly
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Melt margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté celery, onion, parsley and red pepper until onion is clear. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add bread cubes, soup, egg and seasonings. Stir thoroughly.

Measure dressing into greased muffin tins, using a ¼ cup measuring cup. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until dressing is firm. Loosen dressing with a spoon and remove from tins to serving bowl. Serve immediately; with or without gravy.

Servings: 10 (makes 20 dressing ”cups”)

Calories/Serving: 500

Nutrition: One serving (2- “cups”) provides approximately: 500calories, 13 g protein, 75 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 17 g fat (3 g saturated), 25 mg cholesterol, 130 mcg folate, 4 mg iron, 1315 mg sodium.

Source: Wheat Foods Council


Mushroom Cashew Stuffing

Mushroom & Cashew Stuffing  

3/4 pound sliced white bread, cut into ½” cubes
1/4 cup butter
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews, halves and pieces
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup canned chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place bread cubes on large shallow baking pan and bake until golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Turn oven down to 350°F.

Melt butter in large heavy skillet. Add onions and cook until clear, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Add red peppers, mushrooms and celery; cook until tender – about 5 to 7 minutes. Combine with bread in mixing bowl; add nuts, seasonings, broth and beaten eggs. Stir well and pour into an 8” X 8” greased baking pan or one of similar size. (Can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated). Cover and bake for about 1 hour.

Servings: 8
Calories/Serving: 312

Nutrition: Each serving provides approximately: 312 calories; 10 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 3 g dietary fiber; 18 g fat (4 g saturated); 53 mg cholesterol; 69 mcg folate; 3 mg iron; 391 mg sodium.

Source: Wheat Foods Council

Whole Wheat Pecan Suffing

Whole Wheat Pecan Stuffing    

4 cups whole wheat bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
3/4 cup giblets (optional)*
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup golden seedless raisins
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 large lightly beaten egg

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bake bread cubes on a jelly-roll pan until golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion, celery and green pepper and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, adding mushrooms for the last few minutes. Combine with bread in mixing bowl; add seasonings, giblets, raisins, pecans, broth and egg. Stir well and pour in casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake covered for about 1 hour.

*If using giblets, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil gently about 20 minutes until done. Drain and chop.

Servings: 8 (1/2 cup servings)
Calories/Serving: 419

Nutrition: (includes giblets) One serving provides approximately: 419 calories, 18 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 14 g fat (3 g saturated), 86 mg cholesterol, 121 mcg folate, 5 mg iron, 784 mg sodium.

Source: Wheat Foods Council