Sausage Stuffing

This is by far my most requested Thanksgiving recipe. The smell of the bread alone is reason enough to go the extra mile and make it from scratch. If you are not an "herby" person, you can half the amount of thyme and sage. The sausage just makes it special. Nobody passes this stuffing up. EVER.

Homemade stuffing bread (1 loaf makes one 9x13 casserole):

1 c. warm water
3 c. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 T. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 1/4 tsp. (or 1 package) instant dry yeast
2 T. butter, cut into 4 pieces

I use my bread machine, and add these ingredients in order. If you don't have a bread machine, mix ingredients in a mixer, knead, and place in greased bowl. Cover lightly and let rise until double. Punch down, knead, and shape into loaf. Place in greased bread pan and let rise again until double. Bake at 375, 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool, wrap, refrigerate or freeze.

1 1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. chopped green onions (yellow onions work, too)
3/4 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 loaf stuffing bread, cut into cubes (easiest when cold)
1 lb. MSG-free chicken sausage (Adelle's Chicken Apple, Isierno's Chicken Breakfast sausage are great) OR one recipe BREAKFAST SAUSAGE (which is the best IMO)
1 c. chicken or turkey broth

If using breakfast-type sausage, cook and brown. Cut into small pieces. If using cured links (like Adelle's), simply dice into small pieces.

In skillet, cook and stir celery and onion in butter until tender, not wilted. Remove from heat. Place bread and sausage in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix in celery mixture.

Butter 9x13 baking dish. Add stuffing mixture. Evenly pour chicken or turkey broth over all. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

*If you wish to use regular bread, just stir thyme, sage, onion powder, and pepper into celery mixture and toss with cubed bread.


Hot Cocoa- Family Style

 This is the entertainment version of HOT COCOA- SINGLE. We had outdoor family portraits today... 40 degrees. 22 with wind chill. I made this with ENCHILADAS WITH RED SAUCE. Warmed us right up. Not sure how the portraits will turn out, but I was silly to worry about my hair. Ah, windy Wyoming.

2 c. sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 c. water
4 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

In pot, blend sugar, cocoa, and salt. Slowly mix in water and milk over HI heat. Bring just to boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Add vanilla.


Inside Out BLT's

 When I was a kid, my favorite sandwich was a BLT. It's still up there, actually. These colorful babies are from Better Homes and Gardens. I made them for an after-homecoming party we had for my daughter's friends after the dance and they were a hit. I hid a couple for next-day munchies. Who needs a sandwich?

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/3 c. finely chopped romaine lettuce
1 1/3 c. coarse soft bread crumbs
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
3 T. olive oil
8-10 roma tomatoes
black pepper

Heat oven to 400. In large bowl, combine bacon, lettuce, crumbs, cheese, and olive oil. Mix well. Set aside
Halve tomatoes lengthwise and scoop out seeds with spoon. Brush inside each tomato half with mayo, then sprinkle with pepper.
Mound bacon mixture in tomatoes; transfer to baking pan, lightly greased.
Roast uncovered, 10-12 mins until toasted.  Makes 16-20 appetizers.