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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Slow Cooker Stuffing

Is it Stuffing or Dressing?

It's arguably the most common side dish at the Thanksgiving table: stuffing. Or is it dressing? Is there even a difference? Some refer to it as "stuffing" if it's cooked inside the bird and "dressing" if it's cooked outside the bird. However, according to Butterball, 78% of Illinoisans and those in the East North Central Region, call it "stuffing" no matter how its prepared. Whatever you name it, we can all agree: it's delicious!

The perfect stuffing is one that is moist and well-seasoned. When adding liquid, don't add it all at once, but rather stir, and wait one minute before deciding if it needs more. If not all the breadcrumbs are moistened, it will need more in order to avoid dry dressing. However, if you have a pile of liquid in the bowl after a good stir, you'll need to add more bread to avoid soggy stuffing.

Stuffing can be made healthier by using whole grain bread, margarine rather than butter to decrease saturated fats, and fruits, such as dried cranberries, apples or pears. The USDA suggests to avoid cooking the stuffing inside the turkey to reduce risk of foodborne illness. Cook until it reaches 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. Keep leftovers refrigerated for no longer than three to four days. Now you just have to be careful not to stuff yourself full of stuffing!


Slow Cooker Stuffing (Printable PDF)

3 Tablespoons trans-fat free margarine

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley

8 cups cubed whole wheat bread

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped apple

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 ¼ teaspoons dried sage

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 egg, beaten

½ cup water

Melt margarine in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, mushrooms and parsley to pan. Stir often until veggies are tender. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cranberries and apple. Add cooked veggies and mix gently. Season with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, garlic powder and pepper. Pour in broth and gently mix in egg. If needed, add water, just enough to moisten (not drown) the mixture. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to Low and cook for 3-4 hours.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 240 calories, 7 grams fat, 290 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 9 grams protein

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