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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

If you live in the south, it ain’t “stuffing” we serve on the holidays, it’s “dressing”.   🙂   I know there are variations on the recipe, but it’s basically the same principle. Go easy on the sage – it can really do a number on the tummy!

Some people use a combination of cornbread, dry bread, or biscuits. At our house, it is strictly cornbread. I have two versions to share – the first is my mother’s and the second is my father-in-law’s. Mom’s uses eggs and celery, while FIL’s uses neither but adds garlic (this is my personal favorite, but shhhh – don’t tell mom!)

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Mom’s Cornbread Dressing
(Makes a 9×13 pan, and can easily be doubled if needed)

4 packages cornbread, mixed according to directions and baked (we prefer Morrison’s Corn Kits – NOT a sweet mix like Jiffy)
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/4 stick butter
chicken broth (homemade is best, but you can use canned)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons sage (dried or rubbed)
2 eggs
1 can cream of chicken soup (optional)
de-boned chicken (optional)

In a saucepan, melt margarine and add some broth along with the onion and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, crumble cornbread in a LARGE bowl (or a dishpan works great also). Add sage, salt, and pepper. Add vegetables/butter/broth and stir well. Add more broth as needed (you don’t want it to be too wet, but it shouldn’t be dry either – this is something that you get a feel for after years of making it!).

At this point, you can add a can of cream soup if you’d like. Adjust your seasonings to taste, being mindful that the flavors will blend wonderfully as it sits, so don’t over-season.

Beat 2 eggs and add to mixture (don’t taste it until after it’s fully cooked from this point on).

In a 9×13 pan, layer half of the dressing, then a layer of deboned chicken, then top with the remaining dressing. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover and bake approximately 1 1/2 hours.  When it’s done, it should be lightly browned on top.  Enjoy!

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Father-in-Law’s Dressing

3 skillets full of cornbread
sage (small container)
green onion, chopped and sautéed
garlic (about a teaspoon, minced)
chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken
butter or margarine – about a stick and a half
cut-up chicken

Mix and put into large pan. Put dabs of butter all along the top – spread it out over the entire pan. Bake 2 hours @ 350 degrees or until it browns on the top.

Ray used no eggs and no celery – he said celery would dry out the dressing.

We eat dressing throughout the year – it’s too good just for Thanksgiving and Christmas!   🙂

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This Christmas is going to be slim for lots of people, so I thought I’d post a few cheap but thoughtful gift ideas.  Many of these gifts focus on food because  a) I tend to be practical, and b) everybody’s gotta eat!  Customize them for the individual’s taste and be creative.

Caramel Apple Basket – Fill a basket (small to medium size) with an assortment of apples and include a tub of caramel sauce.  If you want to spend the extra money, you could also put an apple slicer/corer in the basket too.

Homemade Cookies – Who doesn’t like getting homemade cookies?  Sugar cookies are wonderful this time of year, but so are chocolate chip, oatmeal, snickerdoodles, peanut butter, etc.  Be sure to package different flavored cookies separately.  Softer cookies packaged with crisper ones will turn them all soft (ask me how I know!).

Homemade Candies – Along similar lines as the cookies.  I did this one year for my nieces and nephews – made many different kinds of candy and packaged them in a snowman tin from Walmart.  It was cheap (although time consuming), but they LOVED it!

Make an afghan or quilt – If you are interested in needlework, get busy and make a simple throw or lap blanket.

Make homemade Christmas ornaments – This could be anything from painted ornaments to satin balls covered with sequins and anything in between.  Get creative and use your imagination!  There are literally tons of patterns on the internet.

Jar of caramel corn – This is great packaged in a mason jar and tie the top with a pretty ribbon/bow.  I love to put either pecans or peanuts in my caramel corn.  Another idea would be to package the Popcorn Concoction recipe I have listed on the blog.

Canned Food – There are a lot of folks struggling to make ends meet, and many people would appreciate an old-fashioned “pounding” where you give them canned/boxed goods.  There are lots of sales going on at the moment, and it would be easy to load a box or basket with many different useful items.

Spaghetti Basket – Can your own spaghetti sauce, add it to a basket with a package of dry spaghetti, container of parmesan cheese, and maybe a loaf of homemade bread or storebought French bread.  Voila!  Supper in a basket!  I don’t know any woman with a family who wouldn’t appreciate an easy night in the kitchen.

Mixes in a Jar – Rather than use one on the internet, why not use a tried and true recipe from your own kitchen?   I’ve mixed up our favorite brownie recipe, included instructions, and given as gifts in the past.   Hot cocoa is another fantastic gift idea.

Stationary/Notepads – Most everyone could always use extra paper by the phone.  Fred’s and Dollar General normally carry cheap (but cute) notepads, many with a magnet on the back so it can hang on the fridge.  I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve gone through, but they make wonderful gifts.

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