With Thanksgiving in just a few short days, I thought it necessary to share how to make the most of your box stuffing and a some fun ways to get your kids involved. You know, depending on where you go for Thanksgiving it could either be a box stuffing house, from scratch stuffing or traditional stuffing cooking within the actual turkey. I also know that families sometimes take their Thanksgiving recipes seriously so there really isn’t room to switch things up too last minute. Though, I find it helpful when learning how to take store bought items and make them taste like it was homemade and cooked for hours. That kind of thing can be helpful for those who don’t have the time (or patience) to get anything whipped up from scratch.
Side note, I find box stuffing to be quite delicious and truly helpful when you can’t seem to find day old bread pieces. Plus, the cornbread box stuffing from Trader Joes is INCREDIBLE. I also happen to love my mother’s stuffing which she makes from scratch every year. My mom’s stuffing is my husbands absolute favorite and he has been known to eat the left overs with every meal until it is gone. He scrambles it up with eggs which I can’t get behind, but to each their own.
Here I have sort of mashed up the best of both worlds with my mother’s stuffing and box stuffing which ends up being kinda best! Plus, stuffing can end up being really kid friendly and fun for little ones to help put together! Check out my kid-friendly tips + the recipe below …
Happy Thanksgiving prep friends! It is going to be a delicious week!
How To Get Your Little Ones Involved
-Prior to bringing the kids into the kitchen, prep everything you’ll need and measure all the ingredients out. Pull out a large mixing bowl, mixing spoons and place all the pre-measured ingredients out into little bowls.
-Set up your area with plenty of space and enough room for the kids to move around and help. Guaranteed a mess will be made, but that is half the fun. Have a family member on hand to help take photos (and also lend a helping hand if needed).
-Have the kids pour in each ingredient. Designate one child to pour ingredients into the bowl and another to stir. Switch off every so often so everyone gets a turn doing it all.
-Try and have the children taste each ingredient as it goes into the bowl. Ask them how it tastes; sweet cranberries, bitter parsley, savory sausage, crunchy bread pieces and buttery pecans. Get them to try and describe how the food tastes.
-Once the stuffing is all mixed together, set aside and pull out two muffin baking pans. Give each child a stack of muffin baking cups and have them race to fill the pans. Or if your child is learning how to count, like Mila, have them count out loud as the place each baking cup into the pan. You can do this a few times so long as they are having fun.
-With an ice cream scoop or 1/4 measuring cup, scoop stuffing into each baking cup. Have the kids help as best the can with this step.
-Another fun tip, tiny tasting spoons! Kids will love tasting their stuffing with tiny tasting spoons. Adults will like the added touch too. These are great to offer as a little appetizer before the big dinner or along side turkey.
Photos by Lily Ro Photography
NEXT LEVEL BOX STUFFING
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
1 Box Stuffing Mix + The Ingredients It Says You Need On The Box (Typically Butter, Chicken Stock)
1 Pound Ground Italian Sausage
1/2 An Onion Chopped
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Chopped Celery is also great too!
In a pan over medium heat sauté your onions in a drizzle of olive oil until they become translucent.
Add your ground sausage to the onions and cook until sausage is browned and cooked through. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add your dry stuffing bread pieces. Prep your parsley, dried cranberries and pecans.
Warm your stuffing seasoning mix per the box directions. Helpful Hints - If It says to use water, use chicken stock. Even if the box doesn't call for butter, always add about 4 tablespoons of butter as well. Melt and simmer seasoning until everything is dissolved.
To your dry bread pieces add in the cooked sausage + pan drippings, pecans, cranberries, parsley and warmed stuffing seasoning mix. Toss together until everything is evenly coating. Helpful Hint - Be sure to gently toss stuffing to keep bread pieces intact. This will prevent your stuffing from becoming too mushy.
Portion out stuffing into individual baking cups and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and warmed through. About 15 minutes. Helpful Hint - Drizzle each cup of stuffing with olive oil prior to baking. This will help keep the stuffing moist inside, but keep the outside golden crisp delicious!
Serve warm! Store in zip top bags in the refrigerator for up to three days.