Friday, September 29, 2017

Recipe: Thanksgiving Harvest Time Stuffing

Anyone who knows me well, knows my family traditions are sort of a huge deal to me. Especially when it comes to holiday family traditions.  It sort of goes like this:

Once it's been established, it never ever ever changes. Ever. It remains a tradition, forever. And ever. (More or less). So when hubby had a heart attack last month and the doctor basically said "change your lifestyle or you will die" (he actually did say that, he just said it in a different way), that meant changing the way we eat. Big time.  So for the last 4 weeks we've done a major overhaul on literally everything we eat - to low fat, low sodium, low sugar, low everything-bad-for-you and it's been a great change.

One big challenge though was the idea of holiday cooking coming up so I've been on the hunt for a great, heart-healthy stuffing and I think I may have just come up with the perfect answer that sort of blended several different ideas into one. My own holiday stuffing always gets rave reviews (it's cornbread/sausage stuffing, it's kind of insane how wonderful it is) but bottom line? It's terrible for a heart-healthy/low-sodium diet.

So... without further delay, here's a stuffing recipe I made today that was a BIG hit.

Harvest Time Stuffing

1 pound whole wheat bread, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used a cranberry/pumpkin seed bread - and it was amazing)

3/4 c. raw, unsalted walnuts, chopped

2/3 c. dried, unsweetened cranberries

1 T. Canola oil

1 c. finely chopped sweet onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)

1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 c. chopped, fresh mushrooms

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

2 T. ground parsley

1 T. ground sage

1 T. ground thyme

No-Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 c. no salt added chicken broth

Olive oil spray

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed bread on a cookie sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, tossing half-way thru. (I had to do 2 batches so the bread cubes lay flat on the cookie sheet without overlap). Once they're all toasted, toss into a large bowl with walnuts and cranberries.

2. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery & mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Add apple and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add parsley, sage & thyme and toss quickly just until fragrant. Remove from heat and salt (No-Salt) and pepper to taste.

3. Add the onion-apple mixture to the bread in the bowl & stir to combine. Add chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time to evenly coat the bread mixture without making it soggy. Once evenly coated with broth, spoon the stuffing into a greased (sprayed with olive oil) casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover the dish and lightly spray the top with olive oil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy and golden brown.

(I served this tonight with baked apples & sweet potatoes, lemon-rosemary baked chicken, and homemade fat-free, low-sodium chicken gravy - which everyone also loved. I haven't posted those recipes yet but I can if anyone wants them.)