Tag Archives: sour dough dressing

Reflections on Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close. Looking back on it, I have to say that it has been one of the happiest I can remember. The days were filled with family, food, shopping, and most of all love. Love, you know, makes everything better. You can see it and you can definitely feel it. The holidays are resplendent in love. I’ve had five days to bask in the sunshine of love and I must say that glow does wonders for me inside and out.

Family was at the center of the weekend. Thanksgiving dinner was a delightfully blended affair that was centered on the newest addition. We all gathered at Jakob’s house to share a dinner that everyone contributed to. Turkey and Ham were the stars each prepared by a grandma. The sides were everything that tradition demands and then some. Mashed Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole shared the table with Italian Green Bean Salad and Sour Dough and Artichoke Stuffing.

Yes, Mama D (aka Nonna) brought the California inspired stuffing that had more than a little Italian influence. The recipe actually was born during our time in California. Loosely based on recipes from Sunset Magazine and Weight Watchers it has developed over the years to become the family stuffing of choice.

Starting with toasted sour dough bread cubes,DIGITAL CAMERA it became  a Cali-Itali creation with the addition of Italian sausage, artichokes, spinach and more than a little onion and garlic.DIGITAL CAMERA

Everything came together in a health conscious manner (turkey sausage, low sodium chicken, etc). until it donned its gay holiday apparel of some grated Asiago Cheese

DIGITAL CAMERA before being bathed in olive oil and butter.DIGITAL CAMERAThe stuffing (I should call it dressing as it never saw the inside of the bird) was a huge success; gone before a photo of the finished dish could be taken. Trust me, it looked beautiful and tasted amazing.

Mama D's Cali-Itali Stuffing
Print Recipe
Use this for your holiday dinner. Make it your own by adjusting the flavors to your family's taste.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Mama D's Cali-Itali Stuffing
Print Recipe
Use this for your holiday dinner. Make it your own by adjusting the flavors to your family's taste.
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until it is well browned. Turn and break apart as needed.
  2. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Pour off most of the drippings. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Saute stirring frequently until the onion is golden and the garlic is fragrant, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the artichokes and spinach to the pan and continue to cook for another 3 - 5 minutes. The artichokes should have a little color and the spinach should be wilted.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, sausage, and the vegetables from the pan (include all the drippings, too). Toss to combine.
  5. Add the seasonings that you are using along with the cheese and toss again to combine.
  6. Pour in the eggs and blend well. Add the chicken stock. Use enough so that the stuffing is very moist, but not mushy. Taste and make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings. Add a little salt if you think it needs it.
  7. Grease a large rectangular baking dish. Add the stuffing and smooth out evenly. Do not pack it down. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes.
  8. Combine the remaining olive oil and the melted butter. Remove the stuffing from the oven. Take off the foil and drizzle the butter/olive oil mixture over the top. Return to the oven for another 15 - 20 minutes until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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For the first time I was in a position to begin Christmas shopping early (this IS very early for me). I was also in the pleasant position of being on the paying side of the cash register and that did change my perspective. Visits to the nearby mini mall and lovely downtown Geneva gave me what feels like an early jump on the whole shopping experience. Not a single long line at the mall, and the knowledge that I was supporting small businesses in Geneva while finding some unique little gifts began to fill me with Holiday spirit.

That holiday spirit reached its peak when I got to spend some quality time with my grandsons.We just bought a futon for the second bedroom and I invited Dylan over to take it for its maiden voyage. All that was just an excuse to have lots of time with him. We ( I should say Dylan), baked Peanut Butter Blossoms with a little good- natured hassling from Grampa. In spite of it all, they were perfect.DIGITAL CAMERAA walk around the grounds of our apartment complex became an adventure of sorts. I got us on the wrong path in the woods, but thanks to Dylan’s kindness and keen eye we made it out in one piece and eventually got back home. He’s become such a fine young man and I’m so proud of him.

Jakob brought his parents over for dinner on Saturday. Again, this was just my way of getting more time with my new Grand Boy. While the Lychee Bellini and Three Treasure Fried Rice were delicious, they couldn’t hold a candle to the delicious sweetness of holding Jakob and marveling at his wide-eyed wonder at our new home. I know the lights and the glow of the flickering candles had something to do with that wonderment, but it didn’t diminish the joy I felt.

December is here and the path to Christmas is always shorter than I imagine. Thanksgiving has given me a glimpse into the real gifts to come. The decorations will start appearing today and the baking will start soon. All of that is just the trappings of a time filled with love. I plan to relish the journey to Christmas and treasure the time spent with my family. I hope your holiday journey is filled with the same kind of joy.