Monday Menu: Turkey Dressing and a bonus!

My gosh, I was beginning to think I wouldn't get to posting this today. I've been on the phone with my brother for hours. And I mean hours. I think he's lonely more than anything, being a new long-distance trucker. But, all my plans for the afternoon just went kaput, and now I'm writing a blog post instead of eating dinner (pizza casserole, by the way).

So anyway, I'd promised to give you all my recipe for dressing in time to get everything you'll need to make it. Cause I know you want to. Hm hm. Yep. You do. The original recipe came from a cookbook I've had for many years:  The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking. There are recipes and instructions for just about anything you can think of in this book.

The book is still for sale, at outrageous prices the last time I looked. Just so you won't have to hunt a copy down, I'll give the original recipe, with my tweaks in parenthesis. It's not that complicated, but it does take more time than dumping a package of store-bought into a pan.

You can do some of the prep the day before, like toasting the bread, but I just get it ready first thing in the morning, and bake it while the turkey is resting.

And yes, I get up early in the morning to cook stuff, but I do take a nap while the bird is in the oven. I don't do much the day before, but that's just me. I used to make the deviled eggs, cranberry sauce and desserts the day before, but honestly I'd rather do it all in one day and be done with it.

Old Fashioned Dressing for Turkey

7 cups chopped onions (I do about one large onion)
9 cups diced celery (I do two to three stalks)
2 cups butter
25 slices bread (I use the lowest carb bread I can find -- I like Nature's Own the best)
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 tsp monosodium glutamate (I leave this out entirely -- it's bad for you!)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (I do a tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (I usually make up my own blend, but store-bought is fine)
4 eggs, slightly beaten (I do three eggs)
(3/4 cup chopped walnuts)
(3/4 cup dried cranberries)
(3/4 cup golden raisins)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a casserole dish large enough to hold the dressing (mine is

Saute onion and celery in butter until tender. (I use some of the butter from the ingredients, not extra, and use it later in the recipe.)

Toast the bread until dry and golden brown. Soak in cold water until soft. (I do this part in a colander -- just run cold water over the bread until each slice is soaked.) Tear bread into small pieces, put into bowl. Add onion, celery and butter, and the walnuts, cranberries and raisins.

Combine seasonings (I just dump them in; why use another dish to mix them first?) Add to bread mixture. Add eggs, mixing well.

Put dressing into casserole dish and bake  for 30 minutes.

This a hit with my boys, and tastes yummy the next day. I've been known to put thin slices on leftover turkey when making sandwiches, with a small amount of cranberry sauce on top. Goodness. Can't wait until Thursday to eat! And the next day, and the next day...

Now, for the bonus, which isn't much to get excited about, but hey, I'm getting really tired. I make my own cranberry sauce using fresh berries. It doesn't take much time, and can be done the day before. Just follow the instructions on the bag (I use Splenda instead of sugar, and it works fine).

I will sometimes add a tiny bit of sugar-free Davinci raspberry syrup (I think you can still get this at Wal-Mart, in the coffee aisle) as the berries are cooking down. Just use a small amount, less than a cap-full, or the sauce won't gel. It will still taste good, but will be runny. I know this from experience!

Anyway, there you have it, Gentle Readers, my awesome turkey dressing. Most everybody loves it, except for Bro1, who doesn't like anything fancy, and his name's not Mikey. Take care, and remember:  stuff the bird, not your tummy. Yeah. Right.