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Dressing up a holiday dinner with a fragrant stuffing

A stuffing fragrant with celery, onion, sage, and other seasonings makes a perfect complement to the holiday bird and there are a few basic tips that help ensure its success.

Prepare three-fourths cup of stuffing per pound for turkeys weighing 10 pounds or more, one-half cup per pound for turkeys under 10 pounds.

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Remember to pack the stuffing loosely into the cavity since the mixture will absorb the juices and expand during roasting.

To ensure food safety, wait until just before the bird goes into the oven to combine the moist and dry stuffing ingredients and stuff the cavity. To save time, the dry ingredients may be combined in advance.

At the table, carve your turkey and scoop out generous spoonfuls of the steaming, savory stuffing for each serving of turkey.

As an alternative you can bake a dressing in a separate pan or electric slow cooker, using chicken broth to provide the poultry flavor.

To dress up your turkey dinner this holiday here are some recipes for stuffing and dressing. Old-Fashioned Stuffing 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine 4 cups crumbled cornbread 6 cups dry bread cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1/2 teaspoon sage 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth 2 eggs, well beaten

Cook onion and celery in butter or margarine until tender. Add mixture to cornbread and bread cubes in a large pan. Combine seasonings and sprinkle over stuffing mixture. Toss lightly to mix.

Pour combined broth and eggs over stuffing. Toss to mix again. Stuff thawed bird lightly and roast immediately. Yield: 9 cups, enough to stuff a 12 to 14 pound bird. Country Kitchen Stuffing 4 1/2 cups diced celery 3 1/2 cups chopped onion 2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter 1 1/2 pound loaf white bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups milk 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 eggs, slightly beaten

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In a large skillet saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Toast bread cubes in oven or broiler until dry and golden brown. Place in bowl. Add celery, onions and butter.

Gradually add milk until bread cubes have absorbed enough milk to reach desired moistness. Mix seasonings together and sprinkle over stuffing. Combine. Gently blend in eggs. Stuff turkey lightly with stuffing. Roast immediately according to recommended procedure.

Place any leftover stuffing in a casserole and bake uncovered in oven with turkey during last hour of roasting. Yield: 10 cups, enough for 12 to 18 pound turkey. Slow Cooker Dressing 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine 1 cup finely chopped onion 1 cup finely chopped celery 1 8-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 12 cups toasted bread cubes* 2 eggs, well beaten 1 1/2 cups chicken bouillon

Melt butter or margarine in skillet. Add onion and celery and saute until tender. Stir in mushrooms and parsley. Combine seasonings and sprinkle over bread cubes. Add eggs, bouillon and onion mixture. Toss thoroughly until well combined. Spoon lightly into slow cooker. Cover and set on HIGH for 1 hour; then reduce to LOW and cook for 1 to 2 hours.

Roast turkey unstuffed as a time saver. As turkey roasts, prepare this stuffing and put it in a slow cooker. The stuffing will be ready when the turkey is done. Yield: 7 to 8 cups.

*22 bread slices (24-ounce loaf) cubed and toasted for 15 minutes in 300 degree F. oven makes 12 cups toasted bread cubes.

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