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Lifestyle

November 18, 2011

Store-bought stuffing can be transformed to something more

No matter how little time you have to prepare dinner you need to come up with a good stuffing recipe. If you are looking to save time making your stuffing, the quickest method is to bake it outside of the turkey and in the oven in a casserole dish. You will want to use a packaged stuffing mix to save time but you can still doctor it up the way you want it to taste. Julie Geary of the Gloucester-based Classic Cooks Catering recommends that you take a little extra time to sauté© celery, onions, and carrots and then mix with some diced granny smith apples and fresh sage.

If you do cook your stuffing in the bird, whether it is a full turkey or hotel-style, there are a few tips that you will want to follow. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stuffing needs to be handled carefully.

1. Stuffing should not be prepared ahead of time. You can prepare the dry and wet ingredients for stuffing ahead of time and chill. However, do not mix wet and dry ingredients until just before spooning the stuffing mixture into a poultry cavity or into a casserole dish.

2. If stuffing a whole turkey, chicken, or other bird, spoon the stuffing in loosely.

3. The stuffing should be moist, not dry, because heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment.

4. The stove should be set at a minimum of 325 degrees F.

5. Stuffing inside the bird should reach at least the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. A food thermometer should be used to ensure that the minimum temperature is reached.

6. Take the poultry out of the oven and let it stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing. Refrigerate cooked poultry and stuffing within two hours.

Ingredients

1 package store bought bread stuffing

1 large carrot, diced small

1 medium onion, diced small

2 celery stalks, diced small

Stick of butter

Turkey broth

1. In a pan, melt the butter. Add carrots, onion and celery cook until translucent.

2. Add vegetables to the packaged bread stuffing and follow directions on stuffing package, adding the turkey broth.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Recipe courtesy of Julie Geary, Classic Cooks Catering, 2011.

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