The best stuffing comes out of the bird. You can mix it with the extra you baked in the oven and it will be delicious. In a gazillion years of turkeys I never had any problem with stuffing going bad. Make sure you cool it thoroughly before stuffing the bird. Here's my favorite recipe from a long ago page in the New York Times. If it's not INSIDE the bird, then it's DRESSING, not STUFFING. We writers are nit-pickers. Stove Top Dressing!
10 cups stale homemade bread crumbs. You make the crumbs, not the bread. Make them in the food processor. You can mix white and whole wheat bread if you like. Make sure the whole wheat isn't pumped full of sugar and (yuk) corn syrup.
1/4 lb. finely chopped mushrooms, Champigons are fine.
2 t. powdered sage or chop fine fresh sage. Fresh is always better.
2 t. thyme crushed thyme leaves
1 t. summer savory
1/2 cup minced parsley (use the food processor again)
3/4 cup butter (don't cheat- use butter)
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl, combine the bread crumsb, chopped mushrooms, sage, tyme, savory, parsley, salt and pepper.
Toss until blended.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the minced shallots and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the ground chicken, breaking up any lumps, and saute the mixure until the chicken turns grayish white. Scrape the contents of the skillet onto the bread-crumb mixture and toss well. Adjust the seasonings. Cool and stuff turkey just before putting the bird in the oven Do not overstuff. Stuff both the neck cavity and the body cavity.
The secret to gravy is a good broth, good meat drippings and equal parts flour and fat. Lots of pepper. You'll have a nice broth if you cook the neck and giblets in salted water with a bay leaf and a handful of celery tops. Salt and pepper again. Throw in some parsely. The neck meat can also be added to the stuffing.
My kids ate giblet gravy for years without knowing it, because I only used half the liver and incorporated it into the gravy as a paste. No weird lumps. And thus we share our shabby little secrets.
If you are pressed for time, buy Pepperidge Farm stuffing with herbs and do the following: saute scallions or shallots, along with sliced or chopped mushrooms. Maybe saute a little finely chopped celery. Add to the stuffing mixture along with a generous handful of chopped fresh herbs. lots of parsley!! Use real butter and the stock you made from the turkey. Make sure the stuffing is moistened enough. Accept compliments gracefully.
When you are making cranberry sauce, use the recipe on the package (cut down the sugar a big) and use part orange juice for the water, and grate in a little orange rind. Sometime this week, I'll post the prettiest sweet potato recipe in the world. Once I made it, hostess's always requested me to bring it when I volunteered for a side dish. I also have a totally delicious Green Bean Casserole from scratch. Promise to post it later, too. And my pecan pie cranberry bars.
We are going to have a cooking orgy, so stock up on nuts, berries, butter and sweet potatoes. Buy a fresh turkey, the best you can afford.