Everyone loves stuffing on Thanksgiving.  But not everyone likes to make it homemade when there’s enough else going on that day.  Grabbing a few boxes of pre-made stuffing at the store is convenient, but they lack in that homemade flavor and are often high in salt. To stretch boxes of stuffing and add a homemade, consider adding these ingredients.

  • Nuts. Try walnuts, chestnuts, almonds or pecans. Chop them up small and sauté lightly in butter to soften for about 2 or 3 minutes before adding to your stuffing for a final mix. Or try combining two varieties, like walnuts and chestnuts for a variety.
  • Bacon. Cook slices until crisp, drain and chop. This may become a new family favorite! Bacon and onion also makes a fantastic combo.
  • Onion and Celery. Though many boxed or bagged stuffings say they have these ingredients, they are often scant and not crispy enough to add that nice crunch. Chop celery and onions, sauté lightly in butter until slightly soft but not mushy and toss in for a delightful crunchy stuffing.
  • Fruit Stuffing. Chopped apples, sweetened cranberries (like Craisins), dates or raisins add a sweet  taste and interesting texture to basic stuffing.
  • Mushrooms. Adding an earthy flavor, lightly sautéed mushrooms are a mushroom lovers stuffing! Add extra chopped parsley to bring out the taste.
  • Meat Lovers Stuffing. Chop cooked sausage or chorizo sausage for a spicier version. This pairs great with some extra sautéed fennel or onions.
  • Fiesta Style. Shredding carrots and chopping red and green peppers adds a wonderful crunch and makes it a very colorful seasonal stuffing. Lightly sautéed the carrots and peppers first.
  • Spice it Up.  Add  finely chopped jalapenos and green chilis to the mix for a wonderfully spicy flavor.

Whatever your style, adding a few ingredients to boxed stuffing will save time and offer variety. For a large crowd, you can even have 2 different flavors (one with meat and one meatless?) to fit everyone’s eating style.

If you have leftover stuffing and turkey, try this quick lunch roll the next day:

  • Cut slices of turkey as thin as possible
  • Add a scoop of stuffing to the middle.
  • Roll the turkey around the stuffing.
  • Cover with a slice of mozzarella or provolone.
  • Drench in gravy.
  • Bake at 375 degrees.

If cutting turkey thin is not possible, dice it into chunks, mix with stuffing and pack it into lightly buttered muffin trays for quick individual stuffed cups. Serve with gravy of course. Enjoy!