Monday, November 7, 2011

Holiday Traditions

At the blink of an eye it will soon be Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Year's Eve. November and December are always the fastest two months of the year, at least they feel that way to me. The holidays make me think of traditions and special things that I do every year that truly give this time of year that special feeling. I'm sure we all have our own traditions that we participate in to make the holidays feel special. Mine are simple, such as making cornbread sausage every year for my family's thanksgiving, getting a pumpkin spice latte to sip on while picking out our Christmas tree, and watching Miracle on 34th Street (the one from 1994, not 1947) every morning the day after thanksgiving. These among some others are the special little things that really make it feel as though the holidays have arrived. It is after all the most wonderful time of the year, so what are some of your holiday traditions?

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Sausage
Recipe courtesy The Neelys -

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed (I use turkey sausage as a subsitute)
1 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/4 pounds cubed and dried cornbread stuffing, store-bought
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups turkey or low-sodium chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet.
Cook sausage for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Add onions and celery and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in apples, thyme and sage and saute for another 2 minutes. Add bourbon. *Cook's Note: When adding alcohol take pan off flame. Allow to simmer until bourbon is almost evaporated; 1 to 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, add cornbread stuffing, parsley, chicken stock, eggs and pecans. Mix well. Mix in vegetable mixture to bowl. Combine and stir well together. Add to a large casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.


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