I love the season of Fall /Autumn with all its beautiful colors and most of all for the various festivals it brings, such as Halloween, Harvest festivals, Thanksgiving leading on into Xmas. Wait...Did I miss mentioning another favorite reason of mine - Black Friday !!! Yes, I love Black Friday shopping and I have ardently shopped on this day every year ever since my first year in the US.
The long queues, extreme weather, the stampede and the hustle for the best deals might intimidate the most of us but that is not going to keep me from going out there at night :). My husband thinks I am crazy, suggesting that I should try to shop hassle free on Cyber Monday but the shop-aholic soul within me always strides forth, telling him that the old- fashioned way of shopping is not for the faint of heart!!! lol !!
Well my love for Black Friday began with my first experience, in the year I was married. My husband wanted to take me out just for the experience but little did he know that he had just helped fuel a new addiction and tradition within me ..hehe. We were actively looking for a Plasma TV that was in vogue during those days when we discovered that Best Buy was going to have it as a Doorbuster Sale item that year. Attempting to put together a fool-proof game plan for the big day, my husband found a Best Buy store in a supposedly remote place where he thought the shopper traffic would be less, therefore giving us a better chance at the 1 of 7 TV units they were selling at each store. At midnight, on the eve of Black Friday, we set out, dressed in multiple layers of winter garb, equipped to brave the 30 degrees and dropping weather. On our way there, we were already patting ourselves on the back for the great deal we had surely snared, but that easily turned to shock and disappointment when we got to the store parking lot and saw the 120 + long queue already snaking around the building. The first few folks in line even had portable tents, heaters, hot coffee and food grills setup.
Utterly dismayed to see such a long queue we decided that getting the TV deal was no longer an option but still somehow coaxed ourselves to stay in line and try our luck. Finally the doors open at 5am, and we end up with nothing but a voucher for an USB drive. Humbled and totally frustrated, we head back to our car when we notice a guy on the side, black-selling the TV vouchers for $100 or so. A little bit of bargaining got us the voucher for 80 bucks and we finally ended up getting the Plasma TV we wanted for $1080 instead of the advertised price of $1000, but then the next best retail price online for this same TV was $1600. The drama filled day was humbling, thrilling and exciting for me but tiring and unnerving for my better half. That was the first of many Thanksgiving shopping experiences for me while it marked the last time my husband was going to go through it ever.
After that eventful Black Friday tale, which I hope you enjoyed, lets come back to the subject - The Thanksgiving dinner Stuffing!! Its a Sausage and Sage Stuffing/Dressing that I have had in my menu for the past 2 successive Thanksgiving meals. We really enjoy this one and hope you do too. Wish you and your families a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
1 - Carrot, roughly chopped
1 - Onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks - Celery, roughly chopped
Few leaves - Fresh Oregano
1/2 bunch - Fresh sage or 1/2 Tsp - Ground Sage powder
1 Lb - Bulk Hot Italian sausage (sausage without casing)
5 cups - Stuffing mix (Brands like Pepperidge farm, Brownberry or Kraft) OR Cubed sourdough bread, crusts removed
1 cup - Low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup - Heavy cream (Refer notes)
1 - Egg
Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter a 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
- In a food processor make a coarse puree of the carrot, onion, celery and sage.
- Brown the sausage in a skillet.
- Let the sausage cook and once the fat has rendered - about 5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the pan and saute until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add to the mixing bowl with the sausage and the stuffing mix/bread crumbs.
- Mix together chicken stock, cream and egg in a separate bowl.
- Pour this wet mixture over the stuffing mix.
- Season with salt and pepper and fold everything together.
- Pour out into the roasting dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on the top (if it gets too brown before the 30 minutes is up, tent with foil).
- You can substitute heavy cream with low fat evaporated milk
- You have to use sausage without casing for this dish
- If you are using sourdough bread, the stuffing will be a little sour.