Nov 222015

When you’re assigned the task of making stuffing for friendsgiving, it is no joke. It is arguably the most important component of any thanksgiving feast, and the amount of recipes out there can be daunting. Corn bread or regular bread? Sausage or pancetta? Sweet or savory add-ins? But I’ve finally uncovered the secret to perfect stuffing–and it’s that there isn’t just one. The truth is that if you mix delicious bread, vegetables, herbs (and maybe some meat) and bake it all together, it’s going to be amazing. This version is a combo of all my favorite sweet and savory ingredients (corn bread + multigrain bread+ butternut squash + kale + cranberries + turkey sausage or mushrooms), and it might just be my favorite yet.
Since there were a few vegetarians attending my friendsgiving, I made half of these babies with turkey italian sausage and half with roasted mushrooms as the “meaty” component. This stuffing is slightly more labor intensive than other recipes, since it has the added component of roasting vegetables, but they add the best flavor and texture to these muffins. I prefer stuffin muffins rather than baking a whole pan for both cuteness and crustiness factor, but you can make it either way. The only difference in the muffin form is that you add a few eggs in so they bind together (added bonus of extra protein woo!).
Nutrition highlights: These stuffin muffins are definitely healthier than your average stuffing, but it’s still probably best to stick to just one muff. Although I used some cornbread (because, cornbread), the other half of the bread was a hearty and healthy multigrain loaf packed with fiber to fill you up. I also added more veggies than you normally see, including chopped kale, roasted butternut squash, and mushrooms (if you make the vegetarian version). If you are cooking for omnivores, that’s ok too–this recipe uses lean turkey italian sausage rather than it’s fattier pork friend.
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Butternut Squash-Kale Stuffin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (double recipe for a big crowd!)
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What’s in it:
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2-3 cups)
Prepared cornbread*, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
Multigrain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 fresh sage leaeves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
For vegetarian version: 2 cups roughly chopped portobello mushrooms
For non-vegetarian version: 3 lean turkey italian sausages

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Spread cubed bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-10 min until just beginning to toast (careful not to burn it!). Pour toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Increase oven to 425. Spread butternut squash cubes (and portobello mushrooms if making the vegetarian version) on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until the veggies are beginning to brown. Add to the bowl with the bread cubes.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the sage and thyme, kale, and salt and pepper and saute for another 2 minutes until kale begins to soften. Pour the veggie mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes.
4. If making the turkey sausage version, remove sausage from casings and brown in the saute pan, breaking up into small pieces, until cooked through. Add sausage to the bread/veggie mixture.
5. Add dried cranberries to the bread mixture. Taste mixture and add additional salt/pepper as needed.
6. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with broth and pour over your stuffing mixture. Toss to combine everything, adding additional broth if it seems too dry. If able, let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or even over night.
7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tray with oil and fill each with a heaping spoonful of the stuffing mixture. Press each down into the tin so it holds together, then add a little more to the top so it has a nice rounded “non perfect” looking top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins hold together and are browning on the top.
8. Enjoy!!

*Instead of buying a whole loaf of cornbread, I bought a few individual pieces from whole foods that the sell with the soups to avoid the danger of having leftover cornbread around!
Individual portioned stuffin with lots of veggies = you are less stuffed = more room for pie. It’s just basic math, people.

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