“To baste is human, to stuff is divine.” That should be the motto Thanksgiving turkey recipes. But how about if you’re on a diet? How can you enjoy stuffing or dressing with your turkey? It’s loaded with starch and fat, right? Well it is unless you learn how to make diet Thanksgiving low carb and breadless stuffing recipes. Now if you’re family isn’t all watching their weight, they might think diet stuffing will taste yucky. So surprise with these delicious low calorie dressing recipes. These recipes provide the diet and non-diet varieties. But be warned, you’d better make plenty of diet stuffing because this kind is so yummy the family might prefer it!
First a word on stuffing making. If your family is tepid on turkey, but fiery hot on dressing, make a huge batch and bake some in a separate pan. No bird exists with stuffable cavities large enough to satisfy some stuffing lovers. Also, in the homes of dressing lovers, the words “Stove Top'” is are anathema. Boxed stuffing tastes like salty cardboard and it is the reason some people hate it. So prepare homemade dressing and make converts of stuffing haters. Also make stuffing the day before Thanksgiving and refrigerate in a covered pan. Dressing ingredients need some time to acquaint. Do not stuff the bird a day ahead of time as but health codes advise against refrigerating a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey overnight.
Traditional Thanksgiving bread stuffing: two loaves of bread, preferably stale or dry. For the diet stuffing, use light 35-calorie per slice bread. Cube bread in small pieces with bread knife. Spread on absorbent towel or paper towel and dry overnight. Be sure to keep out of reach of cats, husbands and children who take perverse delight in eating drying bread cubes. You may also dry bread cubes in an oven set on low. But watch carefully as they do burn easily. Reduce bread amount for low carb dressing or make breadless stuffing.
In a large frying pan, melt one half pound of real salted butter (for the diet stuffing, use light, zero transfat margarize made with olive oil or yogurt). Pare and slice one stalk of one stalk of celery (not one rib, the entire stalk) and one large onion, chopped. Load up on vegetables and substitute for bread in low carb stuffing. Season with coarse or fresh grated black or multi-colored pepper, fresh snipped sage leaves (finely chopped) or one tablespoon rubbed sage, celery seed and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. When vegetables are tender, add two teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon vegetable or chicken broth and one quart of water (adjust to taste). Cool and pour butter mixture and over bread cubes in large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until blended. Store in refrigerator overnight. Remove tail, neck and gizzards from turkey. Cook gizzards, chop and add to stuffing if desired. Rinse bird’s neck and tail cavities and pat dry. Fill both cavities with stuffing. Bake extra in a glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick pan spray. Cover.
Optional low carb Thanksgiving stuffing to add in. Try Cajun rice dressing: trade bread for cooked white jasmine rice. Use less rice and beef up the vegetables. Add chopped okra and peppers to mirepoix veggies (onions and celery). Season with several dashes of Old Bay, gumbo file, Tabasco hot sauce or hot pepper flakes. Try wild rice in dressing. Cook ground beef or sausage and add to rice with a little roux. For diet stuffing, nix meat. For New England style stuffing: add chopped roasted chestnuts, chopped smoked oysters and dried cranberries. To make German Jager stuffing: add button mushroom caps or fresh sliced mini bella mushrooms. You can even omit bread and use mushrooms instead. How’s that for a breadless, low carb dressing? Saute with vegetables. Very veggie low carb stuffing: make breadless stuffing swapping chopped cabbage, purple cabbage, broccoli, carrots, squash or cauliflower. Saute vegetables for a hearty low carb harvest dressing. Swap bread for breadless TVP (textured vegetable protein) for low carb dressing. Stuffing can easily be made vegan or vegetarian by using vegetable broth for chicken broth.