2 hours prep, 30 minutes bake time
4 loaves 100% whole wheat bread
1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cups celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup ground dried sage
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper
6 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place individual slices of bread directly on oven rack and bake for 25 minutes until dry. (Chef's Note: One loaf of bread at a time fits in a standard oven so allow enough time to dry all 4 loaves of bread.)
While bread is drying, brown Italian sausage in a large frying pan over medium high heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a separate frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion, celery, garlic and ground sage. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
When bread is dry, break into cubes and place in large mixing bowl. (Chef's Note: This is a great activity to get the kids involved in the cooking!) Add Italian sausage and onion mixture to bread. Mix to combine. Add salt and pepper and 2 cups of chicken broth. Use hands to blend. Add 2 more cups of chicken broth and continue to blend bread and onion mixture until bread begins to break down forming a smooth texture. Add last 2 cups of broth and blend until mixture is soft and well combined. Spray an 11 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray and press stuffing into pan. Cover with aluminum foil. On Thanksgiving Day, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.
1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 20 oz can Crushed Pineapple in 100% juice
1 3 oz. package strawberry gelatin + 1/2 cold water
1 cup finely chopped grapes
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Place cranberries, water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Using a strainer, drain liquid from canned pineapple and pour liquid into saucepan with cranberries. Bring cranberries to a boil. stirring often, and simmer until they begin to 'pop', about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low.
While cranberries are cooking, dissolve gelatin in 1/2 water in a small mixing bowl.
Add liquid gelatin to pan and simmer over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add crushed pineapple, chopped grapes and pecans to cranberries. Mix well. Simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour directly into serving bowl. Allow to cool completely. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.