Nov 21 2013
Turkey Day for us Yanks is one week away, and counting. For some of you, that means fine-tuning your menu, grabbing a few last-minute items at grocery store, and spending the weekend blissfully rolling pie crusts on your immaculate marble slabs (they keep the butter colder, I hear) while your children decorate the house with all the leaves you so diligently gathered and pressed in October when they were at the peak of their fall colors and not, you know, rotting brown goo like the leaves in my gutter. All of you who are living that dream, please say so; I mean it very sincerely when I say I want to live vicariously through you, because there’s no way my weekend’s gonna go down like that.
Instead, I sat down last night and wrote an email to my family, fine-tuning (read: correcting) the menu my cousin sent us last week. It’s not that Leslie didn’t mean well. She was thoughtful and organized, helpful and funny, and she remembered almost everything. But she’s – and I know those of you with families can probably identify with family members like this – broken.
Is that harsh?
I don’t mean it that way.
It’s just I think sometimes we need to be willing to speak out about what’s OK and what’s Not OK so certain behaviors don’t perpetuate themselves and so we don’t silently condone things that Aren’t Right.
Things like not including any desserts in the Thanksgiving menu, Leslie.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment.
She didn’t include any desserts in the Thanksgiving menu.
She didn’t even think about desserts.
Because she doesn’t like desserts, and so desserts don’t occur to her.
And, even though Leslie is one of my very best friends, I think it’s time to publicly acknowledge that there are limits to our friendship and there always will be until she can overcome this blind spot.
Also, she didn’t assign anyone to be in charge of beer.
I know. It makes me sad, too.
So thank goodness I corrected the menu, right?? I put myself in charge of beer, so please don’t worry about our Thanksgiving; we’re going to be fine. And then I assigned Cake and Pies and Fudge to family members. And then Extra Fudge to my mom who wrote me back suggesting she also bring Extra Extra Fudge, because she’s worried we won’t have enough after she’s done “straightening all the edges” in the pan.
So here we sit, with Turkey Day almost upon us, and I plan to spend the weekend scrambling and scrubbing and buying and baking and getting only 63% of All That Must Be Done done. And that’s OK. That’s fine. That’s part of it. Because it turns out that when I’ve stopped and when I’ve sighed and when I’ve succumbed to my humanity, grace will come and fill the other 37%, and that’s when giving thanks, the kind that comes from the heart, will truly begin.
But just in case you, like me, are trying to cram Too Much AWESOME into Too Little Time, I thought I would offer you another Easy Peasy recipe, like our Easy Peasy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls and our Two Ingredient Fudge, which offer ALL of the deliciousness and cut the work time in half. Or quarters. Or eighths when we’re really lucky.
Today’s recipe is:
Easy Peasy One-Pan Sausage Cashew Stuffing
Or Sausage Cashew Dressing since we’re not stuffing it anywhere.
Although you certainly may stuff it anywhere you like.
Sausage Cashew Stuffing!
I love this recipe because it’s delicious, EASY, doesn’t dirty more than 1 pan, and it requires a maximum 20 minutes of hands-on time + another 20 minutes in the oven. For me, that equals a Thanksgiving WIN, bigtime.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon each of thyme, sage and garlic salt
- 1 pound breakfast sausage (make sure it’s spiced as breakfast sausage… I know this seems weird, but I’m telling you, it’s a major reason this recipe works)
- 1 small loaf of bread, cut in 1-inch chunks, or a baguette cut in rounds, which my grocery store calls “party bread” ’cause WOOHOO! PARTY BREAD!
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
- 2/3 cup broth
And here’s what you do:
Step One: Preheat your oven to 375F.
Step Two: Pan fry veggies, spices and sausage.
In a pan that’s safe for stove-top and oven, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, diced onion and celery, all spices and breakfast sausage. Cook over medium-high heat on the stove-top until the sausage is cooked through and the ingredients are starting to brown.
Preferably, like all my recipes, you will do this in an ugly nightshirt, or, alternatively, with skinny jeans that are entirely too skinny which you found on your bathroom floor and threw on for “just a minute” in the morning underneath your nightie so you might be more appropriately clothed to run downstairs and tell the wild banshees God gave you for children to STOP SCREECHING LIKE THAT and OH MY WORD and SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS? and then, as always, ended up wearing the rest of the day. Hypothetically speaking.
For the pan, you might want to use a beautiful, enameled cast iron number like this one that sits on your shelf gathering dust. OR you can use the trusty 12″ cast iron skillet you got from your grandfather because, even though it doesn’t make for the prettiest website pictures, it makes you happy.
Step Three: Add bread, broth, and mix it all together. Sprinkle cashews.
Once your veggies, sausage and spices are all nicely browned (or, like me, they’re a tiny bit brown and you’re too impatient to wait for them to be really brown ’cause it’s going to finish cooking in the oven anyway and you can always cheat by hitting it with the broiler at the end), add the bread and the broth and mix it together well.
Psst… I know those little croutons are more popular to use for this than bread is, but I don’t like how they fall apart into mush. Not a fan. I like chunks of bread that are big enough to soak up all the pan juices and flavors without falling apart, making it more like a hot panzanella, or Thanksgiving-flavored Italian bread salad, than traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. You can always add more broth for more of a bread pudding consistency or less broth for a crispier result.
Finally, sprinkle those cashews over the top, drizzle it with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and taste test to be sure you don’t need to add any more salt.
Step Four: Bake in the oven at 375F for 20 minutes.
And then, if you like yours crispy on top and warm and soft in the middle, put it under the broiler for 3 minutes.
Step Five: Eat.
Serve it with a salad, and this makes a fantastic stand-alone meal, as well. I might have recently had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for example. In my nightie. With skinny jeans.
Fellow Americans, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Folks From Other Countries, do you just wish we’d shut up already about this holiday? (I’m not sure I’m done talking about it, so say no!)
And what is your favorite holiday food?
Also, if you have an Easy Peasy, delicious, time saving, go-to recipe, I want to hear it, STAT. Feel free to link us up!
And you can find all the Five Kids recipes here.