Take your favorite parts of Thanksgiving and give it a little twist for easier portions and better presentation with these delicious Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing Cups.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Hillshire Brands Company. All opinions are entirely my own. #joy2themeal
Growing up having a large extended family had its advantages – especially during the holidays.
Not just because I had four grandmas or double the amount of presents…but because I got to sit down for the holiday meal not just one time, but sometimes up to three or four times a season, per holiday.
Yep, pecan pie is still good after three rounds…
Having this special opportunity wasn’t just about the food of course, but the experience of indulging in several different traditions with those family members and of course, all the unique ways they enjoyed their family dishes.
Everyone had their own twist on a dish, especially dressing…or stuffing. Whatever you call it, each family had a unique take on if it – from a dense casserole hinted with sage, to more of a smooth creamy blend of cornbread, garlic and sausage.
Best of all, they were all good even though each one had its own flavor profile and “secret ingredient.”
Unfortunately those traveling meals from one relatives table to another have changed as I’ve grown up and now have a family of my own…I guess you can say I can finally say I’ve moved to the adult table.
But the smells of onion, sage and sausage stuffing baking early in the oven as a child still exist in my mind, my belly and of course, still in my heart.
So paying homage to those family stuffing recipes and adding my own little legacy, I created my own recipe for Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing Cups.
Since our family table is no longer the size of a football team, a huge dish of stuffing isn’t really necessary. So instead I’ve made the stuffing in a muffin pan for easing serving sizes PLUS this way there’s more golden crust in each bite. Best of all, I’ve paired Jimmy Dean® Sausage with cranberries and apples, for a savory-sweet combination that might make your grandma a little upset when you ask for seconds.
This recipe also seems to be so much easier than the recipe I remember helping at the table to prepare growing up. With a few basic ingredients and the combination of the smoky pork with the sweetness of the apples and the tang of the cranberries is exactly what Thanksgiving tastes like to me – all in one perfectly sized bite.
After a quick trip to Walmart for fresh produce and stop by the refrigerated section for Jimmy Dean Sausage, I was toasting up the bits of bread, English muffins and whatever bread I had been holding on to in the freezer in no time.
It was the smell of the Jimmy Dean Sausage that quickly had my kids running to see what mama was up to and of course, a few minutes later they too were in the kitchen helping me to put together our family stuffing.
In just 30 minutes, the aroma of sausage, apples and garlic filled my nose and took me back instantly to my childhood memories. But more importantly it helped me realize that now being a mom, it’s my turn to continue those traditions with my kids and make a few of our own.
So this year, make your holidays go from good to great!
- Cooking Spray
- 3 cups of bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ¼ cup of EVOO
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup onion, chopped finely
- 2/3 cup celery, chopped finely
- 1 pound Jimmy Dean Sausage (you can use Original or Sage)
- 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 1 apple, chopped finely
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ teaspoon fresh sage, shopped (you can may omit if you use the Sage Sausage)
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin/cupcake pin with cooking spray.
- On baking sheet, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until toasted (around 10 minutes.) Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a bowl.
- In a large skillet, melt butter and oil, then add onion and celery. Cook over high heat, stirring until golden, for around 5-7 minutes. Add the sausage, garlic, sage and cook until sausage is cooked. Add apples and cranberries and allow to soften, but not to cook completely.
- Mix sausage mixture, eggs, and broth into croutons. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pack the stuffing into muffin/cupcake pan with your hands, allowing for a rounded top to sit above the pan’s edge. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for few minutes and then lift the cups out of the pan using a knife.
- Serve with your favorite holiday entrée!
- These can be served as an appetizer for a holiday party, too!
What’s your favorite holiday dish? Do you eat stuffing or dressing?
Share your love for the holiday meal at #joytothemeal.
And visit http://www.joytothemeal.com for more great recipes to take your holidays from good to great.