Cut bread into small cubes (about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)
Spread bread cubes evenly on rimmed baking sheet
Bake 15 – 20 minutes, stirring once or twice to evenly brown
Remove from oven when browned evenly & place in the pan you are using to cook your dressing (if you are stuffing your bird place in a large bowl instead).
Spread chopped pecans on rimmed baking sheet and place in oven for about 5 minutes (until they start smelling fragrant and are lightly browned)
Remove from oven and toss into browned bread.
Brown all sausage in a large frying pan or skillet.
Strain grease from sausage (place in a jar to discard later, not in your drain and wait to put the lid on until it’s cooled)
Add sausage to bread mix (if you are prepping your stuffing in advance than place sausage in a large storage bowl instead)
Dice onion & celery into small pieces (at least half of the size of your bread)
Peel core and dice apples (they can be larger than onion & celery, keep them separate)
Melt butter in the same skillet you used for the sausage (no need to wash it in between)
Add onion and celery to pan along with minced garlic.
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to become soft, almost tender (about 8 – 10 minutes, depending on how deep they are, you want all to become tender)
Stir apples into pan
Continue to cook and stir mixture until everything becomes tender and onions are translucent (you don’t want the apples to become mushy and remember you are cooking this again in the oven so it’s better to under cook than over.)
Add all veggies to your bread and sausage mix (if you are prepping in advance add to sausage mix.)
Chop sage using herb cutter so that it is VERY small. Add to dressing (if prepping in advance add fresh sage to meat and veggie mix. Wait for it to cool than place a lid on it and put it in the fridge. Do the remaining steps on the big day.)
Mix all dry seasoning into bread mix (do this even if you are prepping in advance)
If you have prepped remove storage container from the refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking so it can warm up and will be easier to stir. And, don’t forget to pre-heat your oven again to 350°.
Place all ingredients in cooking pan and mix well. If you are stuffing your bird mix together in large bowl instead.
Gradually add the broth, stirring as you do. You may not need all of it. Make sure that all of the stuffing is moist but there shouldn’t be a big puddle at the bottom of the pan.
Step 7: Stuffing
Before you stuff your turkey make sure that your stuffing is around room temperature or higher. If it still seems pretty cold (because of prepped ingredients being in the fridge) toss it into the over covered for about 10 minutes.
Now is the time to stuff your turkey! Scoop stuffing into the neck and large open cavity of your bird. If there is extra stuffing cook it using the directions below.
.Your stuffing should be done at the same time as your turkey. Make sure by checking the temperature of the stuffing as well as the bird. Stuffing should be 165° in the center.
Step 8: Dressing
If you are using this recipe to make dressing, simply cover your pan and place it in the oven for 20 minutes (add 10 – 15 minutes if you prepped in advance, since it was in the fridge). Then uncover and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer.
Step 9: ENJOY!!!
I basically collect bread all year for my dressing. Whenever I have stale bread or end pieces (no matter what kind) I just throw it in my freezer. Then I take it out, thaw it and cut it up for stuffing. Because I’m gluten free (GF) I make a version of this with GF bread as well. If I don’t have enough I buy GF stuffing cubes. You can use GF or regular stuffing cubes instead if you prefer just make sure they aren’t seasoned!
I ALWAYS prep everything for my dressing in advance. I often do the bread and nuts the weekend before and the meat and veggies that Tues.
Go ahead and leave your bread and nuts in an open container on the counter. The staler the bread gets, the better!
You can cook this at a slightly warmer or cooler temp if you have other stuff in the oven… I always do! Simply add or subtract a little time from your cooking to accommodate for the difference. (Add if it’s cooler and subtract if warmer).