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Linda's Thanksgiving pan stuffing recipe

Updated on November 28, 2015
Pcunix profile image

I was born in 1948 and spent most of my career as a self employed computer trouble shooter for Unix systems.

It is Thursday, November 25th, 2010 - Thanksgiving. My wife and I are busy in the kitchen most of the day, making stuffing to bring to dinner tomorrow at our daughter's home.

We do Thanksgiving on Friday because it's so much easier. Some of the guests used to have to come every other year because of commitments to their spouses family. Traffic is lighter, too - we like this arrangement.

We make the stuffing outside of the bird for several reasons. One is that several people think that cooking it in the bird can be dangerous and because the turkey requires more cooking time when stuffed. There is also a limit to how much stuffing you can put inside the bird - with pan stuffing, you can make whatever amount you want.

We have been making this stuffing for decades, but never bothered to write any of it down. This year I decided to document it both for our own family and for anyone else who needs a little help with its creation.

I took almost fifty pictures as we went along, but most of that was just to remind me of things - you won't have to see all of those!

This takes at least half a day. I'll start with an approximate ingredient list, but none of this is absolute. You can substitute and take things out if you want - it will still be good, we're sure.

So, basic ingredients:

Two bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

That's our favorite, but there is so much else to this, the brand may not matter much.

One Box Bells All Natural Seasoning

Of course you can use your own spices. We just like this.

3 All Purpose Potatoes

Turkey Necks (for broth)

Not so easy to find - we had to call around.

1 Lb Organic Celery Hearts

One Sweet Onion

2-3 Lb Mushrooms

Smart Balance Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spread or Butter, if you prefer.

Garlic Powder or Fresh Garlic

Turkey necks for broth
Turkey necks for broth

9:00 AM

Wash the fresh turkey necks, the onion and the celery hearts. Well, we're going to be washing just about anything that can be washed, so if I forget to mention that, just assume it.

We didn't wash the stuffing mix, but we did cut open the bags and dump it in a bowl. Why? I don't know - we won't be anywhere near that bowl again for hours. Maybe we do it just to have more room on the counter. I don't question things like this.

The turkey necks are for the broth. They are good eating too, but not all that healthy (fat). We'll eat some of the meat anyway.

Linda's Dad used to love turkey neck meat; we thought of him while getting these ready to cook.

So, 4 quart pan, filtered water, turkey necks. We add a bit of onion and the tops (with the leaves) of the celery hearts. This is all set to simmer while we prepare the rest. The rest of the celery hearts will be used in the stuffing.


Cut up the potatoes and boil for about twenty minutes until soft. These will be for mashed/whipped potato that will also end up in the stuffing. We made a little more than we needed because we'll be getting some turkey leftovers and we'll want a little potato with that.

We'll use a box and a half
We'll use a box and a half
Onions, Celery and mushrooms
Onions, Celery and mushrooms
Smart Balance Spread
Smart Balance Spread
ready to add mushrooms
ready to add mushrooms


Trim and skin the rest of the celery. Chop up into chunks. Clean and chop up the rest of the onion too. Wash the mushrooms after removing the stems.

i know some people say you shouldn't wash mushrooms at all, claiming they absorb water. They don't. Other people say you must wash in very cold water or you will destroy the flavor - hello, we are going to cook these mushrooms!

We chopped them up very fine because one of the guest freaks if he sees mushrooms. He knows they are in the stuffing; he just doesn't want to see them. So we chop 'em small. It probably tastes better this way, but we used to leave much larger slices, which we thought was kind of pretty too.  The mushroom phobic person would not agree.

That's about 25 caps chopped up in the picture. We left half a box of mushrooms for another meal. Those are 8 inch cereal bowls, if that helps you judge quantities.

The celery and onions need to sauté with lots of butter or spread, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for about 10 minutes. Then we add the mushrooms.

The massive pile of spread is for liquid. We are going to be adding this and the broth and the potato to the dry stuffing, and then baking that, so we need lots of moisture.


OK, the broth is done. We've mashed and whipped the potatoes with mostly skim milk and a little bit of 2%.

Mix in the potato, Be sure to mix well.
Mix in the potato, Be sure to mix well.
A little spread/butter on top
A little spread/butter on top
Toothpicks to tent the foil
Toothpicks to tent the foil
Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven
All done!
All done!

Mix it all up

We are finally getting back to the dry stuffing in the bowl. It's been a while, but there was a coffee break in between and we have been baking a pie, too.

No, we did not make it from scratch. It's an Ever So Humble frozen wild blueberry pie. Put a little spread on it and bake for an hour. Very, very good.

Add the sauted stuff to stuffing (Bells seasoning too) and thoroughly toss and mix.

Ladle in broth to get correct consistency. We used 3 ladles full at a time, toss, check for moistness. We ended using 11 ladles full for this batch; the left over turkey broth is good for soup - put in fridge and skim off fat later.

Fold in the whipped potato. We added a little more after after that picture to get a nice moist stuffing. We will be cooking this mostly covered, but it will lose moisture. Sometimes we have even had to add a little milk, but did not this time.

What's the right consistency? Sticky. Very moist. Remember, this stuff is going to bake in an oven. It is going to dry out.

We are almost done.

Coat the pan with a thin smearing of spread. Put in the stuffing mix, smoothing it out for even fill. We are going to tent it with foil, which will stick and burn right into the stuffing if we don't keep it way, so we use toothpicks as shown.

Bake this at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

If it is cooked after that (come on, you have to taste it, right?), uncover and move to top rack.

Low Broil on top rack for 8 minutes or till slightly crusty on top.

2:00 PM

We're done. It was 40 degrees out, so we put it out on the porch to cool. After that, into the refrigerator until we pack it up tomorrow.

We'll reheat it in the oven there, but you could do it in the microwave too with the right container.

We also made a smaller batch to keep for ourselves - turkey sandwiches and all that.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Thanksgiving Stuffing


Submit a Comment

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    2 years ago from SE MA

    And every year now we return here to refresh our memory..

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    6 years ago from SE MA

    Turns out that this writeup came in handy for us, too. My wife just asked "When do we add the mushrooms?" I came here to find out! :-)

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    Yes, I think so.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    7 years ago from TEXAS

    AH - A case of necessity birthing the invention! I like that!

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    I do also. I can have just that for a snack.

  • mega1 profile image


    7 years ago

    Ahh, the homely stuffing - I can smell it now! Yum! I like it better than the turkey.

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    Snakebaby: I never know what day it is ;)

    Yes, it is time-consuming.. But worth it. And what else would we be doing?

    Nellieanna - yes, but I have seen others do this. I suggested it because we needed a little more than we had, so the potatoes helped stretch it out. But we liked the result, so kept doing it.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    7 years ago from TEXAS

    Most interesting. I suppose there are as many different stuffing/dressing traditions as there are families, and I've experienced some quite varied ones, but this recipe is close to my own preference, with the exception of the potatoes IN it. I prefer mashed potatoes to stand alone if on the menu! OOPS - now I read it was your own idea & addition. Well, it definitely adds a lot of calories to an already calorific dish. If one has to watch it, better to be able to choose between them. I go for the dressing. Mashed potatoes one can have any old day of the year. And they are so good just topped with great turkey gravy (my late husband's specialty)

    Another great hub, pcunix! Thanks.

  • snakebaby profile image

    Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 

    7 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

    Seems to be a lot of work, a complicated recipe. Will save it for next year I guess. My husband is cooking more stuffing just now, too late for this. I see "Thursday, November 24th, 2010 - Thanksgiving", well, 24th is Wed., today is Friday, but it is 26th already:)

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    She said we should come early, but I know that at least one person won't be able to, so whatever...

  • SteveoMc profile image


    7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

    It looks yummy, I made a small side of oyster one but me will eat it. I don't care I want it all for myself anyway. Yours looks too good to pass up. What time should I be there?

  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    Yes, it did take some time, but it was fun too.

  • rminela profile image


    7 years ago from Newberry, Fl. should start your own cooking show. This was very well organized-pictures and all. I bet it took awhile to put this hub together. Oh its Friday...what time is Thanksgiving dinner? Awesome!

    Happy Thanksgiving Pc!


  • Pcunix profile imageAUTHOR

    Tony Lawrence 

    7 years ago from SE MA

    She is my best friend :)

    I don't know. I actually suggested the potato years ago, so we tried it and liked it. I thought it was my idea, but since then I have read of other people doing it - one right here on HubPages!

  • Lifeallstar1 profile image


    7 years ago

    Wow, I'm hungry again! That stuffing sounds really good. I have never had stuffing with potatoes in it. I don't think I've ever seen it or heard about using that but I want to try it! I bet it's amazing. Is it unique to certain area's or is it very common and I just have been deprived all these years? I'm really curious about that.

    I rated this hub beautiful which you might find strange for a recipe. I was going to rate it useful but it was much more than that. The relationship you have I can tell by reading this is truly special. Not even sure if you realize how your hub sounds. It was like two best friends sharing something really special. You might think that sounds crazy because you were just making stuffing but all I can say is that it is not the norm. I hope I meet my best friend like you have and I marry them. Thank you for sharing this and I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving! Jess


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