What’s your favorite holiday?


Ours is Thanksgiving. The entire Chrismukah-gift-buying-gift-giving-retail-complex has lost its luster. It’s become one big responsibility-laden roadblock of expectation. You have to worry about what to get everyone. You have to worry about how much it will cost. The worst is that you have to remember what you gave each person last year then try to trump a perfect bulls-eye or compensate for the gift gaffe. So much pressure, so much money, so much time (a non-renewable resource).

For us, Thanksgiving is the least loaded of all the family gatherings. Yes, everyone behaves true to form. And, yes, you might need an Ativan or an extra glass of Pinot to survive your mother-in-law’s admonishments, Uncle J’s sort of creepy hugging, and your know-it-all sister’s advice about the proper way to set the table. But compared to the big build-up and big letdown of the December holidays, when you have to put up with normal family dysfunction and gifts—we’re all for Thanksgiving as a celebration.

Besides, foodies that we are, we love Thanksgiving because it’s all about the Turkey. Just thinking about it gets our salivary glands working overtime—we can just smell the wonderful aroma of turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, and pies wafting through the house. We thought we’d share our favorite stuffing recipe for a 13-18 lb. bird.

-1 package of corn bread stuffing (we try to make our own cornbread and let it get stale, that way there are no added packaged dried herbs and spices)

-1 jar of William-Sonoma cooked/peeled chestnuts (we’ve tried all kinds and these are the best.  If we’re really ambitious we’ll roast our own, but when we’re lazy, these rock)

-½-1 cup chicken stock (we use our own dark roasted homemade chicken stock, but canned high quality stock or even boiling water works just fine )

-1 onion diced

-2 sticks celery diced

-1 stick of butter (okay, not so healthy, but we’re cooking for a National Holiday )

-1 cup diced slab apricots from Trader Joe’s (nope, we don’t own stock in TJ,’s but these are the absolute best ever dried apricots, if you don’t use ‘em skip the apricots)

-Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon

Melt the butter, sauté the onion and celery until just translucent.  Meanwhile mix together the cornbread, apricots and chestnuts. Season the mix with salt, pepper, and about a ½-1 teaspoon of cinnamon—or to taste. This is highly personal, and how much salt and pepper you use will depend on whether you are using a pre-seasoned stuffing or made your own. The cinnamon is an amazing addition, almost like perfume in the stuffing. We also use it on the outside of our turkey, along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and juniper berries. Fantastic flavor.

Mix together the onion, celery, butter, and cornbread mix.  Your goal is a moist, not soaking, but not too dry stuffing, so take your stock or water and slowly add it to the mix.  Once it holds together but still is a little crumbly, you’re good.

We still stuff our bird, but only right before it goes into the oven for roasting. Many people, fearful of salmonella, put it into a separate container for cooking. Choose what works for you.

The result? A totally mouth-watering, soul-satisfying stuffing sensation.

Insert your earplugs and enjoy.

Entertaining and informative, Bitches on a Budget is the perfect holiday present for every woman.  An NAL/Penguin release available at all major bookstores and Amazon.

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