Dear Jeanne: I read your column religiously, and I greatly appreciate your many recipe revisions. This is my husband's grandmother's Thanksgiving dressing recipe. It is very tasty, but not at all heart healthy. Can you please revise this so that we may continue to enjoy it without all the guilt? Thank you.
— Michele Ross, San Antonio
Dear Michele: When I revise "Grandmother's" recipe, especially when it's eaten on Thanksgiving, I know that taste is pretty important. Not having the exact quantities of cornbread, biscuits and broth makes it difficult to accurately revise this. What I can tell you is that you can use the low-fat versions of the cornbread, biscuits and sausage, then change the Crisco to a light-tasting olive oil and cut the amount by 3/4. The texture is just a guess to me, but I will try so that you can have an outline to go by. The most important thing to know is that you really don't need all that fat to make a good dressing, and if you like, you can add even more vegetables or use different bread. You actually don't need all the eggs, either, but that was Grandma's way, so on Thanksgiving you can do it like that. I don't know how big Grandma's recipes of cornbread and biscuits were, but if you use two pans for my recipe, it'll be too thin. If you want a crispy crust, spray or brush the top with a very thin layer of light-tasting oil or nonstick cooking spray, and if you want lots of crispy crust, use a muffin tin and make individual servings.
Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her website, jeannejones.com.
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Makes: 20 servings
1 day-old standard recipe of nonsweet cornbread, crumbled
1 day-old recipe (on box) of Bisquick biscuits, crumbled
1 bunch of green onions, bottoms and tops, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 pound country sausage (hot or medium), cooked, crumbled, drained and blotted
1 cup Crisco
6 whole eggs
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon pepper
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Chicken or turkey broth, as needed
Put all ingredients except the chicken or turkey broth in a large bowl. Add the broth until the desired consistency, finishing with hot water, if necessary. The dressing should be moist enough to pour into two greased 9-by-13-inch pans, something like thick cornbread batter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
MYNA'S LIGHTER DRESSING
Makes: 20 servings
12 biscuits, made from a reduced-fat recipe (or day-old bread), crumbled
12 pieces cornbread, made from a low-fat recipe, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, bottoms and tops, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery (or more), finely chopped
1 pound low-fat sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained and blotted
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute
1/4 cup canola or light olive oil
4 cups fat-free chicken or turkey broth (approximately)
1. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the biscuits (or bread), cornbread, green onions, celery, sausage, sage, salt and pepper. Combine the egg substitute and oil, and pour over the cornbread mixture. Add the broth until you reach the consistency you like, then pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.
Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 435 calories; 28 gm fat; 96 mg cholesterol; 1,071 mg sodium; 34 gm carbohydrates; 11 gm protein; 1 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 215 calories; 9 gm fat; 26 mg cholesterol; 558 mg sodium; 23 gm carbohydrates; 8 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.
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