Mishael Morgan (Amanda)
Where did you find this recipe? “Years ago, when I was working as a bartender in Toronto, someone brought the dish to the staff Christmas party. I loved it so much that I had that person give me the recipe on the spot. I wasn’t sure if I would remember the recipe, but I did and it was a big hit!”
What’s the general reaction you get from those who taste these appetizers for the first time? “Everyone loves them! So much so that I can never make enough. As soon as I put a serving out it’s gone and people are asking for more. Each holiday, I double the portion and it’s still not enough. Everyone loves anything wrapped in bacon!”
Was there ever a time you botched a batch? “One year, I thought I should be a little more health-conscious and used turkey bacon, but it wasn’t the same. The recipe isn’t complete without the bacon fat.”
Is the simplicity of the preparation a big draw, as well? “Yes, the holidays are very busy in my house with lots to do, so this recipe is perfect because it’s so simple. I can make it very quickly or delegate it to someone else in the kitchen.”
Have you ever tweaked the recipe? “No, I haven’t, but this question might inspire me to change it up this year. I may add some cinnamon for a holiday feel or sprinkle pecans on top.”
No Stress Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
1 lb. package of bacon
1 large can of water chestnuts (“Not to be mistaken with chestnuts, the nut.”)
½ cup brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut the strips of bacon in half.
3. Roll each water chestnut in brown sugar until covered.
4. Wrap the bacon strip around each water chestnut and spear with a toothpick.
5. Place all the prepared water chestnuts on a cookie sheet (“I like to sprinkle a little more brown sugar on top”).
6. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bacon is crisped to your liking.
7. Allow to cool “just a little” before eating.
Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe)
Tell us the story behind this stuffing. “According to my mom: ‘The memory for me is of my grandmother, Mimi, your great-grandmother, making it and so did all of her daughters, four of them. One was your grandmother, Dorothea, the oldest daughter, and it was passed down to Mimi’s grandchildren, one being the firstborn grandchild, me. And you are the firstborn of the next generation.’ When I wanted to start contributing a dish to my husband’s family Thanksgiving, I asked Mom for the recipe and that’s when I discovered it was Mimi’s. I had always assumed it was my grandmother’s recipe.”
Did it take you very long to get it right? “I only started making it a few years ago, so I wouldn’t say I have it down yet. I’m still working on my stuffing game. I will definitely try and get it down by the time [my daughter] JoJo is joining us at Thanksgiving dinner. So that gives me another full year [laughs]!”
What was it like when you made this on your own for the first time? “The first time I tried to make it, my mother helped me over the phone. I remember it came out a little crispier than I wanted it. I was so worried it was going to be an epic fail. I brought it to my husband’s family Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. I was so relieved. There’s nothing more embarrassing than your big dish of food just sitting there untouched.”
2 Tbsp., one dried plus one fresh and chopped, of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme One head of celery, chopped
2-3 onions, chopped
2 packages of Jones pork sausage (usually found in the freezer section)
1 loaf of stale bread or a bag of cubed bread stuffing
2 Tbsp. caraway seeds
Salt and pepper
1. Sauté onions in some olive oil till clear.
2. Add sausage and brown.
3. Add all herbs.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add celery and cook just a little longer (“It will soften more in the oven”).
6. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
7. Let mixture cool while breaking up bread.
8. Add warm water to bread and knead until soft.
9. Add caraway seeds.
10. Add a well-whisked raw egg (“Two if you want a more pudding-like texture”).
11. Add sausage-and-herb mixture to the bread mixture and mix thoroughly.
12. Transfer stuffing into a large glass Pyrex [dish] or two.
13. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until cooked through and golden brown on top (approximately an hour or more).
14. The turkey takes a few hours to cook, so if the stuffing is done earlier, you can always cover with tin foil and reheat. 15. Serve.