Every year, the holiday season begs for taking note of all things nostalgic. From shopping mall Christmas Santas to familiar family stories, reminiscing and relishing the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the holidays goes hand in hand with the season itself.

While the destination of where we gather changes from year to year, being with those we love is always the centerpiece of our holiday table. Family is that one essential ingredient that makes the holidays the special occassions that they are: familiar but in so many ways, brand new.

But sometimes, traditions are begging to be broken, and sometimes you just need to bust out of the same old and put a new spin on things.

This year I’m creating a bold and spicy twist on the traditional holiday table.  I’ve shared a few recipes with you so far this season, but it’s time to put them all together for one big dinner family favorite feast.

I’ve added a little heat to the bird (plan on adding a few more napkins, too), and a lot more flavor to the sides and even boozed it up with a twist on the traditional pumpkin dessert.

First up is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving table, the stuffing.

The play of savory and sweet is what makes this stuffing extra special. Ground sage and thyme deliver the traditional herbed stuffing flavor that’s accented with bites of sweetened cranberries and the crunch of onions, celery and earthy walnuts. Bake this stuffing in its own pan for a perfectly crisped pairing for juicy Buffalo Roasted Turkey or leave out the aromatics in the bird and stuff away.

Cranberry Celery and Walnut Stuffing |

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About the recipe

Thanks to researching the best bread to use, I chose a good quality, regular white sandwich bread that’s been cut into chunks and then left out on a baking sheet overnight so the bread dries out. If you’re in a hurry, you could pop it into 250 degree F oven for an hour or two.

Taste test and add more sage if desired. It’s the one flavor that I really think gives the stuffing my favorite flavoring.

I usually stuff my bird, hence the name “stuffing”. “Dressing” is usually named for the same mixture cooked outside of the bird. Which technically this is. If you’re stuffing your turkey, make the mix a bit drier, minus 1/2 cup or so of the chicken broth, as the juice from the turkey will soak into the stuffing as it cooks. Be sure your stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees if cooked in the bird. If your bird is done and your stuffing is not, transfer to a baking dish and continue to bake until it hits 165 to destroy all foodborne bacteria.

Cranberry Celery and Walnut Stuffing | foodiecrush.comIf you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing
Serves: 8 servings
  • 10 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ - 2 cups chicken broth
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place bread cubes, walnuts and cranberries in large bowl and set aside.
  3. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Melt remaining butter in skillet over medium-high heat and add celery and onions. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add parsley, ground sage, thyme, kosher salt and pepper and mix well. Add mixture to bread cube mixture and toss to combine.
  5. Drizzle 1½ cups of the chicken broth over mixture in bowl, and stir to combine. Add more chicken broth and salt and pepper as desired.
  6. Place stuffing in prepared pan and bake, uncovered, until top is lightly browned, about 50-60 minutes.

A Bold and Spicy Thanksgiving

Inspired by the bold flavors of everyone’s favorite football watching appetizer—buffalo wings with blue cheese—I elevated this dinner menu to meet the elegance of the Thanksgiving table. Paired with flavor-filled side dishes, the spin on turkey day favorites just might make this menu your new holiday recipe ritual.

Buffalo Roasted Turkey is basted with a buttery hot sauce |

Buffalo Roasted Turkey

After this bird shows up to the table, Thanksgiving may never be the same. Recipe here

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes |

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Let’s add 2 different ingredients to the basic mashers to make them smashers. Recipe here.

Maple Buttered Sweet Potatoes on

Maple Buttered Sweet Potato Wedges

With so much mashing going on in the Thanksgiving side dish line-up the wedges add a nice change of pace with their chunky look and feel. Recipe here

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce on

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce

When it comes to Thanksgiving, my brother in law has the right idea. His take on dessert? “You need a little sweetness to take away the fullness.” Recipe here

Make it a great day friends, and cook something good.

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