Thanksgiving Stuffing For Your Crowd Recipe

Thanksgiving Stuffing 2.jpg

Thanksgiving Stuffing For A Crowd

Tina Verrelli –


(Our family favorite from My Mom – Pat Hillen – I’ve made a few tweaks over the years)


Large Crowd Version: (see below for smaller crowd version)


Makes 2 large (approx. 13 x 9) and 2 smaller (2 qt & 1 qt) casseroles.

Enough for 30 People with plenty of leftovers



7 Loaves Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread or similar dense white bread

1 pound pork sausage (comes in the tube shaped package, Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans are examples)

1 pound sage flavored pork sausage

7 cups celery, chopped fine

7 cups sweet onion, chopped fine

3 sticks butter (1 ½ cups), plus additional for buttering dishes

2-4 teaspoons salt (start with 2 and adjust to taste)

1 teaspoon pepper

¼ cup minced fresh sage

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

3 teaspoons dry ground poultry seasoning

79 ounces low-sodium chicken broth (I used a 64 oz. can and a 15 oz. box)




I usually make the stuffing the day before and refrigerate overnight.


I set up a toasting station on the counter by my sink, so I can wipe all the crumbs into the sink.  You’ll need a toaster or countertop oven, (or both to save time!) a large cutting board, bread knife and several large mixing bowls.  Start by trimming the crust from the bread.  Just the very outside bit of it – don’t want to waste too much bread.  (Could also freeze the crusts for breadcrumbs.)  Toast the bread on medium.  You want it golden brown and toasty flavored.  Cut the bread into 1” squares and add to mixing bowls.  Continue until all toasted.  I usually enlist some helpers for this process.  Why toast? It’s worth it - the toasting adds flavor and texture.


I use my two largest/deepest skillets for the browning and sautéing.  I think any large pots, pans will work.  I divide the sausage, half of each flavor and brown that first, breaking it up into small pieces.  If very oily, drain off.  I remove the sausage to a bowl, but keep the browned bits in the pan to add flavor.  Next divide up the celery and onion between the pans and start softening.  Divide up and add the butter, pepper and herbs.  I start with 1-teaspoon salt in each pan and adjust later.  Continue to soften the vegetables for a few minutes, then stir in some broth. I’d say I add 64-ounces to the pans (or as much as will safely fit, remember you’ll need to lift the pan so don’t fill too high.) Save the remaining broth to add as needed.  You can warm the remaining in a saucepan.  (If I’m making the day before I don’t worry about heating the extra broth – just pour from the can/box.)  Give the vegetable/broth mixture a taste and adjust salt.  It should be very flavorful because you’ll be mixing it with a lot of plain toasted bread and it’s almost impossible to add salt evenly later.  Pour the mixture, trying to divide evenly over the bread in the mixing bowls.  Add the cooked sausage back in now, dividing evenly.  The toast will condense with the liquid and you can start combining the bowls so the flavors will all be even.  Fold gently to mix.  Check the texture.  It should be moistened all the way through, but not wet.  Add the remaining broth as needed.  Butter your baking dishes liberally and spoon in your stuffing mixture.  Arrange in pan, but don’t press it down.  You don’t want to compress it.  Cover and refrigerate or pop in the oven to bake.


Bake at 350 degrees (or close to it, if you have to compromise the temperature with other sides in the oven) 


The baking time can vary greatly depending on how hot or chilled the mixture is and if you’re heating multiple dishes (as we always are!)  I cover for about half the bake time to keep it moist, and then remove the foil so the top gets that more crunchy texture on the edges. 


With a big crowd and a buffet, you can stagger the baking: put one of the pans in earlier for the first round, then put one of the pans in later for the second round.  We always serve buffet style and use chafing dishes or electric warming trays, so it works well with keeping the first batch warm while pulling together all the other sides.


As a general baking guide, I’d start with:


If baking right after assembling – all will be warm to start:

350 - 20 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered


If baking from refrigerated – all will be cold to start:

350 – 45 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered.


Sometimes I’ll check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer – 155-160 is generally hot enough in my opinion.  I think the USDA says casseroles should be 165 degrees.


Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe For a Smaller Crowd:


Makes enough for 2-quart baking dish.

Enough for 6 people (depending upon serving size)


18 slices toasted Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread

½ pound sage sausage (from bulk 1-pound roll)

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

4 tablespoons butter

2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning or dry rubbed sage


Cut crust from toasted bread and cut into 1”squares - place in large heat-proof bowl.

Brown sausage and break up into small pieces.

Add celery, onion and butter and sauté until softened.

Add broth, salt, pepper, thyme and sage.

Bring to simmer, pour over bread and stir gently to mix.

Adjust seasonings and broth for desired taste and moisture.


Butter a 2 quart baking dish and add stuffing mixture.


If starting hot - Bake covered with foil 350 for 10, uncovered for 10

If assembling ahead and baking from cold will take at least 30 covered, 10 uncovered.

Printable Recipes: Thanksgiving Stuffing For Your Crowd

Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Rolls Recipe

Stuffed with sharp cheddar - ooh!!

Stuffed with sharp cheddar - ooh!!

AKA: "Volcano Rolls"...The cheese will erupt, like molten lava, from some of the rolls while baking and form a delicious cheesy crust - Oh my! yes!  Imagine dunking in some soup, chili or spicy mustard!  We could not eat them fast enough hot out of the oven! ( :

oozing with molten gouda!

oozing with molten gouda!

How to stuff with tutorial - click the arrows on the side of the photo

Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Rolls RECIPE
Makes 16 Rolls

Tina Verrelli @


1 1/3 cups warm water (about 105-110 degrees F.)
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil, plus more to oil bowl/baking pans
4 cups bread flour, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Gouda, Smoked Gouda or Cheddar cheese*
¼ cup pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt (optional, with the cheese it's not really essential)

Boiling Liquid:
2 ½ quarts water (in 6-quart pot)
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup baking soda


Start Rolls:
In stand mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, milk, sugar, oil and 1 cup of the flour. Stir with flat or flex edge beater just until combined.  Allow yeast in mixture to “bloom” for 5 minutes.  You will see some bubbles push through the surface of the mixture if the yeast is active.  Add pour shield (if using) and turn stand mixer to speed 1.  Add flour a little at a time.  Once combined, stop mixer, remove pour shield and switch to dough hook.  Knead on speed 2 for about 5 minutes or until smooth dough ball forms.  If seems very sticky, can add a little extra flour a tablespoon at a time.  

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn dough over so both sides are oiled.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about 45 - 60 minutes or until approx. doubled in size.

Shred the cheese.  Press tablespoon portions of cheese into a ball shape.  You can squeeze gently in the palm of your hand. (*Don’t use pre-shredded cheese, it won’t stick together.)

Press down on the dough, place on your baking mat or lightly floured surface and roll into an even cylinder shape.  Cut into 8 equal pieces.  Cut each piece in half so you have 16 pieces.  Take each piece and pat out with your fingers to form an approx. 2-3-inch round or square.  Place a ball of cheese in the center of the dough.  Gather up the edges of the dough and pinch together as if it were a drawstring purse or bag.  Turn over and gently press down to help seal bottom and form roll shape (about the size and shape of a small hamburger bun, about (2.5 – 3 inches diameter.)  Place rolls on two baking sheets, lined with silicone mat or greased parchment paper.  Repeat with other rolls.  Lightly cover with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap.  Place in warm spot to rise for 30-40 minutes.  Should be fluffy and larger, not quite doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start Boiling Liquid While Rolls are Rising: 
Add 2 ½ quarts water and salt to large pot (6-8 quart) and bring to boil.   Make sure the water only fills the pot about 1/2 full so as to prevent boil over when you later add the baking soda.  Add baking soda a little at a time to boiling water.  Be cautious, as water will tend to boil up when you add the baking soda.

Finish Rolls:
Take two rolls at a time and place in boiling water mixture.  Boil for 30 seconds, flip and boil for another 30 seconds on the other side.  Remove with a spider, slotted spoon or tongs and place back on baking sheet, arrange the rolls about 2 inches apart.  You will fit 8 rolls on each baking sheet.  While the rolls are still wet, score the top in a shallow “X” shape with a sharp knife.  Optional: Sprinkle with a pinch or two of pretzel or kosher salt.  Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.  They will be done when they are a deep brown color and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Printable Recipe: Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Rolls

Cookie & Cream Cheese Truffle Pops Recipe

Cookie and Cream Cheese Truffle Pops.jpg

Love these cute and easy Halloween treats!!

Directions for:

Licorice Tree: How-to-video

Cookie Crumbs "Dirt": I made cookie crumbs from chocolate sandwich cookies in my food processor or mini-chopper.  For this 13-inch platter, I used about 3 cups of crumbs (1/2 package cookies)

Royal Icing for "glueing" candy corn fence: Recipe

Cookie & Cream Cheese Truffle Pops Recipe:

Tina Verrelli –

Makes 11 Pops

2 cups crunchy cookies broken into 1 – 1 ½” pieces
(Chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate biscotti – pretty much any crunchy cookie will work)
3 ounces cream cheese – cut into ½ inch pieces
10-ounces white chocolate candy melts or white chocolate chips
3 teaspoons coconut oil if needed to thin the candy melts/chocolate chips
colored sprinkles
candy eyes
6-inch pop sticks

In food processor, process the cookies to make crumbs.  Add the cream cheese and process until well combined.
Use a teaspoon or cookie scoop to scoop about 2-teaspoon portions.  Roll into balls.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

While chilling, use the microwave (30-second intervals) to melt the candy melts or white chocolate chips.  Add coconut oil, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired consistency.  Stir until smooth.

Insert a pop-stick into each truffle ball.  Dip and swirl in melted white chocolate.  Dip or sprinkle with colored sprinkles and add a candy eye.

Refrigerate until ready to display and serve.

Can make several days in advance.

Printable Recipe: Cookie & Cream Cheese Truffle Pop