Mar 112014


I previously shared the wild morning I had with Parsley as we put together my first ever Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. To be honest with you she left me completely exhausted. Spent. I needed quiet and tranquility to recover. My gawd did this mean I would need to take my first ever blue pill. Or what color are they anyway?

Hmm…maybe that was just in movie The Matrix.

To add insult to exhaustion my back hurt also.

Phoenix, “Ohhh nooo, not that day.”
Me, “Yep, that day smart britches. Thanksgiving.”

It’s ok, you can bring the children back out of the bedroom. It’s ok to open the blinds. You won’t need to go to confessional this week…well, at least not for this post. Will this one be hot enough to burst your thermometer? Nope, it is not even tepid.

Considering these food photos are from Thanksgiving should give you an idea as to how far behind I am! I had been cooking that entire day and my back was absolutely trashed by the time late afternoon rolled into evening. I was literally cooking while sitting in a chair. Yes, please call the Whambulance for me. 

PhoenixPhoenix, “He was definitely being very whiney. As in annoying.”

I was very excited to make my first ever Skillet Cornbread and a Sausage, Apple and Cornbread Stuffing completely from scratch. A little bit of time was involved to combine the yellow cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, shortening, buttermilk and an egg for the cornbread. Then it gets all mixed together.

The batter is poured into a medium hot skillet on the stove top to get it to set for a minute. What? You can’t seriously want a picture of a bowl of batter, can you? Good, because I’m not putting it up. It’s boring.

Also, you don’t get a picture of it in the pan either. You try taking pictures while sitting a chair in a tiny kitchen when your back hurts. And I don’t hear any sirens dear blogger friends from the Whambulance you were supposed to call for me. Fine.

The skillet was put into a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes to bake. Well, one leettle problem as the recipe said 20-25 minutes and I should have erred towards the 20 minute mark. That would have required scooting the chair over four feet to look. It did come out of the pan easily, was still fairly moist and incredibly delicious with some melted butter spread on top. Regardless of my minor overshooting the time it was serving a bigger recipe purpose that day and was a forgivable slight.

I had been using Stove Top for their wonderful boxes of Mashed Potato and Stuffing made-in-minutes-because-I-was-too-lazy-to-make-the-real-stuff for years. Truth be known if you need something in a pinch they will work great. You can add cheese to the potatoes or some olives to the stuffing it will taste and look gourmet to your guests. I had mastered all sorts of real homemade mashed potato recipe variations and now it was time to conquer real stuffing.  Not only would this be my first stuffing from scratch but I would turn it up several notches of deliciousness.

Can I get a back massage please? Anyone out there in blogger land? Phoenix?
Him, “Nope.”

It uses a combination of onions, mushrooms, sausage, cornbread, French bread, Sourdough bread, Granny Smith Apples, numerous spices, white wine and chicken broth. And for all of you mushroom haters out there you could substitute any vegetable you like. Why don’t you like mushrooms…the texture? Your mom forced you to eat them as a kid? You ate too many in college and you’re still having psychedelic flashbacks? Get over it!

There was a ton of prep work and I was already about to gnaw my arm off with hunger as this would take some time. I skipped numerous photo steps because…all together now group…MY BACK HURT! See…you’re getting the hang of it!

In the Sun2Phoenix, “Ahhh…some sunshine and if possible some earplugs would be nice…” 

Apples and OnionsThe diced onions and apples were prepped and ready to go.

Cooking ApplesThe apples and onions getting their yumminess on in brown sugar and white wine.

I also sautéed some ground sausage on the stove top and roasted the sliced mushrooms in the oven. Next I cubed up 8 cups of the French and Sourdough bread and Daddy was ready for the home stretch!

Cornbread and MushroomsEverything was mixed together in this very large bowl. I actually had to use two of these exact same bowls as this recipe makes 16 servings.

Final DishAnd when it’s all done baking here’s what you have! Looks incredible, doesn’t it? 

In A Bowl

It was! All of those seasonings and the ingredients marrying together gave this such a savory depth of flavor with a wide spectrum of textures from soft to a little crunch. Gawd, it was good. Here are the original recipes from Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman. The Skillet Cornbread to start followed by the Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples.

I gotta go now….my pinkie hurts.

What is your favorite stuffing recipe?

Phoenix and I wanted to send a thank you to Michelle! She has supported us and become a really good friend as well. She hails from Canada but I was fascinated when we discussed her studying at the Art Institute of Chicago which is a place I toured. She has been working on her Master’s Degree but my biggest delight was hearing that she’s currently living in my #1 bucket list country of Germany. Please hop on over to her blog at Confessed Travelholic and enjoy it as much as I have. Thank you again for everything, Michelle!

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  60 Responses to “Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing and Lots of Whining”

  1. That looks super-yummy. I guess I don’t really have a favorite stuffing. Thanksgiving and Christmas are probably the only times I eat it, and it’s always just the normal, boring kind. Your post makes me want to remedy that. We have a frozen turkey breast in the fridge we’ve been meaning to make, and your stuffing would go great with it.

    • Thank you so much for the compliment, Jeri! I hope you and your husband give it try and if you do let me know what you think 🙂

  2. This actually looks good enough and substantial enough to be a complete dinner all by itself. I only “prepare” stuffing once a year—on Thanksgiving because—it’s Thanksgiving. I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t serve stuffing on Thanksgiving, but guess what’s the one meal component that I find still uneaten in the refrigerator 2 weeks later. Yep. The stuffing. Admittedly, it’s doctored Stove Top stuffing. I don’t have a skillet that can go on the oven. Would it be sacrilegious to buy cornbread –with all the other breads? Who would know—other than Google and the NSA—now that I’ve mentioned it on the internet?

    • Ha, ha no you would not be breaking any rules, Govt or cooking, to buy the cornbread, Suzanne! I absolutely love stuffing and will devour it yet would likely not make this one again for just myself. Absolutely nothing wrong with Stove Top! 🙂

  3. Wonderful post Mike, you know ‘cornbread’ and ‘stuffing’ have always been alien concepts which I come across from watching and reading American media. The post arouses my interest in these ‘american’ stuff. We eat a lot of corn (we call it maize) and derivatives made from it (meals made from corn flour) in my country, but never to make bread. Maybe I should give making cornbread a try 🙂

    • I’ve heard you and seen that you can make a lot of wonderful recipes with maize, Rachel! Please share them if you have any to pass along to us! I would love to know what you think of cornbread and great to hear from you 🙂

  4. Well, Phoenix is awfully photogenic!
    My husband takes stuffing making as seriously as an Olympic sport. Me? I won’t even touch it if turkey and mashed potatoes are on the table.
    This, I might touch.

    • Wow, what an awesome compliment on the Phoenix pics, Tamara! He is terrific for photography as long as the photographer (me) gets the good shot. I’ve been blessed with many. I get it with your husband on stuffing and at the same time I will dive into turkey and mashed potatoes very quickly too ha,ha! 🙂

  5. My mom’s cornbread dressing with apples and sausage? OMGosh that sounds yum. I think I’ll doctor my recipe this year with it and see what happens. As long as there’s Turducken no one will whine. You ought to try your hand at paella and frittata (both easy but gourmet looking) – I’ll send you the recipes. With paella you can substitute because we sure don’t have fresh seafood here in AR!

    • Woo hoo! I’m a huge, huge Turducken fan, Nan! I’ve bought it three times (mail order) and it’s been amazing – from Cajun Specialty Meats. I just made my first fritatta a while back (and posted here on it) it was amazing. I most definitely want to make a paella but I hope I don’t need to buy one of those mothership huge pans. I have a tiny kitchen and I’m outta space as it is. Oh, and the dressing I would be interested to try cranberries instead of the apples 🙂

  6. This stuffing looks awesome, Mike! I make mine out of recipes in my head and actually do stuff the turkey. I like to add dried cranberries to mine for a touch of sweet with the savory. It’s nice to find a new recipe and one that can be served without cooking inside the turkey.

    I’m guessing the only guy who gets a back rub around your place is Phoenix-the stinker.

    • You guessed correctly on the back rubs, Lisa, and that is just fine with me. He deserves them 🙂 How ironic, I just mentioned cranberries in the previous comment! I can’t wait for my cooking to evolve to where I can do them all in my head too 🙂

  7. Incredibly Yummmy. Love the idea of apples in your stuffing, Mike.

    You are amaaaaaazing.

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE phoenix! Handsome photos.

    –I use my mom’s stuffing, which is my all time fave.

    She fries celery, giblets, sage, and onions in butter…Adds dried bread, broth, & mushroom soup. Very moist. It’s like biting into my childhood.


    • Mushroom soup! I like that idea! I used it all the time for quick pasta, meat, veggie, cheese casserole that I make, Kim. I bet your mom’s dish is beyond yummilicious! Thank you for the Phoenix compliments and Xxx’s always back to you 🙂

  8. That looks absolutely delicious Mike! Hope your back has recovered in the meantime. 😉 I’ve never made stuffing; one shortfall of a European upbringing, where it’s not known. Hubby’s European too, so he’s no help either. Anyway, I’d say your culinary skills are excellent and Phoenix has a wonderfully expressive face. Cheers!

    • We so appreciate the compliments to both of us, Debbie! I would love to read some of your European recipes that you guys make. I bet they are incredible! 🙂

  9. Hi Mike,

    All I could hear was your whining…rest all is latin and greek to me!! enjoyed looking at the pictures. Never tried cooking American dishes at home…my son like son-in-law makes such things and they are yummy!
    Phoenix is so expressive…I can see all you say in his eyes.
    Hope your back has recovered!

    • The back is always ongoing and yes it was a very whiney Thanksgiving that day. Golden Retrievers are known for their incredibly expressive eyes and thank you for noticing that Phoenix follows suit with that. I would enjoy hearing about some of your recipes! 🙂

  10. I’m old-school when it comes to stuffing – keeping it simple – I use seasoned corn bread stuffing, sauteed celery, onions and chopped almonds. I use chicken stock as the liquid. I mix it all together in a fry pan and then put it in the oven until we’re ready to serve. It’s quick easy and delicious. p.s. I totally understand the aching back – there are some mornings around here when I’d like to call a whambulance!

    • So sorry for your back, Patti! My aunt pointed out last year how counters are never built correctly to adjust to each cook’s height. Wow, she nailed that one correctly. Your stuffing sounds delicious! 🙂

  11. I’m not too stuffing-picky, although I don’t like too much sage, and I’m not a fan of rosemary. My family’s stuffing is amazing. I have the recipe somewhere, but I don’t really remember it off hand since I’ve never made it myself. Remember, I bring wine. No one asks me to cook. Ever.

    I love the apples in your recipe! It looks scrumptious!

    • You know what would be fantastic someday, Beth? Is for to cook up and post a Vegan Thanksgiving! Seriously, I would be fascinated to read that. Hey, the wine sounds perfect to me, my friend! The apples brought a ton of flavor to it and thank you for the compliment! 🙂

  12. Yum! This looks delicious and kudos to you for what looks like a lot of work. Hope your back is better. I’ve never made stuffing since Mrs. Cubbison and I are BFFs during Thanksgiving. Who knows…I may surprise my family one of these days.

    • Thank you, Mary! The back definitely needs to be addressed but that requires going to a Dr. Argh! Ha, ha to you and Mrs Cubbison being buds! There is absolutely nothing wrong with saving effort and still providing deliciousness – trust me, I get that 🙂

  13. Mike…I use the half-prepared, stuffing in turkey…Pepperidge Farm. It’s easy. I don’t usually cook on Thanksgiving at all, really, because I always have a four day weekend…travel time! We make a dinner sometime around then for all of our Thanksgiving favorites. BTW- love the sunburst photo of Phoenix!

    • I appreciate that compliment on the pic of Phoenix…I was so stoked when I uploaded it and saw that I got it! That is a great point on your traveling, Corinne…makes total sense. Pepperidge Farm is awesome and I’ve used their stuff before 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. This looks delicious 🙂 Never made stuffing before, but might give this a try!

  16. Mmm…that looks great! I definitely miss Thanksgiving living here in Germany, haha. So much great food that I’m missing out on!! Love all your captions on Phoenix too 🙂

    And thanks so much for your shout out! I didn’t know Germany is #1 on your bucket list! :O You really must visit soon then! 🙂

    • Oh I appreciate the compliments on Phoenix! I always wonder what folks do for traditional holidays when they are living abroad. But, with all those yummy places in Munich hopefully you can make out ok, ha, ha! Oh yes on Germany most definitely and it’s definitely a matter of when not if. You are so very welcome, Michelle, and we thank you again 🙂

  17. Oh, I need to go take a nap – just reading that process made me tired. . .my favorite stuffing (and please don’t block me from your reading list when I write this) is the Stove Top, 15 minutes or less kind. Of course I certainly would like to try the one you made so if we are ever in the same part of the country come Thanksgiving. . .(hint, hint, hint. . . )

    • Ha, ha no blocking here on you ever, Jackie! Trust me I totally get the Stove Top likes and would still use it anytime in a pinch! Sounds like a wonderful dinner to have with you and Joel! I would have made it for you in Lanai with an invite hee hee 🙂

  18. Looks good. I can see you cooking skillls are steadily improving.

    • I keep making baby steps and that was 4 months ago, Mette! Soooo appreciate a compliment for you with all of your amazing dishes that you make! 🙂

  19. Mike, I can smell the picture of “the apples and onions getting their yumminess on in brown sugar and white wine”. You’ve made me so hungry…….

    • Well, that is a successful post then, Memographer! Really appreciate you compliments and I need to get a smell-o-blog feature for all of the amazing food aromas! 🙂

  20. I am not a stuffing fan. But I would give yours a try my friend!

    • Well, I’m glad you would give it a try, Tony! There’s always that chance of converting you 🙂

  21. Hi Mike
    You’re such a trooper – whipping a delicious recipe with painful back. If it was me, Ill probably just lie down and ice my back (or go out for a massage) and forget the cooking. I don’t know you did it. You’e stuffing recipe sounds interesting I have not tried anything with apple and onion whipped together. The photo looks delicious! I must say I don’t have a favorite stuffing because I don’t eat turkey:(

    • Ahh gotcha on the turkey, Marisol. The stuffing sure was good! But, like I said I doubt I would do it again for just myself. Ha,ha on the massage…believe me I would have been all over going out for one of those that night! 🙂

  22. Mike, BE MY personal COOK!

    • Oh gosh let me think on that….OK, Agness!! When I get over to Poland someday (or wherever you and Cez are by then) I will definitely cook for you guys! 🙂

  23. Wow, just serve me up the apples and onions in sugar and wine, I love the look of that, and leave the rest of the bottle will you. And quit the whining, I’ve called it, it’s on the way, true. Just wheel your chair over to the window. Do you see it?

    • LOL this soooo made me laugh, Jan!!! Thank you – good timing! Absolutely, the wine is all your’s. Well, after I pour just one more glass for me 🙂

  24. Stuffing is my very favorite part!!! And yours looks like it rocks. Last year, my inlaws made fun of me because of my “tan” plate. A little turkey, TONS of stuffing, and a little potatoes, with gravy (not giblet tho because gross). I love love the photo of Phoenix in the sunshine. He deserves to lick the sausage cooker.

    • Thank you for all of your awesome compliments, Kristi! I’m with you as I can go crazy on devouring stuffing. One little secret about cooking for one is that I don’t have to have any manners and just eat it hot right out of the baking dish. Just being honest ha,ha! Though I do follow proper etiquette anytime I’m saving leftovers to share 🙂

  25. First I have to say I am very impressed by your following. What a lot of amazing comments – and so much of that is because you are one of the nicest bloggers out there who always sats such positive things and you leave the most awesome comments.
    Back to the stuffing. Anything at all with cornmeal has my vote. I love cornbread stuffing but have never made it.At Christmas I usually make a chestnut stuffing – hurting my nails & peeling chestnuts for 45 minutes – but it’s so worth it.
    Have a great weekend Mike.

    • Wow, well that has got to be the most awesome compliment ever, Leigh. Thank you! The kindness and time spent on comments is genuine. I read everything because the writer put time into it to have it read and enjoyed 🙂

      Oooo…chestnuts. I’ve never had them but definitely interested, our friend! 🙂

  26. OK, I need to make sure I read your blog when I’m full. Otherwise the pictures and descriptions make me want to gnaw my arm off, and the bag of M&Ms in my pantry is not nearly as satisfying as that bowl of cornbread yumminess!

    • It’s even worse writing a food post when I’m hungry, Nicole…ha, ha 🙂 I gotta say though…the M & M’s sound good too now!

  27. That’s another amazing recipe Mike. My mouth is watering and thank God it’s lunch time now! My favorite stuffing will have to be breadcrumbs, cranberries, walnut. Very traditional but so yummy!

    • Thank you Rita and I’m a huge fan of cranberries. I would definitely go that route with the next stuffing I make. I’ve wondered if pecans might work too 🙂

  28. Looks yummy! I wonder if it would be good freezer food?

    • This is one time I didn’t freeze leftovers and should have so I could know! Very good question, Krystle, and thank you! 🙂

  29. Ohh I love the idea of making this in a skillet, very cool! Haha and Phoenix was soooo patient, being such a good listener, as always:-) I hope he got a special treat afterwards, too!:-)

    • Unfortunately except for Mozzarella string cheese he receives no other people food (intentionally), Jess! Yes, very patient and I’ve been falling head over heels with my old, reseaoned skillet that never got used before 🙂

  30. Oh you poor thing…you need to book a Chinese massage, they work so well 🙂
    David makes the most amazing Apricot Stuffing, will have to see if I can find it to share the ingredients!!
    We don’t use packaged stuff cause our boys are too sensitive to all the colours, preservatives and nasty hidden ingredients…so most times we have to make everything from scratch or even have to buy organic expensive products!

    • That is awesome that you use you natural products for your cooking, Lisa. I’m all for it though I get lazy. Fascinating about the boys being sensitive to the additives. I would love that apricot stuffing recipe if you can send it to me please.

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