Ahh Thanksgiving! A time for reflecting back on the year and being thankful for the little things that have gotten you to this place in time without throwing yourself off the nearest bridge. Just kidding, but seriously, this is a time for thanks, reflection and spending time with the people we love.
1 loaf (12 ounces) Italian or French bread in ½ inch cubes, or substitute unseasoned prepared bread crumbs, or corn bread
2 T. Olive oil
1 ½ c. chopped onion
1 ½ c. chopped celery
2 t. poultry seasoning
1 t. dried thyme leaves
½ t. dried crushed rosemary
¼ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
1 c. coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1 T. Splenda
¾ c. fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 8 to 10 lb. Turkey
Note: If you substituted prepared breadcrumbs or corn bread, skip this section. Just preheat your oven to 350°F and go on to step 2.
1: Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange bread on a large cookie pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly toasted. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
2: Pour olive oil into large saucepan, over medium heat. Add onions and celery and stir 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, remove from heat. Add breadcrumbs, poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper, then mix well. Combine cranberries and Splenda in a small bowl, and mix well. Add cranberry and Splenda mixture to the breadcrumb (stuffing) mixture, toss well. Slowly pour chicken broth evenly over stuffing mixture and toss well.
3: Remove giblets from turkey. (Note: giblets, heart, and liver can be boiled in the broth until done, and chopped up into small pieces and added to your stuffing for extra flavor.) Rinse turkey and cavity in cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Fill turkey cavity loosely with stuffing. Place remaining stuffing in casserole dish sprayed with none stick cooking spray. Cover casserole and refrigerate until baking time.
4: Spray roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray and place turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Bake for 3 hours or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 185°F, and the juices run clear. Most turkeys are fitted with an indicator that signals that the turkey is ready. I use the thermometer anyway, because the indicators do not always work.
5: Increase oven temperature to 375°F, and transfer the turkey to a serving platter. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; let stand for about 20 minutes. Place covered casserole of stuffing in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until hot throughout.
6: Remove and discard turkey skin. Slice turkey and serve with cranberry stuffing.