Stephen Schmidt, a cooking teacher and cookbook author who revised the poultry section of "The Joy of Cooking," once told me he preferred the term stuffing to dressing.
"Dressing," he declared, was "just a high-falutin' term for stuffing."
Nobody wants to pass on the stuffing — or dressing, the term used when the dish is cooked outside the holiday bird in a separate pan. But nutritionally speaking, wallowing in the stuffing can mean you're racking up some serious carbs. And too many carbs, or the wrong kind of carbs, can cause a spike in blood sugar.
One way to counteract that unhealthy side effect is to add more fiber to your meals, which also reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
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Nutrition experts urge simple substitutions, such as serving brown rice instead of white rice and whole-grain bread instead of white bread. This recipe for Midwestern-Style Dressing replaces traditional white bread with high-fiber English muffins. Add the classic combination of onion, celery and mushrooms (more fiber) cooked in a tablespoon of butter for flavor.
Finally, bind the mixture together with reduced-sodium chicken broth and an egg white.
Fiber can also serve as a dietary aid because it helps make you feel fuller faster. The recommended daily goal for fiber is 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams for men, but most Americans eat only 16 grams a day.
As a rule of thumb, one slice of whole-wheat or multigrain bread has 1.9 grams of fiber, but be sure to read the label. For testing purposes, we used Thomas brand high-fiber English muffins.
Ready-made poultry seasoning typically contains marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, thyme and black pepper. Look for it in the spice aisle.
4 high-fiber (100 calories each) English muffins, split and toasted
1 tablespoon butter
3/4cup chopped onion
3/4cup finely chopped celery
3/4cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt to taste
1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut muffins into 3/4 -inch cubes and place in large mixing bowl; set aside.
Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion, celery and mushrooms until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour vegetables over muffin cubes. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Allow to stand a few minutes for broth to absorb.
Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray coating. Spoon dressing into prepared dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is quite hot. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 124 calories (22 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (1 gram saturated fat), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 317 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.
The Wichita Eagle—12/22/09