Recipe: Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing

Have you been to your local Trader Joe’s lately? I go about every other week and if I can make it out spending less than $20, I consider that a miracle! They have so many good items from ready-to-go salads, an array of cheeses, wine, frozen foods and more. Their latest in fall offerings, Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons, are a total HIT! These crispy, crunchy pumpkin-y morsels are absolutely delicious and slightly sweet. Add them to a kale salad with dried cranberries, over pumpkin or butternut squash soup, or in my latest obsession, pumpkin cornbread stuffing. Packed full of seasonal fall flavors, this stuffing recipe is a great side for chicken and turkey dishes, or even pork, and would be a total crowd pleaser on Thanksgiving!

·         Make it your own! Try variations using pecans or other nuts. Use apple cider instead of orange juice. Even though the pumpkin croutons are seasoned already, add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to punch up the flavor even more!

·         No Trader Joe’s? No worries! Use your favorite dried bread or cornbread croutons and follow the same recipe and ingredients, cooking diced pumpkin with the carrots and apples.

Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing
Serves about 4
2 cups Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons
1 ½ cups Chicken Broth
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ cup Orange Juice
¼ cup Dried Cranberries
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Apple or Pear, chopped
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Lemon Zest
1 tbsp. Sage, chopped (less if using dry)
1 tbsp. Thyme, chopped (less if using dry)
1 tbsp. Parsley, chopped 
1 tbsp. Rosemary, chopped (less if using dry)
2 tsp. Chili Powder
Ground Black Pepper
Salt, to taste

Heat cooking pot on medium heat and add olive oil. Once heated, add chopped carrots and cook for a few minutes, then add your apple or pear (or go a little crazy and add both!). Cook these down for about 5 minutes and then add minced shallot, cooking for another few minutes until softened.

Next, add the garlic, lemon zest, herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley), the chili powder, ground black pepper and a cinnamon stick. Cook for about a minute to release the flavors, then add in orange juice and chicken broth. Taste and salt as needed (remember, the croutons will also have seasoning and salt so don’t go too heavy!). Turn to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Once the liquid begins to boil, remove the cinnamon stick and add the seasoned pumpkin croutons and dried cranberries; stir gently to combine. If the croutons look too dry, add in more chicken broth until you achieve desired consistency. You don’t want it to be too wet that it looks gloppy, but wet enough so that the croutons and ingredients combine.

Spoon stuffing into a casserole dish and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. Serve with chicken or turkey and enjoy!

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