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Bread "Stuffing" with Apricots, Walnuts & Cranberries

By Siri Ved Kaur

Yield: 6 generous servings

This easy-to-make "stuffing” always gets raves. Baked as a casserole, the only thing that gets stuffed is all our tummies with the fabulous holiday meal! When I double it, I use one box of whole grain stuffing and one box of cornbread stuffing mix.

l stick butter (½ cup)

5 stalks celery, diced

2 onions, diced

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

1 12-ounce package wholegrain or cornbread stuffing mix

4 ounces chopped walnuts

1- 2 ounces dried cranberries

2 ounces dried apricots, chopped in thin slices

1½ cups hot water (or follow directions on stuffing box for water amount)

Olive oil spray

Saute the Veggies: Melt butter in a large heavy skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and saute 20 - 30 minutes until soft and translucent (do not brown). Most of the liquid should be cooked out. Add orange juice concentrate and mix well.

Make the Stuffing: Meanwhile, put all the stuffing mix into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped nuts and dried fruit and combine. Add 1¼ cups hot water and mix until evenly moistened. Add cooked onions, celery, and mushrooms mix well. Add a small amount of hot water if needed. It should be a pleasantly moist, slightly spongy consistency, not mushy!

Now Bake It: Put all into a 2-quart casserole or 2 loaf pans that are lightly buttered or sprayed with oil. Do not press down or squish the stuffing. Cover with foiI or lid and bake at 350° for 60 minutes. Then remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered.

Remove from oven and cover again to hold heat until served It will stay hot enough to serve for about 2 hours.

How to Make Your Own Stuffing from Scratch

I always use a wholegrain stuffing mix because it is such a timesaver and produces great results. You can use your own dried bread (break day-old bread into small pieces and bake in low oven until dried completely, but not toasted) and season with poultry seasoning or combination of your favorite fresh herbs to taste.

This recipe can be found in From Vegetables, With Love by Siri Ved Kaur.

Siri Ved Kaur has been a part of the 3HO/Sikh Dharma community in Los Angeles since 1971. She has authored two cookbooks (Conscious Cookery, 1978 and From Vegetables with Love, 1989) and written numerous columns for Beads of Truth, Aquarian Times, YogaMint, and HealthWorld Online. Mother of three grown daughters, she now resides in Bakersfield, California with her husband, Gurujodha Singh.