Stove Top Stuffing – Dust to Dust

stove top stuffing

Stove Top Stuffing

Stove Top

As I usually do around this time every year, I called home to go through the usual Delicious family deliberations over who-what-when would be cooking for Christmas Eve Dinner and/or Christmas Day Lunch and/or dinner.

Mom informed me that she had already purchased an entire pre-cooked Holiday meal that we only have to heat to eat and it includes a ham and a turkey and a rib roast so everyone will be happy and it will be easy and stress-free and isn’t that perfect?!

I can’t remember my response, or whether I even had one at all other than complete and utter shocked silence.

So while I try to recover from not only the original news, but also from Mom’s addendum of “but don’t worry, we’ll cook something…green bean casserole!” I give you my thoughts on what used to be my number one Holiday Horror, Stove Top Stuffing, which I did, indeed, recreate this afternoon. I like to think of it as my way of preparing for and embracing the inevitable.

Aside from creatures that are still alive when they are ingested, there are few foods in this world that truly scare me. There are many foods that I don’t particularly like. Yes, I am picky, there’s no denying that, but choosing not to eat something because it doesn’t taste good to me is different from fear. I don’t like foie gras, but it certainly doesn’t scare me.

Stove Top Stuffing scares me.

It comes in a box. It comes in multiple “flavors,” banners that are proudly emblazoned across the box in an appropriately indicative color. We bought chicken, but don’t assume yellow is chicken – duh, yellow is the cornbread stuffing. Chicken is light beige, turkey is bigger so it’s brown, and if ever you’ve laid awake at night, troubled, trying to figure out how to color code the rest of your meat flavors, follow the example of Stove Top Stuffing. Beef is blue because that’s alliterative; pork is green, which makes perfect sense because…pork is the other white meat?

We bought “chicken” flavor because we were pan-frying…fish.


I know, I know, we should have gone with the low-sodium chicken, since orange roughy, a mild, white fish, is from the ocean, but look, I just wasn’t thinking clearly. I think I had been overwhlemed by the fact that my Mom even had frozen fillets of orange roughy in the bottom of her freezer. We ate those when I was five, and if we hadn’t moved inter-state at least three times since then, I would have sworn they were coming from the same bulk bag.

(As a side note, I have never ever heard of anyone else eating orange roughy except members of my immediate family, which makes me wonder how my Mom gets her hands on this mysterious fish all the way from New Zealand. Maybe she’s involved with some secret fish mafia or something.)
stove top stuffing, dry
However, it doesn’t really matter when it all came down to dinner because though it says “chicken flavor” on the box, there is nothing remotely related to a chicken in the box. There is nothing “chicken” about the dry breadcrumbs that come pouring out of the box, kicking up a tiny tornado of chicken flavored dust into the micro-climate of Kraft instant food magic on the range top. Don’t look into the pot. Just don’t. Otherwise, like I did, you’ll wonder if those are really breadcrumbs, or whether the colorfully marketed red and light beige box simply disintegrated into a cardboard breadcrumb powder before your very eyes.

Trust me, it wasn’t the Coors Light I was drinking.
Stove Top Stuffing Dry, Dehydrated Vegetables
It’s called “Stove Top,” but folks, I have a message that might give you indigestion with a mean case of heartburn. Don’t hate me. I am merely the messenger.

Stove Top is a marketing sham. A sham! Under the guise of “bringing to a boil” Kraft-owned canned Swanson chicken broth on the stovetop, those krafty Kraft marketers have you believe that you’re almost as good as Sandra Lee. Almost. But I see right through their little marketing scheme. If you read the directions carefully, once you pour the stuffing dust into broth, you’re supposed to “remove from heat.” That’s right. “Remove from heat” is not cooking. That is not cooking!

But I showed them.

I microwaved the broth.

Take that, Kraft.

Stove Top Stuffing Cooked
Stove Top scares me because there is some seriously weird black magic voodoo that goes on in the pot after you close the lid on your medium saucepan, as directed by the package. I don’t recall seeing any vegetables before adding the broth, but when I opened the lid, poised with a chopping board piled with diced fresh carrots and celery to make it really semi-homemade, there was celery already in there!!! Magic. Scary effin’ voodoo crazy supernatural magic.

Stove Top Stuffing is scary.

** a year ago today, french women can, indeed, get fat, at la dijonaise **

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 david hong April 10, 2006 at 7:20 am

At my house for the Thanksgiving turkey, we cut up the bird into parts:
1. Roasting the legs, thighs, wings and part of the breast, after marinating in lemon/lime juice, rosemary, and garlic and with a sprinkle of good thick kosher salt;
2. Using part of the breast meat, which is ground up for stuffing.
3. Make good turkey stock with the remaining turkey carcass for the stuffing.

DH Stuffing:
1. Cut up pieces of whole wheat bread (1-2 loaves);
2. 3-4 good size fuji apples, cut up into nice pieces;
3. Chopped up onions and garlic;
4. A couple of jalapenos chopped up fine for a surprising kick and a nice handful of Fennel seeds;
5. Ground up turkey breast;

Sautee the ground turkey with onions and garlic and apples and jalapenos and fennel seeds in some good olive oil in a huge pot, and after the meat is cooked, I’ll season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper;
then I’ll add the cubed bread pieces and the turkey stock. The whole mixture can be mixed until incorporated, and then transfered to a big baking dish for browning in the oven.

I also like to make mashed yams with crushed pineapple (no marshmello topping please!).

Good eats.


2 Anonymous April 10, 2006 at 2:48 pm

I grew up eating orange roughy too! Maybe it’s a cheap asian parent thing. Although I have to admit I love any kind of white fish, so orange roughy was always welcome! – Ira


3 Colleen Cuisine April 10, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Me!! Me!! I like orange roughy! It tastes really good with this red curry recipe I make. But I admit it’s not a common fish – I have to preorder it from the store as they almost never have it in stock.


4 Shay April 10, 2006 at 11:56 pm

I think Trader Joe’s actually has orange roughy in stock a lot (freezer section). Oh yes, btw, hi Sarah! I have secretly been reading your blog and not commenting (I know, bad me) for a while now…but look, we are ushering in a new era of commenting responsibility here. In any case, I love love love the blog, thank you!


5 Anonymous April 11, 2006 at 12:14 am

Yes, Trader Joe’s and most grocery stores have frozen orange roughy!


6 Maure April 11, 2006 at 12:31 am

yes trader joe’s seems to always have frozen orange roughy lying in wait. and the great thing is it needs no defrosting, just simmer
it in something like the red curry
as delightfully suggested by colleen cuisine – or as i do just
suck on it like a popsicle for maximum nutritional value.

oh, btw, the mother still has a box
of stovetop stuffing i swear is from the reagan administration era.
that and spices which i’m sure predate the new judas scroll.
sorry mom.


7 sarah April 11, 2006 at 6:28 am

david hong: oooh, we brine our turkey, too, but we roast the whole bird. i don’t think i would even know how to dismember a giant raw bird like that. and the stuffing sounds awesome!

wait. why are we talking about thanksgiving now?!?! lol!

ira and colleen cuisine: lol! two people outside my family that have eaten orange roughy? no way.

is it cheap? i have no idea. i just remeber my mom buying them frozen from this dude that would deliver it to us in a white van.

omg. she really was involved with some secret fish mafia!!!

shay: hello! thanks so much for reading and for commenting. i feel validated when readers make comments. for real. :)

anonymous and maure: ok, don’t hate me. ihaven’t been to trader joe’s in years, and i don’t really quite “get” why people love it so much. hm. i may have to post about that, but then again, i suppose i’ll have to be prepared for the massive backlash. LOL!

(by the way maure, i was totally glued to the tv set on sunday night when they found that out. LOL! i am such a dork)


8 JacquelineC April 12, 2006 at 9:00 pm

You can’t possibly be a fan of Semi-homemade?! Saw her nuke smoked salmon to serve with tartar sauce the other day, while describing it over and over a “gourmet.” And can I just say, the girl needs an appt with a good foundations expert. Yikes.


9 sarah April 12, 2006 at 9:21 pm

jacqeuline c: hello (and welcome? are you a new reader? yay!) i have this hateful fascination with sandra lee, as is often the case with beautiful, successful women (though, i am also somewhat strangely fascinated by rachael ray, but i do not find her the least bit attractive).

sandra lee is a lovely person, i’m sure, but i absolutely ABHOR the fact that she has become successful on singing the praises of cake mixes, twist-and-pop crescent roll dough, and passing off store bought cheesecakes as “gourmet.” that is straight up nasty. of course we all rely on store-bought items sometimes, when we entertain, but i never ever fake it. she throws out her packages and plastic wrappings and acts as if she laid those bean burritos herself. LOL!


10 hermz May 9, 2006 at 12:35 am

Yes, Stove Top stuffing is scary… scary good! :P


11 sarah j. gim January 4, 2009 at 5:20 am

i have to admit that this year, we actually made stuffing.

well, mrs. cubbison made it, but we had to add real vegetables.


12 sarah j. gim January 4, 2009 at 5:20 am

i have to admit that this year, we actually made stuffing.

well, mrs. cubbison made it, but we had to add real vegetables.


13 MyLastBite December 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I like the stuff… mostly because my grandfather loved it, especially after his wife (my grandma) passed away and he wanted to “cook” his own Turkey dinner & sides for the family.

The salty mush reminds me of grandpa, so yes I like Stove Top Stuffing!

: )


14 Daily Gluttony December 24, 2009 at 9:41 am

Yes, Stove Top stuffing *is* scary…
…but I freakin’ love it!


15 yutjangsah December 26, 2009 at 9:51 am

Ahh I love coming over to your site. It’s like walking into a clean department store from a jumbled garage sale aka the yut’s place. Loveliness! And I love Stove Top. It is magic in a box – so magical I’m not allowed to make stuffing. My mom is the only one w/ enough gravitas to make instant stuffing. One day though, Stovetop your ass is mine.


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