Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Stuffing Muffins!

We're still mainly focusing on healthy Thanksgiving Recipes around here, and this recipe for whole wheat stuffing "muffins" took me three tries to get it right, so my house has been smelling like Thanksgiving for days. The final keeper version has a little Parmesan cheese added to the mixture for flavor and to help the "muffins" hold together. Of course, these aren't really muffins, but I love the idea of baking the stuffing in muffin cups so all the edges are nice and crispy. It also helps with portion control, which may or may not be something you care about for Thanksgiving! I did use 100% whole wheat bread and reduced-fat sausage to make the stuffing from scratch, something that makes these stuffing muffins a very flavorful and more healthful option.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comI used a combination of two types of whole wheat bread for the stuffing, one of which was this local Utah bread with sunflower seeds. The important thing when choosing the right bread for the South Beach Diet is to look at the amount of sugar, since some whole wheat breads have things like high fructose corn syrup added. This bread has 0 grams of sugar and the other one I used had 1 gram, both a good choice.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comI used this reduced-fat pork sausage which really added a lot of flavor to the stuffing, but you can use turkey sausage if you want even less fat.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comCut the bread into cubes about 1/2 inch square. (I like the bread cut on the small side, and in this recipe it helps the "muffins" stay together.) Spread the bread cubes out on a large baking sheet and toast at 300F/150C for 10 minutes, then turn and toast for 10 more minutes. The bread should be dried out and only very lightly browned.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comWhile the bread cubes toast, brown the sausage well in a heavy frying pan, then put the browned sausage into a large bowl.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comWipe out the pan to remove extra fat from the sausage, add butter or olive oil, then saute celery and onions over medium heat until they're soft, about 10 minutes. Add the dried sage, poultry seasoning, and salt and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add onion-celery mixture to the bowl with the sausage.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comAdd dried bread cubes and parmesan cheese to the bowl and mix well so all the bread cubes and coated with parmesan cheese. (I used the finely grated Parmesan that comes in a can for this.) Raise the oven temperature to 400F/200C when you take the bread cubes out.

Mix together 1/2 cup chicken stock and 2 eggs, then add that to the stuffing mixture. Add about 1/3 of the stock/egg mixture at a time, pouring it over the stuffing and then stirring to get all the bread cubes lightly moistened.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comI used a heaping 1/3 cup measure to scoop out stuffing and pack it down into the muffin cups, then I pressed down each "muffin" so it was well-packed together. (Be sure to spray the muffin pan very well or the "muffins" will stick. I also tried this with individual silicone cups but I had better crisping with a metal muffin pan.)

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comBake the "muffins" about 30-35 minutes, or until the top is getting lightly browned and the stuffing is hot clear through. I would start checking them after about 25 minutes.

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.comAnd of course, even though the individual "muffins" look awfully cute, here's how you'll want to eat them, broken apart and smothered with delicious turkey gravy! (I used turkey stock from the freezer to make gravy and had this for lunch on the day I took these photos!)

100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com100% Whole Wheat Stuffing Muffins with Sausage and Parmesan
(Makes about 12 "muffins," recipe created by Kalyn.)

8-9 slices 100% whole wheat bread, cut into cubes about 1/2 inch square (5 generous cups of bread cubes)
12 oz reduced-fat pork sausage (or use turkey sausage for even less fat)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced celery
1 T butter or olive oil (I used butter for flavor since this is for a special occasion)
1 1/2 tsp. dried sage (or use 1 tsp. if you're not a big fan of sage, which is a fairly strong flavor)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used Penzeys poultry seasoning, click to see the ingredients)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned chicken broth)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 300F/150C. Cut bread into cubes about 1/2 inch square (you need 5 generous cups of bread cubes.) Put bread cubes on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven 10 minutes, then turn the bread over and toast 10 minutes more, or until bread is dried out and very lightly browned.

While bread toasts, heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a heavy frying pan, add sausage, and cook until well browned and completely cooked, about 10 minutes. Break the sausage apart with a metal turner as it cooks so you have small pieces to mix throughout the stuffing. Put the browned sausage into a large mixing bowl, then wipe out extra fat from the frying pan with a paper towel. (I "patted" with the paper towel to leave the crumbled pieces of sausage in the pan while wiping out the fat.)

Heat 1 T butter or olive oil in the frying pan, then add finely diced onion and celery and cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened and barely starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add dried sage, poultry seasoning, and salt and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add the onion/celery mixture to the mixing bowl.

When bread cubes are toasted, add them to mixing bowl and increase oven temperature to 400F/200C. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well so that all the bread cubes are lightly coated with Parmesan. Whisk together the chicken stock and eggs, then add that 1/3 at a time, pouring over the surface of the stuffing mixture each time and then stirring, so all the bread cubes are lightly moistened.

Spray metal muffin pan very well with nonstick spray. Use a measuring cup to add heaping 1/3 cup to each muffin cup, pressing down each muffin so it's well-packed together. (I used the measuring cup to pack down the "muffins", then pressed them together again with my fingers when they were all filled.)

Bake muffins 30-35 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and they're hot clear through. (I would start checking after 25 minutes.) Let cool for about 5 minutes before you remove them from pan, and then use a knife to go around the edge of each "muffin" before you lift them out of the muffin pan. Serve hot, with turkey gravy of course!

I froze some leftover muffins and they reheated beautifully in the microwave.

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South Beach Suggestions:
To make the most South Beach Diet friendly version of this recipe choose bread that has the least possible grams of sugar, use turkey sausage, and cook the vegetables in olive oil instead of butter. However, even if you use low-fat pork sausage and 1 T of butter like I did, this is a pretty diet-friendly recipe for a special occasion.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Stuffing Ideas for Thanksgiving:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Whole Wheat Stuffing with Sage, Italian Sausage, and Pears from Kalyn's Kitchen
Whole Wheat and Mushroom Stuffing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Bread and Sausage Stuffing with Beef Chorizo from Fearless Kitchen
Sausage Stuffing from Kitchen Parade
Savory Bread Stuffing with Herbs and Sausage from Cookin' Canuck
Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing from Gluten Free Goddess
Thanksgiving Stuffing from Tea and Cookies
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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  1. I love the individual muffins. Glad you didn't give up on these:)

  2. What a grand idea! Very creative, Kalyn!

  3. I'm so glad you were persistent. These individual stuffing servings make a wonderful, unique presentation.

  4. So glad that people are liking this idea. I was really pleased with how the final version turned out!

  5. I do tend to pile on the stuffing, so this would be a great way to control my portions! I do like the idea of individual servings.

  6. TW, you can always eat 2 or 3 of them and I will never tell! (But cooking in the muffin tin gets all the edges nice and crispy!)

  7. I'm going to try this with turkey sausage (I might need to add a bit more moisture (i.e., cheese) with lower fat sausage). I think my family, especially the younger ones, will love this for Thanksgiving.

  8. Lydia, maybe but I would not add too much more (my first attempt was way too wet!) Hope the kids like it.

  9. This looks great, Kalyn! I'll have to try it with gluten free bread.

  10. Num. Love putting the stuffing in individual muffin helping size. So easy to serve too!

  11. I love the muffin idea for these because it means I'll be able to stick to one serving, no problem! Meaning more room for pie. Deeelicious.

  12. I'm loving the portion control with these muffins. It's so easy to overdo it at Thanksgiving. These would cook up quickly in the oven while we're carving the turkey. Perfection :)

  13. Looks great Kalyn! I'm glad you finally had success with them!

  14. You had me at stuffing 'muffins.' What a great idea! I LOVE stuffing, and definitely prefer the crispy parts, so these look positively divine - especially with gravy, which, as everybody knows, is one of the best inventions ever. ;)

  15. I love the way different people are liking this idea for different reasons. Whether it's for the portion control or for the crispy edges, these were great. I still have some in the freezer and I keep pulling out a couple and eating them for breakfast! With gravy of course.


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