Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

My philosophy on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Simple is elegant, simple is cost effective, and simple is easy (because hey, the cook wants to enjoy the day, too). I like to take super simple recipes and add just a little somethin-somethin’ to make them special, without making them overly complicated or expensive. For this […]

The post Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My philosophy on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Simple is elegant, simple is cost effective, and simple is easy (because hey, the cook wants to enjoy the day, too). I like to take super simple recipes and add just a little somethin-somethin’ to make them special, without making them overly complicated or expensive. For this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing, I’ve transformed a simple box of cornbread stuffing mix into a vibrant and flavorful Thanksgiving side dish with just a few fresh and affordable ingredients.

This post is sponsored by ALDI—my “secret weapon” for keeping this year’s Thanksgiving feast easy and super affordable, without sacrificing quality or flavor.

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

A pot full of Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing with the ingredients scattered all around

Keep Your Costs in Check

While sticking to simple recipes with basic ingredients helps keep my Thanksgiving budget in check, sometimes I still want to include a few special ingredients, like pecans, that could easily spoil my budget. This is where shopping at ALDI really saves the day. In just 4-5 aisles, they have all the basics I needed for my Thanksgiving dinner, plus some fancier fun ingredients at seriously reasonable prices (have you seen their wine and cheese selection??).

I don’t know how ALDI works their magic, but their prices always come in substantially lower than the other national chains, without sacrificing quality or standards (tons of organic options!). Their cornbread stuffing mix alone was 70% less than the generic brand at the national chain grocery store across the street. Savings like that add up fast, especially when you’re cooking an enormous feast. And that is how I can afford to add the little luxury ingredients, like pecans. :)

So if you haven’t yet, click here to find your nearest ALDI store, and do a little cost comparison before you begin planning your Thanksgiving menu. You might be able to add a few more goodies to the lineup this year! And let me know how it turned out! I love hearing and sharing ALDI #wins with fellow ALDI fans. :)

Thanksgiving side dishes on a table from above

It’s Okay to Take Shortcuts

It’s 100% okay to not make everything from scratch on Thanksgiving. It’s practically impossible to do, unless you have six sets of helping hands and multiple ovens, luxuries I do not have. Boxed stuffing mix is a shortcut that I like to use to my full advantage. It’s nothing more than dried bread, seasoning, and bouillon, all of which I would have added to my stuffing anyway, so I’m all about having done and ready to go. But I still want it to be special, so…

How to Fancy Up Your Stuffing Mix

There are a lot of ways that you can make a 69 cent boxed stuffing mix look and taste like a million bucks, but here is what I did today:

  • Use fresh onion and celery. Two super inexpensive ingredients that will add a LOT of flavor to the “broth” in your stuffing, not to mention color and texture throughout.
  • Roasted apples and cranberries. Nothing says fall like apples and cranberries. Roasting them in the oven first softens the cranberries and sweetens up their naturally pucker-inducing tart flavor, with a little help from the sweet apples and brown sugar.
  • Pecans. Pecans are the little bit of luxury that take this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing over the top.

Can I Make This Cornbread Stuffing Ahead?

Absolutely! Since it’s nearly impossible to cook everything for Thanksgiving dinner on the day of, this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing can be made entirely or in part the day before. Here are a couple of options:

  • Roast the Apples and Cranberries, and chop the celery and onion the day before. The day of, just sauté the celery and onion, and assemble the rest of the recipe (5-10 minutes).
  • Make the entire recipe the day before, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Reheat in the oven the next day in a covered casserole dish, at 350ºF for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165ºF.

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing on a Thanksgiving table with other dishes in the background

 

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

A few fresh ingredients added to a simple box of cornbread stuffing mix makes this vibrant and flavorful Thanksgiving side dish.

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries ($1.09)
  • 2 apples* ($0.50)
  • 2 Tbsp Baker's Corner Brown Sugar ($0.08)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 4 Tbsp Countryside Creamery Salted Butter ($0.39)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.28)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 6 oz. boxes Chef's Cupboard Cornbread Stuffing Mix ($1.38)
  • 1/2 cup Southern Grove Pecan Halves ($1.76**)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice the apples. Add the apples, cranberries, brown sugar, and salt to a large baking dish. Stir until the apples and cranberries are evenly coated in sugar. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Stir the apples and cranberries, return them to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and appear wrinkled.

  2. Meanwhile, dice the celery and onion. Add the butter, celery and onion to a large pot. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Chop the pecans.

  3. Add 3 cups water to the pot with the celery and onion, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water up to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornbread stuffing mix and stir briefly to combine. Turn off the heat, place the lid on top and let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes to absorb the liquid.

  4. After the stuffing has rested, add the roasted apples and cranberries and chopped pecans. Fold them into the stuffing. Serve immediately, or transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy.

*Use a sweet-tart variety of apple, like Gala or Honeycrisp.

**Prices may vary by store location.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A full Thanksgiving dinner plate on a table with other Thanksgiving dishes

 

How to Make Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing – Step by Step Photos

Chopped apples, cranberries, and brown sugar in baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice two apples. Add the apples, 12 oz. cranberries, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt to a large baking dish. Stir until the apples and cranberries are evenly coated in sugar.

Roasted Apples and Cranberries in baking dish

Roast the apples and cranberries in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then stir. Return the apples and cranberries to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until all of the cranberries have burst and they look shriveled.

Diced onion and celery

Meanwhile, dice three ribs of celery and one yellow onion.

Chopped pecans

Chop 1/2 cup pecans.

Water being poured into a pot with sautéed onion and celery

Add the diced onion and celery to a large pot with 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 3 cups water to the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high and bring the water to a boil.

Cornbread stuffing mix being poured into the pot of boiling water

Once boiling, add two 6 oz. boxes of cornbread stuffing mix. Stir briefly to combine, then turn off the heat, place the lid on top and let it rest for about 5 minutes so the bread can absorb the liquid.

Roasted apples and cranberries being folded into the pot of stuffing

Fold the roasted apples and cranberries and chopped pecans into the cornbread stuffing.

Finished Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing in the pot

Either serve the Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing as is, or transfer to a casserole dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy!

Side view of the Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing in the pot

That whole pot of fancy Thanksgiving goodness for only $5.86! With ALDI, you can totally SLAY Thanksgiving dinner without killing your budget. :)

The post Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Apple Walnut Stuffing

I’m all about making things from scratch. When it makes sense. If you’re cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, I think it makes sense to take a few shortcuts. One shortcut I like is zhuzhing up a boxed stuffing mix with a few fresh ingredients. Because I really don’t have time to cube and […]

The post Apple Walnut Stuffing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about making things from scratch. When it makes sense. If you’re cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, I think it makes sense to take a few shortcuts. One shortcut I like is zhuzhing up a boxed stuffing mix with a few fresh ingredients. Because I really don’t have time to cube and dry a whole loaf of bread (AND clean up all those crumbs) if I’m making all the other dishes, too. That’s why this Apple Walnut Stuffing is my go-to Thanksgiving side dish.

I’ll save the from-scratch stuffing for my potluck style Thanksgiving dinners and Friendsgiving dinners, when I’m only responsible for one dish. 😜

Originally posted 11-19-09, updated 10-31-19.

Stove Top Apple Walnut Stuffing

A casserole dish full of Apple Walnut Stuffing with a wooden spoon on the side

What Kind of Boxed Stuffing Should I Use?

For this recipe you’ll want to use two standard 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix (dried bread crumbs + seasoning/bouillon powder). I used chicken flavored stuffing mix, but you can use any flavor you prefer. You can even use a cornbread stuffing mix. If you want to make this stuffing vegetarian, make sure to use a vegetable flavored stuffing mix and double check the ingredients for any meat derived ingredients.

Can I Make This Apple Walnut Stuffing Ahead?

Yes! This Apple Walnut Stuffing is a great candidate for a make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish. I will say that the texture changes just slightly as it refrigerates over night (it’s not quite as “fluffy” the next day), but the flavor is on point.

How to Reheat Apple Walnut Stuffing

If you do make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, you can reheat it in the oven, covered with foil, at 350ºF, for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature rises above 140ºF. The total time to reheat will depend on the size, shape, and type of dish you’re using, and how crowded the oven is. I suggest using an instant read thermometer to make sure.

Other Add-Ins

Stuffing is great because there are so many different directions you can take it. If you like meat in your stuffing, you can also brown some sausage or bacon and stir that into the stuffing. I garnished my stuffing with chopped parsley for color, but that is entirely optional and not required to flavor the dish.

Close up side view of Apple Walnut Stuffing in the casserole dish, being scooped out with a wooden spoon.

 

Apple Walnut Stuffing

Take a Thanksgiving dinner short cut by upgrading a boxed stuffing mix with fresh ingredients for more flavor, texture, and visual appeal.

  • 4 Tbsp butter ($0.52)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 2 apples ($0.50)
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage ($0.05)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 6 oz. boxes stuffing mix ($1.38)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts ($0.60)
  1. Finely dice the onion and celery. Add the butter, onion, and celery to a large pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

  2. While the onion and celery are sautéing, core and finely dice the apples. Add the apples and dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery, and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the apples soften slightly.

  3. Add the water to the pot, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add both boxes of stuffing mix, stir briefly to combine, turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes.

  4. While the stuffing mix is absorbing the hot water, chop the walnuts. After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, remove the lid, add the walnuts, and gently fold them into the stuffing (vigorous stirring will make the stuffing gummy).

  5. Serve immediately, or bake uncovered at 350ºF for about 15 minutes to achieve a crispy top layer.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up overhead shot of Apple Walnut Stuffing in the casserole dish with a wooden spoon in the corner

 

How to Make Apple Walnut Stuffing – Step By Step Photos

Diced onion, celery, and butter in a pot

Finely dice one yellow onion and three ribs of celery. Add the onion and celery to a large pot along with 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add diced apples and sage to pot

While the celery and onion are sautéing, core and finely dice two apples. Add the diced apples and 1/2 tsp dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery. Sauté for one to two minutes more, or just until the apples begin to soften.

Water being poured into the pot.

Pour 3 cups water into the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water up to a boil.

Stuffing mix being added to boiling water

Once the water is boiling, remove the lid, pour two 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix into the pot, and give it a brief stir to combine. Turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for about 5 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.

Chopped walnuts on a cutting board

While the stuffing is resting, chop 1/2 cup walnuts.

Chopped walnuts added to the pot with stuffing

After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, add the chopped walnuts and gently fold to combine. Don’t stir too much, as this will make the stuffing gummy. Serve the stuffing immediately, or bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy.

A casserole dish full of the finished Apple Walnut Stuffing, garnished with chopped parsley

Or you can cover and refrigerate the stuffing for the next day. To reheat the stuffing, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 140ºF (use an instant read thermometer). The total reheating time will vary depending on your baking dish and oven.

Thanksgiving side dishes on a dining table, from above

What are your go-to Thanksgiving side dishes?

The post Apple Walnut Stuffing appeared first on Budget Bytes.