Stuffing out of a box, like its cohorts canned cranberry jelly and frozen pumpkin pie, has been deemed uncool. Unrefined. Passé. You might even regard it like an acquaintance from high school you've unfollowed on Facebook — an entity you probably wouldn't interact with unless you were in a serious bind.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Let's take a closer look at this vilified shelf-stable side dish and see why it's the stealth superstar of any holiday meal.
Making stuffing from scratch can be tedious. You have to saw bread loaves into cubes, dry them in the oven on a cookie sheet, fold in both broth and veggies, then put it all back in the oven to bake. Who wants to fuss around chopping and baking in a hot kitchen when you can have a hearty bowl of stuffing on your table in the time it takes to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody"?
Assembly is basically foolproof, unlike a lot of traditional stuffing recipes. Just follow the simple directions to boil, mix, stir, and set, and you're good to go.
It's readily available.
You only need water, margarine or butter, and the stuffing mix to get the party started. That's it! And it's available at any supermarket.
The box is just the beginning.
Think of the boxed mix as a blank canvas. Toss in bacon, fresh herbs, dried fruit, mushrooms, whatever you want. Let your foodie flag fly high, or stick to the basics; it's up to you.
It makes leftovers sing.
If you want to punch up your day-after turkey sandwiches, whip up a quick batch of no-fuss boxed stuffing. Then, add a schmear of cranberry sauce and a little mayo for the ultimate leftover turkey sandwich.
Whether you're cooking for a football team or flying solo, you can adjust the quantity you make with ease. Not all stuffing recipes are as easy to scale as this is.
There are lots of flavors now!
I don't know if you've swung by the stuffing aisle lately, but manufacturers have kicked up their dressing game. In addition to the classic chicken and turkey flavors, they've added herb, sage, cornbread, and pork variations to complement whatever else you're making.
If you've grown up eating stuffing out of a box, one forkful will instantly transport you back to your childhood. And for those far away during the holiday season, this comfort food can make you feel closer to home.
In the end, stuffing is just a sponge for gravy anyway.
Whether you spend half a day creating an artisanal stuffing dish or toss together the boxed stuff in five minutes, let's be honest — most stuffing is only on the plate to soak up rich, smooth turkey gravy (aka the real star of the show on the plate). So give your gravy the quick, affordable, and tasty supporting player it needs to truly shine.