Stuffing, or dressing as it is also called, requires these elements:
Be creative with what you put into your stuffing -- you won't be disappointed.
Create your own recipe by keeping these proportions in mind:
If you just want stuffing, there's no requirement for a bird.
Stuffing baked inside the cavity of a turkey is generally moister than stuffing baked in a casserole. It may also contain more fat calories since the stuffing absorbs juices from the turkey as it bakes. If stuffing is baked inside the turkey, it is essential to check the temperature of the stuffing as well as the turkey. The stuffing must reach a temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
Bake an entire recipe of stuffing in a casserole instead of using it to stuff a bird. Bake the casserole, covered, in a 325-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through.
It is unsafe to stuff the turkey ahead of time. The chilled stuffing in the turkey will not reach a safe temperature before the turkey is done. To be safe the turkey should reach a temperature of 180 degrees F. and the stuffing in the body cavity of the bird should reach 165 degrees F.
It's fine to make the crumbs or bread cubes ahead, but the stuffing should not be completely prepared ahead if it will be used to stuff a turkey. If the stuffing is to be baked in a casserole, it can be prepared in advance and chilled. The baking time will need to be increased by about 15 to 20 minutes if you're starting with chilled stuffing.
Before carving your turkey, be sure to remove all stuffing. The leftover stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Stuffing must be heated to at least 160 degrees F.
After dinner remove all meat from the carcass (this should be done within 2 hours of the turkey's removal from oven). Leftover turkey can be refrigerated and used within 2 days, or frozen in small portions.
Be sure to label and date the wrapped packages and use within 6 months. Leftover turkey can be used in any recipe calling for cooked chicken or turkey.
Stuffing will expand as it roasts. If stuffing is too tightly packed, it will not reach a safe temperature by the time the turkey is done.
If the stuffing you've baked outside the bird in a casserole dish isn't crisp on top when it's done baking, put it under the broiler for a minute or two. You can do the same thing with the stuffing that's been baked inside the turkey; after it's done, just transfer it to a large oiled baking dish.
Bake it at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes or so, and then broil it for a minute or two. It will be crisp on top and moist inside.