Holidays are about traditions, finding the familiar – and therefore the comfort- in things that we do. Traditions can revolve around almost anything, but we tend to see them a lot around the Holidays. I didn’t grow up with a lot of family traditions, but I married into a family that lives for them.  Now almost 20 years in, I am so invested in their traditions that I am the one that gets upset when we need to make changes!

Being a chef, everyone assumes that my family holiday meals must be big fancy affairs, with grand dishes and intricate recipes. But in all reality, by the time we get to our family holiday meals (usually the day after the holiday), I am so tired of cooking that I want everything to be simple and easy.  And so I am going to share a secret …

The one thing that my family demands on our Thanksgiving Table every year is a pan (or 3) of Sausage and Mashed Potato Stuffing. It sounds fancy right? It’s a recipe that my mother gave me over the phone my sophomore year of college. Right after my parents got married and bought a house, a neighbor was surprised that my mother didn’t have a stuffing recipe, so she shared hers. It involves Sweet Italian Sausage and Instant Mashed Potatoes. Yes, you read that correctly, Instant Mashed Potatoes.

As a chef, I have tried to replace those instant flakes in every possible way – Fresh Mashed Potatoes, Day Old Mashed Potatoes, you name it I tried it. But for some reason those instant potatoes are the only thing that makes that stuffing taste right. So our Thanksgiving Tradition is Sausage and Mashed Potato Stuffing made with Instant Potato Flakes. I hope that your families have traditions that make you feel the way that tray of stuffing every year makes mine feel.

Love & Plates … Nicolle

Italian sausage and potato Thanksgiving stuffing