Sausage-Cranberry Stuffing

From Devin Alexander, author of The Most Decadent Diet Ever!

• Butter-flavored cooking spray.

• 12 slices whole-wheat bread (about 70 calories per slice).
• Olive oil spray.
• 1 recipe Sweet and Slim Italian Sausage, uncooked and unshaped.
• 1 1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onion.
• 1 cup finely chopped celery.
• 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic.
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
• 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage.
• 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups fat-free lower-sodium (not low-sodium) chicken broth, divided.
• 2 tbsp light butter, melted.

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly mist a 2 1/2- to 3-quart ovenproof ceramic or glass casserole dish with butter-flavored cooking spray.
2. Place the slices of bread side by side in a single layer (they should not overlap) on a large nonstick baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 14 to 16 minutes per side, until the slices are dry (not at all soft in the center), but not more than very lightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, lightly mist it with olive oil spray and put in the sausage mixture. Cook, breaking the sausage into bite-sized chunks, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl.
4. Turn the heat to medium, re-spray the pan and put in the onions. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the celery and garlic. Continue cooking until the celery is bright green and starts to soften slightly, 7 to 10 minutes.
5. Add the celery mixture to the sausage.
6. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
7. When the bread is cooled enough to touch, cut each slice into 9 squares.
8. Add the bread, cranberries and sage to the sausage mixture and stir until well combined.
9. Drizzle 1 cup broth slowly over the top and stir it in until the liquid is absorbed.
10. Slowly drizzle the butter over the top and stir that in.
11. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared casserole dish. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup broth for a drier stuffing or 1/2 cup for a moister stuffing over the top.
12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
13. Remove the cover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the stuffing is hot throughout.
14. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.

Makes about 7 cups; 10 servings or 20 portions.

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