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Abuela’s Stuffing + My Modifications

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes growing up was the stuffing my abuela made. I try to make it each year, but like every other recipe, I can’t leave well enough alone. This year, I felt inspired to document my little Carma-izing journey of my grandmother’s stuffing recipe and share it with you.


  • 1 loaf of toasted stale bread
  • 1 medium or half a large onion
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, sausage or both)
  • 1 container sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small can olives
  • 2 large eggs
  • Poultry seasoning (to taste)
  • Milk or chicken broth


Step One: Prepare the bread


You need one loaf of toasted stale bread to make the stuffing. Abuela usually used french bread or sourdough. This year I found a loaf of multigrain bread with flax and pumpkin seeds and decided to use that.

To make the bread stale, I cut the bread up into bite size chunks a few days before I’m going to make the stuffing, place it in a dish and leave it out to dry. A day before, I toast it slowly in a 200 degree oven for about an hour.

Step Two: Saute the onions

sauted chopped onions

Chop one medium or half a large onion and saute it over medium heat in a large skillet with a small amount of oil until it is translucent and just starting to brown.

Step Three: Brown the meat


Abuela used ground beef for this step, but I like to use mild Italian sausage. This year, I used half of that and half a chicken, feta & spinach sausage I found. You can use any ground meat you like … about 1 pound.

Add the ground meat and brown it with the onions until it cooked, possibly until it is starting to brown around the edges.

Step Four: Add Mushrooms

sauted mushrooms

Add in some mushrooms and stir until they are lightly browned. I used sauted fresh mushrooms, but canned mushrooms will do.

Step Five: Toss together

toss together

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread and meat mixture together.

Step Six: Add olives


Mix in a small can of olives. Abuela used chopped; I prefer sliced.

Step Seven: Add eggs & seasoning

whisked eggs

In a small bowl, whisk together two eggs with a fork. Add to the stuffing mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add in some poultry seasoning to taste … anywhere between a teaspoon and tablespoon will do. Mix thoroughly.

Step Eight: Prepare for the oven

prepare for the oven

Spread the stuffing mix in a 13″ x 9″ pan. Add enough liquid so that the bread will soften but not be too soggy. Abuela used milk, often a can of condensed milk. I prefer to use chicken broth.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until done. That will be somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes.

Step Nine: Enjoy!


Once the stuffing is done, take it out of the oven and it is ready to serve!

I don’t think I added quite enough broth (I added about one cup), since some of the bread is still a bit crispy. But it still tastes wonderful! I especially enjoyed how the multigrain bread complemented the sausage flavors.

Additional Notes
My grandmother also added in some chopped celery and green peppers. I’m not crazy about cooked celery and don’t like peppers, so I don’t add them. But you are more than welcome to!

As you can see, I’ve experimented with substitutions to play around with flavor. I hope that by “watching” how I did it with this recipe, you’ll be inspired to do something similar with your own recipes. Kitchen creativity is as simple as that!

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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