Stuffing or dressing -- this mushroom and cornbread variety is a winner
So, what do you say, dressing or stuffing?
Technically, it's dressing if it's cooked in a pan and stuffing if it's cooked inside the bird. However, which word you choose seems to have more to do with where you come from: Midwestern or Southern folks often call it dressing, regardless of where it's cooked, and Northeasterners lean toward the term stuffing, even if it never saw the inside of the turkey.
You can certainly cook this stuffing in the turkey if you want, but I rather love it in a pan, so the top gets crispy and browned. Or do a little of each method if your gang is divided.
Crumbling the cornbread and letting it sit out for a day allows it to dry slightly, which prevents the stuffing/dressing from baking up heavy and possibly soggy. The somewhat dried cornbread will then be able to soak up the moisture and flavor of the rest of the ingredients and stay on the lighter side.
The types of mushrooms you can use in this recipe are limitless. Use the ones that appeal, the ones that are on sale, the ones that fit into your budget. You can absolutely use only inexpensive button mushrooms, but it's great to mix in some delicious and chewy (but pricier) shiitakes. If you're splurging (or if you have a friend knowledgeable about mushroom foraging), go for all wild mushrooms.
You can also mix in some browned and crumbled sausage or some crumbled crispy bacon or pancetta for extra flavor. (Add any additional salt judiciously if you do that, as the pork will add some saltiness).
Use vegetable broth if you want this to be vegetarian-friendly. Skip the cream if anyone in your world is vegan or can't have dairy -- the stuffing will still be fabulous.
• Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.