Keep the stuffing outside of the bird and WOW your guests at Thanksgiving with this side dish.

Thanksgiving is a time to share gratefulness with friends and family, and not to share harmful foodborne illnesses. Be sure you follow USDA's guidelines for preparing, serving, and storing Thanksgiving dinner.

According to the CDC, foodborne illness can result from stuffing that is not cooked properly inside of a Thanksgiving turkey. If you choose to add your stuffing inside the turkey, check the internal temperatures of BOTH the turkey and the stuffing.

"Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing; this allows it to cook a little more."

The difference between stuffing and dressing is stuffing is a bread mixture packed inside of poultry for cooking, whereas dressing is a similar bread mixture cooked separately as a side dish. Have I convinced you, yet?

I'm a fan of dressing. And I'm a fan of sausage. I'm also happy to share my favorite dressing recipe perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
(Cook's Tip: This recipe can be prepared in stages ahead of time, freeing you up on Thanksgiving Day.)

Ingredients

1 lb. Italian sausage
3/4 c. chopped celery
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
6-8 c. seasoned bread crumbs or dried cubed bread
3 c. chicken broth

Instructions

Brown and crumble the sausage until no longer pink. Add the celery and onions and cook 1-2 minutes or until the onions are beginning to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

(If you're preparing this recipe in stages ahead of time, you can cool and refrigerate this mixture until Thanksgiving day.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 3-quart baking dish by coating the inside with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage mixture, bread crumbs, and enough broth to moisten the bread crumbs well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Are you a fan of stuffing or dressing? Tell us in the comments below.