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Simple cornbread, bacon, and dried cranberry stuffing

2 (8 1/2-ounce) boxes corn-muffin mix

2 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

8 slices bacon

2 cups chopped onion

1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)

1 1/2 pounds (about 4) Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. For corn bread: Combine mix with eggs and milk, according to package directions. Let stand 2 minutes. Pour into dish and bake 15 minutes. Cool; cut corn bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread cubes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Set aside.

3. Cook the bacon in a large skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, cool, then cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.

4. Add the onion, fennel, and carrots to the skillet with the bacon drippings and cook over medium 9 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Add the apples, sage and cranberries to the skillet and cook 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

5. Combine the vegetables with the corn bread, parsley, salt and pepper. Transfer to 9-by-13-inch casserole dish coated with cooking spray.

6. Pour the broth over the stuffing and bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top and heated through.

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