Thanksgiving is almost here! Are you cooking this year? If you are, don’t fret! With a few simple recipes, you will look like a rockstar at Thanksgiving dinner yet you won’t have to work up a sweat in the kitchen all day!
Oven space is always at a premium on the holidays so I use as many alternate cooking methods as possible! I make as much as I can ahead of time and also make several dishes in slow cookers.
First, I always make the rolls ahead of time. You can either bake them the day before or even a week before and freeze them. Set frozen rolls out on the counter to thaw overnight. I like these easy thaw & bake rolls – they taste fresh baked and just like homemade rolls but they are a cinch to make. Just set the rolls out to thaw/rise and then bake them! (Note: if you have a local bakery, I bet they have good rolls too. It’s okay to outsource part of your holiday dinner + you can help support a local business at the same time!)
If you ask me, most people love the delicious side dishes as much as they do the turkey at Thanksgiving. What other time of the year do you make HOMEMADE MASHED POTATOES? (yummy!) Well, you might make them more frequently when you see how easy they are when made in a slow cooker. Simply place two pounds of clean (and unpeeled) red potatoes in a slow cooker and top with salt & pepper and 1/4 cup of water. Cook on LOW for 8 hours then add warm milk, butter and seasonings then mash right in the slow cooker! You can also serve the mashed potatoes right from the slow cooker.(just turn it to WARM to keep potatoes warm without overcooking) Get the detailed recipe HERE.
If sweet potatoes are more your thing, make this SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE. Again, it can be made completely in a slow cooker! Mix baked (or canned) sweet potatoes with goodies like butter, sugar and pecans before transferring to a slow cooker. This recipe takes just 3-4 hours on HIGH so put it in your slow cooker mid-morning, and then serve it in the afternoon for turkey dinner.
I’m originally from the Midwest and love it or loathe it, GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE is a holiday staple where I grew up. This is yet another holiday favorite that can easily free up oven space and be made in a slow cooker. Simply mix up ingredients like green beans, creamy soup, seasonings and french-fried onions and slow cook for 5-6 hours. Top with more fried onions right before serving to give it a little crunch!
It’s Thanksgiving and that means we have to eat STUFFING! This simple recipe is low on cost and high on flavor! Apples are the secret ingredient in this SLOW COOKER STUFFING and the fresh parsley adds a great dimension too. This dish also takes about 4 hours in the slow cooker so if you time it right, it can cook at the same time as your sweet potatoes! (each in their own slow cookers, obviously!)
Yes, you can make dessert in the slow cooker!! You can make something yummy like this delicious APPLE PIE or make it even easier on yourself and make this PUMPKIN DUMP CAKE RECIPE from my website GetCrocked.com. You literally just dump the ingredients in (even the cake mix at the end!) and it slow cooks up into the most delicious pumpkin dessert in just 3-4 hours.
Last but not least let’s not forget the real star of the feast – the Thanksgiving Turkey!
Use this handy website from Butterball to determine how many pounds of turkey you need to prepare.
Last year I made a bone-in turkey breast in a large (7-Quart) slow cooker and it turned out so moist. Breast meat makes the best sandwiches the next day and it freezes easily in case you have a lot of leftovers. I’ll be making a turkey breast again this year and it’s so easy to make in a slow cooker! Be sure to start thawing your turkey breast (in the frig) about 2 days before you want to cook it.
>>>Find out how to SLOW COOK YOUR TURKEY HERE.<<<
Tips for slow cooking over the holidays:
- Use a programmable slow cooker. Once your cooking cycle is finished, it will switch to WARM and hold your dish at a safe temperature. This is great for serving right from the slow cooker too!
- Write out a schedule for what needs to be started when. Write it down then copy it or take a picture of it with your phone. That way you won’t lose the list!
- Have everything prepped and ready to go then simply put recipes in the slow cookers in the morning.
Sample Thanksgiving Slow Cooking Schedule (assuming you have already prepped ingredients)
2-3 Days ahead of Thanksgiving: defrost turkey breast
Day before Thanksgiving: Bake homemade rolls
Morning of Thanksgiving:
8:00am: Start turkey breast recipe using a large slow cooker (lid should fit on top) and LOW heat.
Set out all place settings (you can persuade the kids to set the table later!)
<<coffee break>> 🙂
9:00am: Wash potatoes for Rustic Mashed Potatoes Recipe and place in slow cooker with seasonings. Cover – no peeking until the potatoes are done!!
10:00am: Mix ingredients for Green Bean Casserole and place in a slow cooker.
12:00: Start this recipe for Slow Cooker Stuffing. (if you like apples, you’ll love it!)
12:30pm: If using fresh sweet potatoes for casserole, wash and poke holes in sweet potatoes then microwave 3-5 minutes or until soft and peel comes off easily. Either way, start prepping for Sweet Potato Casserole and get that in the slow cooker before 1:00pm.
While the sweet potatoes are heating, “dump” all the ingredients for Pumpkin Dump Cake in an oval slow cooker or the Casserole Crock. After it’s done cooking (3-4 hours) take lid off and remove from heat to cool.
1pm: Its time to make that yummy #recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole now!
4pm: DINNER! Serve buffet style with my favorite Crock-Pot® Hook-Up® Connectable Entertaining System or right from your other slow cookers!
I hope these recipes and sample schedule help you. Let me know what YOU will be making for Thanksgiving Dinner this year!
XO – Jenn