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The Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Turned Out Pretty Good.

Posted Nov 30 2010 3:20pm

Since we were going to have a guest join us for Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to get 2 turkey thighs to add to the boneless turkey breast we already ordered.  I have a 3.5 qt oval slow cooker and I borrowed another oval slow cooker, so we divided the turkey and had half the breast and one thigh in each of the two cookers.  Stuart checked the temperature of the turkey over an hour after it had been cooking (actually closer to 2 hours) and it didn't reach any where near 140F so we thought it was going to take much longer for the turkey to cook than we originally planned.  Then about 1 1/2 hours later Stuart went to check on it and it was done!

Well, that snuck up on us, so we decided not to cook the veggies in the slow cookers.  I already had one full of stuffing (I must say I like my stuffing much better cooked in the oven, it's too soggy in the slow cooker, even though we added less liquid), 2 cookers full of Turkey. and one full of Chex Mix. 

I used a recipe for Chex Mix that will be coming out in Kathy Hester's upcoming new cookbook.  You can see some of her recipes on her blog: Healthy Slow Cooking .  You can find also find some other Chex Mix recipes from the Chex Mix site .  They have a lot of Gluten Free recipes at the Chex Mix site, but I bet you can figure out how to change some of the other recipes to make them gluten free too.  Or just get creative on your own. 

Since I couldn't find fresh Brussels Sprouts, we decided to order some Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with caramelized onions from Earth Fare.  They were very good.  Even Stuart and Vincent ate some, and neither like Brussels Sprouts.  I love them, so of course, I got to finish off the left overs.  : )

I keep saying we, but really Stuart did most everything.  I wasn't supposed to get up much that day after having the spinal fluid leaks patched the day before.  However, I did get up for just a few minutes and made a got bacon type dressing to cook the Green Beans in.  They were very good.

Green Beans with Bacon Dressing

1 lb green beans cleaned and ends cut off, with the bad ones discarded
4 pieces of bacon cut into small pieces - Turkey Bacon is fine.
1/2 medium red onion cut into very thin small pieces.
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar.  (I think I will use white wine if I do this again.)
1-2 Tablespoons of cane sugar
enough toasted Sesame Oil to make sure you have a total of about 2 tablespoons of oil between the bacon and the oil.

(Please note, I really didn't measure anything, I'm just guessing on amounts.)

Cook the bacon and add onion before the bacon is all the way done.
Add additional oil if needed (be sure to use a toasted oil, like toasted sesame oil so you will still have a smokey flavor)
Add Vinegar or wine and deglaze the pan.  (Deglaze means to scape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with the added liquid.) 
Add sugar and stir until melted.
Add the green beans, stir until well coated.
Lower the heat and cover letting the heat from the liquid cook the beans.
We like our beans to still have a crunch, so just cook until the tenderness that you like.

I changed the recipe for the Cranberry Sauce a little.  Here's what I did this year, and it turned out great!

Cranberry Sauce in the Slow Cooker

12oz fresh cranberries
1 Cup Orange Juice  (I think you could use Apple Juice, but it would make this much sweeter.)
1/2 Cup water
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup Agave syrup

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker (I used a 3 quart cooker, but I think a 2 quart cooker would be fine.)  Cook on high for 2 hours.  Let cool, then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  I prefer to let it stay in the refrigerator over night.  (This year I made this on Tuesday afternoon for dinner on Thursday, since I was having surgery on Wednesday.)  This is a very fruity and thick cranberry sauce, it is sweet but still maintains the tartness of the cranberries.  The cranberries burst open and release all their wonderful goodness during the heating process.  My husband put this on his cheese cake and just loved it!

The Cheesecake in the Slow Cooker turned out GREAT!

I don't have a 6 quart slow cooker so I had to divide the recipe between 2 slow cookers.  The crust made from Mi-Del Arrowroot Animal Crackers turned out much better than I anticipated.  My husband said he liked it more than a graham cracker crust.  I still miss graham crackers, but this was very, very good.

Remember, I found this recipe in Stephanie O'Dea's Make it Fast, Cook it Slow cookbook.  You can also find it on her website: A Year of Slow Cooking .

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

I'm happy to say that I'm recovering nicely from the procedure I had on the 24th, and it looks like it may be giving me some relief from the vertigo, and horrible headaches.  It seems to have also allowed some of the hearing to return in my left ear.  Hopefully things will continue this way.

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