pen rainbow

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday's Cupboard—Crockpot Thanksgiving

Streamline the ingredients
An easy & delicious alternative to slaving in the kitchen all day!

BOoOoo!  The holidays are almost here, and in the spirit of empty nesthood and cooking in the 21st Century, I've decided to go for the easiest Thanksgiving I've ever planned.

I've always made turkey and stuffing because it really isn't Thanksgiving without the heavenly aromas of rosemary, thyme, and sage combined with the warm and cozy flavor of a roasting turkey.  I've streamlined my menu every year so that I'm not stuck in the kitchen all day, but even the easiest dishes require a lot of planning and time spent peeling, chopping, seasoning, measuring, and pouring.

Enough of that!  I plan to sit around smelling all of this good food and find out what Thanksgiving is like on the other side of the stove top.

Here is my favorite turkey & stuffing crockpot recipe that is guaranteed to be delicious, fast, easy to make, and low cal compared to a traditional turkey dinner.  And, it will make your house smell just like Thanksgiving Day!

When I did my own test run this week, I whipped up a simple side dish of warm homemade maple-cranberry sauce (see recipe below).  I added a small bag of ready-to-steam fresh green beans and a handful of baby carrots during the last hour of cooking.  I poured a 12 oz. jar of homestyle turkey gravy over the turkey, but it made the stuffing too soupy, so I recommend heating it separately and serving it with dinner.

For Thanksgiving dessert, I plan to serve a store-bought pumpkin pie with vanilla bean ice cream and freshly brewed hazel nut coffee.  YUM!

TO PRINT THIS RECIPE:  Copy the url; go to printfriendly; paste the url, edit & print.

Plan on 30 minutes for prep and 5 to 6 hours for cooking.

Adapted from
MAKES 5 - 6 servings, about 8 oz. per tenderloin & 1/2 c. of dressing

•  1 - 8 oz. package herb-seasoned stuffing mix (The original recipe called for Pepperidge Farm stuffing; I used a 6-oz. box of turkey Stove Top stuffing)

•  1 large chopped sweet onion
•  2 celery ribs, chopped (I used a .52 lb. container of freshly cut-up celery from Whole Foods)
•  1 c. of dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
•  1/4 c. chicken broth (I made mine from a chicken bouillon cube & microwaved hot water)
•  3 T. melted butter (I added this to the chicken broth & zapped it for about 3 mins)

•  3 lbs. fresh boneless, skinless turkey tenderloins
•  1/4 tsp. kosher salt
•  1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
•  1/4 tsp. thyme OR 2 tsp. of Baron's holiday turkey & poultry rub, #69 (available at Whole Foods)

1.  Spray the inside of a 6 - 7 qt. crockpot with butter-flavor or olive oil cooking spray.
2.  Add the stuffing mix, chopped onion, chopped celery, and dried cranberries.
3.  Zap the broth & butter in the microwave for 2 - 3 mins. until butter is melted and broth is hot.  Pour over the stuffing, vegetables & cranberries and mix gently.

Butter & broth — What's not to love, here?

Stove-top gets a helping hand from
dried cranberries, celery & Vidalia onion

4.  Rinse turkey tenderloins & pat with paper towels.

5.  Rub each tenderloin with a little holiday turkey seasoning and place fillets on top of the stuffing.  If you do not use a turkey seasoning rub, mix together the salt, pepper & thyme and sprinkle it over the turkey fillets after they are in the pot.

**  You could make your own basic seasoning rub by combining equal amounts of ground sage, crumbled rosemary, thyme, black pepper, celery seed & onion powder.  Add kosher salt in an amount that is half of the other seasonings.

6.  Place turkey tenderloins on top of stuffing.
7.  Cover & cook on HIGH for 1 hour.  Reduce to LOW and cook for 5 to 6 more hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey registers at least 170°.
7 qt. crockpot leaves room for veggies on top

The only dishes I used for this recipe (in the drainer)!
8.  Remove turkey.  Stir stuffing gently to fluff.  Cover & let stand for 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour a 12 oz. jar of Safeway Homestyle turkey gravy into a 2 c. Pyrex measuring cup & microwave for 3 minutes until hot.  Stir & spoon over turkey & stuffing.

Add fresh green beans, baby carrots &/or cut-up sweet potatoes
on top of the turkey during the last hour of cooking  

Original recipe from Cooking Light, Nov/Dec 1996 - Makes 2 cups (this recipe can be doubled)

•  3 c. fresh cranberries (1 bag)
•  2/3 cup of golden raisins
•  1/2 c. of real maple syrup
•  1/2 c. of honey
•  1/4 c. cider vinegar
•  1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Combine all ingredients in a 3 qt. saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat & simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve warm.