By Margo Graf
As everyone knows, this gathering is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. The one day where you can feast like there is no tomorrow and not a single person will judge you. But under the surface…all of the time, money, emotions, traveling, organizing, and planning build up to become a stress-filled week.
Although the awkward cheek pinching from your great aunt cannot be avoided, we have one way to make the holiday a bit more relaxed: the crockpot. Not only will it save you a big hassle and mess, crockpots are virtually the greatest device for a lazy chef. (Or the chef who has other places to be, and/or many dishes to cook.) Throw in the ingredients, set for 6 hours, stir halfway, plate, and voila…you have just created a wonderful slow cooked meal.
Need a dish to bring to the table? Try one of these:
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 6 cups day-old whole wheat bread, cubed
- 6 cups day-old white bread, cubed
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 large brown eggs
- 1 can vegetable broth
Melt butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook until tender, around 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Stir in onion mixture. Combine eggs and broth; add to the bread mixture and toss. Use a cooking spray to coat the inside of the crockpot and transfer the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Green Bean Casserole – 10 servings
- 2 packages (16 oz each) cut green beans, thawed
- 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup full fat milk
- 1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts
- 6 bacon strips, fried and chopped
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 oz cheese cubes
- 1 can (2.8 oz) French-fried onions
Combine the green beans, cream of mushroom, milk, water chestnuts, bacon, paprika, and pepper in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours. When the green beans are tender, stir in the cheese and continue cooking for half an hour. Top with French-fried onions and serve.
Sweet and Nutty Dessert – 12 Servings
- 4 lbs sweet potatoes (around 5 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp coconut extract
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter and combine with coconut, pecans, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Coat the crockpot with cooking spray and add the potatoes. Pour pecan mixture over the potatoes and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours and check to see if the potatoes are tender with a fork. Stir in coconut extract and vanilla extract before serving.
Grown Up Cider – 6 Servings
- 2 quarts apple cider
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange, sliced
- Rum or Apple Pie Vodka
Combine the spices in a cheesecloth and tie to form a bag. Add the cider and sugar to the crockpot, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Place the spice bag into the pot and top with orange slices. Cover and cook on low heat for a couple of hours. To serve, pour into a mug and add 1 shot of the rum or vodka per glass, garnish with orange.