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AllFreeSlowCookerRecipes.com

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A Full Thanksgiving Feast in Your Slow Cooker

By: Marah Altenberg, Editor, AllFreeSlowCookerRecipes.com
A Full Thanksgiving Feast in Your Slow Cooker

Did you ever think about cooking up a whole holiday menu in your slow cooker? It is extremely possible to make a handful of slow cooker Thanksgiving recipes that cover all courses for your next Thanksgiving menu. If you have about 4 slow cookers going, you could also attempt to serve all of your dishes hot and right out of the slow cooker. You could also make dishes ahead of times and warm them up right before serving dinner. Either way your slow cooker is able to produce some absolutely amazing and flavorful dishes to make your holiday fabulous.

You can make a slow cooker turkey, slow cooker stuffing, and a host of other dishes including cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, vegetable casseroles, and even pumpkin pie with your slow cooker. Slow Cooker recipes have as much flavor and pizzazz as dishes cooked in your oven. Your slow cooker can be a a magical wonder when you let it. We would like to share with you some tips on how to make your best turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more. This guide will help you use your slow cooker to cook to perfection these important dishes that will make your Thanksgiving meal a memorable. one.

Tips for making Turkey in Your Slow Cooker

Turkey, is obviously the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving menu. You want it to shine and be the best it can be. Here are some tips of important things to remember to make sure your bird is the star of the show.

  1. When you pick a turkey you should plan a pound per person. 

  2. When putting your turkey breast in the refrigerator to thaw, you want to plan for one day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey. 

  3. Your turkey will take on average about 6 hours to cook on high in your slow cooker. 

  4. Start checking the internal temperature of the turkey at about 5 hours into cooking. It should be 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh before it is ready to take out of the slow cooker. 

  5. Do not cook your stuffing in the turkey as it slows down the cooking time of the turkey. 

  6. If your turkey is ready before your other dishes you can leave it warming in the slow cooker without drying it out. 

Tips for Thanksgiving Stuffing

There is no other holiday where stuffing is also front and center on your menu. Thanksgiving stuffing is a premier dish that you want to be flavorful and appetizing. Here are some tips to help make some amazing stuffing!

  1. To prevent your stuffing from getting too mushy, keep dry and wet ingredients separate until right before the cooking process. You can also prevent mushy stuffing by drying out your bread cubes. Spread them on a baking sheet and leave them uncovered overnight. You can also heat them on low for 15 minutes until they feel dry. Cornbread is the exception to this rule. It only needs to cool completely before being cut up into large cubes. 

  2. If you like the stuffing a little drier and cake-like, then plan on adding an egg or two. 

  3.  You could use anything from everyday white bread to a hearty whole grain, which adds heft and a touch of sweetness to your stuffing. Sourdough makes a slightly tangy and chewy stuffing. Cornbread can give your stuffing a lighter and slightly nutty flavor. There is also the option of using two parts cornbread with one part buttermilk biscuits to make a light and buttery stuffing. Use the kind of bread that appeals to you. Avoid packaged croutons as they always taste like they came from a packaage. 

  4. The character of the stuffing, its presentation, is affected by how you prepare the bread for cooking. Many people cut their bread into small—1/4- to 1/2-inch—cubes. Tearing the bread is preferred over cutting it up. Tearing it gives you a more textured look and feel. 

  5. An array of chopped up vegetables and seasonings, which cook slowly in butter, oil or bacon fat, make up the foundation of flavor in your stuffing. You want to soften the vegetables enough to get their flavors to seep out. You also want to leave your vegetables slightly crunch to juxtapose the softness of the bread. Onions and celery are almost always part of your stuffing mix, and garlic is always a good ingredient to consider. Shallots, red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, leeks, and fennel can also be used in your stuffing.

  6. A stuffing made in your slow cooker should have a cup or two of stock poured over it to keep it moist during baking.

Tips to Make Cranberries in Your Slow Cooker

Your slow cooker is a great appliance to use to make cranberries that your guests will remember. Your slow cooker also makes it incredibly easy to put your ingredients together and get your dish simmering in no time. See some tips for making your sauce stand out this Thanksgiving. 

  1. You can purchases cranberries fresh, frozen, or canned. If you decide to purchase a bag of fresh cranberries, the best time to do that is late November to early December. Make sure you check the bag and get rid of any shriveled, soft, or discolored cranberries.

  2. When boiling cranberries whole, make sure you remove them from the source of heat as soon as their outer skins expand and burst. If you do not do this the cranberries will become soft and mushy. You can use a food processor to chop the cranberries. 

  3. Don't let the cranberry sauce overcook. The cranberries can burn. Definitely keep an eye on it, even in your slow cooker. 

  4. You can make your cranberry sauce into more gourmet flavors than just the traditional sauce by adding certain ingredients. You can use apple cider, brown sugar, and apple pie spice to make your sauce more apple-flavored. You can also use bourbon, maple syrup, and cinnamon to give your sauce a more alcoholic character. There are other recipes as well. 

  5. There are extremely simple recipes to use for your cranberries, including some with only 3 ingredients. This recipe is so simple: just cranberries, orange marmalade and brown sugar. 

  6. You can find a host of uses for leftover cranberry sauce. You can use it on a turkey quesadilla, as a spread for a sandwich, or even as a topping for French toast or waffles for breakfast. This is the dish that keeps on giving. 

Tips for Making the Best Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie

Instead of baking a pie this year you can make a wonderful pumpkin pie dessert in your slow cooker. This dessert will cap off the wonderful menu your guests will remember fondly. Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkin pie. 

  1. When going to purchase a fresh pumpkin for pumpkin pie look for "pie pumpkins," which are smaller, sweeter, and less grainy textured pumpkins than the normal larger ones you display outside your house. Grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S. In some parts of the country, they are also called sugar pumpkins or even "cheese pumpkins." 


  2. You should figure that one 6-inch pie pumpkin usually makes one 10-inch deep dish pie and a little extra. If you have extra ingredients, you can always pour it into a baking pan and make a mini-pie. 

  3. Rotate your slow cooker pot during the cooking process to get each side of your pie cooked evenly. 


  4. You need to cook your pumpkin before scooping out the guts. The cooking process makes the scooping much easier. Use a broad, smooth spoon to scoop. Use the spoon to gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin. It should separate easily in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.
     

  5. To get a nice, smooth consistency, use a hand blender on your pumpkin before putting it in the slow cooker. By blending it, you give the pie a smoother more satiny texture. This process helps get rid of the graininess that is typical of cooked squashes.

  6. Once your pie is finished cooking in the slow cooker, let it sit awhile. Expect a lot of liquid to be released as the pumpkin cools. Once the pie is cool enough, lift it out of slow cooker and put it in a strainer. Leave it in strainer to drain off any remaining liquid. Place in the refrigerator. You can heat your pie later before serving. 
     

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Thank you for all these amazing tips! I would never have thought of making an entire Thanksgiving meal using slow cookers, but you have convinced me it's possible!

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