Food & Drink

Slow cooker recipes free up oven space

Make stuffing in the slow cooker and open up some oven space for other Thanksgiving side dishes.
Make stuffing in the slow cooker and open up some oven space for other Thanksgiving side dishes.

Most cooks have two baking choices when making stuffing for Thanksgiving: In the bird or in a casserole dish. But there is a third option, with a beneft: Save room in the oven and make the stuffing in the slow-cooker instead. The other cool part: Fill with ingredients, stick the cooker in a corner out of the way and forget about it for at least three hours. Bet you have lots of other things to do.

In this recipe provided by McCormick spices, savory sage, parsley and onion combine with sweet and tangy chopped apples and cranberries for a classic seasonal side.

Got an extra slow cooker? Borrow one if you don’t and make the mashed potato recipe included here in it as well.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Stuffing

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium apples, cored and chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups chicken stock

2 teaspoons sage, rubbed

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

8 cups cubed day-old italian or french bread

Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in apples and cranberries.

Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add stock and seasonings; stir to blend. Stir in bread cubes and vegetable mixture. Cover.

Cook 3 hours on low, or until desired texture. Serves: 15.

Cooking tips: For best results, use crisp sweet-tart red apples, such as Empire, Baldwin or Honeycrisp.

For moister stuffing, increase chicken stock to 3 cups. For drier stuffing, allow bread cubes to air-dry overnight.

Optional ingredients: Cook 1/2 pound crumbled sausage with the celery and onion. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans when adding the apples and cranberries.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

1 cup chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 to 1 cup milk

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add potatoes, stock and bay leaves. Cover.

Cook 4 hours on high, or until potatoes are tender, stirring after each hour. Remove bay leaves. Stir in butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover. Let stand 5 minutes.

Beat potatoes with electric mixer on medium-high speed or mash with potato masher, gradually adding milk, until smooth. Stir in parsley. Top with additional butter, if desired. Serves16.

Note: Keep the potatoes warm for serving in the slow cooker set on low.