Thursday, November 18, 2010

slow cooker Thanksgiving dinner with roasted asparagus

We will celebrate Thanksgiving twice in the next seven days; once with Mike's family and then again with mine.  Needless to say, my family was *thrilled* to hear that turkey was on the menu this week.  I just couldn't help myself.  The fall is slipping away and I had not yet made one of my favorite fall weeknight meals:  slow cooker  turkey with stuffing.  I realize this is not the slaved over, hours to prepare, from scratch version that we will all be enjoying on Thursday, BUT by using good quality, all natural and organic ingredients, it is a close second.

The original version of this recipe is from one of the Southern Living Christmas cookbooks.  It calls for a 3 pound boneless turkey breast.  If your market carries them, they will be in the frozen meats section, but they tend to be hard to find.  On the rare occasion I do find one, it isn't usually an organic, free range brand.  What I have found to work best is buying 3 large boneless turkey breasts OR buying a turkey breast and cutting the meat off of it.  That is what I did this week.  

You might not put this on your family's dinner menu in the next few days, but it is a great recipe to have in your comfort food, cold weather recipe repertoire!

Prep Ahead Plan:  It's easy to throw this together in the morning.  It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. This recipe isn't necessarily ideal for people who are going to be gone for a 10 hour work day.  When I was teaching full time, this was a perfect Sunday dinner!   The asparagus takes no time to mix up and can be prepared the night before and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Slow Cooker Turkey and Stuffing

1 (8 oz) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix ( Pepperidge Farms brand is great and Arrowhead Mills is a good organic brand)*
1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 pounds boneless turkey breast meat, thawed
1/4 teaspon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (0.88 ounce) package turkey gravy mix (McCormick's is pretty good actually!) 

Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix, onion and celery. Combine broth and melted butter. Pour over stuffing and stir gently.
Rinse turkey breast. Place turkey in slow cooker on top of stuffing. Combine salt, pepper, and thyme; sprinkle over turkey. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce to LOW and cook for 5 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in turkey registers 170 degrees.

Remove turkey to a serving platter. Stir stuffing gently in slow cooker; cover and let stand 3 to 4 minutes. Prepare gravy. Spoon stuffing around turkey on platter.

* I always find that there is too much liquid in the stuffing when it is done.  The stuffing packages are sold in 14 oz bags.  Reserve the unused stuffing to mix some of it into the saturated stuffing in the slow cooker after the turkey is moved to the platter.  

Easy Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
2 t olive oil (or more if you prefer)
sprinkling of garlic powder, sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss asparagus with the ingredients listed above and bake for 15-20 minutes.

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