Thanksgiving is just a week away, so once again it’s time for my annual campaign to simplify the Big Feast by sharing my two favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Slow Cooker Stuffing and Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes. In the course of this long-running effort, I have convinced a number of you to give these a try with positive results. But my job will not be done until many more of you have seen the light.
The beauty of both of these dishes is that they can be made in advance. I always mix up the stuffing the day before, put in the slow cooker crock and stash it in the refrigerator. The potatoes can be made several days in advance and just need to be heated up on the big day.
The stuffing frees up oven space since it’s made in the slow cooker (and for that matter, the potatoes could also be heated up in one). And it’s much safer to NOT stuff the turkey with the bread mixture. Food safety experts have warned against stuffing the bird for years, as it can harbor harmful bacteria if not brought up to a proper temperature.
And finally, the final product is superior in both cases. The stuffing doesn’t dry out like it might if cooked in the oven, and the potatoes retain their heat much longer than traditional mashed ones.
So if you’re looking for a way to simplify your Thanksgiving effort in a delicious fashion, I urge you to give these recipes serious consideration.
Slow Cooker Stuffing
In 1 cup butter, saute 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cups chopped celery. Remove mixture from stove and stir in 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning and 2 teaspoons dried sage.
In a large bowl, combine 12 cups dried bread pieces with the butter-vegetable mixture.
Beat 2 eggs and combine with 3 to 4 cups chicken broth; pour over bread and stir well to combine.
Place mixture in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours. (I turn it up to high for about 1 hour in order to get the crispy stuff around the edges.)
Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes
Peel 5 pounds (10 large) potatoes and cook in boiling salted water until tender; drain. Mash until smooth (no lumps).
Add 6 ounces cream cheese (or lower fat Neufchatel), 1 cup dairy sour cream (I prefer the light version or Greek yogurt), 2 teaspoons onion salt, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Beat until light and fluffy. Cool. Cover and place in refrigerator.
May be used anytime within 10 days. Place desired amount in a greased casserole, dot with butter and bake in 350 degree oven until heated through, 30 to 60 minutes, depending on size of dish.