A Gluten-Free, Low-Sodium Thanksgiving in Slow Cookers

As I’m sure you all know, I will be recuperating from my spinal cord patch on Thanksgiving day, so I’m making plans to cook almost everything in Slow Cookers.

I’m borrowing 3 cookers from my friends, and I have one 3.5 quart and a 1.5 quart of my own.

Everything on our Thanksgiving Menu will be made in Slow Cookers except, the Mashed Potatoes and Gravy will be store-bought, and the Cheese Biscuits are from Whole Foods Bake House.

This is how I plan on cooking everything….well, actually I’ll just get it all ready and my husband will cook everything.
**Turkey in the Slow Cooker**

  • Bone In Turkey Breast – about 6 pounds.  (Ours will be from a free range, organic Turkey)
  • Olive Oil, or Butter
  • Seasonings (this is completely your choice.  You can use Poultry Seasoning, or a mixture of herbs and spices, such as Rosemary, Sage, Thyme…)
  • Onion sliced
  • Apple or Lemon sliced

We will be using a 4qt slow cooker for this, because I think that’s the biggest one I’ll have. I may use my 3.5 qt. crock, since it is oval, if the breast will fit in it.

I will cut any excess skin from the turkey . Pat the breast dry.  Oil the breast with olive oil, or coat with butter. Season the breast with Poultry Seasoning.  (or your desired seasoning, like thyme, sage, rosemary, garlic and herb…)  I may mix the seasoning with the butter before rubbing the turkey down.

I’ll put some onion on the bottom of the crock….and…. I was going to add some lemon zest, or even put some lemon rind or slices on the bottom, because I’ve put a lemon in a chicken and a turkey before when roasting and it make it so juicy, but not too lemony.  However, since the breast doesn’t have a cavity, I don’t think I’ll use lemon…..maybe some apple.  The apple should give it a nice smooth flavor and give it a little more moisture.

Add the Breast to the crock Breast side Down.  Put some more onion and apple (or lemon) around the sides and in the rib cavity.

I won’t add any liquid because the vegetables and the bone and skin of the breast will add a lot of liquid to this dish, and I want a roasted Turkey breast, not Turkey Stew.

Cook on high for 3 hours and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  It should be over 140F to be out of the danger zone.  Cover, and probably cook for 1 or 2 more hours, you need to have an internal temp of at least 170F in a few places to make sure it’s done.  You can cook it longer if you want, or if you need to keep it warm.

Carefully remove the turkey from the crock, wait about 15 minutes before carving.  If the turkey doesn’t look as browned on the outside as you would like, simply transfer it to a baking pan and broil it for a few minutes.  **now I haven’t done this before, but from what I’ve read on the Butterball site and on Stephanie’s A Year of Slow Cooking site, this should work.

**GF Stuffing** (or I guess I should say dressing since it’s not going to be in the turkey)

  • I love using the Sundried Tomato with Roasted Garlic Bread from Whole Foods Bake House.  However, you can use any dense bread you may have. 1 large sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 small bunch celery with leaves chopped
  • 3 TBS of Fresh Sage minced  (or 3 teaspoons dry)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 TBS Fresh thyme minced (or 1 teaspoon dry)
  • Poultry seasoning
  • 1 Cup gluten-free low sodium chicken broth (I use Kitchen Basics Unsalted)

I’ll probably be using a 4 quart crock pot for this one, because that’s the biggest one I think I’ll have around.  I may make a smaller batch of stuffing than I usually do, I want to make sure it can be stirred while it’s cooking so it won’t be all soggy in the middle.

First, you have to toast the bread, just put the slices on a cookie sheet and broil until dry, but not too brown.  (or you can bake it at 300F)  Then turn over and do it again.  I won’t say how long this takes, because it varies depending on what type of bread you use, and what your cookie sheet is like.

Cut the toast into about 1/2 inch cubes.  You can do this early and put in a zip lock bag if you want.  (I plan to have this done before hand, and store in the fridge because it is GF bread after all, my husband may have to spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and heat for just a little bit to make sure it’s nice and dry.)

I plan to have all my veggies cut up and ready before Thanksgiving day,  If you are doing this on the day, just cut everything up while the bread is toasting, but if you do that, I suggest you bake the bread instead of broil…broiling always seems to sneak up on you and will burn in just a second if you aren’t watching.  (remember non-GF bread toast faster than GF bread)

Add the vegetables, seasoning and melted butter to the slow cooker. Stir well. Add toasted bread cubes to crock and mix well.  When the bread is coated nicely add Chicken Stock a little at a time while mixing with bread mixture. Cook on High for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

If the mixture is dryer than you like add a more stock a Tablespoon at a time.  You don’t want it soggy. The edges and top will be drier than the center, it make it more uniform make sure to stir it while it is cooking.  This should keep warm for about 2 more hours.  Or you can warm it up later if needed.
**Cranberry Sauce**
Last year I made home-made cranberry sauce for the first time, I used Elana’s recipe from Elana’s Pantry.  I plan to use the same recipe this year, but I might substitute of orange juice for some of the water, and as I did last year I will add more Agave than she calls for.  I don’t know how much I added, I had a squirt bottle and just kept adding until I thought it was sweet enough to satisfy my guests.  : ) I plan to make this the day before my procedure since it needs to be chilled.  Last time I just made it the night before we ate it and it was delicious.  I’m sure one more day won’t hurt.

I plan on making a smaller batch than the original recipe calls for, and I’ll be cooking it in the 2qt. crock.
**Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Red Onion**

  • 2-3 Cups Brussels Sprouts (preferably organic)
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Red Onion – thinly sliced Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half.

Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half.   Add to slow cooker.  Mix with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.  Add the thinly sliced red onion.  Mix well. Cook on High for about 2 hours.  Stirring occasionally, so they will cook evenly.  Cook longer if necessary.

I will use either a 3qt or 4qt crock for this.

**Roasted Green Beans and Garlic**

  • 1 lb Fresh Green Beans  (preferably organic)
  • Roasted or Raw Minced Garlic – I didn’t put an amount because people really like different amounts of garlic in things.  We like a lot of garlic, so I’ll probably add 3-4 Tablespoons.  I am roasting some garlic, and I may simply add some cloves of roasted garlic to the beans instead of using minced garlic.  (when I made a small batch of this today I used the minced garlic and it was very good, but the garlic was still crunchy when the beans were done)
  • Olive Oil – just enough to coat the beans.  (a couple of tablespoons should do.)

Cut the end off of the green beans.  I try to make the all about the same size so they cook at an even rate.  Add the Green Beans, Olive Oil, and Garlic to the crock.  Mix well.  Cook on High. The small batch I did today in the 1.5 quart crock took less than an hour.  You want the beans to still have a little crunch.  I’m sure since I’ll be cooking a larger amount in a larger crock they will probably still take only about an hour.  I did stir these about every 15 – 20 minutes.  They turned out very good.
**Crock Pot Cheesecake**
This recipe will come straight from Stephanie’s A Year of Slow Cooking.  Crock Pot Cheese Cake Recipe.

I’m really looking forward to trying this!

So there’s my menu, and how we plan to have a real Thanksgiving Dinner, the day after I have a spinal patch.

Our dear friend Vincent will be joining us on Thanksgiving, and helping Stuart pull everything off.  (You are one of the things I’m most Thankful for this year, I love you my friend.)

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