Thanksgiving sides, all made in a slow cooker! Time saving and delicious recipes for side dishes that will give you one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving!
There's a few things in life I am grateful for, and since this is the week of Thanksgiving, we should probably talk about them. I can think of three things in particular - my two small crock-pots and my one large one. There's not much you can't take on in a kitchen with three crock-pots running on high. So, when Pillsbury sent me an e-mail saying they could streamline some Thanksgiving sides by making them in the crock-pot, I rewrote this week’s menu of posts, and ran to the grocery store.
But does making any of the classic Thanksgiving sides in a slow cooker really cut down on any of the prep time, stress, or hassle?
At first I figured, keep it simple and go with those Pillsbury recipes. Lord knows, that little doughboy gets it right sometimes. But ultimately, I decided that if this is going to be true experiment to make your Thanksgiving better, I should stick with the experts. To America's Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution it was. And darned if they didn't have exactly the recipes I was looking for.
Keeping with the classics, I stuck with green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. What Thanksgiving spread is complete without them? I'll be honest though... 30 min. of prep to get the crock-pot going, then to cook for another four hours, doesn't seem like streamlining to me. And then there's a footnote stating that the recipe for green bean casserole does not keep well on warm, so you can't even make it ahead of time and let it sit until company arrives.
Now as for the mashed potatoes, the prep work was pretty quick, but not unlike traditional mashed potatoes. Slice, cover with water, and let it hang out until mashable.
But hey, these Thanksgiving sides are still delicious!
Slow Cooker Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
- ½ buttermilk, warmed, plus extra as needed
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 3 scallions, sliced thin
Combine potatoes, water, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and 1 teas salt in slow cooker. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
Drain potatoes, discarding garlic cloves and bay leaf, then return to slow cooker. Mash potatoes thoroughly with potato masher. Fold in butter, then buttermilk and sour cream. Add more buttermilk as needed to adjust consistency. Fold in scallions, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
This dish can be held on warm setting for 1 to 2 hours before serving; loosen with additional warm buttermilk as needed before serving.
Thanksgiving sides don't get more classic than green bean casserole!
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
- 3 cups canned fried onions
- 2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
- 5 tbs unsalted butter
- 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teas minced fresh thyme, or ½ teas dried
- ¾ teas salt
- ½ teas pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch length
Pulse 1 cup fried onions in food processor until finely ground, about 10 pulses; set aside. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Melt 2 tbs butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and remaining 2 cups fried onion and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes; set aside for serving.
Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Melt remaining 3 tbs butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in processed fried onions and flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and cream, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add beans to slow cooker and coat evenly with sauce. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low. Sprinkle with reserved bread-crumb mixture before serving.
This dish does not hold well on warm setting.
Both dishes turned out fantastically. I am not sure either streamlined or would make your Thanksgiving preparation any easier, but it certainly is a way to mix up the traditional this year.