I love my CrockPot. I actually have two 3 1/2 quart size and one wee little 16 ounce size that’s perfect for dips and such. One of my larger ones has a removable crock, which makes clean-up ever so much easier; my other, older one doesn’t.
I enjoy using my CrockPot year ’round. I cook a lot of different things in my CrockPot, from soups, stews, and roasts to even meatloaf and sometimes a dessert! In the heat of summer, CrockPot cooking doesn’t overheat my kitchen. When we’re busy — either with work (blech!) or something fun (shopping, decorating for the holidays, and so on) — or are away from home during the day for some reason, planning ahead with a CrockPot meal assures us an easy, tasty, nutritious meal when we’re ready. During the holidays, my CrockPot is invaluable — I fill it with something tasty and then set it aside, out of the way, while I go about making bread dough, pies, etc. Hubby and I can then sit down to an easy, tasty meal at the end of the day, when I’m feeling exhausted from all my holiday baking.
The CrockPot also makes for easy clean-up, especially when you use slow cooker liners:
With the holidays coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about turkey and dressing. I love, love, LOVE turkey and dressing, and we generally have it a few times a year, not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Hubby and I also enjoy smoking a whole small turkey or a bone-in turkey breast on the grill.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about turkey and dressing in the CrockPot. What an easy holiday meal it would make! And it would be perfect for singles, couples, and small families, as one would have a more manageable (i.e., smaller) quantity of leftovers.
So I went a-Googling and these two recipes caught my eye:
CrockPot Turkey and Dressing — YES! Using these recipes as inspiration and guides, I picked up the dressing mix and boneless turkey breast and cooked it all up in the CrockPot in a way to suit our own tastes. I rounded the meal out with mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussells sprouts, and homemade cranberry sauce.
Is it the same as a baked or smoked turkey and homemade dressing baked in the oven? Of course not.
But is it an easy and convenient way to enjoy those yummy holiday flavors? You bet!
And by cooking it in the CrockPot, the boneless breast stays moist. Browning the breast before placing it in the CrockPot gives a richer flavor and better texture to the meat.
Because the vegetables and the CrockPot cooking method produces so much liquid, you will use very little liquid. I followed the traditional rule of thumb and used half the liquid I normally would, and there was still a bit too much liquid produced, so the dressing ended up being a bit on the soggy side. Also, please be aware that the mushrooms — most especially fresh mushrooms (which I recommend) — will give a bit of a gray cast to the dressing — but it tastes so yummy that I don’t think you’ll care. 😉
Therefore, in the recipe below, I’ve reduced the amount of liquid from what I used. In the event it is too dry, given that you’re using instant dressing mix, you can easily remedy the situation by adding in some additional hot liquid at that time.
Boneless turkey breasts are usually sold frozen. It will likely take a couple of days to thaw one in the refrigerator. Or, you can thaw one in two to three hours when placed in very cold water; remove immediately to the refrigerator once thawed.
CrockPot Turkey and Dressing (Serves 6)
- One (3-pound) boneless turkey breast (NOTE: These are sometimes referred to as a “turkey roast.” They come as all white meat or as a mixture of white and dark meat — your preference.)
- 1 package (6 ounces) stuffing mix (I prefer cornbread stuffing mix)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine or water
- 1 onion, chopped/diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced (including the leaves!)
- Sliced mushrooms to taste (recommend fresh, but you can use canned/jarred mushrooms, DRAINED)
- Carrots to taste, scraped and sliced into good-sized chunks
- Turkey gravy mix (NOTE: Some boneless turkey breasts will include a package of gravy; others won’t. Therefore, I suggest you pick up a package of turkey gravy mix, also, or a jar of your favorite turkey gravy, just in case yours doesn’t have a packet — you can always use it for something else.)
- Seasonings to taste: Salt (if desired), coarse ground black pepper, parsley, sage, poultry seasoning, and thyme
- Lightly spray inside of CrockPot/crockpot liner with cooking spray. Empty stuffing mix into the CrockPot. Add in diced onion, sliced celery, and sliced mushrooms. Stir gently. Pour in melted margarine and wine or water; stir gently. Top with carrots, if desired, or carrots may be placed around the turkey breast. Season to taste with coarse ground black pepper and parsley.
- Remove thawed turkey breast from packaging. Cut away netting. Dry gently with paper towels. Oil lightly with canola or olive oil.
- Carefully brown both sides of turkey breast in a lightly seasoned/lightly oiled non-stick skillet. RESERVE THE SKILLET so that you can make a richer tasting gravy. (NOTE: You can skip the step of browning the breast, but it will have a better, richer flavor if you brown it.)
- Place turkey breast, skin side up, and drippings (there will be little, if any) on top of dressing mixture in CrockPot. If carrots aren’t already in CrockPot, place carrots around the breast. Season to taste with salt (if desired), coarse ground black pepper, thyme, poultry seasoning, sage, and parsley.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Remove breast and carrots from CrockPot and place on a warmed platter to rest.
- Fluff dressing mixture and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a serving container. (NOTE: If dressing is too dry, add in a small amount of boiling liquid. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. If dressing is too liquid, turn CrockPot to high and let cook, with lid off, to help reduce the liquid. Or, stir in a gravy packet or a bit of smooth cornstarch/water mixture to thicken the mixture.)
- FOR DELICIOUS GRAVY: Splash a small amount of white wine into the skillet in which you browned the turkey breast. Prepare/heat gravy in the skillet as per package directions.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Make It Ahead of Time: Prepare this dressing and veggie mixture in the Crock Pot the night before, BUT DO NOT ADD LIQUID, and place it in the ‘fridge. The next morning, stir in the melted margarine/butter and wine, brown the breast, and cook as directed.
Honestly, this tastes so yummy — especially to be so easy! — that you’ll find yourself doing the turkey dance. 😉 (Go on, take 40 seconds out of your life and watch — it’ll make you smile. 😉 )