Busy families want to entertain too. You know how useful slow cookers are for getting meals on the table for your family during hectic everyday evenings. Why would holidays be any different? Wouldn’t it be great to actually spend time with friends and family during the holiday visits instead of slaving over the hot stove all day? You can. If you have a slow cooker or two, put them to work so you can go and chat!
My Mom bought the Crock-Pot SCLBC300-BS Three 1-1/2-Quart Trio Buffet Cooker, Stainless Steel and Black and honestly since she told me she had it I’ve been dieing to use it. Thanksgiving seems to be all out of whack for that to happen but I’m looking at Christmas Eve as a possibility. Since each of the 3 crock pots are smaller than I’m used to it sets up a bunch of different recipes I can use. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can turn your slow cooker into a holiday helper.
Crock Pot Drinks
Hot drinks are great to have when you come in from a day of sledding, skiing or shopping. Everything from apple cider to a toasty adult beverage can be simmering while you are out doing your thing. By choosing a slow cooker with an adjustable temperature setting, you can simmer your beverage, then keep your drinks warm while you gather to enjoy. Add a couple sticks of cinnamon or a few cloves to your drink and the whole house will smell like the holidays as the aromatics begin to warm up.
Nothing gets your appetite warmed up like a hot dip or your favorite holiday appetizer. Little smokey sausages cooked in barbecue sauce or a warm spinach and artichoke dip can help shake off the chill of a cold winter. Even something as simple as a bowl of assorted nuts gets better when toasted first in the crock pot with a blend of spicy or sweet spices. The best thing about appetizers in a crock pot is they are self serving. Friends and family can come by and help themselves while you relax nearby. Effortless entertaining, freeing up your time and stove top for the rest of the meal. This is exactly what I picture my Mom’s little buffet style crock pot for. Even though each crock is a large portion for any family. lol
You can fix almost all of the traditional holiday staples in a slow cooker. From matzo ball soup to the classic chowders, a wide variety of soups can be put together ahead of time and left to cook while you are watching the ball games or playing with your new gadgets. If watching the Bowl Games is a part of your holiday tradition, just think how nice it would be to quickly and easily mix up a batch of chili to feed all your favorite fans.
Holiday Slow Cooker Side Dishes
What do green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, candied yams, and brown sugar glazed carrots all have in common? That’s right. They can all be made, rather effortlessly, in a slow cooker while you are doing something you enjoy. Your side dishes can take care of themselves. Of course, it may feel a bit odd at first to be out of the kitchen during a holiday get-together, but I’m sure you can get used to relaxing and enjoying the day while the crock pot works to keep your family well-fed with your favorites.
Options for a Holiday Main Course
Now, there is no way you can fit an entire turkey into any slow cooker and I don’t like the idea of being able to. Your main course will have to get a little creative in order to fit it into a crock. But it can be done. For smaller gatherings, you can opt for turkey breast or parts in the crock pot instead of a large turkey. For larger gatherings, you may want to make several smaller main dishes, such as a chicken in the crock pot in addition to the big turkey. If you are having ham, you might want to think about slicing the ham first or buying a precooked ham you only need to warm up. For larger gathers you are generally doing two main meats. Toss the turkey in the oven to roast and not need tending, then add another meat in your slow cooker. Now you have a ton of food to feed your tribe.
The point is, you shouldn’t have to slave over the stove while everyone else is hanging out and having a good time. I understand well that you love to cook for your family. But you can make delicious meals and visit with everyone. Your crock pot can be your best friend during the holidays. Just plug it in, turn up the heat and join your family for some quality time. They’ll be overly impressed by how easy you made it happen.
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