My little home was full of family and my little table was filled with food, and I know it will be the same for Christmas.
Although some of our family members were missing from our Thanksgiving festivities, they were with us in our hearts.
I found that I really enjoyed Thanksgiving day even though I was exhausted by the time everyone left, and I know I will feel the same way during Christmas with all the rushing around buying gifts, cooking and visiting family.
And no, I was not tired from going shopping like a number folks I know did on Thanksgiving day. I was tired from getting up at the crack of dawn to start cooking, so everything would be ready before my youngest son had to leave for work.
Cory works at one of our local retail stores and had to be at work by 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday because of the early holiday sales events. I wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to eat and socialize with everyone before having to rush off to work.
And things went pretty much according to plan, which was surprising to me. Usually, something goes horribly wrong.
I either set off the smoke alarm so many times someone finally gets so tired of hearing the sound they take out the battery or I forgot to get everything during my initial grocery trip to the store that I have to change the menu completely or send someone to a local convenience store in search of what I need.
Well, not this year, I had a few new tricks up my sleeve that helped me tremendously at Thanksgiving. I see brighter holidays ahead.
As I said earlier, I needed to have everything ready so Cory could eat before rushing off to work, so I created a plan and worked that plan to perfection. Well, almost.
There were a few little hiccups along the way, but nothing major. I did manage to have almost everything ready and sitting on the table before any of my guests started arriving, including Cory, so I actually got to sit down and enjoy the meal along with everyone else.
How did I manage this, you ask?
Well, it’s really simple part of my plan boiled down to two things — my wonderfully, awesome Crock-Pot slow cookers!
I actually own three of them, but I only used two while cooking my Thanksgiving dinner. I cooked field peas in one and my grandmother’s chicken dressing in the other.
Yes, you read correctly! I cooked chicken dressing in a slow cooker.
Not once, but twice in one week!
I discovered a recipe for slow cooker dressing (similar to my grandmother’s) on the Internet, so I thought I would give it a try. The recipe did not call for chicken to be added, but I added it anyway.
I fixed one pot full for our Thanksgiving dinner at work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and another pot full for my family’s dinner on Thanksgiving day.
Everyone thought it was absolutely wonderful. In fact, one my of co-workers, Barbara Haynes, said it was the “bomb!” And I have to agree with her. Generally I don’t brag on my own cooking, but that was the BEST chicken dressing I’ve eaten since my grandmother passed away, and not because I cooked it.
The slow cooker method of cooking chicken dressing is so moist and all the flavors are simmered together so perfectly, I just wish I had discovered the recipe sooner.
And, without a doubt, I will be using this method again and again. Not only because it freed up my oven sooner, which I love, love, love, but also discovered I will no longer have to wake up before the crack of dawn to start cooking on holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I think that is wonderful.
I was also thrilled that I didn’t have to change a single thing about my grandmother’s chicken dressing recipe, except for the way I cook it.
So in the future if you find yourself eating chicken and dressing that I have made you can bet it was cooked in one of my little ole’ slow-cookers.
Even though our family has been through some rough times this year, there are still plenty of things to be thankful.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, we learned my oldest son, Jason and his wife, Jenna, would soon be parents, which made for a wonderful early Christmas present for the whole family.
I also learned a very important lesson during the Thanksgiving holiday and that was for me to make a plan for cooking during the holidays and work that plan and I will be able to enjoy a more stress-free holiday season not only this year, but in years to come. So with that said...
Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you enjoy the slow cooker chicken dressing recipe and remember the greatest gift you can give anyone this Christmas is the gift of your unconditional love!
Slow Cooker Chicken Dressing
5 cups crumbled cornbread
1 (14-oz.) package herb stuffing mix
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, cut up
Salt to taste
To Add Chicken
4 large boneless chicken breast(shredded
1/8 teaspoon of rosemary
1/8 teaspoon of thyme
Pinch of savory
Boil the chicken with the rosemary, thyme and savory the day before to cut down on preparation time. Shred with a fork in large pieces. Makes about four to five cups.
You can also save the broth from the boiled chicken breast to use in the dressing recipe.
1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken if you would like.
2. Pour cornbread/chicken mixture into a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker. Dot with butter. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours or until set and thoroughly cooked.
Elane Jones is a staff reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle. Her column appears every other Sunday. She can be reached at 205-221-2850; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.