Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year – so many great things to eat, so many leftovers…Anything I can do to make it a stress-free thanksgiving makes for a much more enjoyable holiday! I could eat turkey and cranberry sauce for days – I cook just about everything myself – my father in law is bringing cranberry relish (but we still have to have the canned solid sauce too!) and acorn squash. To make things easier, I make what I can in advance, so all I have to do is assemble or warm up on Thanksgiving day.

This week I’m going to go over my recipes, preparations and how I get things done with as little stress as possible…

Cooking The Turkey

I usually marinate/baste my turkey during cooking – my favorite is this one – it’s sweet, savory, you could even make it a little spicy if you want!

[tasty-recipe id=”4279″]


This makes an amazing gravy too! Is also a FABULOUS marinade for pork too.

Otherwise I do a butter and herb rub – Bake at 500* for one hour, then lower temperature til fully cooked – this really seems to seal in the juices and give you an awesome crunchy skin.

The Stuffing

I am a stuffing snob – I like certain things in mine – no chestnuts, oysters, giblets or jalapenos, thank you very much (although the jalapenos does kinda sound good!)

I usually like to mix cornbread and traditional stuffing, or do just cornbread. I am not so snobby I won’t use prepackaged stuffing mixes though! What a lifesaver! My favorite things to mix in are sausage (plain, breakfast type – although Italian sausage gives a nice flavor too!), apples and cranberries. Stuffing is one of the things I make in advance to warm up on Thanksgiving day – it’s so easy to toss into a casserole dish and heat up in the afternoon.

One of the ways I am making my stuffing easier this week is this!

Ninja Cooking System

I was given one to try and I can honestly say I’ve been using it at least once a week ever since – making the stuffing is one of the 3 things I’ll be using it for…

I’ve loved having the Ninja – It’s become my go-to crock pot, and I’ve made roasts, pasta, cinnamon rolls…I even prepared a complete meal using it!

One of my favorite features is being able to do complete one pot cooking – you can cook your ground beef, saute your veggies, brown your roast – and finish your recipe all in the same pot! And the best part? It’s NON STICK – holy cow do I dislike cleaning my other crockpots…that alone is worth getting one!

Come back Wednesday for mashed potatoes (yum!) and green beans! Hopefully my tips and suggestions can help you have a stress-free Thanksgiving too!

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  1. WOW. I love love LOVE one-pot cooking, and nothing beats a crock pot for that. One of my favorite things to cook is a peasant-y stew with chicken thighs, diced tomatoes and tomato paste (or a marinara sauce), great white northern beans (or whatever beans I have on hand), sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, and some spices. If I have something else on hand that looks like a good fit, I’ll throw that in as well (like corn, olives, spinach). πŸ™‚

  2. Funny story- I’ve NEVER used a crock pot! My mom always makes AMAZING french onion soup in hers, and I always see recipes on pinterest that look amazing, but since I’ve been in college and then in relatively small apartments (aka limited counter/storage space and limited budget), I never splurged on one. I think I’d love to try a healthier spinach/artichoke dip though…I’ve seen a few recipes for versions of that and since that’s my kryptonite at parties, it’d be great to be able to make a healthier version in a crockpot that I can enjoy and not feel guilty about πŸ˜‰

  3. I would have to say that my favorite thing to cook in the crock pot is chicken. It always turns out so juicy and tender.

  4. I am not the best chef on the block, but I do have fond childhood memories of the crock pot cooking away on the counter. Today I love to slow cook pork for delicous pulled pork sandwiches. I also make the lazy man’s meatballs (fav BBQ sauce and IKEA meatballs). Apparently I just love BBQ sauce.

    Given that I am the laziest cook in the world and I only have the baby sized version that mom picked up at Goodwill during my college yeas, I think I could use a new one! That Ninja is like the Enterprise of crockpots. Time to get creative!

  5. Slow cooker turkey breast
    For those who cook in small spaces or for those that want an extra supply of white turkey breast meat for leftovers !
    Prep: 15 minutes
    Cook: 3 hours
    Servings: 8 to 10
    Season a 4- to 6-pound boneless turkey breast with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the turkey, skin side up, in a slow cooker. Pour over 1/4 cup Madeira wine; add 1 onion, preferably Vidalia, sliced; 1 sprig thyme; 1 garlic clove; 1 tablespoon honey. Seal with the lid. Cook on high heat, turning once, until tender, 3-4 hours.

    Let sit, covered with foil, for 15 min before carving.
    Broth : spoon off fat, strain into a small pan. Heat just to a boil, taste and adjust seasonings. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Spoon broth over turkey slices. If you are using gravy instead, store the left over turkey slices with the broth spooned over it. Freezes well and keeps turkey moist.

  6. β€’1 tablespoon olive oil
    β€’1 cup onions, diced
    β€’3 teaspoons garlic, minced
    β€’16 ounces enchilada sauce
    β€’6 cups chicken broth
    β€’2 teaspoon cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
    β€’1Β½ teaspoon ground cumin
    β€’1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
    β€’2 cup frozen corn
    β€’2 cup canned black beans
    β€’2 chicken breasts

    1.Heat up the olive oil in a large pan, then saute the onions until soft.
    2.Add garlic and saute for one additional minute.
    3.Add enchilada sauce, chicken broth, hot sauce, cumin, and cilantro.
    4.Mix over medium heat for 2 minutes.
    5.Pour the mixture into the crockpot.
    6.Add chicken
    7.Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
    8.Remove the chicken breast and shred with 2 forks.
    9.Return to crockpot and add corn and black beans.
    10.Cook for 30 more minutes.
    11.Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of grated cheese.
    I Got this from Pintrest SOOOOO good!!!!

  7. Just realized I didn’t put what the name of the recipe is lol It’s called chicken enchillada soup:)

  8. Chili
    β€’1 lb. ground beef
    β€’2 onions, chopped
    β€’4 cloves garlic, chopped
    β€’2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    β€’15 oz. can tomato sauce
    β€’1 Tbsp. chili powder
    β€’1 tsp. ground cumin
    β€’1/2 tsp. salt
    β€’1/8 teaspoon pepper
    β€’1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    β€’2 (15 oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    β€’2 Tbsp. cornstarch
    β€’1/4 cup water

    Cook ground beef in heavy skillet until brown and drain. Mix all ingredients except cornstarch and water in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours until vegetables are tender. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth and add to chili, stirring well. Uncover and cook for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

  9. I don’t make a ton of crock pot dishes, but I happened to make a delish Cuban pork roast the other day. Of course, the old tried and true crockpot recipe is queso dip – a pound of velveeta, a can of rotel, and, if you’re feeling extra-fancy, a pound of browned, drained breakfast sausage. Yum yum!

  10. Chicken breasts or thighs, covered with a small jar of salsa, salt & pepped. It provides a great “sauce” for rice accompanied with a tossed salad makes for a quick meal.

  11. I have seen the infomercial for this item – good to know someone who has used it and liked it. I use my crockpot for making many things, but during the winter, my favorite is cooking steel-cut oatmeal – yum! Our winters can get pretty cold, so starting the day with something hot and hardy is the way to go!

  12. Can you believe I came across a recipe for Crockpot Banana Bread and tried it a couple weeks ago?! It came out soooo good! It didn’t fall down like baked banana breads tends to. I have never heard of the Ninja but want one now!!!!!!!!!

  13. I could a mean pot roast. Like so good that my old roommate (and I’m now married) will call, ask me to make one and bring it over to her. AND my husband said its better than his mom’s. But Shhh! don’t tell her that. πŸ˜‰

    I crockpot at least 3 times a week, here’s my top 5 faves from Pinterest:

    Ninja sounds fabulously cool and would definitely be used in this house!

  14. Put sliced new potatoes, chopped onions and carrots in slow cooker. Add roast, 1//2 cup of water and a bag of Onion Dip Mix. Slow cook 8-10 hours.

  15. My favorite thing to cook in a crock pot is roast. I often make fresh pinto beans, they come out yummy!

  16. This is from the Dr. Oz site – it is tasty!

    Spicy Chili adapted from Dr. Oz
    Serves 4

    β€’ 1 tablespoon olive oil
    β€’ Β½ pound ground turkey or ground meat substitute
    β€’ Β½ onion, chopped
    β€’ 2 garlic cloves, minced
    β€’ 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
    β€’ 1 can (15.5 ounces) kidney beans, drained
    β€’ 4 teaspoons chili powder
    β€’ 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    β€’ 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    β€’ Β½ teaspoon turmeric
    β€’ Β½ teaspoon salt
    β€’ pinch of cayenne pepper
    β€’ 1 teaspoon maple syrup
    β€’ 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

    Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add turkey, onion and garlic; cook five minutes, stirring frequently.

    Add remaining ingredients; simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.

  17. I really don’t have one fave thing to cook in the crockpot but I do love trying new recipes! I am NOT a great cook so anytime I can find a recipe that lets me plop it all in the crockpot (sounds appetizing, no?), I’m in!

  18. I love crock-pots for stew- I can braise and sear the beef (or chicken) then dump in everything else and the liquid and it comes out perfectly. πŸ™‚

  19. I love to make pot roast in my crockpot. Not very original, but I love the way it smells cooking all day. Thanks for the opportunity to win this NINJA cooking system – it sounds awesome!


    1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns {I used Ore Ida}

    3 14oz. cans of chicken broth

    1 can of cream of chicken soup

    1/2 cup onion, chopped

    1/4 tsp. ground pepper

    1 pkg. cream cheese {don’t use fat free. It WON’T melt!!!}
    In a crockpot, combine everything EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heated until thoroughly melted. Serve with cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, green onions, or whatever else you think would be good!!

  21. Pot Roast with Vegetables

    1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    1 cup water
    2 yellow onion, halved
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 bunch baby carrots
    2 celery stalks, sliced
    1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    4 sprigs fresh thyme
    2 bay leaves


    Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a tight cover; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

    Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with the pot juices.

  22. I use my Ninja at least 3 to 4 times a week and sometimes more. Everything I make I first see if I can make it in the Ninja. I have a Ninja kitchen. If its a new Ninja appliance…got to have it. I make chili, roasts, breakfast casseroles, etc. I have even baked a cake and made custard (steam bathed) in my Ninja. I would love to win one because two would be much better than one as I cook for my daughter’s family often as she has been ill and unable to stand for very long.

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