Thanksgiving Madness

This coming Thanksgiving will be my third time cooking the big meal all by myself.  You would think that I would be relaxed and know what I am doing; which is so not the case!  For some reason this Thanksgiving has me all frazzled.  I am researching how to time out the dinner so things stay warm and when to pop which dish in the oven with what.  It is like a well choreographed dance routine that someone has yet to teach me.

For a little perspective and because every person that has cooked a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal has at least one crazy oh my goodness story.  I want to let you into my kitchen for last Thanksgiving.  I was cooking dinner for my folks, great aunt, and two of my friends, this is a total of 6 people including myself.  Seems simple enough, I got myself a fresh 15 lb turkey so I wouldn’t have to deal with defrosting and that I would be able to brine the turkey.  (Fun Fact: you can’t brine a frozen turkey because they put saline inside the bird to help them freeze faster so you would get an extremely salty bird, if you brined it)  It is now Turkey day it started out easy, woke up took the bird out gave it its bath and then popped that baby in the oven.  I then made my butter wine basting mixture and got to roasting.  I basted every 30 mins and my bird started turning that gorgeous brown color and things were just peachy.  Then I got a call from my friend who said they decided that they were going to go to their coworkers house instead of mine; so here I was a planned dinner for 6 turned into 4.  The upside is at least there would be less people not more at my dinner, but that still sucked to hear the day of.  So I am back to basting and thinking of all the yummy leftovers we will have, then bam out of nowhere the bird was unexpectedly done! What!? How can it be done it should have at least one more hour to go, and my guests aren’t going to be here for over an hour.  So here I was frantically calling my parents telling them to get over here because the turkey was done early.  Which then meant that I had to rush to cook everything else because I thought I had a whole hour left to cook the sides.  So I am sure your thinking this doesn’t seem that exciting or funny; and you are right up until this point it isn’t unless you could see me trying to get a hold of the folks; who of course aren’t answering their phones, running around my kitchen boiling water for potatoes, trying to get the bread out of the can and into crescent rolls, and then ultimately forgetting to get the gravy started.  All while trying to keep the bird covered so it would stay warm while I waited for my step-dad to get there and carve that sucker.  Because this girl still has no clue hot to carve a turkey or chicken without it just being chunks.

So here I am with a dinner done too early and the sides only partially done when everyone finally gets to the house.  I get them into their seats and start laying all the food out that was done, while finishing the gravy that I initially forgot about.  Then we eat and it is all delicious even with all the chaos.  Now stay with me, I still haven’t gotten to my crazy funny Thanksgiving story.  We finish our meal and I enlist my step-dad to finish taking the bird down to the bone so we can put the leftovers in the fridge.  He is happily carving away and pulling the meat off then all of a sudden he stops and asks if the meat looks cooked.  I was like what are you talking about of course it is cooked it was the right temp and we already finished eating.  Well it turns out that the top 7/8ths of the bird was cooked but the bottom portion was not.  So even though the turkey said it was done and registered at the right temp it wasn’t actually cooked all the way.  Now the crazy part is how does the bottom of the bird be the only part that doesn’t cook?  This is closest to the heating element of my stove.  Also this wasn’t the first time I have ever cooked a turkey it was my second, and the first one was perfect if I do say so myself, so I had no doubts that I could manage a turkey last year.  Well obviously I can only manage 7/8ths of a turkey.

Which brings me to this Thanksgiving, I think I am freaking out and am unable to focus because I am scared I am going to only cook 7/8ths of my turkey this year and I really do not want to repeat that.  But the other issue I am thinking about is how do you keep the turkey warm while you cook all the other sides.  Every blog post I read says they let their turkey rest from 30 mins to an hour before carving and it is still hot.  How is this possible?  I can’t even let a whole chicken rest sitting covered on my counter keep warm for 15 mins.  So how do these people manage a whole hour?

Luckily I get a little reprieve because football controls our family life and the Green Bay Packers are playing Thanksgiving Day my parents and I will be at the local Packer bar to watch the game.  Which means we will be having our Thanksgiving on Friday, which allows me one extra day to do things.  Especially since as of today I still haven’t done a single ounce of shopping; but I have made multiple shopping lists so that is a step in the right direction. I think.  I am planning to make the stuffing from scratch for the first time, brine my turkey for at least 24hrs, and bake my first apple pie in years.  Since I am freaking out I am considering making the mashed potatoes in the crockpot.  A lot of the recipes I read online seem to really like the set it and forget it approach, but at the same time what if they suck then I don’t have any potatoes.  I think I need someone to tell me to calm the heck down things will be fine and who cares really.  Worse case scenario we have to go out and eat.

So what is one of your oh my goodness stories or do you have a tried and true tip to make the turkey day schedule a breeze? Please leave me a comment below so I know I am not the only one freaking out over how to accomplish a holiday meal!

Crockpot Turkey Breast Roast

Have you ever had that craving for roast turkey, but have no motivation to cook a full turkey?  Plus who wants to heat their house up during the summer with an oven?

All Finished! Enjoy!

As you can see the meat just falls apart because its so tender!

Well the answer to those cravings is today’s post!  Today I am sharings a recipe for roast turkey breast that is made in the crockpot.  No need to slave over the oven, you can just set it and forget it.  I also chose this recipe based off of a recent conversation with one of my coworkers about how she doesn’t enjoy cooking, she isn’t sure if it is because she just doesn’t know how or if she really just hates the idea of cooking.  My advice to her was break out a crockpot and try this recipe, it is easy, short, and oh so delicious.  I told her that it would be good for her to give the set it and forget it portion of cooking a try to get her toes wet.

Gather up the ingredients and your trusty crockpot and give this a try!


1 boneless or bone in defrosted turkey breast (I use Honeysuckle Boneless w/dark meat)

1 medium white onion

1 14.5 oz can of Chicken Broth (I use low sodium Swanson)

2-3 lbs red potatoes

Seasonings: granulated garlic, thyme, dill, salt & pepper

First let’s talk a little about the turkey breast.  You can find these frozen turkey breast normally right next to the full sized turkeys in the freezer section of your grocery store, they come in varying weights but most are 4-6 lbs.

Turkey Breast

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I normally buy the Honesuckle White boneless breast with white and dark meat, this is because it is just what I seem to find in the stores near me and it runs about $8 per roast; which fits in my budget for meats.  It will easily server 4 without too many leftovers.  Just depends on your guests appetites.  I will go ahead and buy a couple at a time and keep them in my freezer for that go to meal or that random craving for Thanksgiving dinner in July.  Because these breasts are frozen you do need to do some prep the day before you want to cook your crockpot meal because we need to defrost the breast before cooking.  Now I will admit I have done this same dish with a partially frozen breast and it came out just fine; actually I am pretty sure that my breast this time was a little bit frozen.  While it is not normally suggested to use a frozen roast I am here to say I survived, but please use discretion when cooking poultry from a frozen state.

Now that you have defrosted your breast the next morning you are ready to get going.  The first thing you need to do is cut your onion in half and then those halves into 4 wedges.  Break the layers a part and put them at the bottom of the crockpot.

Your turkey breast and potatoes will rest on top of them.  Next up you want to take your breast out of its packaging, at this point you will notice that there is netting surrounding the breast.  Feel free to leave it on or remove it, for this time I decided to remove the netting.

What it looks like without the netting

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  I always found it annoying trying to take the netting off the extremely hot roast when I am ready to serve so I decided to be a rebel and see what happens.  (Well the dramatic pause moment is that nothing happened it retained its shape and came right of the pot in one piece.)  So I suggest you do what feels right to you, both ways get the same results for me.  Once you have made your choice to remove or not remove the netting give the breast a quick rinse and pat dry.  Place the roast skin side up in your crockpot.  Now you need to season the breast with the above mentioned spices.  I do not have measurements because I tend to go by sight & smell versus exact measurements.  If I had to guess I would say I used about 1 -2 tablespoons of each one.  Also if you don’t like garlic use onion powder or none at all.  Feel free to add sage or even rosemary to the top anything goes at this point.

Once you have seasoned the roast to your liking drop your red potatoes next to or all around the roast however they fit best.  For me they are side by side because my crockpot is oval not round and I just have more room.  I then sprinkle additional salt and pepper over the potatoes and then pour the chicken broth around the sides.  Doing my best to not wash the seasonings off of the roast or potatoes.

Now all you need to do is place the lid on your pot set the crockpot to low and walk away for 6-7 hrs or until the internal temperature is 179 degrees.  Avoid opening the lid for the first 5 hrs, because the crockpot will have to regain the loss of heat and that can cause the food to take longer to cook.  If your crockpot tends to cook on the high side this could be done closer to 5 hrs.  I know mine runs high and it would have been done at 6 but I let it cook for 7.  It still maintained all the flavors and was not dried out but it was running closer to 206 degrees internally instead of the recommended temp of 179.

Once it is done cooking remove it from the crockpot and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes then slice and enjoy!  When you give this a try please come back and let me know how it turned out, if you made any changes, or if you know of tip/trick that enhances things!