If your holiday get-togethers are full of family, friends, and oodles of food, then you’ve probably witnessed the common scenario of “too many cooks in the kitchen” on Christmas morning. Or perhaps simply “too many things to cook in the kitchen” is more like it. Potatoes, ham, vegetables, pies, cakes, casseroles, all awaiting their turn to simmer, bake, roast, broil, and reheat on the stovetop and in the oven. Luckily, there’s a secret weapon that can save the day, ready to be pulled out of your kitchen cupboard: your slow cooker. This year, save your stovetop space (and your sanity!) and try any of these 5 Christmas recipes to make in a slow cooker.
1. Mashed potatoes. It’s difficult to say what’s more cumbersome about cooking mashed potatoes: how much space the giant stockpot takes up on the stovetop, or how darn long it takes for the giant stockpot of water to come to a boil. Either way, skip both issues and cook your potatoes in a slow cooker. This tutorial from The Kitchn shows you how to do the whole thing—from boil to mash—all in one.
2. Creamed greens. Whether kale, spinach, or collards are your choice, creamed greens are a Christmas menu staple for many families. The traditional recipe calls for a low, slow simmer of the greens to get them nice and soft, creamy, and porridge-like—and this process can take quite a long time if you’ve got a line of other side dishes waiting to get stovetop space. In this recipe for Easy Slow Cooker Creamed Kale from Serious Eats, creamed kale is done all in the slow cooker. You’ll have to prepare your cream sauce separately first, but once the whole concoction is poured into a slow cooker, you can move onto the next recipe in your queue and let it go for hours.
3. Bread stuffing. Buttery, browned, chewy, deliciously savory stuffing—it finds its way onto both Thanksgiving and Christmas menus for good reason! Unfortunately, it takes up a load of space in a huge casserole pan in the oven. Try slow cooking your stuffing this year instead with this recipe for Slow-Cooker Mushroom-Herb Bread Stuffing from Woman’s Day.
4. Sweet potato gratin. You can never overdo it on the root vegetables or squashes on a holiday menu. If you’re doing mashed potatoes as one side, there’ still room for a sweet potato gratin as another. And with this gorgeous recipe for Sweet Potato Gratin from Vegetarian Times, you can make an elegant stacked gratin in a slow cooker that will wow your family.
5. Cheesy strata. You don’t have to sacrifice a hearty, festive brunch on Christmas morning simply because there are so many other things to cook for later in the day. While you’re getting an early start on the day’s lunch or dinner feast, you can toss all the ingredients for your cheesy strata in the slow cooker, and in a few hours it will be ready in time for brunch. Try it with this recipe for Slow-Cooker Egg and Cheese Strata from Canadian Living.
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