Normally for Single Serving Sunday I try to share recipes that only make one serving, but with the upcoming Thanksgiving feast I decided to do something special – a Thanksgiving meal that serves two. Many recipes for Thanksgiving produce a magnitude of servings, but what about the people out there only cooking for two, or four? This menu I have prepared easily serves 2 with leftovers. Because who doesn’t want leftovers from Thanksgiving? That being said, the turkey could serve four but if you have hearty eaters you may want to double the sides.
This dinner consists of a slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. Take a moment to be jealous.
My turkey tenderloin came out so juicy and flavorful that it will be hard to convince me to cook a whole turkey in the future. It literally fell apart when I lifted it out of the pot. By using a slow cooker I was also able to do whatever the heck I wanted in the oven, which is a huge perk for those of us with only one oven (one day I hope to be spoiled with a double oven). Even the gravy was amazing after cooking in all those delicious juices.
As you are aware, I have a habit of adding Greek yogurt to anything I possibly can so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it shows up here in dinner rolls. The rosemary really sold me on these rolls. If you don’t like rosemary, please substitute for another herb because they will rock your world with their subtle herby-ness. You can also prep these the day beforehand and refrigerate before the last rise. The next day, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
Then there’s the stuffing. I’ve seen stuffing made with all types of bread but this was the first recipe I had seen using bagels. I originally set aside two corn muffins for stuffing, but those were thrown into the freezer once I discovered I could use a bagel instead. I freaking love bagels! And I was not disappointed by the trade-off, especially since there was bacon involved.
For a green side I chose brussels sprouts. Only a couple Thanksgivings ago I discovered that I no longer hated them and actually became obsessed. As a result, they are nostalgic to me at this time of year. Just a simple roasting and a drizzle of balsamic is all they needed.
Growing up we usually had both regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes but knew I would burst if I tried to add both onto this already long lineup. I went with a twice baked sweet potato that is topped with pecans and coconut. Although it is less sweet than a marshmallow topping, it has a crunchier topping that will make you forget about those puffy white things (no offense marshmallows, I still love you).
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without some cranberry sauce. This version uses pomegranate juice for a more complex flavor. This can be made the day beforehand or even a few days before to minimize the amount of work you have to do on the big day. But if you do have to whip it up the same day, rest assured that it will only take 20 minutes.
Of course, once you’ve stuffed your face you’ll still find room for dessert, right? Especially for pumpkin crème brulee. I know you may initially think it’s a crime to not have pumpkin pie but it’s basically pumpkin pie and crème brulee all in one. Are you really going to be upset by having both?
Now for some tips on how I timed everything in order to be hot and ready all at the same time. An hour before turkey is done cooking (mine only took 4 hours), take rolls out of fridge (if prepared the night before), toast the bagel for stuffing, and prep the brussels sprouts. Bake the stuffing and brussels at the same time and with 20 minutes of cook time remaining, add the sweet potatoes and rolls to the oven. At that time, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and prepare the gravy. Slice up the turkey and serve! Then once your belly has digested a little to make room for dessert, torch the creme brulee just before you’re ready to dig in.
One year ago: Buckeye Cupcakes
Two years ago: Apple Blackberry Pie
No you are not going crazy, nor do you need your eyes checked. I did in fact say “ice cream oatmeal”. While trying to determine what to make with all the ice cream Graeter’s sent me I somehow got the bright idea to use some ice cream in place of the liquid needed to make oatmeal. I felt like a genius, although I did worry it would be too sweet for the first meal of the day. But guess what? It wasn’t too sweet at all, in fact it wasn’t any sweeter than other oatmeals I’ve made in the past.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any flavor ice cream you want, assuming it is a flavor you would care to enjoy for breakfast. I chose Graeter’s Black Cherry Chocolate Chip and with the addition of chopped almonds it was everything I had dreamed of – a creamy oatmeal with a hint of cherry and chocolate flavors and the crunch of almonds. I threw more almonds and dark chocolate chips on top because I couldn’t get enough.
One year ago: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Even though it was warm here yesterday, it rained most of the day (poor trick-or-treaters) and rain definitely puts me in a soup mood. Specifically tomato soup with grilled cheese to dip into it. And even better when it’s a slow cooker recipe, filling your home with wonderful aromas to come home to at the end of the day. Granted you cannot eat it immediately as it requires an additional step at the end, but you won’t hear me complaining.
Despite the 70-degree weather, I made this soup earlier this week and have been enjoying it ever since. However I do wish I would start to feel like fall for more than 2 days. I was so excited to finally bust out my jackets and boots last weekend but they have been put on hold once again. It’s difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit when I am still wearing short sleeves and flats! Alas, I just have to continue preparing meals as if it were a brisk fall day outside.
P.S. Stayed tuned for Monday’s post to hear about the fat-kid-friendly grilled cheese I served with this soup!
One year ago: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Broccoli
After drooling over Devon’s guest post on Wednesday, I decided to dig out her balsamic chicken recipe I made and the pictures that I’ve been sitting on since July. Hectic times result is forgotten recipes evidently. Luckily these forgotten gems come in handy now that I have less time and motivation to cook. I barely even have time to work out most days, which combined with my constant urge to survive on boxed mac and cheese is a terrible thing for my health. Especially since I would eat the entire box in one sitting. Thankfully, I still mange to fight that urge most days but I fear my self control won’t be able to hold out for the remaining 2.5 weeks. I will have to remind myself that recipes such as this one are just as easy to prepare!
One year ago: Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
I finally made something with my new smaller crock pot, and the verdict? It cooks smaller volumes much better than in my larger crock pot. Not really surprising but still exciting to be able to actually slow cook something for over 2 hours without it overcooking and drying out. With all the dissertation writing in my future that little guy will be put to hard work. Although it may be a bit distracting to smell the deliciousness as it cooks while trying to focus on writing about yeast and genes.
Speaking of writing, I am still waiting to hear back from the last committee member about scheduling my dissertation defense. Boo hiss.
One year ago: Dark Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter
When I told On the Border Products that I was planning a Taco Night dinner, they made sure to send me all the necessary ingredients to complete the taco bar experience. In fact they almost overwhelmed me with options by sending four different kinds of tortillas chips, two cheese dips, and also four salsas with varying degrees of spice and chunkiness. I was excited to see the Guac Blast chips again after the fun chicken recipe I made with them in the past.
But of course what’s a taco bar without some margaritas? They also sent along two different margarita mixes, but instead of filling up the bucket and freezing the entire thing, I decided to mix per order in case people preferred blended or on the rocks. It was really easy to mix and tasted great either way.
For the tacos I decided to make some slow cooked Mexican pulled pork. I’ve made two kinds of Mexican pulled chicken for tacos and nachos so it was time for a little change. Once cooked, the pork was extremely tender and full of flavor. Definitely worth the wait as it was also great topped with On the Border’s salsa, cheese dip and all your other favorite taco toppings.
I also made an avocado cheese ball to go with all those chips, and the recipe will be shared tomorrow!
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The other day I spotted a 2.5 quart crock pot in a sale bin at Kroger. For $9.99. With purple polka dots! With my need for a smaller crock pot, minimal funds, and love for purple it’s like it was meant to be mine and therefore I swiped it up and purchased it (and heck yea for extra gas points). Hopefully cooking smaller volume recipes in this smaller crock pot will solve my issue with things cooking too fast in my larger 5 quart one, although it still lacks a timer setting on it so I will still have to depend on my plug timer.
Unfortunately, I bought the 2.5 quart crock pot after making this recipe I am sharing with you today, so I cannot yet report on it’s functionality just yet. So as usual for my 5 quart crock pot this recipe cooked twice as fast and therefore be sure to adjust the cooking time based on your crock pot’s mannerisms. But cooking time adjustments aside, this was an awesome meal. The beef was tender and the sauce was so good I ended up using every last drop on top of some leftover rice. Yes, I ate just the sauce over some rice because I enjoyed it that much.
After 6 years of grad school you would think I would be completely dependent upon my slow cooker to provide sustenance. Somehow I’ve only started utilizing it frequently over the past year (and also maintained my blog without depending on it to do the cooking for me) and have discovered a whole new world of slow cooking that I never knew existed. I used to think slow cookers were only for stew-type meals, and a few years ago would’ve never dreamed of being able to cook oatmeal, dessert, or Asian cuisine in it. Most recently I enjoyed slow cooked chicken for tacos, which then lead me to try the same process for nachos.
Although my slow cooker is a bit temperamental and had to cook this on low for only 3 hours instead of the directed 6, at least I know my slow cooker well enough to do so. Since I do not have a slow cooker with a timer on it – just on, warm, low and high – I now use a plug timer. Before I used this method I could only use my slow cooker on the weekends, and that kind of defeats the purpose. Now I set it up right before I leave in the morning with the plug timer turning on a few hours after I leave so that it just finishes cooking when I get home. And what a great meal to come home to! Once it was all prepared with the toppings it was actually hard to believe it came from something as simple as a slow cooker.
After having highs in the 70s over the weekend, the weather here in Memphis has drastically changed. Two days in a row we have had wintry mix with highs of 32. The warmth we recently had means everything hitting the ground melts and then later turns into ice. Since I grew up in upstate NY none of the wintry weather here phases me, however I do have to drive more cautiously due to the drivers around me and the inefficient systems set up to handle this sort of weather (since it’s not a common occurrence). The university closed at noon yesterday and even though I make jokes about it, I am really pulling for it to be closed at least until 1 pm today so I can get out of doing a journal club presentation. Although I have to go in to do lab work regardless. Priorities.
In other news, I think my slow cooker is incapable of actually cooking things slowly when it is not filled to maximum capacity. When I make corned beef and cabbage, for example, it is nearly overflowing and cooks perfectly on low for extended hours. But whenever I cook a small amount of chicken, fully covered in liquid but only filling the bowl 1//3 of the way, it cooks in about 2.5 hours on low instead of 5-7. I’m starting to think I need to invest in a smaller crock pot for such recipes because the whole point of the crock pot is to SLOW cook.
Nonetheless, the chicken for these tacos came out wonderful since I made them over the weekend and was able to check on the doneness. Unfortunately, it was done much too soon for dinner but just turned it to the warm function. I added more taco seasoning than the original recipe called because my sister-in-law made them and told me she would’ve preferred more seasoning – a wise move.
I know I left you hanging on Friday by saying I specifically whipped up homemade eggnog to use in a recipe, so today I am telling you why I went through all that trouble. I used it in slow cook oatmeal! Why? Because there’s nothing better than breakfast ready and waiting for you in the morning. And when you live by yourself that notion is pretty much impossible (without a slow cooker).
The eggnog added the perfect amount of sweetness to the oatmeal, which is why you don’t see any sugar in the ingredient list. So yes, homemade eggnog was worth the extra time in order to make this oatmeal. Eggnog may actually become a year round thing so I can continue to have a supply of this oatmeal. All to myself.
Also, I would like to point out that you can cook this oatmeal two different ways in your slow cooker. The first method cooks on low continuously, and leaves you with crispy edges along the walls of the slow cooker. But if you would prefer not to have those edges, cook it on high for a short time and then it stays in the slow cooker while it cools overnight. It’s as if you blast it with heat and then let it gradually go down to low and then off, which means you will have to heat up the finished oatmeal in the morning. The latter method is the one I used. As you can see in my picture, I still had a little bit of the crispy edge phenomenon but I thought it added great texture.