Holiday Entertaining Guide - Page 27 - Have a Crock-Pot Christmas

Holiday Entertaining Guide
- Page 27
Have a Crock-Pot Christmas
We all want a festive meal for Christmas, but let’s be honest, who wants to cook it?

I’m betting my KitchenAid mixer I wouldn’t get many volunteers.

But a plate of sugar cookies will hold off your holiday crowd for only so long.

Too frugal to take the family out to dinner and too proud to resort to frozen pizza, I wondered if an old kitchen workhorse could solve my holiday meal dilemma.

I started dreaming of a Crock-Pot Christmas.

I dreamt of a Christmas sitting in the living   room instead of standing in the kitchen. Sipping hot cocoa instead of stirring green beans.

We put an army of slow cookers to the test to see if we could create a feast worthy of Christmas.

In all, we tested seven recipes for such holiday favorites as turkey and stuffing, green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with a brown sugar and pecan glaze. We made kidpleasing macaroni and cheese and a roasted nut appetizer. For dessert, we made sugared d’Anjou pears.

Sick of turkey? We not only made a turkey breast, but slow-cooked a beef roast, too.

We used seven crocks, many on loan from family, friends and co-workers. While most were modern versions in shiny stainless steel, one older model in burnt orange looked like it could have come straight off the set of “The Brady Bunch.” All of them got the job done just fine. Experimenting with an Instant Pot also could yield great results.

The key is preparation. For our faux Christmas, I did my chopping, cutting, peeling and measuring a day in advance. I stashed it all in the fridge.

(For the real deal, I would recommend doing the prep work Dec. 23. With the bulk of the work done, you’ll be free to enjoy both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)

When our trial-run Christmas morning dawned, in a matter of minutes I had dumped my pre-measured ingredients into the crocks and taken note of the start and end times. It was that easy.