Holiday Slow Cooker

Your payoff for a little a.m. kitchen time: A day’s worth of simmering scents, a table full of jolly eaters and enough left in the slow cooker for late-night seconds.


Moist & Tender Turkey Breast

The first time I slow-cooked turkey was on vacation. It simmered while we were out, and we came back to this juicy bird.—HEIDI VAWDREY RIVERTON, UT

Prep | 10 min Cook | 4 hours Makes | 12 servings


  • 1 bone-in turkey breast (6 to 7 lbs.)
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Place turkey breast, rosemary, garlic and water in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Mix brown sugar, pepper and salt; sprinkle over turkey. Cook, covered, on low 4-6 hours or until turkey is tender and a thermometer inserted in turkey reads at least 170°.


PER SERVING 318 cal., 12 g fat (3 g sat. fat), 122 mg chol., 154 mg sodium, 2 g carb., trace fiber, 47 g pro.

HEALTH TIP This is a fantastic lower- sodium dinner option for any night of the week (leftovers freeze beautifully). If you skip the salt, sodium will be down to about 100 mg per serving.

Butternut Squash with Whole Grains

Fresh ingredients shine in this extra-cozy slow-cooked side. This is how you spread some real holiday cheer.—TASTE OF HOME TEST KITCHEN

Prep | 15 min Cook | 4 hours Makes | 12 servings (3/4 cup each)


  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 lbs.), cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grain brown and red rice blend
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (141/2 oz.) vegetable broth
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) fresh baby spinach

  • In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the first eight ingredients. Stir in broth.
  • Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until grains are tender. Stir in spinach before serving.

NOTE This recipe was tested with RiceSelect Royal Blend Whole Grain Texmati Brown & Red Rice with Barley and Rye. Look for it in the rice aisle.

PER SERVING 97 cal., 1 g fat (trace sat. fat), 0 chol., 252 mg sodium, 22 g carb., 4 g fiber, 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchange: 11 starch.

HEALTH TIP Red rice is rich in anthocyanins, the same antoxidant that gives raspberries and red grapes their rosy color.

Slow Cooker Bacon Mac & Cheese

I’m all about easy slow-cooker dishes. Here, I went extra cheesy and developed an addictive spin on this casserole favorite.—KRISTEN HEIGL STATEN ISLAND, NY

Prep | 20 min Cook | 3 hours + standing Makes | 12 servings (1/2 cup each)


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) small pasta shells
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients until blended. Stir in pasta and cheeses; transfer to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker.
  • Cook, covered, on low 3-31 hours or until pasta is tender. Turn off slow cooker; remove insert. Let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes before serving. Top with bacon.

PER SERVING 272 cal., 14 g fat (8 g sat. fat), 59 mg chol., 400 mg sodium, 24 g carb., 1 g fiber, 13 g pro.

Slow-Cooked Pork Roast Dinner

Here’s the most fork-tender roast we’ve found. And it’s just as good the next day.—JANE MONTGOMERY PIQUA, OH

Prep | 25 min Cook | 6 hours Makes | 8 servings


  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (21/2 lbs.), halved
  • 4 medium potatoes (about 13/4 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen sliced carrots, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water

  • Whisk the first nine ingredients until blended. Place onion in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Place roast, potatoes and carrots over onion. Add sauce mixture. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until pork and potatoes are tender.
  • Remove roast and vegetables from slow cooker. Transfer juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Bring juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with roast and vegetables.

PER SERVING 304 cal., 7 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 70 mg chol., 401 mg sodium, 30 g carb., 3 g fiber, 29 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 11 starch, 1 vegetable.

Cinnamon Spiced Apples

My cinnamon spiced apples are homey, aromatic and just plain heavenly.—AMIE POWELL KNOXVILLE, TN

Prep | 15 min Cook | 3 hours Makes | 6 cups


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed

In a small bowl, mix the first five ingredients. Place apples in a greased 5-qt. slow cooker; add sugar mixture and toss to coat. Top with butter. Cook, covered, on low 3-4 hours or until apples are tender, stirring once halfway.


PER SERVING 181 cal., 6 g fat (4 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 48 mg sodium, 34 g carb., 2 g fiber, trace pro.

Seafood Cioppino

Italians in San Francisco were the first to serve up this fish stew. My version is loaded with clams, crab, fish and shrimp.—LISA MORIARTY WILTON, NH

Prep | 20 min Cook | 4 1/2 hours Makes | 8 servings (2 1/2 qt.)


  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 bottle (8 oz.) clam juice
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar 1 lb. haddock fillets, cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp (41-50 per lb.), peeled and deveined
  • 1 can (6 oz.) chopped clams, undrained
  • 1 can (6 oz.) lump crabmeat, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

  • In a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 12 ingredients. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours.
  • Stir in seafood. Cook, covered, 20-30 minutes longer or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork and shrimp turn pink.
  • Remove bay leaf. Stir in parsley.

PER SERVING 205 cal., 3 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 125 mg chol., 483 mg sodium, 15 g carb., 3 g fiber, 29 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 vegetable.

Chocolate Espresso Lava Cake

When a chocolate craving hits, I whip up this awesome cake my aunt inspired. It’s gooey and saucy but not crazy sweet.—LISA RENSHAW KANSAS CITY, MO

Prep | 15 min Cook | 3 hours + standing Makes | 16 servings


  • 1 pkg. chocolate fudge cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white baking chips

  • Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions, adding espresso powder before mixing. Transfer to a greased 4-qt. slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix 2 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes or until soft-set. Pour over batter. Cook, covered, on low 3-31 hours or until a toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out with moist crumbs.
  • Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and baking chips. Turn off slow cooker; remove insert. Let stand, uncovered, 15-30 minutes or until chips are softened. Serve warm.

PER SERVING 327 cal., 15 g fat (6 g sat. fat), 41 mg chol., 317 mg sodium, 45 g carb., 2 g fiber, 5 g pro.