Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'Twas a Crock Pot Christmas... Recipe: Lazy-Cheater Turkey Ala King (with a Holiday Twist!)

Hubs and I have been busy "sharing" a head-cold back-and-forth.  "Sharing is Caring" and all of that, right?!

On top of that, Hubs had some dental work done, recently, which is interfering with his ability to eat traditional holiday treats.  So my original idea of cooking a standing rib roast in the Big Easy outdoor cooker kinda got nixed.

So yeah, I'm sniffling and sneezing and - to be honest - I wasn't really relishing the idea of being chained to the kitchen for HOURS on Christmas day.  Hubs sounded rather dismayed when I announced that I wasn't planning on any kind of huge Holiday Feast, but I assured him that I would come up with *something!*

And *something* included a trip to Boston Market for a "Family Meal" of Turkey (+ sides), and a pre-cooked bone-in turkey breast from the grocery store (from the deli - near the hot rotisserie chickens).  I bought these items yesterday, and just kept 'em in the fridge for preparation on Christmas Day.

Here's what I came up with:

Turkey Ala King in the Crock Pot

QT's Lazy-Cheater Turkey ala King (with a Holiday Twist) over Patty Shells
Yield: I don't know yet, but probably enough for at least 4 people!
Update: This made a boatload of Turkey-Stewy-Stuff - Figure it'll serve 8+ (plan on 2-3 Patty-Shells, per person)


  • Appx 25 oz. of turkey breast meat (I honestly didn't measure - but I used all of the meat from the "rotisserie" turkey and most of the meat from Boston Market* (kept a few slices for turkey sandwiches, later!).
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can of Chicken (or Turkey) Gravy
  • dash or three of Bell's Turkey Seasoning (or whatever poultry seasoning you have - I'm partial to Bell's because it's heavy on sage and tastes like "Thanksgiving!")
  • 1/2 c Craisins (That's the "Holiday Twist!")
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 - 10 oz package frozen peas/corn
  • 2 packages Puffed Pastry Shells (or serve over rice or noodles)
*Notes on Boston Market - I don't know if it's "just me" or if their stuff really is super-salty!  I would be inclined to stick with low-sodium soups if I was using *just* Boston Market Turkey.  I still ended up adding 2 tsp of Splenda to cut-down on the saltiness of the sauce.


  1. I started by sauteing the chopped onion and celery, lightly, in olive oil - just enough to get 'em limp and translucent, then I plopped 'em into the crock pot.
  2. Then I chopped the turkey meat into 3/4" chunks, added that to the crock pot as well...
  3. Next, I dumped everything else - except for the cream and frozen veggies - into the crock pot and cooked it on low for ~2 hours.  Just enough to warm everything up - then I switched it to "Keep Warm" (since I really don't need to "cook" the meat any further!).  It sat there on "warm" for most of the day (I'd say roughly 3-4 hours), 'til we were ready for dinner (and THIS is why I love-love-love my crock pot!)
  4. Appx 30 minutes before serving, I will add the frozen veggies and cream, and switch the crock-pot to High while I bake the Patty Shells (Pepperidge Farm Puffed Pastry Shells from the freezer section of the store - near the pie crusts and Phyllo dough).

After that, we shall eat (hopefully I can snap a picture first!).  I think this will be a tasty meal - on it's own - but we've also got the Boston Market side-dishes to nosh on.

I'll report back later on...  After we've eaten!

Update: Dinner was delicious!  The Turkey Ala King was a good, tasty, stick-to-your-ribs kinda meal.  I might bump-up the Craisins to get a little more Holiday "Zing" next time - but overall, it was quite yummy!

Whoa! Two posts in one day?!  Merry Christmas!!!

Update (again!!) Dec 26:  Oh. Em. Gee!  Something amazing happened to the dish, after it spent the night in the fridge.  The flavors have melded so very nicely (which means I take-back the comment about adding more Craisins! It's totally not necessary!).  The only downside to eating it as leftovers - is that the peas and carrots have started to look like they've been cooked to death...

So - what adjustments would I make for next time?!  Ohhh, I think I'd do everything the same - making the King-Gloop a day early, but I wouldn't add the frozen peas/carrots or cream until just before serving.  So yeah, make the gloop a day early, refrigerate overnight, then re-heat (stove top or crock-pot) and add the froz veggies/cream 30 minutes before serving...

Annnnd...  Since we have an abundance of leftover gloop (and Hubs has an aversion to eating leftovers), I suspect there will be a Turkey Pot Pie in our future!

Happy Holidays! Recipe: Scrumptious (and EASY) Polish Golabki / Stuffed Cabbage in the Crock Pot

Heydy Hi There!

Wow.  Time sure flies, doesn't it?  I turned my back for 5 minutes and look at that - it's Christmas already!

I get weekly stats from - someplace?!  I dunno! - anyway, I get a weekly email that tells me how many "hits" this blog receives and - given the surge in page-views during the holidays - I can only assume that *somebody* is looking for recipe ideas!

And I have been really-really bad about adding new recipes to the blog.  OTOH, I haven't really come up with anything particularly Exciting and New, either.  In fact I, myself, relied on this very blog for our Thanksgiving Repast (love-love-LOVE Pioneer Woman's turkey brine - Ahhh-mazing!)

(And now I'm thinking "How cool would it be" for me to figure out how to link to a "printer-friendly" recipe hoo-haw..?  Yeah. Pretty cool, but......)

Okay, well, not gonna get all rambly today, but I DO want to post a new and exciting and ridiculously easy recipe that got RAVE reviews from the Spousal Unit.

I'd read some post on Facebook where somebody said something about having Cabbage Rolls on Christmas Eve.  Then somebody else replied that Cabbage Rolls for dinner was, like, their annual Christmas Tradition.

I guess we could try a new Christmas Tradition, right?

"Ohhhh Gooooooogle?!!!"

Here is where I started:  Cabbage Rolls II Recipe.

Image Credit: 

And here is what I ended up with:

QT's Golabki / Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in the Crock Pot
Yield: Appx a dozen cabbage rolls which should feed 3-4 people
(Although Hubbie scarfed-down 5 in one sitting!)

For the Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 large-ish head of green cabbage - cored and lightly steamed
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/2 package Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - Butter and Garlic Flavor* 
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (including juice)
  • 1 egg
  • appx 1/4-1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 envelope Lipton "Recipe Secrets" Onion Mushroom Soup
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*I used the whole package (2 cups) of rice for the first batch.  It was waaaay too ricey!  1 cup should be plenty.  Oh, and you don't HAVE to use Uncle Ben's, specifically (I did - because I'm lazy and I had it on-hand!).  Any rice will do (Ooh - Rice-A-Roni, maybe?!) - just make sure it's cooked before you make the stuffing!

For the Sauce:
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 TBS Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or use regular brown sugar)
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 TBS red wine vinegar

Cut the core out of the bottom of the cabbage and steam for appx 5 minutes.  Or you can attempt to remove the outer leaves and place them in boiling water for appx 2 minutes.  Basically, you want the leaves to be limp enough to wrap around the filling without tearing or breaking open.  I chose to steam the whole head - and it worked great.

Chop a medium onion (or use dried, chopped onion if you prefer).  

Dump everything - except the cabbage and sauce ingredients - into a large bowl and mix well.  I find it's best to use your hands, but you may find that's too gross!  Anyway, mix thoroughly.  Then scoop appx 1/4-1/3 cup of meat-rice mixture into each of your cabbage leaves.  Roll the cabbage leaves from the bottom, fold in the sides, and continue rolling 'til the stuffing is completely encased, burrito-like, in the cabbage leaf.  Put the roll directly into the crock pot (with the seam-side down).  Repeat til you have one layer of cabbage rolls in the bottom of your crock-pot.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (I used garlic sea-salt).

Keep making cabbage rolls and add a second layer in your crock pot.  Sprinkle with salt again...

Mix up all the sauce ingredients in a smaller bowl, or saucepan if you prefer (I didn't find it necessary to heat it - the sugar blended into the sauce just fine on it's own).  Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls in the crock pot.  Cover and cook - Low for 8-9 hours or High for 5-6 hours

This is one of those recipes you can play around with.  Add or subtract ingredients as you see fit. But I think I'd definitely stick with Extra-Lean Ground Beef (otherwise, it'll be too greasy and gross).   I think the "key" to this recipe's success is the tangy-sweet tomato-y sauce so I wouldn't change much, there.  I doubled the sauce from the original recipe and that seemed like just the right amount.

Definitely a delicious meal that Hubbie raved on-and-on (and-on!) about.  Hubs is half-polish and I learned that Cabbage Rolls are also known as Pigs-in-a-blanket or Golabki (in Polish).  Turns out his mom and grandmother made this when he was a kid and - I'll be damned - turns out this recipe tastes almost exactly the same!

So Yay Me - and Yay for new Christmas Eve Traditions!

Hope ya'all are having a simply stupendous Holiday!  I am - and I may even have a few more recipes to post (Heyyyy!)




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