Thanksgiving with Nesco Roaster and an old crockpot

My old stove is kaput, and DH has to do some serious electrical work in order to put in the stove our neighbors gave us. But with just the two of us, I do fine with a toaster oven, hot plate (electric, as well as butane, since living on the coast means having a few ways to cook without electric), and of course a microwave.

But turkey's don't fit in toaster ovens - well except for turkey breasts, which lately have been those gross piece-meal, turkey-parts glued together globs, gross! So I sacrificed crispy skin for cooking a real turkey in a Nesco Roaster. I also made the gravy in it, even though the Nesco Roaster didn't make brown bits on the bottom, but gravy still tasted good (Kitchen Bouquet to the rescue!) DH said the turkey was moister that oven-cooked turkeys, and the Nesco Roaster didn't heat up the house enough to kick in the AC (mid 60s F in Houston today).

I made mashed potatoes in the crockpot yesterday, and cornbread in the toaster oven. I boiled eggs in the crockpot this morning, but instead of covering my old-style crockpot with its usual lid, I put a sautee pan on the crockpot to slowly sautee onions and celery for the cornbread dressing. Now if you're in a hurry, this wouldn't work at all, but if you're multi-tasking and have plenty of time, it worked out great, giving me plenty of time to coordinate without the worry of over-cooking/burning things. I put the crumbled cornbread and a few slices of wheat bread in the toaster oven to dry, then put the turkey into the Nesco Roaster.

After approximately an hour, I lifted the sautee pan off the crockpot, spooned out a few eggs into a bowl with water, peeled the eggs, repeat until all the eggs were peeled and yolks removed for deviled eggs. Emptied the water from the crockpot, dumped in the sauteed onions and celery with the cornbread and sliced bread. Then made the creamy roux for the dressing (all the cornbread dressing I found called for Cream of X soup, so I made it from scratch with butter, flour, and Half and Half). Again, the roux took a long time on top of the crockpot, but when not cooking on a schedule, it was lovely not worrying about burning while multi-tasking. But I also put a bit of Half and Half into the crockpot with the breading, just to make sure nothing burned while waiting for the roux to smell like pie crust before adding in the Half and Half.

Finally the creamy roux (homemade Cream of X) was finished and dumped into the crockpot, which was spiced with Chicken Seasoning and extra sage. Then I finished the deviled eggs, arranged the relish tray, then a bit later, the turkey was done. I had DH help me transfer the turkey to a big disposable tin, then poured off about half the pan juices into the crockpot, then the rest into a 2 cup measuring cup for the gravy. The Nesco Roaster heats up to 450F, so making roux in it was much faster than on top of the crockpot. By the time the gravy was finished, the turkey had rested enough for the juices to settle (probably the main the turkey was juicier than usual haha).

Yesterday's potatoes were nuked at 70% power in a covered casserole, then I nuked frozen spinach with butter.

So not having an oven forced me to be creative with ancillary cooking appliances, but I learned a few fun tricks along the way. Hope everyone that celebrated Thanksgiving had a lovely one ^_^

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