I just love Thanksgiving food. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce. Mmm. I love it so much that I don't save it for only one day a year; I make Thanksgiving-type food all year round. I call these meals "mock Thanksgiving" meals. They contain the best flavors of Thanksgiving without the hassle of cooking a whole turkey and making all the sides.
This is a Better Homes and Gardens recipe I discovered on Recipe.com and tried last month. It's a winner! Throw some chicken drumsticks in the slow cooker with cranberry sauce and when it's done, serve it with some StoveTop stuffing.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken
8 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1 (16 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tbsp dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp quick-cooking (instant) tapioca
Place chicken in slow cooker. In a small bowl, stir together the cranberry sauce, onion soup mix, and tapioca. Pour over the chicken and turn the chicken pieces so they are evenly coated.
Cook on low for 6 hours. Rearrange pieces halfway through cooking if you are able.
Serve chicken drumsticks with sauce. Stuffing goes really well with this chicken.
Makes 4 servings.
Here's something shocking: I didn't change anything about this recipe! That is pretty rare. It's just perfect the way it is. The onion soup mix gives the cranberry sauce just the perfect amount of savory-ness and cuts down on the sweetness. The instant tapioca thickens the sauce beautifully so you can coat the tender chicken with it. Have you ever used it before? It's pretty great for slow cooker dishes. Cornstarch doesn't work in the slow cooker because it has to come to a boil and slow cookers don't usually get that hot. But the tapioca softens and thickens at a lower temperature so it's perfect.
Of course, you could serve this chicken with rice, but I think it's so great with the stuffing. And using the boxed stuffing (I always get the reduced-sodium chicken variety), makes this meal perfect for busy weeknights. My favorite veggie to go with this is green beans.
While I like to make this meal whenever I am craving Thanksgiving food outside of Thanksgiving season, it would also be great for those who aren't doing the whole big Thanksgiving celebration but still want something to make the day feel like Thanksgiving. It would be perfect for a couple or a small family who is staying home that day and doesn't feel like going all out with the turkey and everything.
Here are some other "mock Thanksgiving" meals I have shared with you in the past:
Speaking of Thanksgiving, next week will be this year's installment of my annual Thanksgiving Week here on my blog. I have five great recipes that will liven up your Thanksgiving table. Are you tired of the same old, same old? I have three awesome side dishes, one turkey-alternative main dish (good if you are hosting guests who don't like turkey that much), and a super easy pumpkin dessert. So be sure to check all of that out next week.