Save room in your oven by making slow cooker stuffing

You can make almost any stuffing in a slow cooker. This one is made with sausage and herbs. To keep the stuffing from getting too moist from the condensation in the slow cooker, place a kitchen towel underneath the lid to trap the moisture. Contributed by Helene Dujardin

You can make almost any stuffing in a slow cooker. This one is made with sausage and herbs. To keep the stuffing from getting too moist from the condensation in the slow cooker, place a kitchen towel underneath the lid to trap the moisture. Contributed by Helene Dujardin

Maybe you, too, are in charge of bringing a side dish to Thanksgiving this year.

Maybe you, too, would like to make Paula Deen’s corn casserole that my family now requests every year.

Maybe you, too, would like to make mashed potatoes in a slow cooker or smashed potatoes in the oven.

Maybe you, too, are craving a cheese-crusted cauliflower bake spiced with jalapeños.

If you aren’t in the mood for stuffing biscuits, might I suggest sweet potato black pepper biscuits?

Or maybe you are just here for a slow cooker stuffing recipe that will ease the strain on your oven tomorrow. I have the perfect recipe for you, from Gina Homolka’s “Skinnytaste Fast and Slow” (Clarkson Potter, $30).

Slow Cooker Sausage-Herb Stuffing

Hands down, my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the stuffing. I like to make it in the slow cooker because it comes out extra moist with crisp edges. Prep perk: This comes in handy when you run out of oven space for large family gatherings. Because the lid of the slow cooker traps a lot of condensation, I place a kitchen towel under the cover, which catches the steam, so the stuffing doesn’t get mushy.

— Gina Homolka

14 oz. whole wheat French bread or baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups chopped celery (about 4 medium stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
14 oz. sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Spread the bread out onto a rimmed baking sheet and let it dry overnight. (If you want to speed up the process, bake it in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the bread is dried out.)

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, sage, parsley and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

In the same skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces as it browns, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add the bread and stir well. Add the broth, egg, salt and pepper to taste and stir well.

Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Transfer the stuffing to the slow cooker, place a kitchen towel over the top, and cover. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, until browned at the edges. Serves 12.

— From “Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes” by Gina Homolka and Heather K. Jones (Clarkson Potter, $30)


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