Kristen Ziesmer, Sports Dietitian - Slow Cooker Recipe, Lightned Up Thanksgiving Dinner - Crockpot Edition

Lightened-Up Thanksgiving: Crockpot Edition

Looking for easy Crockpot recipe ideas for Thanksgiving this year?

Perhaps my favorite culinary weapon is the crockpot. You throw a bunch of food in there, plug it in, and go about your day.

Then, you come home to a house that smells absolutely incredible and a warm, comforting dinner just begging to be eaten. The crockpot seriously couldn’t get any easier, especially now that they invented crockpot liners—cleaning them is now a breeze too!

With my personal favorite holiday (Thanksgiving!) around the corner, I think all of us holiday chefs out there need to make our lives in the kitchen a little easier. Not to mention, with grandma’s pumpkin log lurking on the counter, I think we can all afford to lighten-up some of our Thanksgiving dishes and help soften the blow, so-to-speak.

With these two goals in mind, I have found two recipes to be champions for your taste buds, stress level, and waistline.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

Lightened-Up Thanksgiving: Crockpot Edition Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup flour1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 celery rib, chopped medium
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 lb turkey breast, bone in, skin on (removed later), trimmed of fat
  • salt and pepper


  1. Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker.
  4. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place skin side up in the slow cooker, cover and cook 5 to 7 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer
  5. Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with with foil and let it rest 20 minutes.
  6. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon or a gravy fat separator.
  7. Strain braising liquid into saucepan, discard celery, bay leaves and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Discard the skin and carve the turkey and serve with gravy.


Slow Cooker Garlic Sweet Potato Mash


  • 2 lbs (4 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed into 1-inch piecesLightened-Up Thanksgiving: Crockpot Edition
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • Salt and fresh cracked ground pepper, to taste


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in the slow cooker and add just enough water to cover them. Add salt to the water, then cover and set the slow cooker to 4 hours on LOW.
  2. Just before the potatoes are ready, melt the butter in a small saute pan and sauté garlic until lightly golden.
  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the slow cooker.
  4. Pour the garlic butter over the potatoes, add milk and sour cream and mash until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and keep the slow cooker set to warm until ready to eat or up to 2 hours.


With these ideas, I hope you and your family an enjoy a lightened-up Thanksgiving dinner!

Looking for more recipes that will help you succeed in the kitchen and on the scale this holiday season? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation, so we can discuss your particular situation and goals!

Have you checked out The Sustainable Sports Nutrition Academy? Learn about this program which is based on science! Not fads. You’ll learn how to put together the correct diet and fueling plan for YOU, based on your needs and goals. This program is a compilation of my 10+ years of experience that has helped many people enhance their health and performance, and make lasting changes- plus it includes a workout plan!

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