Seasonal Sundays (Week 49) Taking It Sloooow

Seven slow cooker or slow-cooked dinner recipes for healthy cold-weather meals, an antidote to the festive cocktails and rich appetizers to say nothing of the butter and sugar of the holidays. I hope you'll find one or two destined as "keepers" in your own family favorites.

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Seasonal Sundays is 100% written by a real, live human, no blah-blah copycat ChatGPT AI plagiarism, thank you very much. Any awkward phrase, unclear meaning, misspelled word, mistaken fact, bad punctuation or overwrought alliteration is the clean, proud product of my own inadequacy as a wordsmith and oversights as an eagle-eyed editor. But when that human says she's grateful that you're here, reading, well, please know, she really truly and authentically means it. 100%.

Harumph. It's the third day of December and if it weren't for the twinkly lights and Santa believers and my Christmas playlist, I just might be ready to hit the snooze button until January 2nd.

But ...

In between it all, we still have to eat but I'm thinking that all of us might appreciate that bit of simplicity and flexibility offered by slow cooking, whether in a crockpot or in the oven.

So here you go!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... these colorful jumbo shopping bags (affiliate link), perfect for not only big presents but also sturdy enough to store Christmas pillows, blankets, etc. come January
  • ... a dog who knows his safe place, sitting straight up and alert, back resting between my knees, leaning in, a position he's never taken before but moved into as if trained as soon as we moved into the vet's office this week. Who has a similar safe space? a place where you know you'll be protected? comforted? connected? Twas a lovely moment.
  • ... our kitchen turned into a pastrami factory, my husband's son-in-law contributing 16 pounds of deer meat, me contributing math skills and alllllllll the spices, my husband the silverskin knife skills. It'll brine for five days, then get smoked for ... not my department! Come Sunday, it'll be a Pastrami Palooza! Everybody's hot for hot venison pastrami sliders but I'm also imagining slices of warm pastrami with good beans, some coleslaw (or maybe sauerkraut?), some good mustard, maybe a wild game of Aggravation.
  • ... come Saturday, returning to our 2020-style tradition of Charcuterie for Two every weekend in December.
  • ... the neighborhood horses are back! There's even a third, whose name I don't yet know but "Ruby" lifted her head and rushed to the fenceline when I called out to her that first day back.
  • ... the neighborhood turkeys are back too, it looks like seven in this year's flock, it's like living with dinosaurs.

The Words of a Wise Woman Fun-Loving Kid

Life Lessons. We all collect them, formally and informally.

Here's a big one from years back. This "kid"? He's now closing in on the tallest guy in the extended family, that's about 6'8".

But back then, he was maybe eight and visiting before Christmas. We'd just been to the dollar store where he'd walked the aisles, carefully and intentionally picking out the "perfect" gift for everyone on his list, parents and grandparents plus all the cousins and aunts and uncles and even a buddy or two. (Yeah, it's an old family tradition, teaching kids how to "give" and not just "get" presents by taking them to the dollar store. There's no forgetting my little nephew exclaiming with excitement, "Auntie Al, we have soooo many presents to give!" )

Energized by gift-giving, this kid and his grandpa and I were at the kitchen table, sipping hot chocolate and cutting into colorful wrapping paper for our gifts.

Me: So which is better, lots of presents or one big present? Him: Lots of presents!

Me: So which is better, lots of presents or a few presents with lots of ribbons? Him: A few presents. Ribbons are the best!

Ever since, I stock up on ribbons and bows so that once our gifts are wrapped, we can Go.To.Town with ribbons, putting minimalism to the wind and maximalism to the test.

When it comes to ribbon, more is definitely better. You learned it from a kid.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Taking It Sloooow with Slow Cookers & Slow Cooking

The slow cooker goes dusty during the summer months. So it must be that time again, now, because this week I pulled it out twice, once to meal prep some sweet potatoes, then to make No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock when the oven was otherwise occupied. (FYI 24 hours on medium heat since the technique isn't updated yet).

So this week, Seasonal Sundays is focused on slow cooking, using not only slow cookers (people do love their Crockpots!) but also slow cooking in the oven. As regular readers know, I do find that ovens yield much more consistent and tasty results.

I make the case for Slow Cooking in the Oven here ...

Slow Cooker & Oven Slow-Cooking Recipes ♥, supper savers, sides and more.

Soup for Supper

Healthy Carrot Soup ♥, my cousin's famous carrot soup recipe, creamy even though it's made with skim milk, not cream. Weight Watchers Friendly. Budget Friendly. Low Carb. Rave Reviews!

Meatless Monday

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes, more easy meal prep ♥ A Veggie Venture, just sloppy joes made with lentils instead of hamburger, full of spices and flavor. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan.

Cooking Down Your Bean Stash

Red Beans & Rice, another slow-cooked healthy dinner ♥ Meaty or Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

Southern Specialties

Slow-Cooked Greens & Smoked Turkey ♥, healthy leafy greens cooked until tender and luscious with a smoked turkey leg or ham hocks. Low Carb. Low Cal. High Protein. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep and Weight Watchers.

Meaty Mains

Slow-Cooked or Slow Cooker Pot Roast ♥, four easy tricks for tender, moist and flavorful pot roast. Low Carb. Weight Watchers friendly.

A Chicken in Every Pot ...

Chicken Cacciatore, a classic Italian stew ♥ Winter comfort food slow-cooked in a tomato-wine sauce.

... And A Pig in the Poke

Milk-Braised Pork Roast ♥, slow-cooked in milk with garlic and spices yielding tender, succulent meat with a milk gravy.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Homemade Caramel Corn ♥, made in the microwave in a paper bag so no mess, no fuss. Fun for kids!


Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Party Potatoes) ♥, rich, fluffy mashed potatoes, perfect for parties and family gatherings.
  • THIS WEEK "We loved the mashed potatoes ... I did pack them into the crockpot after mashing, and brought it out of the fridge in time to reheat on Thursday. Even the leftovers were moist and great! I did use Yukon golds! I hand mashed, and they were absolutely amazing. I would have left on those tender skins if it had not been for company!" ~ Laurie
  • THE RECIPE Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Party Potatoes) Make-ahead mashed potatoes for a crowd, traditional or slow cooker. (PIN This)

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • December 1 - 23 - PikkuJoulu (Finnish "Little Christmas")
  • December 21st (Thursday) - Winter Solstice (Official First Day of Winter)
  • December 24th (Sunday) - Christmas Eve
  • December 25th (Monday) - Christmas Day
  • December 26th (Tuesday) - Boxing Day
  • December 31st (Sunday) - New Year's Eve
  • January 1st (Monday) - New Year's Day
  • Jan 7th (first Sunday) - Alanna's Take Down Christmas (or Else) Day
Christmas Recipes, another seasonal recipe collection ♥, special recipes for holiday baking, food gifts, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, Christmas dinner and more.

A collection of recipes for New Year's ♥

Looking Back ...

Holiday Versions of Year-Round Favorites

Christmas Banana Bread ♥, everyone's favorite banana bread, all dressed up for Christmas!

Gingerbread Granola ♥, granola all dressed up for Christmas with orange and molasses plus special spices. Lower Sugar, Bigger Flavor. Vegan. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep & Homemade Food Gifts.

Christmas Chicken Salad ♥, chicken salad all dressed up for Christmas with seasonal flavors!

Just Updated!

Cranberry Orange Relish with Fresh Ginger ♥ Old-fashioned relish, just cranberries ground with a whole orange, updated with a little fresh ginger.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

  • Any ideas for Seasonal Sundays? Share away!
  • It's December. What's In your slow cooker?
  • Who collects food-related tree ornaments?
  • Who's stocked up on butter? Who's baking cookies?!
  • For those who celebrate, is there a certain moment when Christmas somehow just begins?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.