A simple slow cooker Thanksgiving dinner: Recipes for every course — yes, even the turkey!

From the bird to the dessert, Ricardo’s got recipes that’ll revolutionize your meal prep this year.

From the bird to the dessert, Ricardo’s got recipes that’ll revolutionize your meal prep this year

(Credit: Christian Lacroix)

Thanksgiving is one of those celebrations that always seems to creep up on us. We're still reeling from back-to-school madness and working big sweaters back into our wardrobe and then suddenly — it's time to take on turkey. While some seasoned hosts may have already ordered their bird and consulted our handy guide to help plan the rest of the meal, if you're behind on your feast prep or are simply looking for an alternative to a stressful day of cooking, we feel you. And we may just have the solution you've been waiting for.

Flipping through Ricardo Larrivée's new cookbook Ricardo: Ultimate Slow Cooker earlier this fall, and seeing recipes for dishes we never dreamed could be made in such a way (read: scalloped potatoes), gave us a radical idea: why not turn your slow cooker into your sous chef this Thanksgiving? Not only will a strategy like this free up coveted oven space at a time when it's needed most, getting to dump all your ingredients and have them cook to perfection without much maintenance will give you the opportunity to take a breather, focus on the parts of the meal you really enjoy making and spend more time with the friends and family who make this holiday what it is.

With that in mind, here are the recipes you need to tackle Thanksgiving with your slow cooker this year:

The main: Turkey Roast with Cranberries

(Credit: Christian Lacroix)

This two-in-one, no-basting-required recipe is a fuss-free solution for anyone who doesn't want to bother with the full bird this year.

The side: Scalloped Potatoes

(Credit: Christian Lacroix)

Now that we know one of our most-loved sides can be prepared in such a way, there's no going back — at least when a big feast is on the line, and oven space is scarce.

The dessert: Maple Syrup Dumplings

(Credit: Christian Lacroix)

These doughy delights come together so easily and boast all the best autumnal flavours, that they have us rearranging our dumpling hierarchy to include them. Serve with vanilla ice cream as an alternative to pie this holiday.

Now that you've got some oven space (and prep time!) freed up, here are a few complementary dishes that will help fill out your menu:

A Really Good Kale Salad

The Perfect Stuffing

Maple Glazed Squash and Carrots

Creamy Braised Savoy Cabbage

Make-Ahead Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Half Made Home-Made Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Belinda's Flourless Coconut and Chocolate Cake

(Photography by Peden + Munk)

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