Slow Cooker Creamy Turkey Dinner Recipe

Q: Can you make a creamy turkey dinner with mushrooms without using a can of condensed soup?

A: Absolutely.

I haven't bought condensed cream of something soup for about 10 years. I know this because I've been married 11 years, and I know that during that first year of marriage I used this "wonder soup" a lot.

lots and lots. quite often, even.

I stocked up when the cans were on sale, and I gave myself a pat on the back when I saw them all lined up in the cupboard.

There is nothing wrong with using canned condensed soup.

Once in a while.

I don't personally buy or use it anymore because of our gluten allergy, and I although I've learned there are non-glutenized soups now on the market, I still don't buy it because I've gotten used to cooking without.

I'm pretty much the furthest thing from a food snob. I figure whatever gets food on your table at the end of a busy day is good, whether that's Taco Bell, a frozen lasagna, gloppy condensed soup, or 365 (366) days of food from a crockpot. It's your choice.

This recipe was inspired from one of my early condensed soup crockpot meals I made (OFTEN) as a newlywed. This is a good dinner to eat in front of the TV while balancing a paper plate on your lap, sprawled out in an inflatable chair.

I miss our inflatable chairs!

The Ingredients.
serves 4-6

2 pounds turkey breast, cut in chunks
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried parsley (unless you have fresh, then use about 1/4 cup at the very end)
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 cup frozen green beans (I like the long thin ones, not the thick weird ones they give you in the school cafeteria)

The Directions.

Use a 4 quart slow cooker. Put the turkey into the bottom of your cooker, and pour on the beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Add onion, mushrooms, and dried parsley. Stir a bit to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for about 4. If you only have a 6-quart slow cooker, this will cook much faster, unless you increase the quantities. Remember that slow cookers work the best when they're at least 2/3 of the way full.
If you are going to use a 6-quart, check after 4-5 hours on low, or 2-3 on high.
If you'd like the turkey super tender and shreddy, cook for a longer period of time on low.

Stir in the heavy cream and green beans. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes, or until beans are thawed and heated through. Serve over cooked pasta.

The Verdict.

My kids wanted me to call this "Winner Winner Turkey Dinner" (they've watched a bit too much of Guy Fieri, lately). I liked the combo of beef broth with the touch of vinegar when paired with the mushrooms. It's tasty, and you don't end up feeling like you ingested a week's worth of sodium.
Adam ate two plates, and took the leftovers to work for the next day's lunch.

I'm going to keep my eyes open for an inflatable arm chair.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at July 26, 2010

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What they say about this article

  1. This sounds so good. Thanks for the turkey recipe! I'm trying to stay away from red meat, and this definitely will be added to my repertoire.

  2. It seems a lot of people are steering clear of condensed soups for one reason or another. But then again, home-y food is making a comeback and casseroles require them. It's nice to have an option for the creaminess that lets you skip the can! Thanks!

    I'm not sure where you live, but I find turkey tenderloins to be twice the price as chicken. Sometimes triple! I have no idea why--is it like this in your market too?

  3. This sounds delicious! I would leave out the mushrooms though since I'm not a big fan but I will definitely add this to my slowcooker list!

  4. This sounds awesome! I use condensed soups but not as often as I used to. If I can figure out a better way, I usually opt for it. I do always have a couple of cans in the pantry though. I'm not a mushroom fan either so I would just double the onions probably or add some more veggies. The crockpot totally rocks!

  5. A question- we are dairy/soy free for the time being. Know of any good alt. milk substitute that would work? Sounds yummy!

  6. Anonymous7/26/2010

    Any ideas what to use in place of mushrooms? Neither my husband nor I like them; and he doesn't like broccoli or peas. Thanks!

  7. Steph (is it strange that a bunch of strangers are on a first name basis with you?),

    I am preparing to give birth to my third child in October, and will then have an almost 8 year old, a 3.5 year old, and a newborn. I would like to imagine that with the awesomeness that is the crockpot, I will still be able to cook dinner most nights, and can pull out a frozen pizza on the rare occasion that I am a dinner-cooker fail. However, I also know that with the demands of getting one child off to school and entertaining a pre-schooler while also breastfeeding a newborn, sometimes mornings are not my own, and if dinner isn't in the crock by nap time, it probably won't be ready in time for us to eat before ballet/cheerleading practice/lessons, etc.

    SO- what are your recommendations for make-ahead/freezable meals? We have a few favorite soups which I routinely double when crocking and freeze- I can then heat for a quick lunch or dinner. What about some other crockpot meals that work well for a freeze/quick re-heat option?

    Would love any ideas you have since my deep-freezer is just waiting to be filled:)


  8. Hi Mama Cobb, hmm. I think I'd try to make a slurry out of rice milk with cornstarch. Or just leave the milk out all together and just have the turkey with the broth and veggies.

    Hi Anon, no need to use mushrooms if you dislike them.

    Hi Grace! Congratulations on baby #3. My three are now 8, 5, and 6 mos. I'd shoot to try and cook 3 times a week, and not beat yourself up. The kids are only in this teensy time for a short while, and before you know it, naps will consolidate and you'll be feeling more like yourself.

    I guest posted on Village of Moms about creating Slow Cooker TV Dinners that you might find helpful.

    good luck to you and your family!

    xoxo steph

  9. Anonymous7/26/2010

    Sorry if this is stupid, but I'm new to all this. Should the turkey breast be cooked before putting it in the crockpot, or put in raw? Thanks!

  10. gotta try this! i also used the canned condensed stuff way way too much my first couple years of marriage. so glad i finally learned to cook from scratch! :)

  11. Another delicious meal to make, Steph--thank you! :-) I love all the flavors in this one. I'll just use some full fat coconut milk in place of the cream. That's what I always use in place of condensed milk.


  12. I really enjoy your blog and have liked all of your recipes that I've tried. One of our favs. is the buffalo chicken lasagna. I had a question...would chicken taste good in this recipe as a substitute for turkey? Thanks for all your great recipes!

  13. This sounds great, like real comfort food. :)

  14. Great Quick Recipe! I Read this from my RSS feed and the inflatable chairs made me laugh.

    Thanks for the humer

  15. Winner winner turkey dinner. Ha! This sounds really comforting. And inexpensive - a winning combo!

  16. Wow. Looks awesome! Definitely going to try this next week! I'm eating a lot of turkey lately and this will be perfect for some cutlets I have in the freezer. I also like knowing all of the ingredients in my food, so it's great to have a substitute for canned cream soup (although I do admit to using them occasionally!).

  17. Thanks for the link, Steph! I am going to start doubling and also doing some "TV Dinners." And, my mother in law also reminded me that there is no reason the hubby can't put stuff into the crock before going to work in the morning:)

    Thanks also for thre reality check- dinner 3 times a week is a much more reasonable goal:)

  18. The wife and I prepared this recipe yesterday. Followed the directions to the T leaving nothing out, not adding anything more than what was suggested.

    In a nutshell, Slow Cooker Creamy Turkey Dinner was bland and lacking in any character at all. The best part of the meal were the string beans.


  19. Stephanie- Just to let you know you are my Julia Childs and I am currently cooking my way through your cookbook! Me and my hubby are having so much fun with it!

  20. I'm curious - do you think you could make this dairy free? What would you sub for the heavy cream?

    I love the site - i rec'd you on my blog today and have been coming here since you first started your challenge. :)

  21. Hi Alana,
    thank you for the cyberhugs! I haven't done it myself, but I'd guess you could use a soy or goat based yogurt/creamy cheese to help thicken the sauce a bit, or you could make a slurry with cornstarch and water to thicken soy or rice milk.


  22. Sounds delish! I linked to this on my weekly roundup - looking forward to giving this a try!

  23. My kids, my man, my friends love this recipe! Soooo yummy.

  24. Frau B8/29/2010

    This was GOOOOOOOOOD! And, I ended up over cooking the turkey (should have known, only needs 5h on low with my crock, just getting used to it_ and so was very dry and yucky. I put potatoes in (chopped about 2 square) and they didn't cook at all (why not?) and I used fresh green beans that needed WAY more than 30 minutes (next time will try 2h for beans) - so despite those 3 gaffs, it was still hands down a top favourite - the sauce is SO lovely and has a unique taste with the vinegar and cream. Loved it - had hoped for leftovers but we ate it all!!!

  25. Thanks for this! Some of my friends just shake their heads at me if they're over, helping me cook for an event, etc and can't find ANY canned soup in my pantry. I avoid it because of the MSG, but really...I prefer my homemade items anyway!

  26. To those of you looking for an alternative to the heavy cream, I will echo what a couple of other people have suggested:
    - coconut milk
    - almond milk

    We avoid dairy and soy, so these two ingredients have really come in handy. I don't usually like rice milk because it's really thin and watery. In my experience I haven't found it to be a good substitute for cow's milk, especially if the recipe calls for something like "heavy cream" - it's just not going to meet expectations.

    Coconut milk is rich, creamy, soooo tasty. Almond milk is usually milder (but also really tasty, in my opinion). I use them interchangeably, just depends on my mood & what dish I'm making. Experiment a bit with them and you'll soon feel comfortable too!

  27. We really liked the flavor of this one, but I didn't feel like the half-and-half made it creamy. Was it supposed to be as creamy as a stroganoff-type sauce? I think next time I'll just leave that out and serve the "juice" on top of rice or mashed potatoes.