From the archives: Hummingbird Carrot Cake and Pecan Pound Cake, per reader request

I love getting letters from readers. Tweets and Facebook and Instagram comments are fun, but there’s something about receiving a handwritten note that I treasure. I usually get letters like this from readers who have subscribed to the newspaper for decades. The readers who still clip out recipes from the print food section. The readers who notice if I leave out a single ingredient or step in a recipe. Some of them don’t have the internet. Many of them don’t use social media.

I absolutely love the online community of Statesman readers, but there’s something about the hardcore print readers that still tugs at my heart. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to see print journalism die. Or maybe they just remind me of my mom and grandma, who first instilled my own love of newspapers when I was a kid.

Either way, I was delighted to get a letter from a reader named Julia, who has subscribed to the Statesman since 1974, she notes, had lost two recipes that she hoped I could find.

A reader sent this letter recently to request two recipes she'd misplaced.
A reader sent this letter recently to request two recipes she’d misplaced: One for a carrot cake and another for a pecan pound cake.

These recipes have long since left our digital sites, but I’m reposting them here, just in case that you, too, would like a hummingbird carrot cake and a pecan pie pound cake from our Statesman archives. The carrot cake we published in 2007 and the pound cake in 1990.

Hummingbird Carrot Cake

This fabulous, moist, flavorful cake predates the 1970s version of carrot cake. It is an all-season, winning dessert that freezes like a charm. If you want it as a sheet cake, use a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan and divide the frosting ingredients in half. Like most carrot cakes, this is easily mixed by hand.

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped pecans
¾ cup grated carrots
2 cups finely chopped banana
For the cream cheese frosting
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups, approximately, confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Finishing touches: ground pecans, ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place pans on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and blend briefly. Add eggs and oil; stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, carrots and chopped banana; blend well. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes before unmolding onto wire racks to cool. Makes 14 to 20 servings.

For Cream Cheese Frosting, mix all ingredients together until blended. Spread frosting between layers and then on sides and top of cake. Garnish with ground pecans and a light dusting of cinnamon.

— “A Passion for Baking

Mom’s Pecan Pound Cake

1 lb. butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Cream butter or margarine with sugar. Beat eggs slightly and add to butter and sugar. Sift flour and salt together. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk. Add pecans and vanilla. Bake in a 10-inch tube pan for 1-1 1/2 hours (If a bundt pan is used, there will be excess batter that can be baked in a loaf pan.)

One-pot pasta to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers

Pasta has always been something of a one-pot dish, but in the past few years, we’ve seen more and more cooks making a sauce in the same pot while the spaghetti or other dried pasta cooks.

I’ve mostly seen this with tomato-based sauces, but in “One-Pot Pasta: From Pot to Plate in Under 30 Minutes” (Hardie Grant, $12.99), author Sabrina Fauda-Role uses everything from baba ganoush to gorgonzola cheese to make the sauce and bucatini to spirals for the pasta.

All the ingredients are cooked at the same time and simmered in a small amount of water. The starch released by the pasta during cooking will mix with the other ingredients and create a creamy sauce, making a one pot pasta dish faster than it would take to cook the two components separately.

This one-pot pasta dish is made with leftover ham, sauteed onions, frozen peas and Gruyere cheese. Contributed by Akiko Ida
This one-pot pasta dish is made with leftover ham, sauteed onions, frozen peas and Gruyere cheese. Contributed by Akiko Ida

This one-pot pasta technique only has a few rules: Don’t add more or less water than the recipe calls for, and make sure it’s cold water, not hot. Hot water will soften the pasta too quickly.

Frozen vegetables or even meatballs or other cooked pieces of meat that have been frozen don’t have to be defrosted before adding to the pot. They will thaw as the pasta and sauce cooks.

This dish uses leftover ham, but you could also use turkey or add extra vegetables and make it meat-free. The original recipe called for generic soft cheese, an ingredient more common in British cooking, so we’ve adapted it to encourage you to use about a cup of a soft dairy of your choice to make the sauce creamy. This could be a soft cheese, such as brie or ricotta, or even half heavy whipping cream and half sour cream, but don’t use a stronger-tasting hard cheese, such as Gruyère, in the beginning or else the sauce won’t form properly.

Ham and Gruyère Pasta

9 oz. dried, uncooked macaroni
1/2 lb. cooked ham, torn into pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup soft cheese, heavy cream, ricotta or other creamy dairy
1/3 cup sautéed onions
1 vegetable stock bouillon cube
1 small bunch of chives, snipped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
Grated Gruyère, to serve

Set aside a small amount of the snipped chives and the Gruyère. Put all the other ingredients into a large saucepan in the order listed.

Cook, with the lid on the pot, for approximately 15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring regularly. About 3/4-inch of cooking liquid should remain at the end. Serve with the grated cheese and reserved chives. Serves 4.

— From “One-Pot Pasta: From Pot to Plate in Under 30 Minutes” by Sabrina Fauda-Role (Hardie Grant, $12.99)

How do you gingerbread? Learn from the best at Omni Barton Creek, Faraday’s Kitchen Store

We might still have Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge, but I’m sure many of you are thinking about gingerbread houses you’d like to make this year.

Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa hosts an Austin-themed gingerbread competition every holiday season. This year's event takes place on Nov. 30. Contributed by Omni Barton Creek.
Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa hosts an Austin-themed gingerbread competition every holiday season. This year’s event takes place on Nov. 30. Contributed by Omni Barton Creek.
On Wednesday, I’ll be judging the 9th annual gingerbread competition at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa, where I’ll be checking out some spectacular gingerbread creations. You, too, can browse the gingerbread sculptures and displays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the resort at 8212 Barton Club Dr. They’ll have a Christmas tree lighting, holiday carols and complimentary desserts.
Once you check out those cool projects, you might get the itch to learn how to make one yourself. Faraday’s Kitchen Store in the Shops at the Galleria in Bee Cave, 12918 Shops Parkway, is hosting a gingerbread house decorating class with pastry chef Rory Haff from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The class costs $49, and includes a small gingerbread house to decorate. The class is open to anyone over the age of 10, and you can sign up at faradayskitchenstore.com.

Pecans make this pull-apart bread extra sweet

My family loves monkey bread. We make a savory pull-apart bread with canned biscuits, cheese and chopped peppers, but “Deep South” author Brad McDonald has grown to love a sweet one that is topped with pecans.

With the butterscotch pudding, it’s totally old-school, but I have a feeling your family would love this on Thanksgiving morning or one day during this long holiday weekend.

Pull-apart bread is a popular weekend breakfast, but you could also serve it for dessert, especially when it’s topped with pecans, like this version from “Deep South.” Contributed by Andy Sewell
Pull-apart bread is a popular weekend breakfast, but you could also serve it for dessert, especially when it’s topped with pecans, like this version from “Deep South.” Contributed by Andy Sewell

Butch’s Monkey Bread

I married into this recipe, which comes from my father-in-law, Butch Petersen. He’s famous for these sticky, gooey, yeasty rolls, and special mornings in the Petersen house always call for this breakfast treat. Put the recipe together the night before, so the morning can be spent opening Christmas (or birthday) presents, reading the newspaper and drinking too much coffee.

— Brad McDonald

For the dough:
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant or active dry yeast
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small egg
1 cup warm water
For the topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. for greasing the tin
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large box Jell-O butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole pecans

Put all the dough ingredients in a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed to make a soft dough, adding more flour if the dough is too wet. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, then cover and leave in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. Punch down the dough, cover again and leave to rest for about 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick, then shape into 35 to 40 small balls. Place on greased baking sheets, cover loosely with cling film and place in the freezer.

While the dough balls freeze, make the topping: Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the Jell-O mixture with the cinnamon. Remove the frozen dough balls from the freezer. Toss the dough balls with the Jell-O and cinnamon mixture.

Grease a large fluted bundt tin with the extra butter. Scatter the pecans evenly over the bottom of the tin, then arrange the frozen rolls on top. Finally, pour the melted butter and sugar mixture over the rolls. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out. Serve warm. Makes one large loaf.

— From “Deep South: New Southern Cooking” by Brad McDonald (Quadrille, $35)

Check out this queso-inspired spicy corn dip

Even though we live in Texas, we don’t think about queso as a Thanksgiving dish.

However, if you add some corn, red bell pepper and scallions, you’ll turn that queso into a spicy corn dip that will keep you Thanksgiving guests satiated until dinnertime.

If you’re looking for other party snack ideas, check out this story from our Sunday Thanksgiving section that includes recipes for slow cooker Chex mix and a modern cheese ball.

We love queso, but this spicy corn dip is a nice alternative for Thanksgiving dinner. Contributed by Rachel Hollis
We love queso, but this spicy corn dip is a nice alternative for Thanksgiving dinner. Contributed by Rachel Hollis

Spicy Corn Dip

Several years ago my friend Patty Fallahee graciously allowed me to share her recipe for Spicy Corn Dip on the Chic Site, and it’s still one of our most popular posts. It’s got a bit of heat from the chipotle, a crunch from the corn and peppers, and it’s all wrapped inside melted cheesy goodness. A must try!

— Rachel Hollis

2 Tbsp. butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
12 oz. (1 1/2 8oz.-packages) cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 large bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper in adobo sauce can)
2 Tbsp. hot sauce (or more if you like it super spicy)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté the butter and the yellow onion, garlic, red bell pepper and corn over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese until combined.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients with the veggies and cream cheese mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Pour the dip into an oven-safe baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling. Serve hot out of the oven with chips or chopped veggies. Serves 8 to 10.

— From “Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up” by Rachel Hollis (Thomas Dunne, $19.99)

Recipe of the Week: Homemade dinner rolls in half the time, thanks to potatoes

Cooks have been using potatoes to make dinner rolls for a long, long time, but the science-minded cooks at America’s Test Kitchen figured out why they are so soft: The potato starch absorbs even more water than flour starch. Contributed by Carl Tremblay
Cooks have been using potatoes to make dinner rolls for a long, long time, but the science-minded cooks at America’s Test Kitchen figured out why they are so soft: The potato starch absorbs even more water than flour starch. Contributed by Carl Tremblay

Homemade rolls are such a treat at Thanksgiving, but they are often one of the first dishes that home cooks might skip in order to have enough time to make everything else.

However, the editors at America’s Test Kitchen have figured out that old-fashioned potato rolls are just as tender as traditional rolls, and they rise much faster because the potato and potato water cause the yeast to activate much more quickly than flour and milk or water. The potato starch granules are about five times larger than wheat granules, so they can absorb at least five times as much water, resulting in a moister crumb. One thing to keep in mind: Don’t salt the water in which you boil the potatoes.

You can make these a day ahead of time and store in the fridge, but let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking.

Potato Dinner Rolls

1 large russet potato (about 10 oz.), peeled and cut into 1‑inch pieces
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 1/4 cups (12 1/3 oz.) bread flour
2 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt

Place potato in medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch cold water. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and cook until potato is just tender (paring knife can be slipped in and out of potato with little resistance), 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer 5 tablespoons potato cooking water to 4-cup liquid measuring cup and let cool completely; drain potatoes. Return potatoes to now-empty saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, shaking saucepan occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 30 seconds. Off heat, process potatoes through ricer or food mill or mash well with potato masher. Measure 1 cup very firmly packed potatoes and transfer to separate bowl; stir in butter until melted and let mixture cool completely before using. Discard remaining mashed potatoes or save for another use.

Whisk flour, yeast and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk egg and sugar into potato cooking water until sugar has dissolved. Add mashed potato mixture to flour mixture and mix with your hands until combined (some large lumps are OK). Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add cooking water mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 8 minutes.

Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter and stretch into even 12‑inch log. Cut log into 12 equal pieces (about 2 ounces each) and cover loosely with greased plastic.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that top is smooth. Place ball seam side down on clean counter and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round.

Arrange dough balls seam side down on prepared sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until nearly doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Unrisen rolls can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let rolls sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Gently brush rolls with egg mixture and bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer rolls to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 rolls.

— From “Bread Illustrated: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results At Home” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, $29.95)

Sage cream sauce is a nice change of pace from traditional gravy

Everybody loves gravy, it seems, but just in case you don’t — or maybe you’d just like to mix up the sauce options on your Thanksgiving table — consider this sage cream sauce from John Lichtenberger at Péché. This sauce is great for turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, of course, but also on chicken, pork chops and roasted root vegetables.

Peche served this sage cream sauce with several dishes, including ravioli, but it's a nice alternative to traditional turkey gravy at Thanksgiving, too. Contributed by Peche
Peche served this sage cream sauce with several dishes, including ravioli, but it’s a nice alternative to traditional turkey gravy at Thanksgiving, too. Contributed by Peche

Sage Cream Sauce

1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced shallots
1/2 tsp. garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 tsp. chopped sage
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 oz. (about 1/4 cup) Padano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir. Add the white wine, sage, heavy cream and nutmeg. Stir and continue cooking until liquid has reduced by half. Add Padano cheese and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined, and then serve warm.

— From John Lichtenberger, Péché executive chef

A meat-free main dish that will wow your Thanksgiving guests

If you’re looking for a vegetarian main dish or a hearty side, consider this butternut and cannellini gratin from “A Modern Way to Cook” by Anna Jones. Contributed by Matt Russell
If you’re looking for a vegetarian main dish or a hearty side, consider this butternut and cannellini gratin from “A Modern Way to Cook” by Anna Jones. Contributed by Matt Russell

Serving a turkey-free Thanksgiving this year?

The cannellini beans in this gratin take the dish from a crowd-pleasing side into a vegetarian main worthy of Thanksgiving dinner. The pieces of bread on top get crispy in the oven, and the sweet butternut pairs wonderfully with the lemon and herb filling.

Try experimenting with other squashes if you find them in the store, as they all cook in roughly the same amount of time. If you are vegan, or if you just fancy changing this up, you can add a handful of chopped almonds in place of the cheese. Author Anna Jones says you don’t have to peel the squash here, but feel free to do so, or use the pre-peeled and cut squash that you can now buy in the store.

Butternut and Cannellini Gratin

3 red onions
Olive oil
2 lb. butternut or other orange-fleshed squash
A few sprigs of rosemary
2 (14-oz.) cans of cannellini beans (or 2 3/4 cups home-cooked beans)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon
1 1/4 cups hot vegetable stock
3 thick slices of good sourdough or whole wheat bread
5 oz. Gruyère cheese

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coarsely slice the onions. Put a wide, shallow, ovenproof pan over medium heat, add a good glug of olive oil and fry the onions until soft and sweet.

Cut the squash into large dice, discarding the seeds (there is no need to peel), then add to the softened onions with the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and continue cooking until the squash has colored a little at the edges and is starting to soften; this will take about 10 minutes.

Take off the heat and add the drained cannellini beans, then season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of the lemon over.

Pour the stock over, then tear the bread over the top. Grate the Gruyère over or sprinkle over some chopped almonds, if you like. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the stock is bubbling around the edges. Serves 6.

— From “A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals” by Anna Jones (Ten Speed, $35)

24 hours until Thanksgiving dinner: Better get on that brine

Brining a turkey can make all the difference in its flavor because the salt and other seasonings permeate the meat rather than just seasoning the outer layer. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Brining a turkey can make all the difference in its flavor because the salt and other seasonings permeate the meat rather than just seasoning the outer layer. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

We’re getting ever-closer to Thanksgiving dinner time, but it’s not too late to get your turkey in a brine.

If you need further convincing why this method will make for a better turkey, check out this story from our Sunday Thanksgiving food section.

And if you need a recipe to get you started, here’s one that happens to include bourbon. You might need it this year, but you can make the brine without it.

Bourbon Turkey Brine

16- to 20-lb. turkey
2 gallons water
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
6 to 8 thyme sprigs
6 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup black peppercorns
Peel of 2 lemons
Peel of 2 oranges
3 cups bourbon, optional

Combine all ingredients except the bourbon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add bourbon and cool brine to room temperature. Refrigerate until brine registers between 35 to 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Place turkey in an appropriate container, such as a brining bag. Add chilled brine and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Remove turkey from brine. Pat dry with paper towels. Prepare bird for roasting. Discard used brine.

— From Janet Bourbon, Honeysuckle White Turkey

 

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)