How To: Cook a Turkey in a Turkey Roaster

How to cook a turkey in an electric turkey roaster.

Recipes, Turkey | December 22, 2016 | By

We’re deep into the holiday season; the season of cookies, eggnog, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pies, and, of course, roast turkey. I always end up making a few roast turkeys between November and December and there is one trick I absolutely swear by: cooking my turkey in an electric turkey roaster oven. Before I got married, I had never heard of a electric turkey roaster, but when I got one as a wedding gift I was intrigued. I tried it once, and I’ve never cooked a turkey in a traditional oven since!

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Smoky Chipotle Turkey Chili

This warm, spicy and satisfying turkey chili is high in protein, low in fat, and packed full of yummy veggies.

Anyone who cooks for a family knows that a recipe everybody likes is a find. Whatever you decide to make, there’s usually at least one person who refuses to eat it. For our family, this smoky chipotle turkey chili is an exception. It’s a favorite with everyone, and it’s become a family tradition. We serve it even on special occasions, like Sunday dinner and birthdays. When my college-age daughters moved out of the house, it wasn’t long before they called home and asked for the recipe.

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BBQ Turkey Burgers

I have a beef with turkey burgers. Did you see what I did there? Yes, they’re healthier and lower in fat that traditional burgers, but they often turn out dry, bland, and boring. After trying many different recipes, I was about to give up on the idea of a delicious, juicy home made turkey burger when I found two ingredients that take turkey burgers to the next level.bbqturkeyburgers

The two ingredients that really make these burgers stand out are the BBQ sauce and the smoked paprika. Together they make the burgers juicer and they add a rich, smoky flavor that turkey burgers usually lack. I personally like to use a thick, corn-syrupy BBQ sauce for these and I’m always careful to choose one with a lower than average sugar content (yes, difficult to find when looking at BBQ sauce) as sugar burns easily.


To me the most important difference between beef burgers and turkey burgers is that unlike beef burgers, turkey burgers should not be cooked rare or medium rare. You really don’t want to under cook ground turkey.  If you spend some time looking at various turkey burger recipes you’ll see a range of different recommended temperatures the turkey should be cooked to; from 160 F to 180 degrees F. Wanting to make sure I was cooking my meat thoroughly, I did a little research and found that lists 165 degrees F as the safe minimum cooking temperature for ground turkey, with no rest time needed. Be sure to use your meat thermometer, not just your eyes to make sure these are done.


Once you’ve cooked them to the appropriate temperature you’ll arrive at my second-favorite step: topping the burgers. I topped mine with a colby-pepper jack cheese, extra bbq sauce, then piled on the veggies. Then, on to my first-favorite step: eating them.

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Crock-Pot Turkey & Spinach Meatballs in Marinara

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs in Marinara

Is there any comfort food quite like spaghetti and meatballs? It’s hearty, rich, and carb-o-licious, but unfortunately quite fattening and high in calories. That’s why I love this recipe. It transforms pasta and meatballs from a treat for special occasions to a weeknight dinner perfect for your regular recipe rotation.


This recipe is much lighter than your standard meatballs and marinara, but still packs a powerful flavor punch. Turkey is lower in calories and fat than sausage or beef, and these meatballs are packed with just the right amount of spinach: enough that you get a good serving, but not enough that that your kids will turn their noses up at their plates. 

This recipe is also much less labor intensive than your typical meatball and marinara recipe, because it’s made using my favorite kitchen appliance – the Crock-Pot. Prep the meatballs and sauce in the morning, set your Crock-Pot for 8 hours and dinner is ready to go!


I’m always on the lookout for weeknight dinners under 500 calories and this one fits the bill. One serving of my favorite whole wheat pasta is 190 calories + 127 calories for 3 meatballs (only 43 calories per meatball!) + 93 calories for 1 cup of marinara+ about 30 calories for garnish comes to a grand total of just 440 calories.


Because this recipe serves 7, it makes enough to serve my small family 2 meals instead of just one. My husband usually takes leftovers to work for lunch the next day, and I use the leftover meatballs and sauce to make slimmed-down meatballs subs the next evening.


I generally serve these meatballs with one of my family’s favorite pastas (we’re partial to vegetable farfalle and whole wheat penne over here) and a light, green side salad or my mom’s famous Slimmed-Down Roasted Broccoli. If you’re watching carbs you can omit the bread crumbs (I’ve done it and it works well-also makes the recipe gluten free) and serve with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta.



Crock-Pot Turkey & Spinach Meatballs in Marinara
Serves 7
A deceptively healthy alternative to traditional spaghetti and meatballs; savory, comforting, and packed with veggies.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
326 calories
16 g
129 g
17 g
30 g
4 g
334 g
1014 g
9 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 326
Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 129mg
Sodium 1014mg
Total Carbohydrates 16g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 9g
Protein 30g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Meatballs
  1. 1 ½ lb 93% lean ground turkey
  2. 2 cups frozen spinach leaf
  3. 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  4. 1 egg
  5. ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  6. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. ½ teaspoon pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
For the Sauce
  1. 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  2. 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  3. ½ small onion, diced
  4. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  5. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  6. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  7. 1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
  8. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. ½ teaspoon pepper
  11. ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. shredded Parmesan, if desired
  2. fresh basil, if desired
  1. Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, Italian seasoning, dried basil, salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar a slow cooker. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  2. Defrost spinach in microwave (mine takes 4-5 minutes on a very low setting, but times will vary) and squeeze dry of excess water.
  3. Combine turkey, spinach, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, smoked paprika, and parsley in a large bowl, and mix with your hands until combined. Use a 1/8 measuring cup to measure out portions of the turkey mixture and roll into balls.
  4. Carefully place each of the meatballs in the sauce. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. If possible, gently stir mixture every few hours. If not, stir the mixture after its finished cooking and serve immediately.
  1. Total Cost: $9.26 Cost Per Serving $1.33
Crock-Pot Turkey & Spinach Meatballs in Marinara