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Not Really a Recipe: Balsamic Turkey Breast


Cooking is not rocket surgery.

I know many people are intimidated by the idea of cooking for themselves, and in my opinion this is why many people rely on pre-packaged, take out or out-to-dinner meals. I am all for the idea of making your life easier and more time efficient, and I think that some just don’t realize that cooking can be really easy.

You don’t have to use a complicated recipe with a list of ingredients longer than your arm. Heck no. That IS intimidating! I love cookbooks, and I have a bunch, and I love to look thru them. And that’s how I get ideas. But I don’t use them to cook. How is that, you ask? Well….

You don’t always need a recipe

With the exception of baking, it’s rare that I use a recipe per se. (And admittedly, since I mostly cook quick breads/protein bars and brownies I don’t always use recipes for those either. It’s more of a “hmmm…this batter is a bit runny…add some more protein powder/oat flour/cocoa! approach) I read a recipe, or see something prepared on TV, and then use/modify that recipe to make something that works for me.

I use and teach more of a “method” approach to cooking-learn a way to do something, then you can make modifications and make that method work a bunch of ways for a bunch of applications.

If you cook chicken a particular way, chances are good you can do a similar thing with turkey, or pork. See where I’m going with this? If you make a sauce (as I mentioned in my eating flavorfully gluten free post) you can change it up by changing just a few flavors, but use the same ideas.

Thanksgiving turkey

OK. Here’s the deal.

Shirley over at Gluten Free Easily had posted her Special Turkey Breast recipe around Thanksgiving. I can never have too much turkey, and turkey breast is easily a staple in our house. It’s generally a big piece of protein that can be cooked once and eaten for days. (Very important as I referenced in the planning ahead for eating success post.)

Since we had a big crowd at Thanksgiving and not enough leftovers, I made Shirley’s recipe the weekend after Thanksgiving. And boy was it yummy!

Turkey breast has a very mild flavor, and using the vinegar gave it a great “pop” of flavor. I had never used vinegar in the crock pot before, for reasons of which I haven’t a clue. I use vinegars all the time for pretty much everything. It was such a great method, that I used it again this week-with a riff. So thanks to Shirley for the original idea!

Before getting to the good stuff-just think about the possibilities! You can use this method/idea with chicken, turkey, pork, really anything you would stick in the crock pot. You can mix it up with any seasonings/vinegars that sound good. The possibilities are endless! (OK-maybe not endless. But pretty close.)

Balsamic Pepper Turkey Breast

  1. Take a big honking turkey breast. Stick said turkey breast into crock pot.
  2. Throw in some peeled cracked garlic cloves
  3. Mix in a measuring cup about a cup of balsamic vinegar, about 1/4 cup of olive oil, about 2 tsp of mustard powder, about 1 TBSP of lemon pepper seasoning, and some sea salt. (Yes, I am this precise-I’m not gonna lie.) Pour over the turkey about as evenly as you can.
  4. Cook on high about 4 hrs or low about 8.
  5. Try not to burn yourself getting it out, and don’t let the dog tackle you as you carry the crock over to the sink to wash it. (OK-that may not apply to you.)
  6. Enjoy!!!

Please let me know how it goes! Check out more gluten free recipes here.

Are you a method cook, a recipe cook, or a “I’m too scared to try” cook? Would more method ideas like this be helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot me a message on the contact page!

4 comments on “Not Really a Recipe: Balsamic Turkey Breast

  1. Hey Erin–Thanks for the big shout out and I love the way you adapted the recipe! Oh, wait, I should say non-recipe. 😉 You are so right … a little of this, a little of that and the next thing you know you have a great dish. I think many of us are used to doing improvisation with soups, but not as much with other main dishes. Vinegar can be an amazing tool in the kitchen. 🙂

    Oh, one note … I think you need to switch “low” and “high” for cooking times (or you might have some unhappy cooks.) 😉

    So glad you enjoyed your version! It sounds wonderful!


    • Thanks Shirley! It was really good, and I look forward to more non-recipes along these lines!
      And thanks for the heads up on the cooking temps-fixed! Goodness! 😉
      I think more non-recipes for main dishes will be in the works….

  2. Never heard of a non-recipe before… but I like the idea 🙂 I would say “I’m too scared to try” type of cook! Really! Never did I try my hands on the kitchen. But since this is a non-recipe, really like to try it one of these days.

    • Tom,
      DO IT!! 🙂

      Non-recipes are the best, and to me to least scary type of recipe to try. Really, you can’t mess it up.
      Don’t be scared. You have nothing to fear-except undercooked poultry 😉
      Let us know how it goes!

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