I’ve had a lot of unconventional Thanksgivings — ones spent at fancy restaurants and un-fancy ones. Ones without turkey and ones with. And there was even a Thanksgiving with frozen meals. (That one was particularly bad.)
But over the years, I discovered that tiny sizing Thanksgiving for one or two people is a fun way to enjoy the meal without the stress or the sadness that comes with … well, frozen meals.
And here’s what you need to know: It’s not that hard. Tiny sizing starts with making the right food choices and continues with an abbreviated menu. You can do it.
Here’s how to have a great Thanksgiving feast for one or two people.
Go small with the turkey
Forget the big, whole bird. When there’s only one or two of you, that’s just too much. Instead, opt for something right-sized. If you want leftovers, try making a chicken, a very small turkey, game hens, a boneless turkey breast, or turkey tenderloins. Those last two will run about 3 to 4 pounds (all meat), and will leave you plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, soups and turkey pot pie.
Want to go even smaller? With turkey cutlets, you can make just enough for a few people with minimal leftovers (or none, if you prefer).
Just be sure to season the turkey well. You can even marinate it, if you’re using a tenderloin or cutlets, for added flavor.
Prioritize your sides
The side dishes are really what make the Thanksgiving meal, aren’t they? But when you’re only cooking for one or two, making a dozen side dishes is too much. Instead, choose your top favorites — perhaps three of them — and make those.
Not a stuffing fan? Skip it. Prefer sweet potatoes to mashed? Then make the sweet potatoes (hint: sweet potatoes can be made in single serving portions!). And, if you really love roasted veggies, go wild on a baking sheet cooking up to four different ones at once (organize them in quadrants so they can each roast separately).
To gravy or not to gravy?
Now, about the gravy …. Do you love it? Is it an essential part of our Thanksgiving meal? Then make it.
Gravy is something that’s easy to make more or less of using turkey stock, herbs and spices (hint: I like to thicken my gravy with a roux, which is a mixture of butter and flour that is melted and whisked together first before adding the stock. Use one tablespoon of each for each cup of stock). For additional flavor, add some white wine to the roux before the stock as well.
Saving the best for last: Dessert
Regardless of how many people are eating with you, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without dessert. But no need to go crazy baking. Instead, head to a local farm, farmers’ market or bakery and pick up something special — pie or cake or cookies — made with pumpkin, apple, chocolate, or whatever your heart desires. We won’t judge.