How to Cook a Thanksgiving Dinner for Two
You can still have a full holiday meal on a smaller scale.
Thanksgiving is all about abundance, including plenty of food and lots of family. But that doesn't mean you can't have just as worthy of a feast when your guest list numbers only two or four. Whether you live far from family or just want a break from large gatherings for a year, there are plenty of ways to host an intimate meal without scaling back on celebrating.
Christina Lane, author of Desserts for Two, has plenty of experience in this area, having spent many years celebrating Thanksgiving alone with her husband, thanks to jobs that moved them both far from their families. What's important about the holidays, she says, is gathering together to share a meal with the people we love, no matter how many seats are at the table. Celebrating with just a few people can be intimate and wonderful, as well as a fun break from tradition.
You can get creative with a Thanksgiving menu for two since you're not feeding a crowd. For traditionalists who want a taste of all the usual Turkey Day flavors, Lane suggests grilled turkey breasts. "They cook much quicker than a whole turkey, and it frees up oven space for side dishes, too," she says. The recipe for Grilled Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage Leaves serves eight, but you can scale down the recipe to make four servings or even just two easily.
Lane recommends choosing three or four of your favorite sides, things you don't eat year-round like dressing or sweet potato casserole. Salad can be a nice break from all the carbs while still incorporating fall flavors.
Of course, you're not tied to turkey for your entrée, so if you want to give your taste buds a break, that's totally fine. "You can make whatever you like," says Lane. "One year, we had chicken and dumplings."
Most recipes are easily adjust to make fewer servings, but you can still make enough to have leftovers, since that's one of the best things about Thanksgiving. "In my house, we subscribe to the idea of pie as breakfast," Lane says, "So I typically make a full-size pie for just the two of us." If you're watching your sweet tooth, however, using ramekins to make a small batch of Pumpkin Parfaits is a great alternative for the dessert course.