When it comes to a traditional Thanksgiving, many of us are prepared to pull out all the stops and feed a small army of friends and relatives. However, with families across the country practicing social distancing and downsizing their guest lists, Thanksgiving dinner will be a much smaller and more intimate affair for most of us this season. This doesn’t mean the holiday has to be any less warm, festive, special, elegant or delicious, it just means we need to make a little less food! How do you prepare a lavish feast for few with portions that won’t leave you with leftovers until the new year? Our favorite recipes stick to a small size without sacrificing any delightful details. Try these handpicked treats for a happy holiday meal plan sure to impress your tiny crowd and leave them sleepy and full.
Start The Party
Fresh and fabulous, these light and airy appetizers are a perfect teaser for your celebration feast. Fruits and veggies get a fancy makeover for crowd-pleasing canapes. These tasty dishes are small plate friendly and give your guests something to nibble while you put the final touches on your culinary masterpiece.Read More »
Tangy and refreshing, the vibrant flavors of Greek yogurt and complex turmeric elevate this dish above you standard chips and dip. Warm and spicy turmeric adds a stunning golden color to this dip that contrasts beautifully with the deep red homemade beet chips. The secret to these deliciously dark chips is a mandolin slicer and your humble microwave, making this an oven-free appetizer.
Follow the recipe or follow your heart and select sweet and seasonal winter fruits like oranges, pineapples, pears and apples for this simply refreshing appetizer platter. Paired with a zesty homemade dip of freshly chopped mint, tangy lime and summery honey, this uplifting starter dish is a light delight.
Tiny and delectable, these little bite-sized puffs wrap the beloved flavor of spinach and artichoke dish into a cute little croissant package. Made mostly from pre-packaged ingredients, this recipe is easy as pie to halve, but with the way these bites disappear, you might not want to.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Comforting and traditional, turkey is the undisputed star of Thanksgiving. However, this enormous poultry powerhouse frequently feeds extended families with days of turkey and stuffing sandwiches in the aftermath. If a roast turkey is the only thing that will do for you, consider asking your butcher to halve your traditional twenty-pounder, roasting half and freezing half for later for a classic roasted bird and some amazing turkey soup in your future. Alternatively, purchase your favorite parts of the turkey and prepare an entree for lovers of white meat, dark meat, or a little bit of both! Here are our favorite choice cuts.
Dark meat lovers will swoon for this upscale turkey leg in its own richly braised gravy. Vegetables, herbs, wine and flavorful turkey legs simmer for hours for a stunning stock on this satisfying dish. Anyone who knows the drumstick is the best part will give thanks for this dish.
Wow the crows with these tiny tenderloins of turkey wrapped in salty pancetta and dressed up with crispy sage and tart dried cherries. Cut from the breast, tenderloin is a perfect choice for white meat fans, and the wrapping technique ensures a moist and flavorful dish.
Introduce a unique twist to your Thanksgiving and spare your oven with this Greek inspired slow cooker entree. Classic Mediterranean flavors of sun dried tomato and tart olives get an uplifting kick from a quick homemade tzatziki sauce. For a turkey that is anything but traditional, try this delicious dish with couscous or rice pilaf.
Pardon That Turkey!
Another entree option for your scaled down celebration is to recast that turkey altogether in favor of a more unique holiday star. Whether you’re here for meatless feast ideas or determined that this is the year you finally find out what spatchcocking is, check out these turkey alternatives for a fresh and festive take on your cozy little gathering.
For a veggie-friendly Thanksgiving, this stuffed squash dish studded with cranberries and pecans is a balanced and tasty delight. Quinoa and creamy cannellini beans are brightened with fresh parsley, shives, orange peel and sage in this lovely autumnal vegan centerpiece.
Made with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, this clever recipe makes this classic and complex French dish easy and accessible without sacrificing any of the rich flavors. Although they might not seem glamorous, chicken thighs are the perfect powerhouse ingredient for this surprisingly decadent entree. This dish braises red wine, mushrooms, and tasty chicken thighs into a sophisticated supper fit for a feast.
Perfect roast chicken at home is easier than you think, but it relies on one very special technique you may have never tried. Spatchcocking or butterflying a chicken means removing the spine and flattening your bird so the whole thing roasts evenly and stays moist. Follow these detailed instructions for this trendy technique that gives you perfectly sized poultry portions that are deliciously tender.
Taters and Things
Whether your Thanksgiving tradition calls for perfectly salted mashed potatoes or decadently glazed sweet potatoes, these delicious dishes add extra comfort to the ultimate celebration of comfort food. If you want to think outside the potato and go with a more unique twist, we included a baked squash option with the warm holiday flavors of a sweet spiced glaze.
No mini marshmallows here! Sweet, salty and satisfying, these hasselback sweet potatoes present beautifully for a gorgeous twist on a boring baked potato. Perfectly dressed with fresh thyme, savory bacon and real maple syrup, this balanced recipe is not too sweet and goes great with a variety of flavor profiles.
The secret to these stunningly creamy potatoes with the perfect garlicky bite lies in cooking your garlic cloves with the potatoes and mashing everything together for beautifully blended flavor and texture. Best of all, this recipe saves you work by leaving the thin skin on boiling potatoes and requires absolutely zero garlic chopping. Gravy’s best friend, this recipe is pure mashed potato heaven.
Choose tiny but ripe acorn squash for a perfectly portioned individual side in its own cup. Glazed with butter, brown sugar and a generous dusting of warm winter spices, this simple roast squash is an easy recipe to shrink or expand for your table size. Any small and hard shelled winter squash works perfectly for this recipe, and you can even serve a selection for festive flair.
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