A Turkey for Two

Thanks to all those who tuned in on Thursday for our Thanksgiving stream!  This marks the third year in a row that we’ve spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii and away from our families, so it was great to spend some time connecting with folks on the holiday.  Plus, we gained 8 new followers and played a few rounds of Splatoon with some of them, so it was a pretty successful day!

While there is something I really miss about the family traditions of Thanksgiving, it’s been nice to just enjoy a low-key day in the kitchen making tasty receipts.   Each year we’ve gotten a little better about managing the day; the first year we went all out and we’ve slowly whittled down from there.  With all the pride and pageantry of the day it can be hard to scale down a meal, but here is what we’ve learned about making a turkey day dinner for two.

1) Go big or go home. Just remember you’re only cooking for two.

The great thing about a big Thanksgiving is that with twelve sides, 4 different styles of bread and dessert for days you can try a little bit of everything in moderation.  With two people, it doesn’t make as much sense.  Be realistic about how much you need…  Instead of making every side that is reminiscent of your childhood meals (mmmmmm Thanksgiving mac & cheese), just pick two or three and do them all out.  You’re an adult, add some classy ingredients and jazz up those green beans!

2) Take your bird to the next level.

As much as you may want it, let’s face it, you don’t need a whole turkey for a small group.  Are you really going to eat ALL of those leftovers?  Maybe you are, #dontjudge, but most likely they will sit in your fridge until you’re making room for Christmas Pudding.  But the meat is still the star of the show, so don’t be afraid to try something new.  We’ve done Cornish Game Hens and Stuffed Turkey Breast; this year was Roasted Turkey Legs.  Or for those of you who were secretly never turkey fans, this is your year!  Try something different like ham, brisket, pork loin or whatever sounds tasty!

3) Make a list and plan ahead.

Just because you are only shopping for two doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  This year took FOUR shopping trips.  And you can plan ahead all you want to, but that still doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have to run out at 9:00 PM on Wednesday night to buy salt.  Plan ahead and be efficient.

4) Don’t forget breakfast and snacks.

When I’m home for the holidays, food just appears… I don’t really have to think about it.  When you’re cooking for yourself, you realize how much of a marathon Thanksgiving is.  While one glorious meal will keep you satisfied for a while, you don’t want to be starved and cranky by the time it’s ready.  Think ahead and build in time to make a good (healthy) breakfast and have some light snacks ready so your taste-testing of the dishes doesn’t go too far.

5) Everything’s better with a drink.

There’s a big difference between the Thanksgiving of your childhood and adult Thanksgiving.  If it’s just you and a couple other trusted folks, no one is going to judge you for popping open a beer before noon.  And hey, let’s be honest, Bloody Mary’s were pretty much meant for Thanksgiving.

I guess this article won’t really be relevant for another 363 days, but best to put it out there while it’s fresh on my mind!  As a guide, here’s what we did this year for our dinner:

Roasted Turkey Legs by Vodka and Biscuits

Dijon Maple Green Beans with Feta, Bacon and Pecans by Carlsbad Cravings

Slow-Cooker Mashed Potatoes by Creme de la Crumb

Mushroom Gravy by It’s Not Easy Eating Green

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Cobbler by The Gunny Sack

Bloody Mary’s, sweet rolls and a nice bottle of wine to cap it off!

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