Like so much of 2020, the holiday season is looking quite different this year. We typically spend Thanksgiving with our family (alternating years between my relatives and my husband’s relatives), but due to quarantine restrictions this year we’ll be spending the day together just the two of us. While an intimate holiday meal for two is very romantic (don’t get me wrong, we’re totally looking forward it!) it’s going to feel a little melancholy as we miss being with our loved ones during this time of year. Of course, we’ll schedule FaceTime calls with everyone over the course of the day, but it just won’t be the same as being together in person.
However, one fun part about this year’s situation is that I get to create my own holiday menu and I won’t have to cook enough food to feed an army since it’s just the two of us! We pared the menu way back to only include our absolute favorites so we’re super excited about this year’s meal. This is absolutely not to say that we haven’t loved every other way we’ve previously celebrated Thanksgiving, I’m just trying to find the silver lining in this year’s COVID-19 quarantine version.
In case you’re looking for a little Micro Thanksgiving menu inspiration of your own, here’s a peek at our menu (with recipe links to follow).
Lunch / Snacks
We will probably have an autumn salad for Thanksgiving lunch and I will have little nibbles for us throughout the day just to get by until dinner (like a smaller version of this cheese board), but nothing that will fill us up too much for The Main Event! 😉
Dinner & Dessert
This is probably one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. I especially love this dish because we’re a white-meat family (controversial, I know!) so it makes the meal easy and there’s no waste… plus, it majorly cuts down on cook time. Wins all around!
One setback from the Turkey Breast recipe is that it doesn’t really yield any pan drippings so if you want gravy, it has to be created on it’s own. However, this is actually kind of nice because you’re not relying on pan drippings so this can be made ahead of time — one less thing to do day-of!
I used to be ob-sessed with my mom’s creamy mashed potatoes when I was growing up; they were the star of the Thanksgiving meal!! I discovered this potato gratin recipe a few years ago and fell absolutely in love. It’s become a menu staple for our family holiday meals ever since!
My husband loves carrots, and this recipe really makes them special. The alcohol cooks off, so don’t worry about serving this dish to anyone who is avoiding alcohol or to anyone under 21… the bourbon just imparts a depth of flavor which helps to balance the sweetness of the maple syrup.
This may seem like a curious choice for a holiday meal, but we really love Brussels sprouts!! It’s certainly become one of my favorite vegetables in recent years… especially with a little bit of roasted char on them — yummm! Another perk of the portion size being so manageable this year is that I was able to use my toaster oven to roast these while the turkey was in the larger oven and I could make the gravy and carrots on the stovetop.
As far as bread goes we will likely just buy a French baguette from the store and toast it up in the oven with some garlic butter right before we sit down to eat (just to cut down on cooking / baking times), but if I were feeling ambitious to make my own bread I’d give this recipe a try.
I know that a full-sized cheesecake isn’t exactly waistline or dinner-for-two friendly, but pumpkin cheesecake is just so delicious I couldn’t bring myself to modify it into a smaller version. We will just have to spread our portions out over the course of the week or so! (Plus, that’s what the Peloton is for! 🤪) To make life easier on yourself, this dessert can also be made ahead.
I also plan to minimize the amount of leftovers by “halfing” a few recipes (again, it’s just the two of us), but I know we’ll both get bored with the same dishes too many meals in a row so I’ll repurpose some of the turkey and use the leftover cheese from the gratin dish to make turkey sliders… just to mix it up a bit!
What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? I hope that however you spend it, you gobble ’til you wobble!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!