Thanksgiving for two?
November 16, 2009 10:29 AM   Subscribe

My significant other will be abroad for Thanksgiving & our anniversary. What recipes can I make to celebrate belated Thanksgiviversary for two?

Thanksgiving and our anniversary are on the same day and he'll be overseas during that time. I'd like to make a moderately sized dinner for him (think up to four courses?) but don't know how to go about it. I've never made Thanksgiving dinner before. Also since this will be after Thanksgiving proper, what sort of ingredients should I buy now that might not be as available in the week or two after Thanksgiving?

I grew up in a family of just three. My parents (immigrants) always felt a turkey was too big for us so we just made chicken. Should I just make and freeze a bigass turkey? I'd prefer the venture not to take all day as we both have finals around the corner. Are there teeny turkeys I can buy? What else should I make for it besides stuffing? Cranberry relish recipes not needed because I'm obsessed with that terrible/awesome can-shaped Ocean Spray jelly stuff. We're both not big dessert eaters either, so I'd prefer the recipes be geared toward the savory and of course, sized for two. And there's no such thing as traditional anniversary food, right?

posted by anthropomorphic to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could make a turkey casserole-- all your Thanksgiving basics mashed up together!
posted by oinopaponton at 10:34 AM on November 16, 2009

Take a page from Rachel Ray, perhaps? I'd focus on a turkey breast, rather than a whole turkey and spend time fixing your favorite sides. I spend most time on turkey prep and desserts; knocking those out really cuts down the kitchen work.

As far as shopping, fresh cranberries and fresh turkeys are the only thing I've been left without when shopping late.
posted by wg at 10:41 AM on November 16, 2009

I second buying a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, and recommend cooking it in a slow cooker, if you have one. It requires next to no effort and then you can concentrate on your side dishes. I did a medium-sized breast for two people last week, and it made enough for one meal + two batches of leftovers, which I shredded and froze with the intention of using for soup later.
posted by something something at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2009

If turkey isn't a major deal, try cornish hens. They're as close to 'teeny turkeys' as you're likely to get. And they taste like chicken! Naturally.
posted by caveat at 10:52 AM on November 16, 2009

If you want something fancier than a chicken yet smaller than a turkey, consider a duck. As far as side dishes go, just pick your favorite vegetable and his favorite vegetable to go with the meal, and make a soup or salad for a lead-in, and you're done.
posted by aimedwander at 10:53 AM on November 16, 2009

If you want a whole turkey rather than just the breast, you can get small turkeys. Butterball markets a Li'l Butterball in the range of 6-10 pounds. We did an 8-pounder last year for a family of 3 and didn't have an unreasonable amount left over - just enough for sandwiches through the weekend.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:53 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would suggest buying a turkey breast and cooking it in an electric rotisserie, if you have one (or have access to one through one of your friends/family). This comes out insanely tasty - all you need to do is rub some kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and paprika on the skin and then pop it into the rotisserie. In a couple of hours you have some tasty, tasty bird, and enough down time to prepare the other dishes.

I might recommend going an easy route since you are going to be doing all the cooking and it's only for 2 people: things like doing mashed sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole. Green bean casserole is insanely easy to make, as are crescent rolls. And you can make stuffing out of a package and it tastes delicious.

If you plan this out ahead of time you'll have no problem getting it all together.
posted by sickinthehead at 11:59 AM on November 16, 2009

i really would rather do turkey of some kind. daily alice, thanks for the lil' butterball suggestion, that sounds perfect. we could both use leftovers for school lunches later. that's at least a third of the fun of thanksgiving anyway, i reckon.

any ideas for sides?
posted by anthropomorphic at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2009

I also like the turkey breast idea. Whatever you end up with, if you buy it frozen in advance, be sure to allow time for defrosting — if you just move it to the fridge (easiest), it will need a full day in the fridge for every 5 lbs.
posted by Diggins at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2009

i really like to cook, i just haven't made a thanksgiving dinner before. so moderately complicated/from scratch recipes are just fine, it's just the idea of a behemoth turkey seemed daunting, especially with no experienced friends or family around.
posted by anthropomorphic at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2009

I'm in your situation - Thanksgiving for two!

Last year, I went with turkey tenderloin, rubbed with salt, pepper, and thyme, then seared and baked - it came out great!

A small grocery/farmer's market store near us has small turkeys, so this year I plan to get one that is about 4-6 lbs (since it's recommended to have 1-2 lbs/person), do the same type of rub, and cook it in a slow cooker (I have a 7qt).

I have a family recipe for stuffing that I love, so will be making a full-size (or double) recipe of that. What doesn't fit in the turkey will get baked by itself. I've put the recipe below.

Traditionally, my family's Thanksgiving dinner includes roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans (or asparagus - some green crunchy veggie), cranberry-from-a-can, dinner rolls, and several pies (always includes pumpkin!). My husband's family also includes honey-baked ham. I'll be doing a limited subset of the above this year, except experimenting with some form of orange cream or meringue pie instead of pumpkin.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing
* 1 cup celery, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup margarine
* 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 8 cups bread cubes, dry
* 1 cup chicken broth

In a small saucepan cook celery and onion in margarine till tender but not brown; remove from heat. Stir in sage, pepper and salt.
Place dry bread cubes in a bowl. Add onion mixture. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, tossing lightly. Use to stuff one 8- to 10- pound turkey. Bake any extra in a baking dish at 325 F.

Note: to get dry bread cubes, cut bread cubes from a loaf of bread and place them on a pan in the oven to dry.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2009

If you prefer dark turkey meat . . . I definitely do . . . then you might want to consider turkey leg cooked in a slow cooker. There are a LOT of recipes on the net. And the traditional Thanksgiving fixins' the two of you like in smaller servings.
posted by bearwife at 2:09 PM on November 16, 2009

As for great traditional Thanksgiving sides, there are zillions. Green beans, cranberry sauce/chutney/relish, home made mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, yams/sweet potatoes, stuffing, etc. all come to mind. You might want to take a look at the site.
posted by bearwife at 2:11 PM on November 16, 2009

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