January 16, 2021


All Things Delicious

Tips for cooking (and conserving) a more compact Thanksgiving feast amid COVID-19 pandemic social distancing recommendations

4 min read
If you happen to be setting up a scaled-down Thanksgiving collecting this calendar year simply because of social distancing, you you should not have to give up the turkey, stuffing, pie and other traditional fare.

Thanksgiving feasts have ordinarily been tailor-made for a crowd: massive birds, large casseroles, and so on. Your beloved recipes might serve 10 or far more. But from turkey breasts to muffin-tin pies, there are approaches to adapt the classics for a lesser crew, with a lot less expenditure and potential for squander.

“Strangely, in the previous, this time of 12 months appeared difficult since we have been attempting to feed so many,” claims Rebecca Miller Ffrench, a food items author and founder of the Condition Desk, a culinary studio in Kingston, New York. This calendar year, “we are trying to feed less, and it may confirm similarly tough, emotionally if not bodily.”

Quite a few families now department out to incorporate main dishes other than turkey for Thanksgiving, and this could be a very good 12 months to have entertaining with possibilities. But if tradition beckons, as it does for most, below are some suggestions.

Let us get started with:


Most birds offered for Thanksgiving dinners in U.S. supermarkets have historically been in the 16-pound assortment, with some significantly larger sized. That dimension turkey will provide 12 to 16 folks. As a rule, when shopping for turkey, goal for about 1 pound per individual when obtaining a complete chicken when cooking a smaller chook, in particular if you want leftovers, aim for about 1 lbs . per human being.

So a 10-pound turkey might by Alright for a team of 8, feeding your gang generously. But if your team is a lot lesser, imagine about buying just a turkey breast, say, and a couple of drumsticks.

More: How to cook dinner a turkey: Recipes, roast periods for Thanksgiving from Butterball


To start with, you may provide less of them. Miller Ffrench claims one of her favored issues about Thanksgiving has been “all the significant variety of dishes, which just appears ridiculously decadent” now.

In its place of a table overflowing with food this calendar year, she will spotlight each individual relatives member’s favorite dish. And that is all.

“Just a person sort of cranberry, not two. Just squash, and not sweet potatoes as properly. I hope we will just take the time to relish each individual bite a lot more, actually aim on the particular person flavors of each and every food, not the collective mounded plate,” she states.

“These past months have taught me to really savor items more, figuratively and actually.”


Many recipes can be halved: roasted butternut squash, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts are all good examples.

If you have a recipe for stuffing that calls for a 9-by-13-inch pan and feeds 10-12, you can reduce it in fifty percent and bake it in a 9-inch-square pan. Reduce the cooking time by about 25 per cent: When it truly is browned and crispy on best and sizzling during, it can be finished. Similar point for sweet potato casserole or inexperienced bean casserole.


Chef Maya-Camille Broussard, operator of Justice of the Pies bakery in Chicago, has some strategies for that most essential category of Thanksgiving desserts: pies.

What if you would like far more than just one sort of pie, but several 9-inch pies truly feel excessive?

Broussard implies generating galettes, mini pies in a muffin pan, or even whoopie pies in your preferred flavors. She also has tiny Le Creuset pots that she makes use of all the time to make particular person pies.

“You may well use a biscuit cutter to make tiny crust circles,” she states. Or turn a coffee mug or a glass upside down, dip the lip in flour, and use it to cut out a circle of dough.

If you choose to make 1 of those scaled-down pies or muffin-tin pies, don’t forget to reduce the cooking time. You could need to just count on your eyes and nose for how prolonged to bake them. Look for a browned crust, a somewhat effervescent interior (if it can be a fruit pie), or a largely organization filling (if it is really a pumpkin custard pie, for instance).

Broussard also believes in freezing pies.

“Pies normally have a substantial humidity retention and they freeze extremely very well,” she says. “Pies are typically fantastic in the fridge for just one week and in the freezer for 1 to two months.”

Fruit pies freeze primarily very well, she implies. Thaw 1 on the countertop and then “pop it back in the oven to warm it up and revive the crust.”


Acquiring inventive means to use Thanksgiving leftovers has usually been an problem, this calendar year even much more so.

Leftover squash can grow to be a pureed soup turkey a pot pie and a pozole soup. Mashed potatoes might major a shepherd’s pie afterwards in the 7 days. And all people appears to be forward to a working day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, probably topped with added cranberry sauce and a drizzle of gravy.

SEE ALSO: How extensive do leftovers final? Your guidebook to article-holiday break foods safety

Miller Ffrench suggests freezing gravy flat in freezer bags and making use of it along with a grilled rooster breast, or to improve a pot pie base.

Another good suggestion: “Slices of pumpkin pie are a delightful addition to any smoothie … crust and all.”

Higher than all, claims Miller Ffrench, bear in mind that it is not the dimension of the feast or the group that issues most: “Huge or tiny, and most importantly, we will be counting our blessings.”

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