How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner for a Very Small Crowd
Vacation travel is a logistical nightmare for people living away from family. I know the struggle. Until this summer, I lived for ten years on the other side of the country from my hometown.
As with most long distance transplants, I have been to my huge Friends Days, but last year was my first “just for us” Thanksgiving. The fall was difficult for travel, so my partner and I decided to stay put and behave with restraint. It was an absolutely fantastic decision; we didn’t have to accommodate twelve people in our home or stay sober enough to travel around town attending other meetings. Best of all, we only did what we wanted to eat, including three whole pies that we invited friends to help us finish on Black Friday. It was such a success that we are doing it again this year. If you’re also far away from your family, or just aren’t ready for big things, here’s how to have a Little Thanksgiving.
Plan your menu
Planning a menu for a large number of people and with a large number of people can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience – I fondly remember how truly joint friends of 10-12 people to this day split friends in their first year of college – but the beauty of Maly Thanksgiving does just what you want. If you don’t like a traditional dish, be it turkey, green bean casserole, candied yams, etc., just don’t do it; you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. My only advice when planning a menu is to be supremely selfish.
Select vessels of suitable size
Once you know what dishes you are preparing, you should figure out how you want to serve them. Thanksgiving dinner is all about variety, but if you use standard 9 “by 13” pans and full-size pie plates for all your casseroles and tarts, you’ll be completely overwhelmed with leftovers – and not in the best sense of the word.
Sure, you can buy disposable cans at the grocery store, but there are cuter options as well. For casseroles, use cast iron pans (9 “or 12” are good sizes) and small Corningware-style cookware; If you don’t have any of the latter, Amazon will help you , but you can find super-cute ones in commission and vintage stores. For small cakes, you have three options: galetki arbitrary shape , forms for cakes or brutal cute mini-dish pie. I’m freaking extravagant, so obviously I bought four six-inch glass pie plates from Amazon , which are now three dollars more than they were on Monday 6th. These Calphalon shapes are pretty darn cute and much more affordable, but I avoid non-stick cookware whenever possible, especially if it’s a dish that needs slicing.
Scale your recipes
Leftovers are the only thing good about Black Friday (or, as I like to call it, “Minced Meat Day”), but if you make a full spread for two, you’re going to have bad times. Most Thanksgiving recipes are written for at least eight people, and improperly scaling a recipe can lead to disaster. Here’s how not to screw it up.
For side dishes and desserts, read the entire recipe, counting ingredients as needed. Divide the estimated result by the reported return (ie, “Eight Hired”). Does the serving size per person make more or less sense? If so, you can split the recipe in half or four as written. But if your filling recipe gives you one quart and claims to feed eight people, you can make some adjustments – no one on earth would like a half cup of filling. You know the preferences of yourself and your guests better than anyone, so listen to your intuition.
When it comes time to really scale the recipe, the easiest thing to do is work with weights – preferably grams. However, if you’re using a cup and spoon recipe, don’t despair. Recipe conversion apps are useful and plentiful; Apple and Android users can choose from several highly rated free options. If you use incomprehensible ingredients or just love to do it yourself, you can even make your own: just weigh samples of any ingredients you can’t add to your taste and write your findings. Once you know how much a loaf of bread or a quart of broth weighs, scaling up is easy. You can also safely scale up volume measurements, as long as it’s a gentle recipe – I wouldn’t recommend halving, say, a cup and spoon recipe for yeast buns, but the casserole will probably work well.
Thanksgiving butter is only difficult to reduce if you insist on serving the turkey, because a whole one is too much food for two to four people. If you’re into ritual birding, you still have options: call your store or meat counter and reserve the smallest bird they have, or better yet, see if they sell you individual turkey breasts and / or legs … Whole pre-smoked turkeys are great for small Thanksgiving because they are cured and smoked, so keep any leftovers you have in large quantities in the refrigerator for a long time.
If you tend to resist tradition, Little Thanksgiving practically requires an alternative primary method . I can personally and strongly recommend using boneless pork shoulder roast for modified bosam ; just tie it into a pretty cylinder before you put it in the fridge. You might also consider a meal – like rack of lamb or Wellington beef – that could bankrupt you on a larger scale. Roast Cornish game chicken or chop and brown whole chicken; cook pork stew in a slow cooker, a large tray of pasta and cheese, or three different types of mashed potatoes. Little Thanksgiving is all about you, and the only rules are the ones you set.