How to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with fewer people

It’s no doubt Thanksgiving will look quite a bit different this year than usual. Whether you’re cooking a meal for just your immediate family, ordering in from a restaurant or making a full feast and preparing for leftovers, my guess is many traditionally large get togethers just aren’t happening this year. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice meal, that’s for sure!

Here are my best tips for planning for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner:

  1. Swap out a whole turkey for a turkey breast or whole chicken. Not only do turkey breasts and whole chickens serve fewer people, they cook faster and are much cheaper than a whole turkey. You can cook either in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, oven or on the stovetop (or even on the grill!) and they cook in a fraction of the time. (Plus, you likely won’t be fighting over them at the grocery store!)
  2. Cut back on the number of sides you make. While I know it’s difficult to choose between green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the other fixins usually found on your Thanksgiving table, pick two or three of your favorites. That way you don’t have an overabundance of food for just 2-4 people. It also cuts down on the prep and cook time, too.
  3. Swap out the pie for mini no-bake desserts. I am a huge pie fan and if you are too, and that’s something you look forward to each year, go for it! But if you want to cut down on prep, go for something like pumpkin pie parfaits that are really, really easy to make and give you all the flavors of real pumpkin pie. Yum!
  4. Cut recipes in half. Most recipes can easily be cut in half. For example, cut the green bean casserole ingredients in half and instead of using a 9×13 pan, use an 8×8. Same goes for sweet potato casserole. And you can easily cut down on how many potatoes you cook and mash.
  5. Plan for leftovers. There’s nothing wrong with leftovers, especially when they can be repurposed for another meal! Toss your turkey in a soup, make it into a high protein salad or enjoy a leftover second meal as-is. If you’d prefer to freeze some leftovers to enjoy at a later date, go for it!
  6. Instead of cooking, order out! Many restaurants are struggling right now, so if you’re looking to skip cooking this year, order a meal from your favorite restaurant (or even your local supermarket). In this case, you can order the exact amount of food that you need.
  7. Donate leftovers to those in need. Depending on where you live, you can potentially donate food to people who need it! Tis the season for giving.

However you decide to celebrate this year, I hope it’s delicious!