Ideas for cooking (and preserving) a lesser Thanksgiving feast amid COVID-19 pandemic social distancing recommendations

If you happen to be preparing a more compact Thanksgiving collecting this calendar year mainly because of social distancing, you you should not have to give up the turkey, stuffing, pie and other common fare.

Thanksgiving feasts have ordinarily been tailor-made for a crowd: massive birds, huge casseroles, and so on. Your beloved recipes could possibly serve 10 or a lot more. But from turkey breasts to muffin-tin pies, there are strategies to adapt the classics for a smaller crew, with fewer expense and probable for squander.

“Unusually, in the earlier, this time of yr seemed challenging due to the fact we were striving to feed so many,” says Rebecca Miller Ffrench, a food stuff writer 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 well establish equally challenging, emotionally if not physically.”

Lots of family members previously branch out to include major dishes other than turkey for Thanksgiving, and this could be a very good year to have enjoyment with options. But if tradition beckons, as it does for most, in this article are some suggestions.

Let us start with:


Most birds marketed for Thanksgiving dinners in U.S. supermarkets have historically been in the 16-pound vary, with some much greater. That sizing turkey will provide 12 to 16 people today. As a rule, when obtaining turkey, intention for about 1 pound per human being when obtaining a full hen when cooking a smaller hen, in particular if you want leftovers, purpose for about 1 lbs for each human being.

So a 10-pound turkey may by Alright for a group of 8, feeding your gang generously. But if your team is substantially smaller, assume about obtaining just a turkey breast, say, and a few of drumsticks.

Far more: How to prepare dinner a turkey: Recipes, roast situations for Thanksgiving from Butterball


Initially, you may provide less of them. Miller Ffrench states a person of her beloved factors about Thanksgiving has been “all the massive wide variety of dishes, which just would seem ridiculously decadent” now.

As an alternative of a table overflowing with foods this yr, she will highlight just about every loved ones member’s beloved dish. And that is all.

“Just just one form of cranberry, not two. Just squash, and not sweet potatoes as perfectly. I hope we will consider the time to relish each individual bite a lot more, really concentration on the unique flavors of each individual foodstuff, not the collective mounded plate,” she claims.

“These earlier months have taught me to genuinely savor matters more, figuratively and pretty much.”


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

If you have a recipe for stuffing that phone calls for a 9-by-13-inch pan and feeds 10-12, you can reduce it in 50 {7a25b0b16f7f5be26b5ab9c40e4ddfbc70051f6c4ee120d32b3a86d6498a4b9c} and bake it in a 9-inch-square pan. Reduce the cooking time by about 25 p.c: When it truly is browned and crispy on top and hot in the course of, it is completed. Exact same matter for sweet potato casserole or eco-friendly bean casserole.


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

What if you’d like extra than just one variety of pie, but several 9-inch pies come to feel excessive?

Broussard implies producing galettes, mini pies in a muffin pan, or even whoopie pies in your favored flavors. She also has tiny Le Creuset pots that she works by using all the time to make personal pies.

“You may use a biscuit cutter to make smaller crust circles,” she suggests. Or flip a coffee mug or a glass upside down, dip the lip in flour, and use it to lower out a circle of dough.

If you come to a decision to make a person of those scaled-down pies or muffin-tin pies, bear in mind to lower the cooking time. You may possibly require to just rely on your eyes and nose for how very long to bake them. Seem for a browned crust, a a little effervescent interior (if it really is a fruit pie), or a largely organization filling (if it is really a pumpkin custard pie, for occasion).

Broussard also believes in freezing pies.

“Pies commonly have a high humidity retention and they freeze very well,” she says. “Pies are commonly good in the fridge for 1 week and in the freezer for one particular to two months.”

Fruit pies freeze especially nicely, she suggests. Thaw a single on the countertop and then “pop it back again in the oven to warm it up and revive the crust.”


Finding innovative strategies to use Thanksgiving leftovers has always been an concern, this 12 months even additional so.

Leftover squash can turn into a pureed soup turkey a pot pie and a pozole soup. Mashed potatoes may possibly top rated a shepherd’s pie later in the 7 days. And absolutely everyone seems ahead to a working day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, maybe topped with further cranberry sauce and a drizzle of gravy.

SEE ALSO: How extended do leftovers last? Your manual to article-holiday getaway foods basic safety

Miller Ffrench suggests freezing gravy flat in freezer luggage and utilizing it together with a grilled chicken breast, or to increase a pot pie foundation.

An additional clever tip: “Slices of pumpkin pie are a tasty addition to any smoothie … crust and all.”

Over all, claims Miller Ffrench, remember that it’s not the dimensions of the feast or the crowd that issues most: “Large or compact, and most importantly, we will be counting our blessings.”

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