Guidelines for cooking (and saving) a smaller sized Thanksgiving feast amid COVID-19 pandemic social distancing pointers

If you happen to be planning a smaller Thanksgiving accumulating this calendar year mainly because of social distancing, you really don’t have to give up the turkey, stuffing, pie and other standard fare.

Thanksgiving feasts have ordinarily been tailor-made for a crowd: huge birds, massive casseroles, and so on. Your favourite recipes might serve 10 or extra. But from turkey breasts to muffin-tin pies, there are means to adapt the classics for a more compact crew, with less cost and possible for squander.

“Unusually, in the past, this time of calendar year seemed challenging since we ended up attempting to feed so many,” claims Rebecca Miller Ffrench, a food items writer and founder of the Condition Table, a culinary studio in Kingston, New York. This 12 months, “we are making an attempt to feed fewer, and it may well establish equally hard, emotionally if not physically.”

Numerous families by now branch out to consist of major dishes other than turkey for Thanksgiving, and this could be a very good yr to have enjoyable with options. But if custom beckons, as it does for most, below are some suggestions.

Let us begin with:


Most birds marketed for Thanksgiving dinners in U.S. supermarkets have ordinarily been in the 16-pound assortment, with some significantly much larger. That measurement turkey will provide 12 to 16 men and women. As a rule, when acquiring turkey, purpose for about 1 pound for every particular person when purchasing a total fowl when cooking a smaller chook, specifically if you want leftovers, intention for about 1 kilos per human being.

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

Much more: How to cook a turkey: Recipes, roast occasions for Thanksgiving from Butterball


Very first, you may serve much less of them. Miller Ffrench claims one of her favored matters about Thanksgiving has been “all the large range of dishes, which just appears to be ridiculously decadent” now.

As a substitute of a table overflowing with meals this year, she will spotlight each and every household member’s most loved dish. And that’s all.

“Just a single sort of cranberry, not two. Just squash, and not sweet potatoes as well. I hope we will just take the time to relish just about every chunk a lot more, actually aim on the particular person flavors of just about every foodstuff, not the collective mounded plate,” she says.

“These earlier months have taught me to certainly savor things a lot more, figuratively and basically.”


Several 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 % and bake it in a 9-inch-square pan. Cut down the cooking time by about 25 %: When it truly is browned and crispy on major and sizzling throughout, it is finished. Exact matter for sweet potato casserole or inexperienced bean casserole.


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

What if you’d like additional than 1 sort of pie, but a number of 9-inch pies experience too much?

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

“You may possibly use a biscuit cutter to make tiny crust circles,” she claims. Or convert a espresso mug or a glass upside down, dip the lip in flour, and use it to lower out a circle of dough.

If you decide to make just one of individuals smaller sized pies or muffin-tin pies, keep in mind to reduce the cooking time. You may will need to just rely on your eyes and nose for how extended to bake them. Glimpse for a browned crust, a a little bit effervescent interior (if it really is a fruit pie), or a primarily business filling (if it is a pumpkin custard pie, for instance).

Broussard also believes in freezing pies.

“Pies ordinarily have a higher humidity retention and they freeze extremely effectively,” she states. “Pies are normally excellent in the fridge for one particular 7 days and in the freezer for just one to two months.”

Fruit pies freeze in particular effectively, she indicates. Thaw one particular on the countertop and then “pop it back in the oven to heat it up and revive the crust.”


Finding artistic methods to use Thanksgiving leftovers has constantly been an problem, this calendar year even additional so.

Leftover squash can turn into a pureed soup turkey a pot pie and a pozole soup. Mashed potatoes could top a shepherd’s pie afterwards in the week. And absolutely everyone seems to be forward to a day-soon after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, maybe topped with extra cranberry sauce and a drizzle of gravy.

SEE ALSO: How long do leftovers very last? Your guide to article-getaway foods safety

Miller Ffrench suggests freezing gravy flat in freezer luggage and employing it along with a grilled rooster breast, or to greatly enhance a pot pie foundation.

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

Over all, suggests Miller Ffrench, remember that it can be not the sizing of the feast or the group that issues most: “Major or compact, and most importantly, we will be counting our blessings.”

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