5 Tips For Making Thanksgiving Dinner For Two So You Can Avoid Eating Turkey For A Month

Traditionally, we think of Thanksgiving as a giant feast fit to feed a houseful of relatives. A 20-pound turkey roasting in the oven, casserole dishes full of sides and more pies than you know what to do with. But how can you cut down on the meal when you're just cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two? Maybe you're keeping it low-key with your SO, maybe it's just you and your kid celebrating this year, or maybe you and a friend don't feel like traveling and are doing turkey day as just you guys. Either way, you don't need to make an entire feast for just the two of you.

Arguably the best part of Thanksgiving meal is the variety, so the trick to serving two is portion control, not cutting back on types of fare. Sure, you'll have to forgo some elements of a meal for 30, because there's no way you'll need, want or be able to enjoy 16 different dishes unless you have one bite of each. 

With a lot of recipes, it'll be easy to just cut everything down to a serving size of two. But for other elements (ahem, the turkey), just simply halving things won't quite work. Instead, get a little creative. Oh — and expect tons of left overs. (Score!) 

Instead Of An Appetizer Spread...

...have a cup of soup.

At a restaurant, you wouldn't usually order a smorgasbord of apps before your meal. So, since there won't be a houseful of guests to snack on shrimp cocktail and crudite, keep your first course to one dish, or bowl rather. A festive, seasonal choice, like A Cozy Kitchen's butternut squash apple soup is a great option. 

Instead Of A Whole Turkey...

...have turkey breast.

Much more manageable portions, and much easier to cook. Stuff them or roast them as is; no matter how you prepare them you'll get the most important Thanksgiving flavor without having to cook a whole bird.

Instead Of Sweet Potato Casserole...

...have mashed sweet potatoes.

Make The Comfort Of Cooking's brown sugar and herb mashed sweet potatoes with just two small sweet potatoes, and you'll be all set on portions. It's just as sweet as the traditional casserole, but serves less with less effort. 

Instead Of Green Been Casserole...

...have a green bean salad.

It's a lighter dish and you can make exactly two salad-platefuls. Use a recipe like The Healthy Foodie's green bean, goat cheese and green olive salad for a seasonal fall feeling. 

Instead Of A Full Pumpkin Pie...

...have individual tarts.

You don't even have to do any baking on this one. Go to your favorite local bakery and get two individual sized desserts. Pecan tarts, cupcakes, cookies — whatever you and your plus one desire. And you can always buy ice cream to go with them, because ice cream.

Images: Stacy SpensleyKevin Tao, jefferyw/Flickr; A Cozy Kitchen; The Comfort Of Cooking; The Healthy Foodie