When we think of Thanksgiving, we tend to conjure up images of large gatherings and tables piled high with food and drinks. That’s not the case for some people, but just because you’re not going to be celebrating with a large group doesn’t have to mean you have to have ho-hum food. Make things easy on yourself this Thanksgiving with the following recipes and tips for a delicious, intimate meal. Even if you’re feeling totally lazy and want to express your gratitude in sweatpants, you will be able to whip up these super simple meals. Promise.
Quick: what’s the best part of the turkey? If you didn’t say dark meat, you’re wrong. Turkeys are delicious, but making one is hard work, and even the smallest one may be too much to have hanging out in your fridge. I’m going to suggest something a bit sacrilegious here: how about chicken for your tiny Thanksgiving? Chicken thighs are an inexpensive cut of meat that take well to being roasted. Arguably, the single good thing spawned by the Fifty Shades of Grey craze Fifty Shades is the Fifty Shades of Chicken cookbook, which includes this fantastic chicken recipe featured in People magazine, Dripping Thighs. This recipe always results in juicy, tasty chicken. Just ignore the hokey gimmick and give it a try. The aromatics will make your house smell warm and inviting, just like the holidays. This is plenty of work, so go with easy-peasy sides. Treat yourself to some fancy; I am a bit obsessed with Trader Joe’s selection of Thanksgiving goodies right now. This recipe pairs really well with Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing, which elevates the typical boxed stuffing with substantial toasted croutons and a flavorful spice blend. Serve with some sautéed green beans, and you have a delicious, simple meal for two (with leftovers…maybe).
Another quick and tasty alternative to turkey is the humble pork chop. Center-cut boneless chops get a downhome spin with Skinnytaste’s recipe for Oven “Fried” Breaded Pork Chops. The chops stay nice and moist, and the coating gives them tons of flavor. These are delicious with traditional Thanksgiving sides, particularly sautéed Brussels sprouts — a take on the raw shredded Brussels sprouts salad suggested in the recipe — and tart cranberry sauce; try some Trader Joe’s Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish.
The best part of Thanksgiving food is the fridge full of leftovers, more specifically, the massive sandwiches you get to make with the bird and the sides. If it’s just dinner for two, why not skip the whole big meal and go straight for the sandwich? This recipe is great — more like a method, really — from Spoon Fork Bacon because it utilizes the “moist maker,” a slice of gravy-soaked bread popularized by the show Friends. Use gourmet ingredients to make these sandwiches feel extra special. Go with nice, thick slices of turkey. You could make your own cranberry sauce, which I’ve done before using the directions on the back of the package, or buy a good quality cranberry sauce. Also, in place of mayo, I used a smear of goat cheese, which takes the sandwich to a whole new level. And hey, if you make the chicken thighs above, you could always use that meat to make these sandwiches the next day for a spectacular leftover treat. Serve with some fancy kettle chips and gobble it all up!
No holiday meal is complete without dessert! Now is the time for a microwave mug cake. It’s the epitome of a lazy treat. This Four-Ingredient Cookie Butter Mug Cake recipe from Kirbie’s Cakes makes a treat that is yummy and not too sweet. If you want to get really Thanksgiving with it, use Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter. Oh. My. God. Eating a spoonful of this is like shoveling pumpkin pie into your mouth, and the flavor works well for this mug cake. If you’re feeling really lazy and decadent, try Trader Joe’s Pecan Pie Filling in a Jar, essentially pecans in sugar syrup spiked with bourbon, spooned over ice cream, as the retailer suggests. It’s incredibly sweet, so a little goes a long way.
Try these simple recipes and tips today for an easy, tasty Thanksgiving meal for two!