So it’s just the two of you this Thanksgiving. Feels a little strange, right? But as is true of all things, there’s always a silver lining: Maybe you’re not making a massive spreadsheet this year, host with the most. Maybe you’re not bracing for a road trip that will be, just like every year, terrible. Or maybe you get to avoid the airport, the three-hour lobby wait, the bad snacks.
To quote our wise test kitchen director, Belle English, “The theme of 2020 is that there are no rules. If you wanted to play with doing a duck or small roast chicken for two, great!” We think she’s on to something. It’s just the two of you. Make sure a few classics are in there, and check in with your partner, roommate or cat to make sure their favorite flavors make the cut. (Maybe you’re ordering a pecan pie, if they can’t live without it!) But this is the year to make turkey meatballs, do Instant Pot mashed potatoes, and celebrate the bounty of the day without tearing your hair out. Here are a few ideas.
Does there need to be a bird? You could do tasty turkey meatballs in gravy, or a roast, or burgers, or turkey sandwiches, and then just splash out on a fabulous dessert. You could do duck, or a nice roast chicken, and roast potatoes and veggies in the oven in the same skillet, all at once. We love Ina’s roulade when it comes to a party of two people, and we sure do love having leftovers. But don’t put yourself through the defrosting, brining, et cetera if you don’t need to do so!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t direct you to Belle’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish shortcuts (because, ahem, we carry about a million fabulous, test kitchen-beloved products!) So pick one or two sides you and your T Day co-conspirator truly love. Can they go into the oven alongside your protein? Great! Otherwise, keep it simple, silly. Think: Instant Pot Ultimate Mac and Cheese and creamy pressure cooker mashed potatoes. You’ll be grateful to yourself later.
You know what we’re going to say, here, right? Can. It. Be? Easier? Could you do a make-ahead panna cotta, pots de crème or pie? Do you want to order one for delivery? (No judgment! Ours are amazing.) Could you employ your slow cooker or Instant Pot, perhaps for a cheesecake? Do you need dessert? (Belle swears by setting out high-quality dark chocolate.) What corners can you cut?
4. The Vibe
You know what’s wild? You could do “romantic Thanksgiving” this year. Why wait till February? That might mean a centerpiece of roses, slightly lighter food and a smaller dessert so you have energy to… appreciate one another. Or you could make your focus comfort food, or classic Americana. (We mean, have you seen our tabletop and bar plates and flatware?!)
You don’t need to do a theme, at all, of course, if just the idea of planning one more thing during 2020 gives you a headache. It’s Thanksgiving. You can order the whole darn thing, plus wine, online in most states.
And why not? Be good to yourself this year. And have a marvelous day.