Tips for Making a Smaller Thanksgiving Dinner: How to Downsize Your Holiday Recipes, Choose Swaps & Save Leftovers

Nov 25 2020

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Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

Like a lot of people, we're forgoing the usual big group celebration for Thanksgiving this year, but I still want my family to have a special holiday dinner. Do you have any suggestions on how to adapt?

Thanksgiving for Four
Answer@2x Hi Thanksgiving for Four,

You can absolutely still have an incredible holiday celebration at home with your immediate family. Here are a few ways to tweak the traditional Turkey Day mega feast into a smaller (but still special) meal...
Prioritize your favorites.
Truth time: If you're not cooking for a giant group of people, you don't need a huge spread with half a dozen side dishes and multiple desserts. Think about which items you couldn't bear to have Thanksgiving without. Is it the mashed potatoes? Stuffing? Pumpkin pie? Identify your must-haves and lock those in. Don’t forget to balance any heavier comfort foods with lighter plate-filling options!


You don't have to go big on the turkey.
Yes, it's still Thanksgiving without a 12-pound bird on the table. Consider roasting a turkey breast or a pork tenderloin, or grab a rotisserie chicken -- a full turkey isn’t your only poultry option. Speaking of skewing smaller…

Here’s how to scale down your recipes.
Start with your favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Here are some of ours! Now if you're worried about dividing your ingredients, plug the recipe into an online recipe resizer like this one. And when choosing a smaller baking dish, check out this chart that breaks down pan sizes and their volumes so that you can make an informed swap. Pay attention to cook times, because smaller batches will often cook more quickly. You can also switch out classic big-batch recipes for similar ones with fewer servings, like the recipes below!

Get ready to FREEZE.
If you decide to embrace having a whole bunch of leftovers, make sure you have a storage plan. I'm a huge proponent of freezing leftovers -- that way, you don't feel rushed to eat them all immediately. These inexpensive tubs are freezer safe, microwave safe, and stackable -- and their reasonable size means you'll be able to defrost single servings one at a time. For more tips on freezing and reheating leftovers, click here.

Have a fun & safe Thanksgiving!

HG HEADS-UP: We're off having our own celebrations for the next few days, so there won't be HG emails on Thursday, Friday, or Monday. BUT we'll be back on Tuesday with a recipe that’ll give you the post-holiday BOOST you need...

FYI: We may receive affiliate compensation from some of these links.

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