How to Plan Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

Every once in a while my husband & I decide to stay home for the holiday and have a quiet Thanksgiving weekend with just the two of us. Here are my tips and pared-down menu.
  1. Decide what parts of the dinner are most important to you
    Base this on favors and traditions and the amount of effort you want to put into the meal. Which is your favorite pie? Do you *really* like the stuffing? Will you miss the green bean casserole?
  2. Turkey
    Consider what type of meat you like and how much leftovers you want. We buy a 5-pound bone-in breast and two bone-in thighs. But you might pick a small whole bird, especially if you like stuffing and lots of leftovers. We season the bird with herbs and then roast it.
  3. Vegetables
    We roast a couple of potatoes and some Brussels sprouts, carrots, garlic, and onions in the pan with the turkey. We add the veggies during the last hour.
  4. Cranberries
    My husband wouldn't miss the cranberry sauce, but I would. I make a simple whole-berry version.
  5. Salad
    We like our vegetables, so I serve a tossed salad.
  6. Bread
    I love to bake bread, so this is a given. I usually bake the next day for sandwiches instead of serving it with the holiday meal. Store-bought bread or rolls would work too.
  7. Pie
    We love pumpkin, so that's what I make. We also make whipped cream.
  8. What we don't make
    We don't make the stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, or casseroles. We don't make apple and pecan pies. We don't have appetizers. Yes, these things are yummy, but we can eat only so much food. Plus if we wanted to fuss that much, we'd invite people over or travel to be with our families.
  9. Celebration
    We set the table with a pretty cloth; take out the china, silver, and crystal; and light some candles. We step up our wine choice. We linger over the meal.
  10. Leftovers
    We eat the same food for lunch and dinner until it's almost gone (usually a couple of days). I like to make soup out of the bones and remaining meat and veggies. This completes the weekend cooking.
  11. Results
    A relaxing, quiet holiday with our favorite traditional food. Little fuss and little cleanup.