Although Thanksgiving will look different than it ever has before, in my lifetime anyway, we’re still plowing full steam ahead towards cooking up a traditional Thanksgiving feast next week.
Albeit, a much smaller one!
That said, today I want to share my favorite Thanksgiving dinner recipes (which are all gluten free, of course!) with tips for scaling them down to feed 2-4, instead of a crowd. You know I love me some leftovers, but having leftovers of every single dish on the table can be a lot, and lead to unnecessary food waste.
One idea I also want to share is considering doing a Thanksgiving side dish swap or meal share this year. Plan with a group of friends or your family, whom you’d normally spend Thanksgiving with but aren’t this year, to each prepare a couple side dishes and deliver/pick them up via contactless door delivery. My Party Potatoes Deluxe and Best Ever Green Bean Casserole come to mind as excellent candidates for this idea! Prepare up to the baking point then deliver, pick up their pre-made dishes, and then cook them up hot and fresh in your own home.
My Mom delivered a half recipe of unbaked Party Potatoes Deluxe last Easter, when we weren’t able to spend the holiday with my parents, and it was such a treat to enjoy her cooking…cooked at my house!
I’m also including tips for making many of these dishes ahead of time, which is always helpful on a food-focused holiday when all the burner are a-blazin.
Gosh – just wishing you all a very happy and safe holiday. Stay well and stay healthy. I am so thankful for YOU!
Main Dish Recipes
Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Wild Rice Stuffing
If you’re cooking for a smaller group, you might not be eager to put in the effort to cook a giant, 14lb turkey. A great alternative is to cook a turkey breast tenderloin instead, which generally feeds 3-4. It doesn’t have to be boring, either! Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Wild Rice Stuffing features turkey breast stuffed with creamy wild rice stuffing then wrapped in bacon before roasting. You might never go back!
- To make ahead: Prepare the turkey breast all the way through stuffing and wrapping with bacon, then cover and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting per recipe instructions. You may need to tack on 10-15 minutes roasting time.
Surf and Turf for Two
It’s 2020. The rulebook was thrown out the window a long time ago. That said, maybe this year you also toss the turkey in favor of Surf and Turf for 2! Decadent and special. Simply double the recipe if you’re cooking for four.
Brown Bag Baked Ham
It’s no secret that I prefer ham over turkey at holiday time, but why wait until Christmas to have it? (See throwing aforementioned rule book out the window!) The recipe for making Brown Bag Baked Ham is as simple as tossing a small, bone-in ham in a brown paper bag then baking it. That’s all there is to this magical recipe. Oh, last step: come back and confirm that it was the best ham of your life!
- Tip: Plan on 3/4lb ham per person when buying a bone-in ham.
Side Dish Recipes
Party Potatoes Deluxe
The one, the only, Party Potatoes Deluxe! Cheesy and creamy potatoes topped with a decadent, buttery crunchy topping. It does NOT get better than this. This recipe halves perfectly to fit into an 8×8″ baking dish vs a 9×13″, and will feed 4 just fine. Leftovers also reheat well.
- To make ahead: Prepare recipe as written up until baking – you can also combine the butter and cornflakes then store them in a separate container. Refrigerate. Let potatoes sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before baking per recipe instructions.
Best Green Bean Casserole
Honestly, my Best Green Bean Casserole is so incredible that I’d make the full recipe even if I was just feeding myself. It is THAT good, and leftovers reheat beautifully. That said, this is another recipe that you can cut straight in half (the recipe calls for 3 cloves garlic, so use 2 if cutting in half). Scoop into a small baking dish and it will feed 3-4 people.
- To make ahead: Prepare green bean casserole up until baking. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before baking per recipe instructions. Fried shallot topping is best prepared fresh.
- Time saving tip: Use gluten free french fried onions instead of frying shallots for the topping.
Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing
The flavor of Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing is beyond words. Ok I’ll try: flavorful, decadent, scrumptious, OVER THE TOP! Forget the stale wet carbs of yesteryear – it’s ALL about the wild rice stuffing. Again, this recipe halves perfectly (if we’re getting very specific, use 1 small bay leaf and 2 garlic cloves) and will feed 3-4 people.
- To make ahead: Prepare the stuffing according to recipe instructions. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes! My method for Perfect Mashed Potatoes is simple:
- Select 2 fist-sized gold potatoes (8-9oz total) per person then peel, chop, and place in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender. Drain.
- While the potatoes are draining, place the pot back onto the burner then add 2 Tablespoons butter and 1-1/2 Tablespoons milk/cream per person and melt.
- Remove pot from heat then use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes inside, or mash until very smooth. Season with lots of salt, and a little pepper, then stir until smooth.
- To make ahead: Fully prepare mashed potatoes then let cool and refrigerate. To reheat, scoop in a small crock pot set to warm, or add a splash of milk then reheat in the microwave.
Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies
Purchasing or making a whole pie for a small crowd may seem like a good idea…until you’ve got half of it laying around and can’t stop nibbling on it with a spoon! Try my Mini Crustless Pumpkin Pies instead. This recipe makes 4 individual “pies” but they’re refrigerated so you can save extras for later, OR share a couple with another family, or friends.
- To make ahead: Fully prepare recipe a day ahead of time then keep refrigerated.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I love me a good pumpkin pie but my Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting take the cake (har) when it comes to Thanksgiving day dessert. They are INCREDIBLE!! I’ve had so many people make these then serve to non gluten free folks, and they had no clue they were GF. Total winners. This recipe can be cut straight in half to make 6 cupcakes (and I’d plan on at least 2 cupcakes per person!)
Stove Top Apple Crisp for Two
Maybe this is the year you push pause on pumpkin pie, and go with a dessert like Apple Crisp instead. My Stove Top Apple Crisp for Two comes together in one skillet in about 15 minutes and makes just enough for 2. That’s definitely something to be thankful for!
Best Ever Breakfast Casserole
I know we’re talking Thanksgiving dinner here, but I can’t leave you without a small yet special Thanksgiving breakfast recipe to kick the day off with. My Best Ever Breakfast Casserole is a mega hit with readers, especially for the holidays, and halves extremely well. Bake in an 8×8″ baking dish instead of a 9×13″. Don’t forget the mimosas!