For the vast majority of people around the world, the pandemic means this holiday season will be unlike any other year: Limitations on travel and gathering sizes, not to mention the toll it has taken on people’s livelihoods.
My plan for this upcoming holiday season is thus to still bring festivities, cheer and some exciting new ideas on to your Thanksgiving table whilst being mindful of the circumstances we face in these times.
So what does this mean? It means that I decided not to share a new whole roast turkey recipe this year, nor a slew of epic new Thanksgiving recipes. I chose to forego styling up and shooting a feast-laden Thanksgiving menu table as I have done in previous years. Not that any food goes to waste around here … but the idea of it just didn’t sit well with me this year.
What I really felt I wanted to do instead was dig into my 1000+ recipes to put together a small Thanksgiving Menu tailored to meet the current challenges of our times. So, menus suited to gatherings and families of 6 – 8 people that’s also cost-conscious, but still brings just as much excitement to the festivities – and your tastebuds!! 🙌🏻
(Of course, you will still find my extensive, entire Thanksgiving recipe collection I’ve built over the years to go how big or small you want to go to suit your occasion this year!)
So, small, yes, but perfectly formed. On board? Ready? Here we go!
✨A smaller, exciting Thanksgiving Menu!✨
Another bonus: A smaller menu means less cooking, less stress, less cost, more time to eat and be merry! Think glass half-full 😉
1. Festive Crostini
Super-cost effective, endlessly versatile, and oh-so-easy to make festive-looking. Just think colours and think variety, and the rest will take care of itself!
Got a great topping idea or a killer crostini that has to be on your table every year?
Sharing is caring! Please let other readers know your great go-to’s and topping combination ideas! Just drop a comment at the bottom of the Holiday Crostinis recipe page and I’ll add them to the post and credit you!
2. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
We all love a good roasted turkey breast with the extra-golden, buttery skin. But when it comes to fail-safe cooking and a guaranteed juicy bird, you cannot beat using the slow cooker (and believe me, I’ve tried just about every way to cook a turkey!). This is not the year to experiment with unproven or over-the-top recipes!!
This Slow Cooker Turkey Breast has been a reader favourite ever since I published it. Bonus: The gravy is better too because every drop of turkey meat juice is preserved in the slow cooker!
(Psst there’s a Herb & Garlic Butter Slow Cooker Turkey Breast too!)
3. On-point sides: Simple & delicious
Inspired in part by the Thanksgiving traditional side of Green Bean Casserole, here’s a new spin that’s much easier and faster to prepare but just as good as the classic.
If brussel sprouts are what you’re after, forget perfecting the oven timing. Make them on the stove instead – gratin style, but with way less fuss!
When you don’t need to cater for 30 people, you can afford to spend a little more time to fiddle, assembling individual stacks like these creamy cheesy Potato Gratin Stacks!
OR try the sweet potato version with buttery Sweet Potato Stacks! (Who doesn’t love getting a complete serving of something all to themselves?)
For something requiring less construction (ie no finely slicing), the Fondant Sweet Potatoes I recently shared are hit the mark. Sweet, savoury, gutsy and adorned with flavours that are right at home on the Thanksgiving table, you’ve got to give this one a try!
Salad #2 in my inaugural Holiday Salad Marathon is a 2 ingredient salad that looks bright and festive on any table. Fresh thanks to the orange and the bite of the bitter laves, it’s a brilliant “palette cleanser” and balancing salad that is ideal to serve alongside rich dishes (I’m thinking specifically all that cream and cheese and butter and bacon in the dishes listed above!!).
If citrus isn’t your thing (and I know some people just aren’t a fan of it in any form around savoury food!), try this Apple Salad instead. It comes fully loaded with festive ingredient favourites: Fresh leafy greens, crisp apple, cranberries, feta and candied walnuts. It’s high on my list of Show Off Salads!
4. Bread, bread, bread
What is a holiday feast without bread? Now is not the time to go low carb! 😂
Don’t pay a fortune for artisan bread. Make it yourself with 5 minutes effort! Fun fact: So popular has this bread recipe been since I published it, it’s likely to cross the finish line as the most popular new recipe of 2020.
No-Knead Dinner Rolls
Otherwise, these widely-loved No-Knead Dinner Rolls are always a winner and easy to scale. Soft, fluffy … fabulous!
However, if yeast is hard to come by where you are, try this amazingly good No Yeast Sandwich Bread or one of these other terrific plate-mopping options that don’t require yeast:
Now of course we love plain bread and it’s essential at the dinner table. But – and I’m just putting this out there – there’s also always this….
“This” being Cheese and Garlic Crack Bread. (And after you make it, you decide why it’s called that … 🙊😉)
5. A Sweet Finish
When it comes to dessert, I say go big or go home!!! For such festive occasions like Thanksgiving I lean towards big, shareable desserts you slice or spoon out. I suppose it’s the convivial and comfort-food appeal, not to mention the added bonus of leftovers for days….
Though for a throughly cost-effective, totally loveable option, try a cosy Bread and Butter Pudding or Cinnamon Laced Rice Puddings. These are comfort-food central, and a scoop of ice cream is all it takes to elevate it to another level worthy of anyone’s Thanksgiving dinner table.
If cake is what you’re after, those who want to completely and utterly wipe the floor with the biggest wow-factor dessert can forget all other options and just go for this:
That’s a Chocolate Glazed Mirror Cake, and it’s so shiny and reflective you could use it to do your Thanksgiving Dinner make up in it!!!
And my step-by-step tutorial with straightforward recipe videos will guide you through this one from start to finish!
The final clincher about this cake? I recently saw it at a high-end Sydney patisserie selling for over $100. This homemade version will cost you less than $20 to make even using good quality chocolate.
And imagine the compliments you will be lavished with. With this one, you really can have your cake and eat it too.
WHAT A WAY TO FINISH!
To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving, though it may not be the same as previous years with loved ones unable to join you as they have in previous years, I hope you are still able to make the most of it. It is, after all, a holiday for giving thanks.
Let us focus on the good, be grateful for what we have, try to see the glass as always half full and look forward to a GREAT 2021!
Love – Nagi & Dozer xx
Life of Dozer
One day, you will scroll to the bottom of a Thanksgiving post and see Dozer with a giant turkey on this head. Until such day, some dodgy PhotoShopping will have to do….