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Thanksgiving for two?

The boyfriend and I will be in different states on actual Thanksgiving. To get a little QT in before we go our seperate ways, we want to have our own Thanksgiving dinner, for two. We love to cook and experiment but want the basic flavors of Thanksgiving (we are thinking of a roasting a turkey breast?).

I want to do apps to desert but nothing too too fussy and we don't need four sides or something like you might have at a big family dinner.

I need help planning out this menu....any ideas?

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  1. Last year I made Cornish Game Hens instead of turkey - it was just going to be two of us, though ended up being four. Here's my initial menu, but I ended up doing a wonderful wild mushroom soup to start, and made a wine/cranberry jelly, though I wasn't thrilled with it:


    What we ended up doing:


    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      There's an excellent idea. I often do Cornish game hens stuffed with rice pilaf and bacon bits and/or mushrooms and it's well received by everyone.
      I halve the game hens through the breast gone so that each serving gets an equal portion of leg, breast and wing, then fill the cavity with stuffing and bake it skin side up.

      1. re: todao

        Mine were very small, so I served one per person.

    2. As long as you like to experiment and don't want a traditional meal, you might want to try something like this:
      Just reduce the quantities proportionately and brush the outer surfaces of the turkey breast with butter to get a higher level of browning.

      1. We are often two for Thanksgiving and have gone through a variety of poultry and meats ... and several times steamed lobsters. We have cocktails with one or two hors d'oeuvre, tend to make just a few sides, and sit down to a beautiful table to make the meal special and festive. Very carefree.... the key is to cook what you absolutely love.

        As for the turkey breast, we roasted a 6 lb. bone-in TB this past Sunday...very easy to do and turned out deliciously.

        1. A whole bone-in TB is great and easy to do, but for only 2 people, you will have a LOT of leftovers. A typical 5 to 6 lb TB and can serve 4 - 6 adults with leftovers - of course, that's with multiple sides, but still, it's a lot of turkey. I'd suggest getting 1/2 TB which would be great for 2 people with a bit of leftovers for sandwiches. Just don't be tempted to get the cutlets - they dry out super easy.

          For sides, you may want to consider roasted veggies. Depending on your selection, they can be quite appealing with color, you can have a variety (and only dirty one pan) and they're EASY to do. If you have the patience to navigate the food network's web site, Ina Garten, aka Barefoot, has some great recipes.

          Last Sun., Swanson printed a super simple dressing recipe. 2-12 cups Chicken Broth, black pepper, 2 stalks celery (coarse chop), 1 lg onion (coarse chop). Heat all of this over med-high heat to boil. Reduce to low, cover and cook until veggies are tender (5-ish min). Add 1 16-oz pkg Pepperidge Farm Heb Seasoned Stuffing and mix lightly. Spoon into 3-qt casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 for 30 min. For crunchier texture, leave uncovered.

          1. For a special small meal I like to make rack of lamb, with butter mashed potatoes and oven-roasted seasonable vegetables. We will usuall kick this meal of with some kind of seafood (shrimp or crab) and finish up with a flourless chocolate cake. Add a sparkling white wine to start and finish, and a good red for the middle and you have yourself a meal!

            1. go with the turkey breast. I've done thanksgiving for two several times, and when I don't make turkey it feels wrong. Also you'll be happy you have the leftovers. It's kind of sad when everyone else has too much leftover turkey and you don't have any.

              1. We have mini-Thanksgiving at my house fairly often. It always uses up a lot of dishes, but it's very fast.

                I have tried roasting a turkey breast (for 3) and there's always way too much, and a long wait while it roasts. But if you fry a pack of turkey breast cutlets, they'll be done fast and still come out juicy, browned, and delicious.

                That also frees up your oven for the many other delicious things you can make for a Thanksgiving feast for 2, like macaroni & cheese. You can still make the classic stuff like mashed potatoes and stuffing for two people.

                Do you have any sides at all in mind yet?

                1. I am planning on a TB (or half of one). Leftover turkey breast in the freezer is never a bad thing to have to put in soups, salads, sandwiches,, white chili, etc. :-). Sides will be stuffing (perhaps with apple and sausage), sweet potatoes (with fruits and fresh ginger), mashed potatoes, and a veg. Going to try and make the sides all on the smaller side so there won't be too much. Perhaps before dinner (and while cooking), some homemade crackers with cheeses, olives.

                  1. Ditto to the turkey breast option, I've done that many times when it's just been two of us.

                    A great side is pureed sweet potatoes with ginger and goat cheese mixed in. Can be made in any quantity. I morphed that one from a goat cheese and truffle oil recipe I found in a magazine once.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tracylee

                      I love goat cheese, ginger, and sweet potatoes! Can you give more specifics on this recipe? I was thinking of roasting some type of potatoes - I wonder if I could combine these flavors in a roasted potato some way......

                      1. re: shadysider023

                        I really don't have a recipe.
                        I cook up the sweet potatoes, I've roasted or steamed them, depending on my mood. Oh, I peeled them first.
                        Then I throw them in the food processor with a log of grocery store goat cheese and some fresh ginger. Some salt and pepper also. Sometimes a little extra water helps get it smoother.
                        Then I usually put it in a baking dish and bake it until the top browns a bit, makes it look more appetizing.

                        You might be able to make a goat cheese/ginger sauce of some sort to top roasted potatoes.

                        1. re: shadysider023

                          I just wanted to mention that sweet potatoes can be microwaved with skin on (puncture the skin with a fork in several places to release steam) for about 10 minutes each. Then just split and scoop out the cooked sweet potato to mash and continue with your recipe.

                      2. Why not have pheasant. Then with the bones you can later have a fabulous consomme. It has been a long time since I have done this so nothing comes to the top of my head. Probably a nice wild rice stuffing, pureed squash is in season. Or a pear and squash puree. Perhaps a nice risotto-risotto Milanese or wild mushroom risotto. Or start with a nice mushroom soup. Rather than squash puree, you could roast slices of squash. Or start with a nice French onion soup. Cheese also comes to mind - a nice hard cheese like parmesan with pissaladiere as a starter. Dessert could be poached pears in a vanilla syrup. I like all these earthy flavours.

                        1. I have done the turkey breast for two dinner a few times, but with a boneless breast half, butterflied and smeared with sage compound butter, then rolled up with thin sliced apples and bacon on the outside, tied into a roulade and roasted. Tastes like turkey dinner, but manageable.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: WCchopper

                            Oh, and pumpkin soup with St Andre cheese in the bottom of the cup. Or little "sweet dumpling" squash halves stuffed with corn bread stuffing and baked.

                          2. Would consider roasting a duck? There's a slow-roast method where you prick holes in the skin, roast at low temperature, and turning every 30 minutes. The fat melts away and drains. Then for the last half hour, you pour out the fat (so it doesn't smoke), then roast at a higher temperature to brown and crisp the skin. It takes 4 hours, but it's worth it if you love roasted duck.

                            Then filter the duck fat and save it for something else.

                            1. As someone else mentioned, I think I'd go with a boneless turkey breast half. Wegman's has them that are already brined. You could stuff, roll and tie this or just roast it and have your dressing separate.

                              1. I see all the suggestions for Turkey Breast, but what if you like dark meat (which I strongly prefer)

                                I like the cornish game hens. 1 per person.
                                Wild rice and almond stuffing
                                Bakes sweet potatoes
                                Green salad with swiss cheese cubes and dried cranberries ~~ a light french or champagne dressing.

                                Pumpkin Ice Cream for dessert. (baskin robbins)

                                easy peasy

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: laliz

                                  In order to offer dark meat, I roast turkey drumsticks separately. This works great since the breast and legs take different times.

                                2. Every year we have our own Thanksgiving-for-two so that I get the chance to plan, shop, cook all day and make our favorites. I prepare roasted capon with sage stuffing as an alternative to turkey and pair with traditional sides. An 8-10 pound capon ensures plenty of leftovers to snack on later, for soups, sandwiches and a good Tetrazzini for Friday night.

                                  1. All these suggestions are great! We are actually considering roasting a small chicken - not exactly turkey, but we think we will prefer the chicken leftovers (all sorts of uses shredded up). We will likely roast some vegetables and potatoes with the chicken and perhaps prepare another side dish. With the BF being Italian, he wants to do a pasta course and we are considering tackling homemade ravioli. Maybe individual caramel apple crisps for dessert?

                                    Any suggestions on this menu?

                                    1. Update-

                                      We made homemade ravioli in bolognese as a starter/pasta course. We then roasted a chicken (stuffed with some citrus and herbs) and also roasted some sweet potatoes and other misc vegetables. Dessert was individual caramel apple crisps. The wine was part of our Napa stash.

                                      It was a lovely evening. And all the leftover chicken has been put to good use.

                                      1. I have had this dilemma often in the last few years. I like to roast a half turkey breast and two turkey thighs - brined and roasted on a bed of stuffing. I make gravy from a couple of wings or drumsticks - roasted, cooked down in the crockpot for stock, and stirred into a roux. Sides are simple - green beans with almonds, squash, mashed potatoes... and a cranberry relish. Something nice for dessert - little pumpkin pies, or a lemon tart or something.

                                        This year, we will be going to a friend's house for the day itself, and I'll bring scalloped potatoes and butternut squash, baked with maple syrup and butter. But I will cook a small turkey that evening as well, so we will have all the lovely leftovers over the long weekend. I bake cookies and make fudge for holiday presents that weekend (we call it the Time of the Cookie Madness) so having meals covered with leftovers is a good thing.