Thanksgiving-An Intimate View (Redux)

This post is an update from a Thanksgiving post in 2009 and features new text/ photos, printable recipes, and more.

While some Americans are having a larger Thanksgiving, quite a few are again limiting numbers and thinking about a smaller menu. A turkey roulade (roo-LAHD) — a rolled up, stuffed turkey breast served up with a pan or two of roasted vegetables is for just that more intimate occasion and will serve 1-2 with plenty of leftovers, 4 with some, and 6 without much at all in those pesky where-are-the-lids Tupperware containers. (You can double it all for a larger group if need be, but do plan on more time. I also include a couple of other options for one-pan sides.) With some prep, this beautiful meal goes into the oven all together and is done in less than an hour — which makes it a lovely small dinner party menu as well. If you can get a boned turkey breast and don’t have to bone it yourself, you are way ahead of the game. Not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and gravy or …? You can surely add other dishes though you don’t need them. (See TIPS below for links to Brussels sprouts I made, gravy without drippings, my spicy cranberry sauce, etc.) Easily purchased appetizers and a bakery pumpkin pie help give you most of the day off, a lot less dish washing, and time to watch “Home for the Holidays,” with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning– one of my favorite Thanksgiving movies. No movies, but want music? Here are some listening ideas.

Note: While this meal is basically gluten-free, do check all purchased ingredients, including turkey, for GF labels. Our Honeysuckle frozen turkey breast did not contain gluten, but other brands might.

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Cornish Hens with Cranberry Cornbread-Brown Rice Dressing: Thanksgiving for One or Two

Printable recipe and an “Elevator” Version below

I always forget about Cornish hens and then when I make them, I can’t believe I let so much time go by without putting these festive little birds on the menu. They’re quick, inexpensive, and versatile — especially when you’re cooking for one or two for Thanksgiving. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of a bunch of side dishes, you can even cook your potatoes and vegetables such as carrots, onions, halved Brussels sprouts, chunks of zucchini, or diced butternut squash right in the pan with them. I include directions for the easy carrots and spinach from the photo in the printable recipe. And even cooler is the simple pan sauce stirred up in the roasting pan while the hens rest and you pour the wine. No Good Gravy! worries. While a one-pan Thanksgiving always sounds nigh unto impossible, you can actually do it if that’s your druthers. That’s an easy clean up, too. On your own this year? I’d still advise cooking two Cornish hens … you want leftovers, right? I mean, the best part of Thanksgiving is the I-don’t-have-to-cook next day sandwich with mayo on white bread. Right after the pumpkin pie for breakfast, that is. Don’t skip the whipped cream.

Check out Perdue Farms’ THE ULTIMATE GUIDE/How to Cook Cornish Hens if you’d like to grill, slow cook, fry, smoke or…your birds.

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Cranberry-Apple-Pear Coffeecake

Crud. I’ve had the crud. Dave, too. Days and days of nasty, head cold life–luckily not much else like sore throats or tummy troubles. Unable to navigate further than the kitchen, we summoned up pots of my easiest chicken soups, ordered pizza when the soup was gone, and watched as many Christmas movies as two people could handle in what ended up to be more than a week. In between, there was a snow storm that left us with several inches in the drive and on the walkways but with luckily no power outages. That meant a few gorgeous fires in the fireplace to cheer us up.

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Banana-Cranberry Bread with White Chocolate Chips

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This luxurious bread is filling enough for breakfast, light enough for an afternoon snack, and is also perfect for the neighborhood potluck–especially during December when you hopefully have some cranberries left in your freezer. (If not, run to the store now and see if there are any left.) While it begins as a simple pan of down-home banana bread, the festive additions –cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts– make sure it ends up anything but.

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A Cranberry Thanksgiving Day or How To Get the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving!

“Get Mother to help.”

edited with some new photos added November, 2020

As my family well knows, there comes a day in November (December is just too late) when I do nothing but bake cranberry bread.  We have it for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, take a loaf or two to friends, and then have one squirreled away in the freezer for Christmas morning as well.   I make a fun production out of the day (no other activities, favorite music on, microwaved lunch) and have nearly an assembly line in the kitchen so that loaf after loaf is mixed individually and baked on the center rack.  It does require a number of pans, but I’m good at finding extras at Good Will or splurging on a great pan with a Williams-Sonoma gift card.  I also bake this bread in coffee cups for large size muffins or in tiny pans as little gifts for special folks.

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