Cooking a Scaled-Back Thanksgiving Feast

If you’re cooking a feast for a small group (or just yourself) this year due to COVID-19, a turkey breast is a good way to get traditional flavors on your plate, says Simply Whisked. But there’s nothing saying that you can’t feast on pork chops or Cornish hens instead. Many people — especially vegetarians — may be looking forward to sides such as green bean casserole and mashed potatoes just as much as the main course. So pick a couple of favorites to make, along with a tasty dessert. And remember to give thanks!

Keep Your Thanksgiving Small

Thanksgiving is this week, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people observe the holiday at home with proper social distancing. If you are hosting, the CDC says to keep the gathering small (five people or fewer) and dine outdoors or open the windows to allow fresh air into your space. You could also ask guests to bring their own food and drink, but if you are sharing potluck plates, allow just one person to serve and try using single-use plastic dinnerware to keep the virus from circulating.

Let Nature Contribute to Your Thanksgiving Theme

At the Organizing Blog, we’re all about doing more with less. But even the most minimalist homemaker occasionally hosts a get-together, and next week is the ultimate dinner party of the year. If you happen to be hosting the Thanksgiving feast, you may want to bring a few fall flourishes to the table — and you can do so inexpensively.

First, know that you don’t have to buy a lot of extra stuff to establish a Thanksgiving theme. You can harvest the decorations that suggest the season easily, and for not a lot of money. Pumpkins, gourds and apples aren’t expensive to buy at the local grocery store or farmstand, and leaves and pinecones are free to pick up and use.

Once you have some of these nature-made materials, get creative. Living Rich on Less suggests making do-it-yourself candleholders out of apples, pumpkins or a birch bough to make a rustic centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. Most fall décor is based on harvest themes, and you can also use dried corn cobs, wheat, pears, berries, twigs and nuts to make a centerpiece, Good Housekeeping says. (Bonus: When you’re done with these all-natural accenst, you can put compost them.)

When it comes to making a serving the feast, there’s no better place to look for the stuff you need than the local thrift store. You can get mixing bowls, casseroles, pans, table settings, platters and small appliances for a fraction of what buying them new would cost, and since many thrift stores are supplied by donations to ClothingDonations.org, you’ll help veterans as you shop. Thrifts are also a great source for home accents, paper napkins, candles and other items that can make your fall feast shine.

There’s no reward for spending more than you need to get your house ready for guests. With your own resourcefulness and a few dollars, you can out-Martha Stewart Martha Stewart this Thanksgiving and wow the friends and family. Better still, you can put the money you save into the feast! Next week, the Organizing Blog will share a few money-saving tips for meal itself.

Make a Thanksgiving Side in Seconds

Due to their size and demands, many Thanksgiving feasts turn into potlucks; the host family provides the turkey and other core dishes, and guests bring the side dishes. Fortunately for the time-challenged chef, many home-cooked sides can take just 30 minutes or less, Southern Living says. Even a novice can whip up delectable dishes such as roasted carrots, green bean casserole, goat cheese mashed potatoes, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese in minutes for any size crowd, and all are sure to be a big hit at the dinner table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Plate A Full Fall Feast in About 24 Hours

One more day until the big feast! Still haven’t gotten a start? The good news, says Kitchn blogger Faith Durand, is that you can do all of your shopping this morning and still have an incredible Thanksgiving dinner on the table tomorrow afternoon. Her suggested menu serves up to 10 people on a budget, and includes all the essentials: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Ask your guests to bring dinner rolls, a salad and finger foods, and everyone will be thoroughly sated by nightfall tomorrow.