Here’s your guide for How To Host A Small Thanksgiving with a free printable planner including a shopping list and kitchen conversions chart.
This year your Thanksgiving celebration may look a little different than it has in the past. But you can still have a wonderful meal and cozy day giving thanks for all your blessings!
A couple of years ago I shared a Thanksgiving Countdown Planner and Checklist that is geared towards large group dinners but I felt that this year I really needed to share the opposite to help with suggestions of how to make a meal and prepare when it may be for only ten or fewer people.
Whether you’ve had a blessed year or your year has been troublesome, spend Thanksgiving Day thinking about what you are thankful for from the big things to the small things. Try to set aside your worries and troubles for a day.
Go ahead and set up your dining table with a tablecloth, place settings, and a few decorations. It will make your Thanksgiving dinner feel more special and let the kids help if they are willing to.
If you don’t have any decorations on hand, maybe you can find some clippings in your yard to use or buy some fresh flowers when you pick up your groceries. Download my free Thanksgiving coloring pages for the kids including “I’m Thankful For” leaves to fill out.
Let’s start with the turkey because it’s the main dish of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without it. We always have ham for Thanksgiving as well so these tips go for the ham too.
The first option is to make a turkey breast or even a roasted chicken instead of a whole turkey. A frozen turkey breast is only about 2 1/2 pounds versus 10 to 20-something pounds for a whole turkey.
Another option is to still make the whole turkey but maybe buy the smallest one you can find. Then, store the leftovers in the freezer to use for future meals. You can use leftover turkey instead of chicken in soups and casseroles! Try turkey noodle soup, pot pie, noodle casserole, or turkey alfredo ziti.
Finally, you could make a turkey, cut it up, put it into separate containers, and then drop it off at friend’s or family’s houses who live nearby. Everyone can reheat the turkey for their dinners. Maybe one of them could make a ham to share with your family.
Next up are the side dishes because let’s face it, the sides are the best part of any Thanksgiving dinner! There are certain side dishes such as sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and stuffing that we usually only have once a year.
First of all, you can cut back on the number of sides you make. Just pick a favorite or two and skip the rest. That can be hard though because we love our traditions and require that certain dishes be included!
So if you still want to make all of the side dishes usually served at your holiday dinner, make smaller amounts of each one. Many of the side dishes can be prepped or even cooked before the big day.
If you are using slow cookers for your side dishes, you can use foil to make dividers and then use slow cooker liners to contain the ingredients in each compartment. Or make use of the small and mini crock pots you may have.
Another idea is to talk to some family or friends who live nearby and share portions of side dishes with each other. Let’s say you make the homemade dressing. Divide the dressing between four small baking dishes. Wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and drop them off at 3 friends’ houses along with printed cooking instructions. The bag including the dish can even be left on the front porch if necessary.
And now for the desserts, because we all know that every good holiday dinner includes pies for dessert!
As I mentioned with the side dishes, you could narrow the options down to just one pie but there are many strong opinions when it comes to favorite pies so that may be hard to do! My family would be okay if I only made my pecan pie but I need to have a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.
If you really want to make multiple pies, you can freeze the leftovers. Most pies freeze well so if you have room in your freezer you could store slices of leftover pie in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
Another option is to make mini pies! Cut down on the amount of filling you make and put it into mini pie crusts instead. Just keep in mind that a mini pie will bake much faster than a full-size pie so you’ll need to reduce the baking time.
How To Scale Down Recipes
I thought it would be helpful to talk a little about how to scale down recipes. Some things are easy to scale down. For example, if a recipe calls for two cans of green beans, you can cut the recipe in half and only use one can. But it gets a bit tricky when you want to make a fourth of a recipe that calls for 1/3 cup of sugar.
The chart above can help with scaling down recipes. Here is how to use it: if a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of sugar and you want to make a fourth of the recipe it is hard to figure out how to divide 1/3 cup into 4 parts.
If you use the printable kitchen conversion, it shows that 1/3 cup equals 16 teaspoons which can be divided by four. So you’ll need 4 teaspoons of sugar in your recipe.
Finally, if you want some menu inspiration and delicious recipes to try, be sure to visit my Easy Thanksgiving Menu blog post found here.