By Kristi Winkels, RDN, LD
With social distancing and recommendations for smaller gatherings, the holidays will be a little different this year. While you might be used to making a huge feast for the masses, preparing a meal for a smaller group has its perks (less dishes!) Following are tips that allow you to hang onto some favorite holiday traditions while celebrating in a less traditional way.
1) Choose a smaller turkey
Instead of preparing a 20-pound turkey, choose a smaller bird or consider a turkey breast instead. It is not only a healthier protein option, but it will cook faster than the whole turkey, too!
2) Pick your favorite dishes
A traditional Thanksgiving menu includes a wide variety of dishes – many that you might not make any other time of the year. If you make them all and have a small gathering, you might end up with more food than you want. Talk with your family and ask which dishes they look forward to the most and see if you can pare down your traditional menu.
3) Buy smaller amounts of your favorite dishes
Check your grocery store for traditional holiday dishes that can be purchased in smaller amounts. This way, you can have a taste without a lot of leftovers.
4) Freeze leftovers (or share them!)
If you have a hard time paring down your menu, choose dishes that freeze well and keep them in the freezer to enjoy for the following weeks. Or package up meals and deliver them to the doorstep of loved ones that aren’t able to go out.
5) Repurpose leftovers
If you end up with a lot of leftovers, use them to create new dishes. A turkey stew with leftover wild rice and vegetables and thickened with mashed potatoes or squash is one option. Also consider salads topped with leftover turkey and making sandwiches or wraps.