This year’s holiday season will look much different than in years past. With COVID on everyone’s mind, I hope many of you are treating this holiday season with extra caution. From having much smaller gatherings with just those in your household, or your immediate family, it’s the smart way to celebrate this year. And if you can, hosting outdoors is best. With that, I wanted to share a more scaled back Thanksgiving menu that you can make for a small family of 4 or less. One that won’t require a giant turkey and will still feel like a holiday meal.
Today’s menu is super simple but still feels like Thanksgiving. With cheesey indulgent broccoli gratin to get in your greens, and a fall harvest wild rice salad that’s colorful and flavorful. Plus, instead of that big ‘ol turkey, how about turkey breasts on a bone that are easier to manage and a hell of a lot less expensive. And let’s not forget a delicious dessert of s’mores cookies.
My Thanksgiving Menu For Small Gatherings
- Apple Cider Brined Roasted Turkey Breasts With Sage Butter
- Fall Harvest Wild Rice Salad
- Gruyere Broccoli Gratin Bake
- S’mores Cookies
- Wine, Beer or Cocktails (try my fig old fashioned or this warm apple cider bourbon cocktail with leftover apple cider from the turkey)
Apple Cider Brined Roasted Turkey Breasts
For The Brine
- 4 cups of apple cider
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 Turkey breasts
When You Roast
- 2 tbsp of butter, softened
- Sage (optional)
Step One – Make The Brine
Add all of the ingredients except the turkey breasts to a small pot over medium heat. Warm until the sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool. Pour into a large tupperware with plenty of extra room (I like using a tall pitcher for this).
Step Two – Add The Turkey
Add your turkey breast to the brine and let it sit for 12 hours. Make sure it is fully submerged and place in the fridge.
Step Three – Roast Your Turkey
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your turkey out of the brine and then pat dry with paper towel. Take your butter, you can soften it or melt it in the microwave, and rub it all over the skin. Then place a few sage sprigs on top.
Roast for 45 minutes or until internal temperature registers at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also do this on the Traeger Pro 575 grill that I featured here.
Gruyere Broccoli Gratin
This recipe is actually insanely easy and so cheesy and delicious. But if you don’t have parmesan cheese, honestly just skip it. It just adds even more salty goodness but it’s not required. In fact, this dish was adapted from this recipe.
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1-2 medium heads of broccoli cut into pieces(can also do half cauliflower, half broccoli)
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup of grated gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a shallow 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Then place broccoli in the dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add the flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Do NOT let it turn brown. Then slowly whisk in your whole milk. Once combined, add in 3/4 of the cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Pour mixture over the broccoli and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Remove foil and then cook another 20-25 minutes until tender and golden brown.
Harvest Wild Rice Salad
This rice salad is a solid dish to make for a delicious dinner anytime during fall and winter. Just add a protein to make it a full meal. It reminds me of my Brussels sprout salad from last year which is also a great choice! It’s also packed with colorful veggies. In addition, feel free to add in any other veggies you like from mushrooms or colorful carrots. This recipe is also super easy breezy in that you can mix and match the ingredients. So if you really love butternut squash, roast a lot more for the dish. Then add in cranberries, pomegranate seeds and even goat cheese if you like. The real key to this dish though is sauteing the shallot and garlic before cooking the rice. It adds so much flavor to the entire dish.
- 1 1/2 cups of uncooked wild rice – use whatever kind of rice you like
- Chicken stock – whatever amount of liquid your rice calls for, swap for chicken stock. So much more flavorful than water.
- 1/2 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-2 cups of butternut squash, diced and roasted
- Pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
- Parsley to garnish
Dice your butternut squash and roast to your liking. I usually do 400 for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Lots of oil, salt and pepper. While this roasts, saute your shallot and garlic in 1-2 tbps of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Once fragrant, add your rice and toast for 1-2 minutes. Then add in your chicken stock. Cook according to the package directions for whichever rice you choose to go to.
Once everything is cooked, toss together and add in your pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries. And then garnish with parsley.
- PIN IT