Thanksgiving for 1 {Guest Post by SmilingLDS Girl}

 

One of my fav twitter friends is sharing her Thanksgiving dinner for us today! Which seems quite fitting since I am traveling overseas and dreaming about American Thanksgiving food! Rachel has a blog called Smiling LDS Girl and she blogs about all sorts of topics such as religion, politics and the every day life of a 30-somethign year old. The cool thing is, Rachel and I actually met in “real-life” (as they say?) when she traveled to California this passed summer! We chatted over tacos (such a Cali staple) and then she spent the rest of the day at the beach with her family! I am so thrilled to have Rachel posting for me today…you can follow her on Twitter and her fabulous and interesting blog!

Last year I found myself facing a new predicament in life.  For the first time in my 32 years I was alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now I had friends who had me over for meals and the like but for the season and for Christmas day I was alone.

This is a situation that more Americans are finding themselves in every day.   In his wonderful book, Living Alone, Eric Klinenberg says that “In 1950, 22 percent of American adults were single. Now that number is almost 50 percent. One in seven adults lives alone”.    One in 7 and yet our society is still built on the assumption of companionship. When I venture out to say a movie or a nice restaurant by myself it is a near social pariah.  I do it anyway but it is still definitely outside the norm.

So, where does that leave the single who is alone for even more family-centric moments such as birthdays or holidays?  If they cannot find an urban tribe, quasi-family to associate with then they are left to celebrate alone, a depressing prospect for most of us. 

Well, last year I decided to change that.  I was going to be spending the holidays alone and I would make the best of it.  I did pretty well through Halloween and even Christmas but Thanksgiving proved particularly difficult.  I had a friend invite me to her place for the actual day which was lovely but it wasn’t the meal I was used to and I found myself feeling nostalgic for the flavors of my family. 

The logical solution was to make Thanksgiving for myself but how can one make a feast for one?  It seems impossible?  Fortunately I am not the type who is left undaunted by challenges and I decided to give it a try and you know what I learned- you can do Thanksgiving for One!  It is not only possible but very enjoyable. 

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

Here’s what I learned:

        1. Plan ahead so you don’t have all the cooking in one day.  Both  years I have done thanksgiving for one I have made the desserts the day before.  You could also do the rolls the day before if that is important to you.   Since it saves well I make the cranberry relish or sauce in advance also.
        2.  Pick 2 sides and make them really well.  It is impossible to duplicate a huge thanksgiving meal for one person and if you did how would you eat it all (and let’s be honest you will be a little sad so tons of food and lonely person probably not good combo).  I chose to make mashed potatoes and stuffing.   Sweet potatoes are an everyday item and not that special for me, so I will leave them out.
        3. There’s no reason to make everything yourself.  I used canned rolls because rolls aren’t that important to my Thanksgiving but you could certainly buy them from a good bakery or your local market.  You could even buy the turkey already cooked (or a rotisserie chicken) and focus on sides.
        4. Pick a veggie that you can buy in small amounts.  For example a head of lettuce is often too much for me and goes bad.  Green beans are great because I can buy just a handful and not waste.  One ear of corn, a couple carrots, things like that save on time and money.
        5. Don’t forget little details like real whipped cream and cranberry relish.  If your family always has a pickle platter have pickles.  Or if you secretly hate the family jello salad don’t make it!  That’s the great thing about cooking for yourself you can do whatever you want.  If you want to make turkey curry go for it.  Want to try sugar free recipe, go for it.   Want to make collard greens or eat ham instead of turkey do it!
        6. Because you are cooking for 1 live a little.  Buy lobster or mussels, get the good french butter or be like me and get a massage while on break!  There will be plenty of your life when you are scrimping and saving every cent to pay for kids and retirement.  An occasional treat for a single’s dinner is highly worth it!  Plus, you can afford to go organic, get grass-fed meat, artisan bread.  Whatever excites you!
        7. Plan on ways to save meals and use components for 2nd and 3rd meals.  Like having turkey sandwiches or potato soup after thanksgiving dinner.  I make up these little TV dinners so they are ready to go when I’m in the mood for a little home cooking.To quote the amazing Judith Jones “Some say Why would I want to go to all that trouble just for me? My answer is: If you like good food, why not HONOR YOURSELF enough to make a pleasing meal and relish every mouthful.”  Cheers to me!

Menu

Turkey breast roasted with fresh herbs and gravy

Cornbread stuffing with maple sausage and apricots

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

Cranberry relish

Green beans with bacon vinaigrette

Rolls

No bake pumpkin cheesecake

Turkey Breast  

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • Thaw bird completely before cooking.  Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin.  Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350.
  • It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

  • Cook 4 yukon gold potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
  • Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
  • You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste

or you could just cook them regular on the stove.

  • Cornbread Stuffing with Maple Sausage and Apricots

  • Cook onion, celery, maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
  • Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
  • Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.

    Gravy

  • Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.  Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth.  My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes.  Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up.  Then add salt to taste.

    Cranberry Relish

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • In food processor pulsing blade finely ground 1 bag of fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp agave nectar or sugar, a whole orange cut into segments and a cup of nuts (I’ve made it with almonds, walnuts and pecans all good). Add more sweetener to taste.

 Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • Green beans with bacon vinaigrette. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.  Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
  • Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well) add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.  I used an apricot balsamic from Sutter Buttes Olive Oil that I got in one of my subscription boxes.  It was great!  Combine beans with sauce and stir.  Top with crunchy bacon.  Yum!

    No bake pumpkin cheesecakes (recipe adapted by I Wash You Dry)

    Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

  • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidentally bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.

For the Crust:

  • Mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan.  You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  • For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.   Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.  Add to rest of wet filling mix.  Beat vigorously.  Add to molds.  Set overnight.  Top with whipped cream.

So those are the recipes I used.  Have fun cooking for one.  It will be a great journey for you!  Good luck and let me know how things go and what strategies work for you. 

Thanksgiving for 1

Ingredients

    Turkey Breast
  • 1 Turkey breast with skin
  • Fresh herbs (variety)
  • Cornbread Stuffing
  • 2, 6oz bags Dried cornbread stuffing cubes
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1-2 links of maple sausage
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 2-3 cups Chicken broth
  • Gravy
  • 2 Tb flour
  • Water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette
  • 1 cup Green beans
  • 1 slice of bacon (more if you want extra for salads)
  • 1 Red onion, chopped
  • 1Tb sugar
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Cranberry Relish
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tb agave nectar or sugar
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • 1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)
  • Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
  • 4 Yukon potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
  • Crust
  • 1 box gingersnap cookies ground to fine crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter melted
  • 4 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
  • Filling
  • For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (I accidently bought light cream cheese but it worked fine)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ c marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I added more because I like things on the sweeter side especially for dessert)
  • 1 ½ ts pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream whipped.

Instructions

    Turkey Breast
  1. Thaw bird completely before cooking.
  2. Make a paste with fresh herbs and butter then rub the bird with it and put underneath the skin. Check the label but it usually ends up being about 30 minutes for every pound at 350
  3. It should get to a temperature of 160 to be done.
  4. Cornbread stuffing
  5. Cook onion, celery and maple sausage until onions soft, sausage cooked.
  6. Add cornbread stuffing cubes and 2-4 cups of chicken broth.
  7. Add diced dried apricots and then put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
  8. Gravy
  9. Take pan drippings and skim off excessive oil.
  10. Then mix together a little water and flour until smooth in a separate bowl. My Mom even uses the blender for hers but I prefer minimal dishes. Then you add the flour-water to the drippings and stir until the mixture thickens up. Then add salt to taste.
  11. Green beans with bacon vinaigrette
  12. Cook bacon into bite sized pieces.
  13. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan leaving a couple of tablespoons inside.
  14. Cook beans in boiling water (I’ve actually found the microwave does this quite well).
  15. Add red onion, 1 tbsp of sugar to the bacon fat and then ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (you could use any vinegar you like.
  16. Combine beans with sauce and stir.
  17. Top with crunchy bacon.
  18. Cranberry Relish
  19. In a food processor, add the cranberries, agave, sugar, nuts and orange.
  20. Pulse until finely ground.
  21. Add more sweetener to taste.
  22. Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
  23. Cook potatoes in the crock-pot under high for 6 hours (which saves time) and then mash with skins on.
  24. Add 1/4 cup of cream/milk and 1/2 stick of butter and mix until most of the clumps are gone.
  25. You can make it with as many potatoes as you like or just one if you want.
  26. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
  27. No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake via I Wash You Dry
  28. For crust- mix together all ingredients press into bottom of molds or spring-form pan. You can then bake it for 5 minutes to create a more solid crust but I don’t think that is even necessary.
  29. For filling mix together cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin, and sugar.
  30. Heat up marshmallows and butter until cooked and bubbling.
  31. Add to rest of wet filling mix. Beat vigorously. Add to molds. Set overnight.
  32. Top with whipped cream.

All of the food made can be up-sized or downsized. If you would like less turkey buy a smaller breast or only 2 potatoes instead of 4. Use half the cranberries and make less relish.

http://littleferrarokitchen.com/2013/11/thanksgiving-1-guest-post-smilinglds-girl/

Thanksgiving for 1 (Guest Post by SilingLDS Girl} via LittleFerraroKitchen.com

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks Samantha. I’m so grateful to have you as a friend and to be given the opportunity to post. All of the photography is done by my father JB Wagner. To see some of his other photography go to his instagram @jbwagjrphotog

    The thing that I love about cooking for one is it helps me feel like I can have a complete life experience without being married. I live in a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on getting married and having a family and sometimes it can be a little sad, but if I can cook for myself it reminds me that I am my own family until Mr. Sunshine comes along :)

    I hope you all enjoy the recipes and I figured if I could make Thanksgiving work for 1 I could make any meal work so take the skills I mentioned and apply them to your cooking. Keep me posted! Thanks
    Rachel Wagner recently posted..Strawberry JamMy Profile

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