Mini-Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas?

College kids coming home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but one has to head back to school Thursday evening (marching band, home football game on Thursday!). He didn't ask, sweet kid, but I'd like to give him the taste of Thanksgiving dinner which he loves Tuesday or Wednesday night, then send him back to school with leftovers. I'm thinking turkey breast, instead of a whole turkey, and I suppose just smaller portions of the usual sides.

Who has a fabulous way to prepare a turkey breast that would give me some drippings to make gravy? I suppose I'm also looking for advice on just scaling down the huge Thanksgiving spread for a regular weeknight meal for 5, keeping in mind that the rest of the family will have the huge dinner two nights later?

Annie Micale Webb


sexyLAMBCHOPx November 13, 2017
I would triple a number of chicken wings, breasts, drumsticks, etc. and make the gravy for both dinners as suggested by others. When you make the second dinner go ahead and make gravy and have extra for leftovers and peace of mind that you made some-ahead of time.
MMH November 13, 2017
We prepare 2 smaller turkeys - 10-12#. There are twice as many pieces so everyone gets what they like. It's also great for sharing leftovers to take home. We use the Julia Child carving method which I think is a great way to serve and share the breast.
caninechef November 13, 2017
I have never tried it but this seems like a popular recipe for gravy that is independent of the bird. Since you are not hosting the actual Thanksgiving dinner I would just suggest a scaled down version of your family favorites so that everyone can enjoy some leftovers. We always called dinner of the leftovers "Thanksgiving revisited".
Annie M. November 13, 2017
Great ideas, thank you! To clarify, we are eating the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at a relatives, so I'm not cooking that day. A bonus of doing the mini version is we should have some leftovers at home for the weekend even though we aren't hosting the big Thursday meal.
Nancy November 13, 2017
Then ignore my idea for 1.5x of favorite dishes. Just make what you all like.
Agree with Amysarah in wings & thighs if you have nothing else for gravy.
amysarah November 13, 2017
I often make the gravy ahead of time, by roasting some wings and/or thighs. You could do that for whatever smaller quantity of gravy you need, or just make all your gravy at once – whatever you don’t use on Tues. will keep fine Thurs in the fridge for Thursday.
Annie M. November 13, 2017
This is perfect! Thanks!

Voted the Best Reply!

creamtea November 13, 2017
Make the cranberry sauce (I use a wonderful chutney recipe) for the big meal ahead of time--it improves if made ahead. Make either the breast or legs, whatever he likes. A salad of baby leaves with mushrooms roasted until crisp is just delicious. Add a seasonal vinaigrette dressing with white-wine vinegar; you can add a spoonful of fig preserve before you shake it up; or a salad with fuyu persimmons, pomegranate arils and pomegranate vinegar. Wild rice with add-ins like toasted pecans and dried cranberries, or roasted potatoes as a side is easy. I always make my carrot soufflé which is the highlight of the meal : Everyone loves it. You may be able to bake some in individual portions for him to carry back. Dressing/stuffing optional, and pumpkin pie or individual tarts.
Nancy November 13, 2017
Turkey breast on its own will not give much in the way of drippings or savory bits for gravy.
Use some from another roast, made earlier, saved and frozen.
For sides, be sure to have at least one of his favorites.
To make the two meals different for those who eat both, make your classics with slight variations
E.g., 1.5 times each stuffing, cran sauce, potatoes, green veg with the half batch for weeknight and different seasoning.
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