Recipes For A More Intimate Turkey Day

Preparing a huge Thanksgiving meal is the typical tradition — but what if you're only preparing a meal for two or three people? Cooking a 10-pound turkey can seem like a waste, even with leftovers (one can only eat so much turkey!). Here is a handy guide to downsizing your Thanksgiving turkey recipes.

turkey breast on a platter

Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey for two

When preparing Thanksgiving for two — or just a few people — cooking a turkey breast delivers the same taste and tradition as a full-roasted turkey.

Additionally, a turkey breast will stay moister than a whole turkey because of the shorter cooking time. And just think, if you are only cooking a turkey breast, there's no waking up extra early to put the turkey in the oven.

Also, a turkey breast will still give you some leftovers — the different sizes of turkey breasts give you the option of choosing just how many leftovers you want.

Stuffed turkey breast recipe

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 9 cups white bread cubes
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 (about 3 pounds) turkey breast, boned, skinned (save the skin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and celery in melted butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in parsley, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Stir in bread cubes and eggs and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lay the turkey breast on a cutting board, cut side up. Cut the turkey breast horizontally to make a pocket. Spread the meat open flat and pound to about one-quarter-inch thick with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
  3. Season the turkey with salt and spread half the stuffing on top. Roll the turkey breast up, jelly-roll style. Lay the saved skin on top of the rolled breast (this will add flavor). Tie up the roll with butcher twine in three places and place it skin-side up on a roasting pan. Brush the turkey with melted butter and roast 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 185 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the pan when finished and reserve turkey drippings to make gravy.
  4. To prepare the remaining stuffing, place it in an ovenproof dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake it in oven during the final 30 minutes of turkey cooking time.
  5. To make gravy after the turkey is done, pour the turkey drippings into a two-cup measuring cup. Let it rest until fat rises to top. Take one tablespoon of fat from measuring cup and pour into a saucepan. Discard the remaining fat. Pour water into the roasting pan and stir to remove browned bits and then pour liquid into the saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk flour, salt and pepper into the saucepan and cook until gravy thickens. Serve with sliced turkey.

Slow cooker turkey recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 (3-5 pound) boneless turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) jar of turkey gravy or homemade turkey gravy

Directions:

  1. Saute bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. Place turkey in a slow cooker and season with pepper. Top with bacon crumbles.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together garlic, Worcestershire sauce, sage and gravy. Pour the mixture over the turkey and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low heat or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. About halfway through cooking, flip the turkey.
  4. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board to slice. Serve with the juices from the slow cooker.

Traditional vs. Modern Thanksgiving

Roasted herbed turkey recipe

Serves 2 

Ingredients:

  • 1 (about 3 pound) bone-in turkey breast
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or a sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make a few small slits in the turkey breast. Slip garlic and fresh rosemary into the slits. Whisk together dried rosemary, honey, mustard, oil, lemon juice and pepper. Pour the mixture over the turkey and season the turkey with salt.
  2. Arrange turkey in a roasting pan, meaty-side up. Roast 60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F, basting every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey mixture. Remove it from the oven and let it rest a few minutes before carving. Serve the turkey with your favorite side dishes.

More Thanksgiving ideas

Thanksgiving hostess gift ideas for under $20
Decorating Diva: Fun and festive Thanksgiving decor
Thanksgiving recipes by chef Todd English

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Comments

Comments on "Thanksgiving turkey recipes for two"

eimy November 20, 2011 | 7:57 AM

CROCK-POT TURKEY Makes 2 servings Ingredients: 5 slices of bacon 1 (3- to 5-pound) boneless turkey breast 1 tablespoon black pepper 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon dried sage 1 (10.5-ounce) jar of turkey gravy or homemade turkey gravy Directions: Saute bacon in a skillet until crispy. Drain, crumble and set aside. Place turkey in a Crock-pot and season with pepper. Top with bacon crumbles. In a bowl, whisk together garlic, Worcestershire sauce, sage and gravy. Pour mixture over turkey and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low heat or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. About halfway through cooking, flip turkey. Transfer turkey to cutting board to slice. Serve with juices from Crock-pot.

Raven November 23, 2010 | 6:34 PM

The directions for the recipe say to slip garlic and *fresh* rosemary into the slits, but the ingredient list only includes dried rosemary. How much fresh rosemary should I plan on getting? Can't wait to try this recipe in a few days!

Janice October 29, 2010 | 1:11 PM

It's nice to cover all the bases for the holidays. Yes, some are cooking only for two. I work with Better Recipes and this year went for easy and simple. You can get a small turkey, follow these step-by-step easy instructions and have a perfect, beautiful turkey every time. How to Cook a Turkey

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