Welcome back to QCK.
Today I wanted to talk about Thanksgiving. We’re less than two weeks away!
If you’re like me, you love the holiday season. My favorite part is the food, but I also love hosting and bringing people together over dinner. In the past years I haven’t hosted much of anything because I felt that it would be way too uncomfortable to have people over in my apartment but also that I would never have enough kitchen space to pull of a Thanksgiving dinner. This year, I learned that I was completely wrong about that, I just needed to scale back my guest list a little and revise the traditional full bird menu.
If you don’t have a tiny kitchen, this is also a great menu for a last minute Thanksgiving dinner.
On this post I’m going to just share the links to the recipes, the order I cooked them in, and specific details, tricks and tips to making this meal as efficiently as possible. So if you’re just looking for individual recipes rather than the full menu feel free to scroll to the bottom to find all the links, or check out my main feed where these recipes will be featured.
Quarter Cup Thanksgiving Menu
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sage and Leek Stuffing Turkey Roulade
- Classic Baked Mac and Cheese
- Ginger and Green Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie
Additional Add-On’s to Consider
- Mashed Potatoes (Super simple and require no oven space)
- A simple green salad, whatever kind you like most will do
- A brussels sprout, asparagus, or broccoli dish (you can easily roast vegetables the night before and pop them in the oven 10 minutes before serving)
- A cheese plate or a dip spread (most people don’t eat all day to stay hungry so it’s nice to have something to snack on when guests arrive)
Do Right Away!
Make your guest list, get as many RSVP’s as possible. Check if any guests have allergies or intolerances. Plan accordingly. Decide if this dinner is going to be a pot luck or if you want to do everything by yourself. If you feel like you need help, recruit a friend or two. Get your non-perishable groceries as soon as you can. Any drinks, alcohol, canned pumpkin, etc. Can and should be purchased now. It’s important to get ahead of this because the longer you wait the fewer options you have. You also want to of course get your turkey (in this case turkey breast) as soon as you can. It can easily stay frozen, just make sure to accurately calculate how long it will take to safely thaw. At this point in the game it’s probably safe to start getting your diary. Don’t forget to stock up on butter! Also, grab an extra bottle of wine for yourself, you might want it Wednesday night.
Do The Week Of
Get all your fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t forget fresh herbs and garlic. Staples are easy to over look as are things that you might not normally get from the store. So before you head to the store this week its important to check all your recipes and make an inventory of what you do and don’t have. It might seem like a tedious task but when you’re making your turkey and realize you forgot the chicken stock, you’ll wish you had been more thorough earlier.
Do The Day Before
When you get home from work on Wednesday, change your clothes and grab a cup of coffee cause this is when the heavy lifting starts. The night before you want to make your pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, roast, peel, and mash your sweet potatoes for the casserole, chop up all your vegetables, if you’re making a roasted vegetable, go ahead a roast it tonight. MARINATE YOUR TURKEY. Make your salad dressings. Get all the little things that can sit in the fridge over night done tonight. If you’re really ambitious and have enough containers to do it, you could measure out all your ingredients and organize them. But that could also result in even more clean up the next day, so be prepared for that. You can also set the table tonight. This takes a huge chunk of time out of your day tomorrow and you’ll know if you need any extra plates, cups or silverware. Clean up. Have a glass of wine. Thank yourself tomorrow when you get that extra hour or two of sleep that others are missing out on.
The Day Of
Start the day off with a cup of coffee and a detailed to-do list. Mentally prepare yourself because it is a long day and you want to be ready. Plan time for a little break, a 20 minute nap between basting is sacred. Today is all about timing. So make sure to include that in your to-do list, but don’t stress if things take more or less time than you expect. Just go with the flow. Nothing is perfect. I made the entire meal in about 6 hours but I actually did everything the day of (be smarter than I was). That six hours also included the time it took me to take videos and pictures. For you it will likely take around 3 hours. The beauty of a turkey roulade is that it takes about 1 hour to cook depending on the weight of your turkey breast. I used a 2.5 lb (40 oz) turkey breast and mine baked for 1 hour. Adjust the to-do list below to fit the time you want to eat dinner.
- 11:00 AM: Make the topping and assemble the sweet potato casserole, cover it and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
- 11: 20 AM: Wash Dishes
- 11:30 AM: Make the stuffing, don’t bake it yet, just put all the ingredients together and place it on a sheet pan to chill while you prep the turkey breast.
- 11:50 AM: Wash Dishes
- 12:00 PM: Pound out the turkey breast and do any last minute seasoning you might want to do. Stuff and roll the roulade.
- 12:45 PM: Put the turkey in the oven. Make the mac and cheese, set it aside until 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat.
- 1:05 PM: Wash Dishes
- 1:15 PM: Take that 20 minute nap we talked about earlier.
- 1:45 PM: The turkey should be done by now and needs to rest about 20 minutes, use that time to bake the mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, any stuffing you might have left, and if you need to warm anything up, go ahead and do it now. Let everything cool for then minutes.
- 2:00 PM: Wash dishes one last time. Place any last minute table settings.
- 2:15 PM-ish: Serve the food.
Tips and Tricks
- Bake everything in square pans if you can, it makes it much easier to fit into the oven.
- If you’re using individual ramekins for the mac and cheese, place them on a sheet tray, its easier to clean up if anything over flows.
- If you have enough room in your kitchen and you’re not a total control freak like me, call a friend over to help out, you might need someone to wash dishes quick or make a last minute run to the store.
- Ask everyone to bring a dish, that way everyone has something they like.
- Make sure to check with your guests as soon as possible if they have any allergies or intolerances and plan accordingly. If you’re not sure how to accommodate them, ask them to send you a couple recipes they really like, or ask them to bring a dish to share.
- Go with the flow, don’t expect perfection. People will be okay if they have to eat a little later than expected.
Good luck on your Quarter Cup Thanksgiving friends! If you make any of these recipes let me know in the comments and of course feel free to like and share!