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Top-Rated Thanksgiving Recipes

**2021 Repost - Serve these 5-star Thanksgiving recipes to a crowd this year!**

Happy COVID-19 Thanksgiving! Like us, your holiday likely looks a bit different this year. I was initially disappointed that I wouldn't get to play hostess with the mostess to a large gathering of family, but that would be just like every other year. 2020 is special. When else will SN and I have the opportunity to have a romantic Thanksgiving meal, just the 2 of us?

You know, other than that year we ditched everyone to take a cruise. That was a fun Thanksgiving too.

2020 Thanksgiving = no need to clean the house, no need to be limited to traditional foods, no need to travel, no need to make small talk with people you don't really like.

(To any friends and family who are reading this, that last part was totally just a random example for my blog readers. I like you!)

2020 Thanksgiving = do whatever you want. Sleep in. Dress fancy or dress in your PJs. Invite the dogs to join you at the table. Watch Hocus Pocus, which SN has somehow never seen. WTH, SN?

Our holiday? We're going to cook the meal together while we dance to Christmas hits. I've planned a Thanksgiving menu with wine pairings. These are perfect recipes for 2, though I recommend making enough for leftovers. 

My mom and I have an agreement this year. She is going to cook a Thanksgiving meal for just her and my dad and box up the leftovers for us. SN and I will do the same with our leftovers and we'll trade, probably by leaving the To Go boxes on each other's porch because, you know, social distancing.

Thanksgiving Recipes for 2

Thanksgiving Recipes for 2

Sample Menus

In COVID-19 fashion, all of my ingredients for this meal have been added to an online cart for a grocery pickup order. Our state, New Mexico, recently entered a new shutdown due to surging virus numbers, so the stores have been pretty much picked clean in a hoarding frenzy. We'll see what I'm actually able to get.

I've had to wait to place the order for our groceries because 2020 Thanksgiving = the one where some jerk stole my credit card and it is taking absolutely forever to receive our replacement cards. 

It's fine. It's going to make us enjoy our wine pairings that much more.

Hot Beverage or Cocktail

I asked SN what he'd like to have for our private Thanksgiving meal this year. His first request, without pause, was hot apple cider. From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, you can count on us having a Crock Pot of this simmering in the kitchen, infusing our home with the scent of cloves and cinnamon. 

In past years, we've spiked our cider with brandy or rum, but we'll keep the recipe as-is this time because our Thanksgiving menu includes wine pairings.

Hot cider recipe

Soup or Salad

Wine Pairing: Calvari Organic White Blend from Italy

With so many heavy items served for Thanksgiving (looking at you, stuffing and mashed potatoes), we've decided to begin our meal with a healthy plate of veggies. The recipe I've chosen is Caprese Salad from my fellow blogger, I Heart Naptime.

holiday salads

Main Course

Wine Pairing: 2019 El Vigia Family Reserva Pinot Noir from Chile

Although we're free to cook whatever we want for our COVID-19 Thanksgiving, it just wouldn't feel right to celebrate this holiday without a traditional turkey. Fewer mouths to feed makes no difference - we still want the biggest bird so we can indulge in leftovers.

Mmmm, just think of all the turkey sandwiches, turkey enchiladas, turkey stew, and turkey pot pies we'll soon be enjoying. 

We're going with the Good Eats Roast Turkey. With almost 6,000 5-star reviews, you know Alton Brown's recipe can't be beat. I'm going to be lazy and use a packaged mushroom gravy, which I'll fancy up with some drippings from the turkey pan.

Alton Brown turkey
This turkey SN roasted for us looks so good. If only we'd bothered to clean the stove prior to taking the photo!

I'm not really a potato person, so we'll be swapping our mashed potatoes for Creamy Polenta. This recipe is a nice starting point. It can be improved by using chicken broth instead of water, plus adding in fresh garlic and minced sage leaves which have been lightly fried in a cast iron skillet.

Another way of saying you're mincing sage? You're "chiffonading" sage. Wow, my blog is educational.

Alternative to mashed potatoes

While our pan is ready with hot oil from making the polenta, we'll whip up a tasty side dish of Sautéed Brussels Sprouts using a popular recipe from Well Plated by Erin. SN and I had similar crispy, caramelized brussels sprouts at our favorite restaurant, Scalo, a few years ago and haven't prepared them any other way since. Don't swear you hate brussels sprouts until you've tried them this way.

Fried brussels sprouts recipe

I'm open to skipping the mashed potatoes, but it isn't Thanksgiving without stuffing (or dressing, as my in-laws call it). You can't go wrong with a humble box of Stove Top Stuffing, especially if you doctor the recipe with generous amounts of onions and celery, plus a handful of cashews.

Best stuffing

The blog, Unsophisticook, features a Creamed Corn Casserole that is said to be "just like grandma made it." Neither of my grandmas ever made a creamed corn casserole for me, but this custardy side dish looks like it has a perfect balance of sweet and salty. I can't wait to try it!

Casserole with canned corn


Wine Pairing: Villa Amoroso Moscato Vino Dolce I.G.T. from Italy

At the risk of ruining Thanksgiving by ruining dessert (oh no!), I'm going to attempt to combine 2 irresistible recipes, Pumpkin Pie Bars from Crunchy Creamy Sweet, and Cake Mix Cookie Bars from yours truly. 

Basically, with so many sweet treats to choose from, I've decided not to choose at all. The cake mix cookie bars will become the bottom crust for the pumpkin pie bars. I'll simply remove the cake mix cookie bars from the oven before they're fully cooked, add the pumpkin pie bars filling on top, resume baking, and voilà. It should be scrumptious, right?

Thanksgiving desserts
The math adds up.
(And if I'm wrong, the 2 of us will be on our 3rd bottle of wine by this point, so who cares.)