Thanksgiving is looking very different this year. Instead of a big family gathering — last year I hosted 20 of my favorite people, this year it’s going to be just the 4 of us. While I am obviously sad and will miss my family a lot, I am trying to be grateful and embrace our smaller, cozier holiday. Sharing here all the details of what we’re making, along with some tips if this is your first gluten-free Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!
It is always a been a super fun holiday in our family, with a big crowd that gathers early then spends the day cooking, eating and hanging out.
There is a core group that includes my parents, my brother’s family, my aunt, uncle and cousins plus a fun and revolving cast of characters… once my mother in law joined us, sometimes my brother’s mother-in-law joins us, other aunts and uncles and it used to include my grandparents. Plus, my mom always opened the door to any friends (especially when we were in college) that weren’t going home for the holidays.
To make each new person to the table feel welcome, my mom would ask there favorite dish and add it to the table. Over time, we’ve even adopted these dishes as our own. (Hello pecan pie!)
And it’s always been a super relaxed day with lots of food!
Some of the food is prepared ahead of time and everyone brings dishes.
Other dishes are prepared the day of.
Many people have to drive an hour or two so they arrive in the morning and there are always lots appetizers to snack on while the kitchen was in fully swing with many many chefs, all working together to prepare an amazing feast!
Last year, we hosted for the first time and loved it! We hosted 20 and had the best day!
Thanksgiving is going to look very different.
This year, it will just be the four of us.
It was going to be different and a bit sad anyway, as my favorite uncle, who is always a big part of Thanksgiving died suddenly about a month ago. But now I am extra grateful for my health and the health of the rest of family, and I am grateful for the time I have with my kids, teen boys who might otherwise be spending more time with their peers.
So this year we are planning cozy and delicious Thanksgiving, dialed back a bit in scope of menu but still special.
I’ve chosen a menu that includes all of our favorites, and we will make smaller portions than if we are feeding 20 obviously, but leftovers will not go to waste.
Because it’s just us, it will be 100% gluten-free!
Much of Thanksgiving dinner is naturally gluten-free but over the years, each family member has adjusted recipes and used gluten-free flour as needed, and made efforts keep things free of cross contamination so that nearly the entire table is gluten-free!
For many years, however, my mom stuffed the turkey with her stuffing making the turkey not gluten-free, so we made a roast chicken as well and keep that gluten-free.
Last year fried a turkey for the first time and kept it entirely gluten-free! And it was so good!
But my mom stilled made her stuffing separately, so were weren’t 100% a gluten-free table.
This year since it’s just us, we’re only making out stuffing and our table will be 100% gluten-free.
Appetizers (we’ve decided to treat lunch as a bunch of appetizers)
Cheeseboard (much smaller that usual)
Gluten-Free Crab quiche (my son loves this tradition!)
Clams Oreganta Dip (will make a day ahead and bake Thursday)
Spinach Artichoke Dip (will make a day ahead and bake Thursday)
Skipping Pumpkin Bisque because we just made and enjoyed it a lot in the last few weeks!
Roast chicken (we are skipping the turkey. Last year we fried one and everyone loved it but not worth the effort for us this year)
Mashed potatoes (we will make day of)
Sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble(will make a day ahead and either heat up or cook day of)
The BEST gluten-free stuffing (will make partially day ahead, finish of)
Cranberry sauce (already made and in freezer — dethaws well)
Peas (my husband’s favorite) and/ or Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Salad (probably Radicchio & Arugula Salad with Dried Figs and Walnuts )
Gluten-free Dinner Rolls
Plus quick breads… My family usually serves these at dinner time and then we have them for the weekend.
Pumpkin bread (maybe)
Skipping pies this year because just made and enjoyed pumpkin pie last weekend
pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting
pecan pie has been replaced by pecan bars!
For more Thanksgiving dishes and desserts, click here.
Tips on a smaller Thanksgiving
- Choose menu of what you love, not what you think you’re supposed to have! If your family doesn’t love turkey, don’t make one! If you don’t want traditional Thanksgiving food, switch it up entirely!
- Make full portions and plan to enjoy leftovers or cut recipes in 1/2 for smaller quantities
- Keep it simple and small if you can… we are making a lot because I want it to feel special and everyone has their favorites, and I know we will eat the leftovers, but if you can trim down your menu, great!
- Plan ahead and make ahead what you can so that you’re not crazed on Thanksgiving.
Leave a comment below and tell me about your Thanksgiving… Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? What are you doing this year? How do you stay gluten-free?