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November 2000 Issue
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Thanksgiving brings to mind images of large gatherings, complete with a huge roasted turkey. But what if you are keeping it simple this year? What if your Thanksgiving table has just two places set? While many people in this situation will find themselves invited to share the bounty at a friend or extended family member's home, no one should feel as though this is the only option available.

Couples can celebrate Thanksgiving with all the style and elegance of any party of twelve. The first step is to realize that a whole turkey may not be the ideal choice for you. This is especially true if you haven't got a huge freezer at your disposal for storing large amounts of leftovers. The recipes in this article for people in this situation.

Using a combination of choice cuts of turkey, juicy Cornish game hens and perfect chicken breasts can make the spread at a couple's Thanksgiving table just as succulent and tempting as any other in the nation. The major difference is the amount of food and, by opting for a smaller spread, you can take advantage of the versatility that comes with it. For instance, why settle for a simple turkey dinner when you can enjoy moist turkey breast cutlets covered in tasty asparagus and shrimp and smothered in creamy hollandaise sauce? Or, if chicken is more your style, why not spruce it up for the holiday by serving it with a creamy champagne sauce featuring leeks and mushrooms? The possibilities are endless.

Since the main course in a couple's Thanksgiving menu is likely to be elegant, yet slightly untraditional, the possibilities for side dishes blossoms. Try serving Smoked Salmon Stuffed Mushroom Caps and Pesto Cream Soup as starters. Some Whipped White Beans and Garlic and Peas with Lettuce, Parsley and Chervil can make wonderfully unique accompaniments to any of the recipes in this article. The sky really is the limit with these menus.

Another advantage of using recipes to suit two for Thanksgiving is the huge amount of time that will be saved preparing them. Even though some of these recipes involve special steps, they pale when compared to the time it takes to roast an average turkey. Take advantage of the time savings to plan more elaborate accompaniments and a special dessert. Maybe it's time to try your hand at Vanilla Crème Brulee or take it easy with a sinfully delicious helping of Balsamic Berries -- just make sure you get truly ripe berries!

To help you out with main dish ideas, here are four recipes that have been served for various celebrations -- from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day -- at my table. Enjoy them!

Whatever you choose to serve, be creative and enjoy the many blessings you've enjoyed during the year. Perhaps the most important one is gazing back at you from across the table!
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