Chef Kelli’s recipes for downsizing your Thanksgiving meal this year

Things may be a bit quieter as this year with a more intimate backdrop for entertaining. It may seem a bit somber to go from having a large crowd of extended family and friends to a smaller pod gathering amid the pandemic.  

Chef Kelli Lewton from Two Unique Caterers joined us on The Nine with some tips and recipes for downsizing your Thanksgiving. You can get her recipes below. 

Tips for Micro Thanksgiving 

  1. Downsize your menu to the favorite 4-6 dishes, this might be a great opportunity to dump menu items that you never really liked but made for those one or two family members. 
  2. Minimizing also squashes the having way too many leftovers and you can just plan a clean slate for a low-key Friday food fest. 
  3. A little cheat is not the end of the world, start with a quality pre made product such as cranberry relish and add some orange rind and ginger, use a stuffing mix that you doctor up with sautéed apples, sausage and onions or whatever your stuffing vibe is. 
  4. Ditch the whole turkey for a super nice and easy peasy skin on turkey breast 
  5. Instead of a large casserole try small, sweet potatoes with pecans and a few marshmallows or little sweet potato savory “casseroles” created in muffin cups smaller induvial portions are a win. 
  6. Take a classic dish like mash potatoes and have a few condiments each person can stir in to make their own fun creation, people like being a part of an myo situation; pesto, roasted garlic, horseradish, cheddar and parmesan would be fun to name a few.  
  7. Never a bad idea if you want to try something new with a smaller audience, this year my tribe is getting roasted cauliflower with raisins & almonds! 
  8. Less stuff less pans!  Do not overlook thanksgiving sheet tray dinner (tops below) 
  9. Trade I big rich pies for induvial pie jars or parfait trifle of your liking. 
  10. Take advantage of where you might be lacking in a rowdy loud group as an opportunity for extra family time with a planned game or a movie night.  

 Turkey Breast Bake 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 8-10 sage leaves 
  • 6-8 medium sliced orange slices 
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (2-pound) skin-on, boneless turkey breast

Mix fresh chopped parsley, poultry seasoning, and garlic then generously rub on turkey under skin, place orange slices and sage leaves in a pattern under skin. 
Place on top of jeweled stuffing and roast in 450-degree preheated oven for 15 minutes and lower temperature to 350 for an additional 35-45 minutes until thermometer reads 160-165.  Let settle for 15 minutes before slicing covered with foil. 

Jeweled stuffing

  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 1 lb nitrate free pork or turkey sausage (mild Italian flavor profile)  
  • 1 med Spanish onion diced
  • 1 bulb fennel~ cleaned and cut in strips 
  • 1 cup Figs~ halved
  • 1/2 cup apricots~ halved 
  • ¼ cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 pear peeled (med diced)
  • 2 cups cubed day old bread
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • Pinch allspice & cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper 


  1. Melt Butter in large sauté pan add onion & fennel and sauté for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add pear and dried fruits, spices, stock, and brown sugar and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Mix bread cubes with cooked fruit mixture & adjust seasoning.

 Maple Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of sea salt & pepper 

Mix all ingredients and add to turkey roast sheet tray 20 minutes before turkey turkey is done (about the 40-minute mark) 

Little Sweeties 

  • 6 small, sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • Sprinkle of sea salt on each 
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows


  1. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork; place into microwave for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Cut the potatoes down the center lengthwise, top with butter, pecans, and marshmallows.
  2. Warm in oven to melt marshmallows (or place on edge of your turkey sheet tray for last few minutes to melt)

Golden Raisin Cauliflower 

  • 1 smaller head of cauliflower, cut into bitesize florets  
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1& 1 teaspoon tablespoon good quality curry 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk 
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds 
  • ¼ golden raisins 
  • 1 bunch of fresh chopped cilantro (optional) 


  1. Heat an oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pile cauliflower on it, seasoning with curry powder and generous olive oil, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper.
  2. Toss it all together, then roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until the cauliflower caramelizes and turns deep brown.
  3. Plump raisins in small sauté pan with a little water or orange juice 
  4. Remove from oven when cauliflower is cooked through, tender and a rich golden brown.
  5. Toss with the almonds and raisins, then top with cilantro to serve. 

Thanksgiving Sweet Jars 
8 Servings

  • One 12-ounce package gingersnap cookies
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup red currant jelly
  • 1½ cups whipped cream


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs, about 2 minutes. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and wipe out the food processor.
  2. Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and heavy cream to the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Arrange eight 4-ounce mason jars or small serving cups on a baking sheet. Place 3 tablespoons of the gingersnap crumbs in each jar. Divide the cheesecake mixture evenly among the jars. Chill until set, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Remove the jars from the refrigerator and top each cheesecake with 2 tablespoons of the red currant jelly, a dollop of whipped cream and the remaining gingersnap crumbs.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap for up to two days.

Rustic Pumpkin 10~ 4 oz mason jars 

For the pumpkin pie filling:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

For the gingerbread cookie crust:

  • 1/4 cup melted and cooled coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed fine blanched almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (do not pack)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For topping:

Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  2. First make your pumpkin pie filling: in a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, egg yolk, pure maple syrup, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix melted and cooled coconut oil, coconut sugar, molasses, egg and vanilla extract, add in almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices, and salt; mix well to combine and form a dough. Allow dough to sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  4. Roll dough into 12 (around 1-inch) dough balls. Place each dough ball into muffin tin and use your hands or a teaspoon to help you form the dough into pie crusts, pressing down and working the dough about ¾ of the way up the muffin tin. Make sure there is not any holes in the bottom or sides. Bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Once done baking, you will notice that the cookie crust may have puffed up, take a teaspoon, and gently press it down on the bottom and sides while it’s still warm.
  6. Add the pumpkin pie filling to the cookie cups. Each cup will get approximately 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of filling. To smooth the filling, barely shaking the pan back and forth to settle the filling.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm
  8. Cool completely in the muffin tin before removing them from the pan. 
  9. To remove them, gently run a butter knife around the edges of the crust, then pull up on the parchment paper to remove. Serve immediately or cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
  10. Once ready to serve, top each pumpkin pie with a little whipped cream or coconut whipped cream, then sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon.

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