A few scaled-back versions of some favorite Thanksgiving dishes

Thanksgiving will look different for a lot of people this year and you may be entertaining a smaller crowd. Chef Alisa Malavenda joins FOX6 WakeUp with a few scaled-back versions of some favorite Thanksgiving dishes. 

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving

( for two with those essential leftovers)

This year Thanksgiving looks different for a lot of folks, so make it easy without giving up all the traditional thanksgiving dishes, but on one pan.

With a little pre-prep you can spend the day, enjoying a cocktail or two, football and have a social distance zoom thanksgiving sharing these recipes with the ones you love.

First, Step One

Make you gravy ahead of time! You can make it 5 days beforehand.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Roast a pan of 4# turkey wings or legs with some vegetables a few days ahead and remove dripping. Add the rest to a stock pot, add water and make stock.

  • 5 cups Roasted Turkey Stock made from Turkey legs and vegetables. OR store-bought quality brand like” Kitchen Basics”
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 t minced herb like (sage, rosemary and thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to
  • Drippings from turkey pan

•In large saucepan, combine turkey stock, the onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until mixture is reduced to four cups, about 30-45 minutes.

•When broth is almost reduced to the correct amount, in another heavy saucepan combine flour and butter.

•Cook and stir over low heat until flour begins to take on a bit of color. Strain the stock into the pan with the flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk. Add the drippings from the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour into containers, cover, and chill for up to 5 days.

• Heat until simmering. Taste the gravy. If it tastes flat, add more salt, a bit at a time, until the gravy tastes rich and meaty. Then stir in pepper and serve.

Next, Step Two :

Make your dressing – and set aside

I like a sausage, sage and mushroom bread pudding or dressing (Recipe below), but use whatever is your family’s favorite.

· Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line an 11 by 18-inch sheet pan with foil. If you are someone who doesn’t like their food touching you can build separate foil trays by folding a large piece of foil in half, and folding up the edges to create three sections ; one taking up about ½ of the tray to hold the turkey and stuffing, and two smaller sections to each hold your choice of vegetable and sweet potatoes. Set aside.

Recipe for my favorite bread pudding /dressing

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. wild mushroom (shiitake, oyster, cremini, Portobello) coarsely chopped
  • 1# sausage ( optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or ½ C combination onion and shallots
  • 1 celery rib, medium chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 T. fresh sage
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups half and half ( see note)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 cups of day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

Note* Using butter and stock in this recipe instead of the half and half and eggs which make it richer – it would be more like a traditional dressing than a bread pudding

•Heat oil in a heavy pot over med-high heat. If using sausage , cook and crumble , set aside

Add mushrooms, garlic, onion, celery, parsley, sage and thyme.

•Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and brown, about 15 minutes.

•Remove pot from heat and season with salt and pepper.

•Whisk eggs, cream and milk with the 1/4 cup grated cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl to blend.

•Add bread cubes, toss to coat. Let stand for about 15 minutes, stir in mushroom mixture.

· Preheat the oven to 375°

· Spread in an even layer over the left half of the baking sheet, making an indent in the center for the turkey breast to fit snuggly .

Step Three: Prepare Your Turkey

The key is to use an average size turkey breast weighing 2 pounds so everything cooks properly

For the Turkey:

  • 1 – 2# Turkey Breast, skin on
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ C white wine
  • cheesecloth
  • 4 T softened butter
  • 1 t minced sage
  • 1 t minced thyme
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • Salt and pepper

· Melt butter in a saucepan and add white wine ( you can also use a little soy sauce for browning and saltiness if you so desire)

· Soak cheese cloth in the mixture

· In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter with the sage, thyme and garlic. Season the turkey breast well with salt and pepper, and rub the turkey under and on top of the skin with the butter mixture. Nestle turkey breast in the center of the stuffing. Drape the turkey breast with the cheese cloth and brush the top of the cloth with the remaining butter that didn’t get soaked in to the cloth. Place in oven, and cook for 30 minutes.

· Either cut sweet potatoes in half or round disks and prep vegetables , I prefer brussels sprouts or green beans, but feel free to use squash or carrots.

· After 30 minutes add the sweet potatoes and the vegetables to the other two foiled compartments and cook another 30 minutes or so until the turkey reaches 165 degrees and the potatoes are cooked through.


If you have room, you can fit a ramekin or two on the sheet pan and make homemade cranberry sauce by adding

2 C fresh cranberries to about ½ cup sugar or maple syrup

And some fresh grated orange zest and divide into ramekins.

If you want to make mashed potatoes ahead you can do so or just prepare while the sheet pan dinner is cooking.

Boil your potatoes as you normally do and then put them through a potato ricer on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and keep them covered in the fridge. When your sheet pan dinner is almost done ,add butter and half n half to a sauce pan. When the mixture is warm add the strings of potatoes to heat through. Use a whisk and whip the potatoes until fluffy.

***Use a potato ricer, food mill or masher to make your potatoes. Do not use a mixer or food processor as this will give you starchy, gummy potatoes. The potato ricer makes the fluffiest potatoes. I use about ¼ -½ C half and half per pound and 3 T butter.