Holiday Prep: Your Must-Have Guide for Planning a Small Thanksgiving Feast


October 27, 2020 | Food Lion
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Tagged:  Thanksgiving

The holidays are almost here and as we get ready to celebrate with the people we love most, you’re probably thinking about your Thanksgiving meal. After all, there’s a lot to look forward to - juicy turkey, cheesy casseroles, sweet fall desserts and more. However, there is a fair amount of preparation that goes into making a Thanksgiving feast, right? And this year, you may be keeping your guest list a little smaller. So, how do you plan for that?

We have some tips that can help and you’ll learn all about them in this blog. From planning your holiday menu and table settings to ideas for family-friendly activities, let this article be your guide for planning a small Thanksgiving feast this year. 

Most Loved Flavors

Woman Taking a Pecan Pie Out of the Oven for Thanksgiving Feast

Even with a smaller guest list, Thanksgiving is all about the joy of the holiday, including your very favorite food traditions and the flavors you look forward to every year. So, make sure to plan on making you and your family’s most beloved dishes. Besides, after these past several months, as things looked a little different, we could all use that taste of happiness that makes the holiday dinner table even merrier. 

The only thing you should consider is changing the quantities that you make. And speaking of which, we’ll talk all about that in our next section. So, keep reading! 

Keep the Number of Portions in Mind

Trying to figure out how much food to pick up from your neighborhood Food Lion for your Thanksgiving feast can be a challenge, but we have some tips on the subject that can help! In fact, these tidbits will give you a general rule of thumb on the quantity of food needed per guest. 

  • Turkey - Plan on serving one pound to 1.5 pounds per guest. So, if you have a group of eight or nine, look for a turkey that is between eight and 13 pounds. Although for more intimate family gatherings, you may want to consider picking up turkey breasts instead. Speaking of which, we have a delicious recipe for a Sheet-Pan Turkey Dinner using turkey breasts below. So, make sure to check it out! 
  • Potatoes - You will need one-half pound per person for potato dishes. 
  • Vegetable Sides - Pick up enough veggies to be able to serve one-third pound per family member. That should be the perfect amount!
  • Pie - A standard-sized pie can be sliced into eight to 10 (or even 12 thinly sliced) pieces. 

Now, let’s take a look at some recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving feast this year, including a turkey dish, bite-sized sweet potato casserole and a different take on pecan pie. 

Sheet-Pan Turkey Dinner

Sheet-Pan Turkey Dinner

This all-in-one sheet pan recipe is the perfect dish to make if you want to enjoy the tasty tradition of turkey without roasting a whole bird. And with a combination of vegetables, stuffing, cranberries and, of course, turkey, all cooked on sheet pans, this recipe idea may be the only one you need for your Thanksgiving feast. 

Our Sheet-Pan Turkey Dinner is also quick & easy to make, taking a total of 50 minutes to complete. “Delicious” and “easy” - two words that make the holiday feel even merrier to the cook in the family, right?

Sweet Potato Casserole Bites

Sweet Potato Casserole Bites

Sweet potato casserole is a food tradition for many families on Thanksgiving. Is that the case in your family? If so, we have a recipe idea that takes this relatively large casserole and lets you and your family enjoy it in a slightly different way - baked as individual slices of sweet potato, marshmallow and pecans. In total, this recipe makes 15 to 20 sweet potato bites, so you may have to adjust it for your Thanksgiving meal. But, you can plan on serving two or three pieces per person. 

Want to make these casserole bites? You can find the full recipe here!

Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan Pie Cookies

Pecan pie is a Thanksgiving tradition that’s sweet, buttery, nutty and oh-so scrumptious! And these Pecan Pie Cookies remind you of all of those tasty flavors, but in cookie form instead. And since you’re making cookies, it’s easy to get the kids involved in helping to make this dessert, which is what the holidays are all about, right? Family time! 

Before you get started making this recipe, we have a quick tip! Since it makes around 36 cookies, you may choose to either bake a half batch for your smaller group or go ahead with the full recipe and save some in the freezer (for up to six months) for another day. 

Get Creative with the Table Setting

For smaller family holiday meals, you may have more space on the table. And that means you have more room for decor! But what can you add to your setup? Here are some ideas:

  • Small pumpkins
  • Fall flowers (like mums)
  • Fall fruits - i.e., pears, apples, etc. 
  • Candles

Besides adding color and fragrance, another great thing about these items is that you can find all of these products at your local Food Lion, so no need to make an extra trip to another store. 

Enjoy a Little Family Fun

Besides eating together, make sure to enjoy some quality family time, too, with fun activities. And like you’ve probably guessed, we have some ideas of Thanksgiving traditions that you can do this year:

  • Make tasty Thanksgiving treats together, such as Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies, Donut Hole Pumpkin Cake Pops, Fall Popcorn Balls and so on. 
  • Watch a festive family-friendly Thanksgiving movie - with a bowl of popcorn, of course!
  • Have a mini pumpkin hunt in the backyard. Simply hide the pumpkins (that you pick up at your nearest Food Lion) in sneaky hiding spots throughout the backyard (or in the house if the weather isn’t ideal), then let the kiddos (and any adults that want to join the fun) start searching. You can even have a prize for whoever finds the most mini pumpkins, like a bag of candy corn or another classic autumn treat
  • Video chat with family members that live in other states, maybe over a fun fall drink like a Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate. Share the recipe beforehand so you can enjoy it together!

Save the Leftovers 

In many families, the leftovers are equally as exciting as the holiday meal itself. From leftover turkey to stuffing, we’ve pulled together two recipe ideas that make the most of these ingredients the day after Thanksgiving. Now, let’s see what dishes you can look forward to sharing with your family.

Turkey French Dip Sandwich

Turkey French Dip Sandwich

Slice up your leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving feast for this savory and delicious sandwich. Our Turkey French Dip recipe is a Thanksgiving twist on the classic roast beef dish and has that gooey melted cheese that we all look for in a French dip, as well as a dipping sauce. But, in this case, it’s gravy. 

So, if you have leftover gravy, feel free to reheat that and use it for dipping. However, if that’s not the case, don’t worry! We have a suggestion within this recipe too. Find the full list of ingredients, as well as detailed instructions on our recipe portal

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing Bites

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing Bites

Leftover stuffing tastes great reheated in the oven, but if you want to repurpose it in a new and exciting way, try these Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing Bites! All you need are three things - 1) Leftover stuffing, 2) bacon and 3) toothpicks. That’s it! 

Then, after about 10 minutes of prepping and 40 minutes in the oven at 375℉, you’re ready to enjoy this tasty snack with your family. You could also serve it as a part of your lunch or even as a little appetizer before dinner. 

Sound like something your family will love? Get the recipe here!

Now that we’ve covered the bases for your small Thanksgiving feast, including tips for portions, recipe inspiration, ideas for fun family activities and more, you’re ready to plan your holiday, including your grocery shopping list. And of course, keep in mind that your neighborhood Food Lion is the destination for your Thanksgiving feast essentials at low prices, especially when you shop the HotSales that will be happening throughout the holiday season. So, look for these deals and more in our Weekly Specials flyer in the upcoming weeks to save even more. 

From our family to yours, we hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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