Thanksgiving meals don’t have to feed an army. Make this spread for two to four people including slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert.
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Normally for Single Serving Sunday I try to share recipes that only make one serving, but with the upcoming Thanksgiving feast I decided to do something special – a Thanksgiving meal that serves two (with leftovers) or four people.
Many recipes for Thanksgiving produce a magnitude of servings, but what about the people out there only cooking for two, or four? This menu I have prepared easily serves 2 with leftovers (or 4 with none leftover). Because who doesn’t want leftovers from Thanksgiving? That being said, if you have hearty eaters you may want to double the sides.
This dinner consists of a slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. Take a moment to be jealous.
My turkey tenderloin came out so juicy and flavorful that it will be hard to convince me to cook a whole turkey in the future. It literally fell apart when I lifted it out of the pot.
By using a slow cooker I was also able to do whatever the heck I wanted in the oven, which is a huge perk for those of us with only one oven (one day I hope to be spoiled with a double oven). Even the gravy was amazing after cooking in all those delicious juices.
As you are aware, I have a habit of adding Greek yogurt to anything I possibly can so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it shows up here in dinner rolls. The rosemary really sold me on these rolls. If you don’t like rosemary, please substitute for another herb because they will rock your world with their subtle herby-ness.
You can also prep these the day beforehand and refrigerate before the last rise. The next day, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
Then there’s the stuffing. I’ve seen stuffing made with all types of bread but this was the first recipe I had seen using bagels. I originally set aside two corn muffins for stuffing, but those were thrown into the freezer once I discovered I could use a bagel instead. I freaking love bagels! And I was not disappointed by the trade-off, especially since I used an everything bagel and there was bacon involved.
For a green side I chose brussels sprouts. Only a couple Thanksgivings ago I discovered that I no longer hated them and actually became obsessed. As a result, they are nostalgic to me at this time of year. Just a simple roasting and a drizzle of balsamic is all they needed.
Growing up we usually had both regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes but knew I would burst if I tried to add both onto this already long lineup. I went with a twice baked sweet potato that is topped with pecans and coconut. Although it is less sweet than a marshmallow topping, it has a crunchier topping that will make you forget about those puffy white things (no offense marshmallows, I still love you).
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without some cranberry sauce. This version uses pomegranate juice for a more complex flavor.
This can be made the day beforehand or even a few days before to minimize the amount of work you have to do on the big day. But if you do have to whip it up the same day, rest assured that it will only take 20 minutes.
Of course, once you’ve stuffed your face you’ll still find room for dessert, right? Especially for pumpkin crème brulee. I know you may initially think it’s a crime to not have pumpkin pie but it’s basically pumpkin pie and crème brulee all in one. Are you really going to be upset by having both?
Now for some tips on how I timed everything in order to be hot and ready all at the same time.
- An hour before turkey is done cooking (mine only took 4 hours), take rolls out of fridge (if prepared the night before), toast the bagel for stuffing, and prep the brussels sprouts.
- Bake the stuffing and brussels at the same time and with 20 minutes of cook time remaining, add the sweet potatoes and rolls to the oven.
- At that time, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and prepare the gravy. Slice up the turkey and serve!
- Then once your belly has digested a little to make room for dessert, torch the creme brulee just before you’re ready to dig in.
One year ago: Buckeye Cupcakes
Two years ago: Apple Blackberry Pie
Three years ago: Cranberry Sauce
CROCKPOT TURKEY TENDERLOIN WITH GRAVY
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp white wine
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 to 2 lb. turkey breast loin (mine was 1.8 lb. Rotisserie seasoned)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
GREEK YOGURT-ROSEMARY DINNER ROLLS
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp salt
BAGEL AND BACON STUFFING
- 2 everything bagels, cut into cubes
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1-1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- 16 oz. brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
- 1 Tbsp plive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic vinegar, for serving (optional)
TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES
- 2 sweet potatoes, cooked
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
- 4 oz. fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
PUMPKIN CRÈME BRULEE
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 Tbsp pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 4 tsp for topping
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch nutmeg
For the turkey:
- Lightly coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Place onion, carrot, celery and garlic in slow cooker.
- Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
- Whisk in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season turkey with salt and pepper, place in the slow cooker (add more liquid if necessary to cover), cover with lid and cook 4 to 6 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.
- Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with foil and let it rest 20 minutes. Strain braising liquid into saucepan (keep carrot and celery for serving, discard bay leaf), whisk in cornstarch and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
- Slice turkey and serve with gravy and reserved vegetables
For the rolls *:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast and honey, let sit for five minutes until foamy.
- Add the all-purpose flour, yogurt, olive oil, rosemary and salt and stir with the dough hook (or stir with a spoon).
- Slowly add in the bread flour until the dough sticks together and gets tacky/starts to pull away from the sides. Knead for 5 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a clean bowl that has been oiled. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
- Knead the dough a few times to remove the air, then split into 4 balls.
- Place the rolls close together in a baking pan and let rise for 30 minutes (or stop, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight – let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly golden.
For the stuffing:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a small baking dish with nonstick spray, set aside.
- Spread the bagel pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 375.
- While the bagel pieces are toasting, cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often until crispy, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate, lined with a paper towel.
- In a medium bowl, add the broth, bagel pieces, bacon, onion, and parsley; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to the baking dish and bake until top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.
For the brussels sprouts:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss brussels sprouts in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, cut sides down.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes or until browned. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired.
For the sweet potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Split potatoes in half lengthwise. Leaving about 1/8-inch of flesh, scoop out the insides of each half and place in a small bowl.
- Whip potatoes until creamy. Add butter, milk, honey, salt and pepper and stir until well incorporated.
- Fill empty potato shells with potato mixture. Top with pecans and coconut.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the coconut browns.
For the cranberry sauce *:
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mixture will thicken as it cooks, and will thicken more as it cools.
- Cool in a jar or bowl in the fridge.
For the crème brulee *:
- Preheat the oven to 300 and put on a pot of water to boil. Make sure the 4 ramekins fit inside the dish you will be baking them in (I used an 8x8-inch baking dish).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the 4 teaspoons of sugar. Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins and place in the baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish half way up the sides of the ramekins, being careful not to splash it inside the ramekins.
- Bake for 40 minutes for wide shallow ramekins or 50-55 minutes for regular ramekins.
- Let cool in water bath, then move to fridge to chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
- Right before serving (and only then), sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over each and brulee with a kitchen torch until browned and crispy.
*Can be made the day before.
Source: Turkey adapted from Gina’s Skinny Taste. Rolls adapted from The Lean Green Bean. Stuffing adapted from Very Culinary. Brussels and sweet potatoes are The Spiffy Cookie originals. Cranberry sauce down-sized from Tasty Kitchen. Crème brulee from Dessert for Two.