Tuesday 23 November 2021

The Perfect Turkey Dinner for Two

 Its that time of year again. In the United States it is Thanksgiving week and in the UK and Canada, people are starting to think about planning  their Holiday meals. 

I am lucky in that I have family very close by and we share a bubble, so for the time being I have people to share my celebratory meals with. 

I am ever away though that not everyone is that blessed and so I have put together a plan, including recipes, for a tiny Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner, sized perfectly for just two people.  You will have ample to eat on the day and enough for some tasty leftovers the day after. 

It will also work for one person on their own.  

Roast Boneless Turkey Breast


The perfect turkey to cook for just one or two people is a boneless Turkey Breast Roast.  They average in size with most being about 2 1/2 pounds in weight. 


This  allows for plenty of meat for the actual day of your meal, and then leftovers for sandwiches and such the day after. It may not be as pretty as a full sized turkey, but I can promise you that it tastes just as good.

You begin by making a delicious spice rub . . . seasoned salt, sweet paprika, onion and garlic powders, sage, parsley, marjoram and thyme, along with some coarse black pepper.  

I mix this with a bit of olive oil and then rub it all over the meat. 

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

Your turkey breast then gets placed into a small roaster, covered tightly with foil and roasted for about an hour and a half.  

I remove the foil after that time and roast it until the juices run clear.


Mine took an additional half hour the other day, but if you have a roast of this size it should not take any longer than that. 

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

It is loosely tented and left to rest while you make some gravy. The end result, as you can, see is a perfectly tender and moist turkey breast. 

It has a beautiful texture and is absolutely  filled with flavor.  


There is no waste whatsoever and you have a nice piece of meat that is ready to be served with your favorite vegetables on the day and then in sandwiches/casseroles/salads for a day or so after.  It's win/win/win! 

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

Yield: (Suitable for one 2 to 3 pound piece of meat)
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 1 H & 40 M
This is a very flavourful and easy way to cook a boneless turkey breast which results in perfectly cooked and moist meat!


  • one two to 3 pound boneless turkey breast
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C350*F/ gas mark 4. Have ready a baking dish with sides large enough to hold your piece of meat.
  2. Mix together the olive oil and all of the seasonings. Rub this mixture all over your turkey breast and place into the baking dish, bottom side down. Cover tightly with foil.
  3. Roast for 90 minutes, covered. Uncover and and roast until the meat juices run clear. My turkey breast was about 2 1/2 pounds in weight and it took 2 hours in total time.
  4. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Serve hot with your favorite vegetables and gravy.


Wrap and chill any leftovers to use sliced in sandwiches or in casseroles.

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Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Is there anything more glorious on the holiday table than a nice big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes? Probably not a lot in any case!

This recipe is perfectly sized for just two people.  You can absolutely make them ahead of time and then just reheat them on the day. 

You can read my full tutorial on how to make these perfectly here.  In the meantime here is the tasty printable recipe for your convenience! 

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 35 Min
There is nothing so wonderful as a nice bowl of hot fluffy mashed potatoes sitting on the table to go with whatever.


  • 3/4 pound (340g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS heavy cream
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS milk (or as needed)
  • salt and black pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes, rinse and cut into large chunks. Place into a saucepan and cover with lightly salted cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce to a quick simmer and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork tender.
  3. Warm the cream and butter together in the microwave while the potatoes are cooking, just until the butter melts.
  4. When the potatoes are done, drain them really well and then return to the saucepan. Shake the saucepan over the residual heat of the burner to dry them out really well. Pour the cream and butter over the potatoes.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes, adding only as much milk as needed to give you the proper consistency. You want light and fluffy. Do not over-mash or you risk them having a glue-like texture. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve hot.
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Perfect Gravy
One thing which people can really struggle with is making a good gravy. Its either lumpy, or too thin. Too thick, or lacking in taste. It might even be  too salty. 

This recipe makes for the best and perfect lump free gravy every single time. You can also make it well ahead of time as you don't actually need pan drippings to do it. 

It makes the perfect amount of gravy for two people with some leftovers for hot sandwiches, etc. the day afterwards. 

Simple Gravy

Simple Gravy

Yield: 6
Author: Marie Rayner
Cook time: 10 MinTotal time: 10 Min
This adaptable recipe allows you to make gravy for any kind of roasted meats, even if you don't have any drippings. Its deliciously simple!


  • 2 1/4 cups (540ml) of warm pan juices or stock (you can use beef, chicken or a combination of both) (If using pan juices top up with warm stock to make the required amount.)
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 4 TBS all purpose plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp each onion and garlic powders (not salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fine sea salt (as needed)


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. (If you have fat drippings from the meat you can use them, either chicken or beef.) Add the flour along with the onion and garlic powders. Whisk well together to make a roux. Cook, whisking continuously, for about 2 minutes to cook out any flour taste.
  2. Slowly whisk in half of the stock, whisking constantly. Once that has amalgamated (It will be thick already) whisk in the remainder of the stock.
  3. Cook, stirring, for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as required with pepper and salt. (Depending on your stock you may not need any salt.)
  4. Pour into a gravy boat and serve hot! Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
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Green Bean Almond Casserole

Another popular Thanksgiving dish is Green Bean Casserole. This version is totally make ahead and doesn't use cream soup.

You end up with a lush casserole with a fabulous sauce, flavored with some celery, onion and dillweed. A lovely almond topping adds a crunchy topping. Perfectly sized for two with some leftovers.  

Green Bean & Almond Casserole

This is simple and easy to make, and yet at the same time very elegant. 

You can make it ahead of time, right up to the point where you sprinkle the nutty topping over all.  Simply make the sauce, and stir in the beans.  

Spread in the casserole dish. Cover lightly and place in the refrigerator overnight.  

The next day when you want to bake it, bring it out of the fridge, uncover and bring to room temperature, about half an hour or so, sprinkle on the nut topping, and bake as per the recipe.

Green Bean & Almond Casserole For Two

Green Bean & Almond Casserole For Two

Yield: 2 (with leftovers)
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 35 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This is a fabulous side dish for the holidays with wonderful flavours


For the sauce:
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 1 additional small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS of butter
  • 1 TBS plain flour
  • generous 1/4 cup (75ml) half and half or single cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • salt and pepper to taste
You will also need:
  • 1 tin (400g/ 14 oz) cut green beans, drained well
  • 1/4 cup (30g) dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (85g) flaked almonds
  • 2 TBS butter, melted


  1. First make the sauce. Stud the bay leaf to the onion with the clove, pressing the clove through the bay leaf and into the onion.
  2. Place into a saucepan along with the milk and the half and half. Warm the milk mixture slowly to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to infuse with the flavours of the studded onion for 15 minutes. At the end of that time, strain the onion out.
  3. Melt the butter for the sauce in a saucepan. Add the chopped onions and celery and cook, stirring frequently over
  4. medium heat until softened. Whisk in the flour and cook over low heat for several minutes.
  5. Whisk in the strained milk mixture a little at a time, until the mixture forms a smooth sauce. Allow to cook, over low
  6. heat for 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of that time it should be lovely and thick.
  7. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the dill weed. Set aside and keep warm.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a shallow baking dish. (about 7 inches square).
  9. Drain your green beans very well. Fold into the sauce to combine well. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading out in an even layer.
  10. Mix together the bread crumbs, almonds and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of the green beans.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until heated through and golden brown. Serve hot.


You can prepare ahead of time, right up to the topping with the crumbs,

 and baking in the oven. Bring to room temperature when you want to

bake it. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top and proceed as above.

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Sage & Onion Stuffing
Of course with any holiday meal the stuffing is one of the highlights. At least it is for me. I started making Mary Berry's recipe for sage and onion stuffing a few years ago and fell in love with it. 

One reason I fell in love with this stuffing was because of the simplicity of its preparation.  It takes relatively few ingredients and goes together very quickly.

Sage and Onion Stuffing

You can also totally make it ahead of time. Simply pop into a buttered casserole dish and refrigerate.  When you are ready to cook it remove it from the fridge about half an hour prior to putting it into the oven. 

You don't want your casserole dish to crack with a sudden change of temperature. Dot the top with butter, cover and bake.  Uncover for the last five minutes or so if you want a crisp topping.

You can access the full sized recipe here if you want to make more. (Can you ever have too much stuffing?  I think not!)

Mary Berry's Sage & Onion Stuffing

Mary Berry's Sage & Onion Stuffing

Yield: 2, with leftovers
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 50 Min
I discovered this recipe for stuffing about 2 years ago and I have been making it ever since. I has become my absolute favourite stuffing to use for the holidays. Its quick simple and delicious! Trust Mary Berry! In one word, perfection.


  • 1/2 pound (225g) onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cups (150ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60g) butter melted (plus more to butter the baking dish)
  • 1/2 TBS chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 pound/4 slices (115g) fresh soft white bread crumbs
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • butter to dot over the top of the dish


  1. Place the chopped onion into a saucepan. Cover with the cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Drain very well.
  2. Return the onions to the saucepan. Stir in the butter and the remaining ingredients, tossing to combine and seasoning to taste.
  3. Allow to cool completely if you are using it to stuff a bird. If you are cooking it separately. Place into a buttered dish. Dot butter over the top.
  4. Cover and bake in a 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake for a further 5 - 10 minutes to crisp up the top if desired.
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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

For me every holiday meal of turkey has to include sweet potatoes in some way, shape or form. They just go wonderfully with turkey and add some nice color to the plate.

When I worked at the manor every year I would make a sweet potato casserole. This was basically just mashed sweet potatoes topped with a pecan praline and some marshmallows.  It tasted more like dessert to me.

mashed sweet potatoes

I much prefer my sweet potatoes to be a bit on the simple side.  That way I can really enjoy their deep earthy flavor, subtly sweet without going over board.

Sometimes I will just roast a few sweet potatoes along side of my turkey.  Just wash, dry, prick and pop into the oven on a small baking tray alongside the turkey.  They are usually done in about an hour to an hour and a half depending on their size.

Once they are soft, I simply squeeze them out of their skins into a bowl and mash with a fork.  You can add butter and salt and pepper if you like, but I like them just as they are.

Alternately you can make this tasty recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Its very simple and yes, incredibly delicious!
Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 50 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
Deep flavored, earthy and subtly sweet. This is a real winner.


  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 2 TBS heavy cream
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • a pinch of nutmeg


  1. Combine the potatoes, butter, 1 TBS of the cream, sugar and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until the potatoes are fall-apart tender. This will take 40 to 50 minutes. (Check periodically to give them a stir and make sure they aren't catching on the bottom.)
  3. Once they are tender, add the remaining cream and mash with a potato masher until only a few small lumps remain. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg.
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So there you have it, the perfect Turkey Dinner for Two people. Other than these dishes you will want one or two steamed vegetables.  I like to have brussels sprouts and carrots.  You can simply steam these.  

I do have a fabulous recipe for a Sprout and Bacon Gratin here.  This can totally be done ahead of time and then reheated on the day. You can also very easily cut the recipe in two.

Another simple dish is Sauteed Sprouts with Pancetta and Shallots. This is my favorite way of cooking them and eating them for that matter. Yes, I am a huge LOVER of Brussels Sprouts! 

Dilled Carrots

Carrots are lovely just peeled, sliced and steamed, but if you are looking for something a tiny bit fancier, these Dilled Carrots are really very nice! 

Of course it is very easy to pick up a few dinner rolls if you are so inclined and I have never minded tinned cranberry sauce. I favor the whole berry one myself. 

You can also pick up a pie if you want, but if you want homemade, this Impossible Pumpkin Pie from Scratch is very nice and very quick and easy to make!  This Apple and Cranberry Pie for one is also awfully nice!   To be honest, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and after having eaten a full holiday meal, this is more than enough to be split between two! 

Turkey Dinner for Two

 So this is how I would plan it if I was putting it all together.

Two days before:
If you are making your own cranberry sauce or chutney, do it on this day, cover and refrigerate. Make your stuffing ready to be popped into a casserole dish on the day.

The Day before:
Peel and prep all of your vegetables. Make your mashed potatoes, pop into a casserole dish, cover and chill in the refrigerator. Make your green bean casserole.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Make your gravy, cover and chill, ready to reheat on the day. Make your pies if making and pick up your rolls at the store.

On the day:
Prepare and roast your turkey breast. Make your mashed or roasted sweet potatoes. Reheat all of your other sides and steam some carrots and sprouts if desired.

Sit back, enjoy, and relax.  Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Some great tips here and the dinner looks wonderful.

    I've only been to one Thanksgiving dinner that an American friend here invited us to attend several years ago. I'd heard of Thanksgiving of course, but never really knew much of what it was about. It seems a lovely idea - a gathering of family and friends and a chance to remember that we have things we can be thankful for.

    I'm somewhat fascinated by the serving of mashed potato with a roast. I'm thinking it's a North American thing, as I can recall chatting to British and Australian guests at the Thanksgiving dinner and we all agreed that we'd serve roasties, though all the Americans and Canadians said it had to be mash :)

    I will do my turkey breast on NYE (with roasties - ha, ha), so I shall bookmark this for using then. We don't have Thanksgiving and Christmas tends to be the Swedish style one in this blended household.

    1. It was the same in the UK Marie, only roasties with any roast dinner, turkey or otherwise. North Americans love their mash for sure! I have seen examples of the Swedish Style Christmas and they are quite interesting! I was sad to leave the moose you had sent me behind in the UK with all my other Christmas Decs. Time for me to make new traditions I guess. This turkey roast is really delicious! Hope you do get to try and that you like it! xoxo

  2. This is lovely Marie! I make homemade cranberry sauce and do a cornbread dressing instead of stuffing. I usually do green beans for a vegetable, we don't care for them in a casserole. I do them Southern style with bacon and onions. Have a good week!

    1. Thanks so much Raquel. I know a lot of Americans, especially southerners like the cornbread dressing. I love any kind of dressing! Your green beans sound lovely! xoxo

  3. This is great Marie thankyou ! It will only be the two of us , so this will be perfect for our Christmas dinner . Tradition for us to have Roasters in the U.K.though :) Wishing you all a truly Blessed Thanksgiving . Debbie x

    1. Yes, roasties will be missed here. I know I can make them myself from scratch and I just might!! I will be having family over for Christmas! xoxo


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