Thanksgiving is a holiday where food and family come together: A big feast for a big family. However, not everyone will have a large gathering. In fact, for many, the table may be set for just one or two. Despite this, a traditional Thanksgiving meal can still be enjoyed.

First, you must decide on whether you want to cook. You could go full speed ahead and prepare many dishes in smaller servings. Surf the internet for scaled-down recipes or cut your traditional recipes in half and freeze the leftovers. Even the smallest turkey can have you eating leftovers for weeks. Try just buying the turkey breast or a leg to keep leftovers manageable. Or try a Cornish hen, which looks like a cute little mini turkey and tastes like chicken (probably because it is chicken).

If you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, prepare just a couple of dishes and shop for a few convenience dishes to round out the meal. Deli salads, cranberry sauce, rolls, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie can all be purchased pre-prepared. Then, you can spend your time on the mini bird and favorite side dish.

The last option is to go out to a restaurant that serves a traditional Thanksgiving meal. There’s nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with strangers when the food is cooked for you. Plus, there are no leftovers to have to worry about (although that’s a disappointing factor for some). If leftovers are desired, consider purchasing a Thanksgiving feast at a grocery store or restaurant. No matter how it’s done, you can still enjoy a holiday buffet, even if you’re only one at the table.

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

6 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

1 tablespoon chopped red onion

½ pear, cored and chopped

Dressing:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

½ tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove stem ends of Brussels sprouts and slice very thin. In a large bowl, add sprouts, pecans, cranberries, cheese, onion and pear. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients for the dressing. Toss with the Brussels sprouts mixture and refrigerate or serve.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Nutrition facts (per serving): 160 calories, 11 grams fat, 260 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams protein

Smith, a registered dietitian, is a nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.

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