Alan and I share a Thanksgiving secret: neither of us likes turkey and Stove Top-tasting stuffing as much as everyone else seems to. I’ve always been drawn to all the other sides, such as the mashed potatoes and veggies and all of the pumpkin desserts. Even though those are a lot of my favorite things, it always felt like I was missing out on the main event. So this year, we decided to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us with a main course we’d enjoy more than a big stuffed bird.
We cleared all our books, mail, and even our coffee machine off our teeny kitchen table so we could have a proper sit down dinner (instead of balancing our plates on our laps in front of the TV). Alan made yummy mushroom stuffed quail, and I fixed roasted baby zucchini, baby Dutch potatoes, and wee lil’ loaves of cornbread with honey butter.
They were really easy to make and so flavorful. I used this recipe, but dressed ’em up a bit by adding parmesan cheese, fresh crushed garlic and a pinch of paprika.
It was so much fun having a mini early Thanksgiving dinner for two and transforming our kitchen into a very cozy dining room. The quail was a great turkey substitute, and we both fell into a serious food coma afterward — it definitely felt like Thanksgiving!
Loaded Baked Potato Bites
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes recipe
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1.25 pounds of baby Dutch potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
a handful of finely chopped fresh chives
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
a few pinches of parmesan cheese
a sprinkle of paprika
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender. On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato. With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh chopped chives, parmesan cheese, crushed garlic, and a sprinkle of paprika.
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.Mushroom Stuffing
As created by Alan
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pack white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons chives, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
3-4 slices of sourdough bread, cubed
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic, shallot, mushrooms, spinach, chives, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mushrooms are nearly done. Add chopped bacon and cook 2-3 minutes. Mix bread cubes into the mixture at the end and add salt and pepper to taste. This made enough stuffing for 4 quails and then some. After stuffing the quails, we baked the rest in a lightly oiled pan on 400 degrees for 25 minutes.