Bite-sized Thanksgiving dinners helpful for guests and your leftovers | CBC News

Thanksgiving is the holiday of food traditions, of roasting a turkey and accessorizing it with the same stuffing and side dishes your family has made and served for generations.

It's a tough time to stray too far from that which has become habit. Even the much-ridiculed gelatin salad that never actually gets eaten would be missed if it wasn't on the Thanksgiving table.

Yet there are occasions to experiment, and perhaps venture away from the traditional big bird, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Perhaps, as one friend lamented, you don't have a big enough table to seat everyone or maybe you'd like to attempt to streamline the cooking process and do the whole spread in your Instant Pot.

Here are a few ways to deliver the turkey dinner experience in a new way. You could try slow roasting the bird in the slow cooker or making the entire meal bite-sized so friends can stand and mingle, cocktail or craft brew in hand.

Roasted Brussels sprout skewers

Simmer whole or halved Brussels sprouts for five minutes. Otherwise, cook them with a bit of water in the microwave for three to four minutes, or until just tender. Then roll them around in some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast at around 204 C (400 F) until golden on the edges and tender enough to impale with a bamboo skewer.

Serve with a quick grainy mustard aioli for dipping. You can make this by mixing real mayonnaise with a spoonful of grainy mustard.

Turkey dinner on a stick

I thought of this jokingly but it's kind of fun to skewer roasted Brussels sprouts or other vegetables, chunks of roasted turkey and even cubes of toasted bread.

I tossed mine with melted butter and sage. Then I toasted them on a baking sheet along with the Brussels sprouts, making crunchy giant croutons that tasted like stuffing.

Turkey and mashed potato croquettes

Mix mashed potatoes and roughly chopped turkey with grated aged white cheddar, if you like.

Season with some salt. Shape into small logs and roll in beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs. Bake at high heat or shallow fry in a neutral oil like canola until golden and crispy.

Turkey dinner in a jar

I also thought of this jokingly but then realized that turkey pot pies are a go-to way of assembling leftovers for the freezer.

Small pot pies would be easy to eat out of your hand. They deliver turkey, vegetables, mashed potatoes and some form of gravy all in one without need for a knife.

Use any chicken pot pie recipe and top with mashed potatoes.

Another option is to moisten with gravy chunks of roasted turkey or chicken, and roasted or sautéed vegetables, such as sliced leeks, carrots and peas. Then top with mashed potatoes.

Warm a bunch on a baking sheet to serve with a fork. Leftovers are already packed up.

Mini pumpkin pies

Roll out enough pastry for a single crust pie. Cut small rounds and press gently into mini- or regular-sized muffin tins. Whisk one 14-oz can of pumpkin puree with one can sweetened condensed milk, two eggs and pumpkin pie spice.

You can make your own pumpkin pie spice mix using cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Dollop your mixture into the tin so it almost fills the shells.

Bake at 177 C (350 F) for 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.