Side Orders: Cook a Thanksgiving dinner for 2-4 on a single sheet pan

Contributed Photo / The third location of Zaxby's in Cleveland, Tenn., opens Nov. 20 at 425 Stuart Road NE.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you may be somewhat stressed, particularly if you're planning on a small gathering of two or three. If that's the case, you're most likely not planning on roasting a 20-pound turkey unless you want bags of leftovers in your freezer. But here's a solution if it's just the two of you and maybe one or two extra mouths to feed. It's a one-pot Thanksgiving meal, only this turkey dinner bakes on a sheet pan — the whole thing, from the turkey to the stuffing and two vegetables.

(READ MORE: Thanksgiving dinner costs are up, even as turkey prices tumble)

It's a recipe I found during that first Thanksgiving dinner we had during the pandemic. Remember that one? Hard to forget, but just in case I need to shake your memory bank, it was the one when most all restaurants were closed, we couldn't gather with family and friends and the whole Thanksgiving was turned on its head. It may be one Thanksgiving you'd rather forget. Nevertheless, it was hard for me not to make turkey dinner even though it was just my husband and me.

Since then, we're back to a big Thanksgiving with a full table of family, but there are still a lot of us out there who are cooking for a small group, and this recipe is for you.

(READ MORE: Get a Thanksgiving meal in minutes from these Chattanooga-area restaurants)

In this all-in-one recipe, the turkey breast roasts over a sourdough stuffing right next to sweet potatoes and greens beans. It's the perfect holiday meal to feed four people, plus it cooks in under an hour, and the cleanup couldn't be easier. The only thing that's left is to ask someone to bring the cranberry sauce — or open a can, if you must.

This recipe requires a little bit of planning so that everything finishes cooking at the same time. Make sure your turkey breast is right at 2 pounds so that it will finish cooking at the same time as the green beans and sweet potatoes; any smaller and the turkey will be overcooked; any larger and you'll end up with raw meat. Feel free to prepare everything in advance, so when dinner comes around you can pop everything onto the sheet pan, slide it into the oven and grab yourself a cocktail. There's an additional plus to this meal: One pan means little cleanup.

One-Pan Turkey Dinner

For the stuffing:

1 pound (1 loaf) sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced sage

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and finely chopped

For the turkey:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon minced sage

1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (2-pound) turkey breast, skin on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sweet potatoes:

1 pound (2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons brown butter

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon minced sage

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the green beans:

12 ounces green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare the stuffing: Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, mix all of the stuffing ingredients until well incorporated. Let soak for 15 minutes, then spread in an even layer over the left half of the baking sheet, making a well in the center for the turkey.

Meanwhile, prepare the turkey: In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter with the sage, thyme and minced garlic. Season the turkey breast well with salt and pepper, then place in the center of the stuffing. Rub the turkey with the butter mixture.

Prepare the sweet potatoes: In a medium bowl, toss all of the sweet potato ingredients together to coat. Spread the sweet potatoes over the top half of the empty right side of the baking sheet. The slices will overlap like a gratin. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the green beans: In a medium bowl, toss together all the green beans ingredients. After 30 minutes, add the green beans to the remaining quarter of the baking sheet, spreading in an even layer to fill the space. Continue to cook until the green beans are tender and the turkey reads 155 degrees on a meat thermometer, 20 to 30 minutes longer.

Remove the tray from the oven, and tent with foil, then let rest for 15 minutes. Carve the turkey and serve.


— The Zaxby's chicken chain is opening a third location Monday in Cleveland, Tennessee. The 3,825-square-foot restaurant has a white farmhouse-style design with a dining area that can accommodate up to 70 guests.

According to a news release, the restaurant features Zaxby's new cutting-edge digital menu boards and a double drive-thru, each with its own windows for payment and pickup to streamline to-go service. It will bring 60 new jobs to the area.

The new location, at 425 Stuart Road NE, is owned and operated by Cleveland Foods LLC, which opened its first Zaxby's location in 2000.

— Ernest Keith Smith, a country singer/songwriter known professionally as Ernest, has teamed up with Logan's Roadhouse to showcase his favorite meal on the steakhouse menu: the mesquite grilled sirloin paired with a skewer of grilled shrimp and sides of cheesy broccoli and a baked sweet potato.

The surf-and-turf special, the LogErn, is available for takeout on the website, Orders can be picked up at either Chattanooga location, 3592 Cummings Highway or 504A Northgate Mall Drive.

It's quite a mouthful for the price, just over $21. And for two average appetites, it's big enough to share.

— There's also something new from Krystal to celebrate the holiday season. The famous burger chain, founded in Chattanooga, boasts a new look for its takeout boxes.

The holiday steamer pack fits up to 24 of those delicious little burgers in a box that looks like a whimsical gingerbread house.

Order a boxful for your next family or football gathering, and it's sure to empty quickly. It's the perfect solution for a no-cook feast of burgers with those little cooked onions.

Contact Anne Braly at or

  photo  Anne Braly