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Thanksgiving for Two: Your Perfect Menu

Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a feast for a massive gathering. If you plan the right menu, it's the perfect holiday to spend with a single loved one. See the perfect Thanksgiving turkey pictures.

Several years ago, I ate hot dogs and chips for Thanksgiving. No, I wasn't in another country, and I could've afforded a turkey and all the sides. My wife and I were dining alone that year, and frankly, we wanted hot dogs. But it didn't stop there. We also had birthday cake and ice cream for dessert. Our families and even some of our friends were aghast. "How could you have Turkey Day without a Turkey?", they'd ask. What they didn't understand was that we were still celebrating Thanksgiving -- we were just doing it our own way. We were liberated by an absence of guests.

When you're having Thanksgiving for two, you can do whatever you want. Sure, you can stick to turkey and the traditional sides, but you don't have to. There's no rulebook proclaiming that we must eat a certain type of fowl and a particular form of casserole. There are infinite dining options and possibilities for a solo pair on Turkey Day.

If it's just you and your significant other, make it a romantic dinner. Close the drapes, light a few candles and turn off the TV. Thanksgiving is about family, so take the opportunity to spend the meal focused on that important person in your life by talking, eating and enjoying each other's company.

Of course, talking, laughing and spending time together isn't just for lovers. If you'll be dining with a brother, sister, parent, child or any other family member or friend, you can still focus on each other. Let the sunshine in and talk about whatever you want. Just spend the day enjoying that person's company. Plus, without all the stress that comes with a house full of guests, it's OK if not everything's perfect. If you burn the casserole or overcook the bird, it's not the end of the world.

As far as food is concerned, you can stick to a traditional Thanksgiving theme, but alter the menu by cooking two Cornish game hens or even just a small chicken and forgoing some of the normally numerous sides. For example, stuffing, mashed potatoes and candied yams may be essentials, but do you really need the beets, numerous casseroles and ordinary sides like green beans and mac and cheese?

If you can't stand the thought eating any other type of fowl, keep it traditional, but micro-size the portions. You could cook two turkey breasts as an alternative to an entire bird, or instead of getting a 25-pound turkey for a table of 15, buy a smaller bird -- around 5 or 6 pounds -- for yourselves. You'll still have plenty of leftovers! You can also make pecan and pumpkin pies in cupcake pans, for smaller, cuter desserts that are perfect for two.

If you want to go for something completely different, just dine on whatever you want. Hamburgers, tacos, soup or lasagna -- it doesn't matter as long as you both enjoy eating it and you're together. I ate hot dogs and cake and ice cream on the best Turkey Day I've ever had, and it's a memory I'll always be thankful for.