Thanksgiving is usually a time to gather with family and friends, but sometimes it’s nice to have a more intimate gathering with just your “better half”, or a few friends at home. Since Tatjana is working in London, and I just had a fabulous week in New York with mom – I decided to have a relaxed, quiet celebration this year with just a few close friends.

Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes

Cooking a whole turkey just doesn’t make sense for two or three people. I originally wrote this recipe for center cut pork chops (with cooking time adjusted accordingly) but realized it would be a great combination of flavors with turkey when I spotted the turkey tenders in my local grocery store.

Boil sweet potato chunks to just fork tender and drain

Reduce the apple juice and cider vinegar for the sauce
Dredge tenders in flour with fresh thyme
Simmer turkey tenders with sweet potato & pears
Serve the juicy turkey tenders with sauce, pears, and sweet potatoes
Festive and tasty, yet much easier and quicker to make. Leftovers are great sliced into a crusty roll and dipped into the sauce as you would a French Dip the next day.
… and enjoy with someone special

Click here to see more about How the PCA Works, and on What’s In It For You? to see why you need a Personal Chef Approach Membership. Then check out the video below for a quick tour of What You Can Expect From Your PCA Membership?

Why not make life easier on yourself, especially during this busy holiday season? Right now you can take the Personal Chef Approach™ for a no obligation trial run, and enjoy all my recipes and menu plans. Just “like” me on Facebook, click on free sample, enter the promo code and sign-up for your first month FREE! Cancel at anytime during that first 30 days, and you will be billed absolutely nothing.


Turkey Tenders with Pears, Sweet Potatoes & Maple – Cider Reduction

Perfect for smaller Thanksgiving celebrations, plus this recipe is a lighter, healthier alternative to the Thanksgiving classics.

Servings: 4


4 cups water
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Bartlett pears, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 pounds of turkey tenders
salt and pepper to taste


1). Bring water to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sweet potato chunks, cook until just fork tender but not mushy, about 12 – 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2). Meanwhile bring cider vinegar and apple juice to boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Reduce by half, boiling for about 15 – 20 minutes. Add syrup and mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, whisk continually for 5 minutes. Add pear chunks, stir for two minutes, and reduce heat to low.

3). While cider vinegar and apple juice are reducing, mix flour, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and granulated garlic. Dredge the tenders, shaking off any excess flour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4). Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey tenders and brown 4-5 minutes per side. Add sweet potatoes and cider vinegar mixture with pears to the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until turkey tenders are just cooked through, an additional 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the tenders. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F. Serve hot with sweet potatoes and sauce spooned over the top.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with a green vegetable such as sautéed spinach.

This post was first published November 24, 2014

« Previous PostNext Post »
  • November 19, 2010
    4:58 pm

    You really must have become SO tired of all that invasive press and Duranies' need to know. Thanks for giving us those little glimpses; and for continuing to do so.They may have been annoying for you and Nick; but they were fun for us.Hugs!

  • November 19, 2010
    5:01 pm

    Oh yum!!! I'm going to make this right before Thanksgiving for me and my husband (our family is to big to try at Thanksgiving). Great intimate meal

  • November 19, 2010
    5:42 pm

    Looks like a nice meal for any special occasion. Love sweet potatoes! Now that I've gone vegan, I've got to totally rethink meals. But it's good. I feel better when I don't eat meat so it's a fair trade off. Hope your Thanksgiving is a special one and you spend it with the people you love the most and who love you back, unconditionally.

  • November 19, 2010
    6:54 pm

    This would be a delicious cold winter day meal. I'll give this one a try.Cupcake

  • November 19, 2010
    7:43 pm

    i still have my copy of that HELLO magazine!!Derek Sumisu

  • November 19, 2010
    7:43 pm

    Have a great Thanksgiving Day Jewels!Manuela Salvade

  • November 19, 2010
    7:44 pm

    Oh yum I am so gonna make this when I make the tenders they are always dry this will be tasty for sure!! for left over turkey just pour sauce over the cooked pieces??Josie Elder- Chow

  • November 19, 2010
    7:45 pm

    it looks so good … and all those flavors, yum.Madeleine Gallay

  • November 19, 2010
    11:10 pm

    Oh this looks SO yummy! Will have to try for sure!

  • November 19, 2010
    11:48 pm

    This looks really good! Thanks for posting such a great recipe with great flavors.

  • November 20, 2010
    1:46 am

    Another amazing recipie!Mark Downie

  • November 20, 2010
    7:02 pm

    looks delicious!Rhonda Davis Crombie

  • November 20, 2010
    7:02 pm

    It is, and light enough that you don't go into Thanksgiving coma afterwards.

  • November 22, 2010
    7:41 am

    Ha! That's beneficial, and it will cut down on the holiday guilt, too.Rhonda Davis Crombie

  • November 22, 2010
    7:44 am

    I will try it and let you know! also considering that we ( i.e. Italians, and don't be mislead by my anglosaxon name) don't celebrate Thanksgiving as such, but we never say no to any occasion for a "get together" meal!Tessa Griffiths

  • November 22, 2010
    2:51 pm

    Great idea JulieAnne. Since I live in the UK now, we don't have Thanksgiving dinner anymore. There is just the two of us. So this looks perfect. Although it will have to wait until next week as we work through the week and my birthday is at the weekend, so we'll be out. We may be having a quiet Christmas too, so this is really just right for us. 🙂 ~April

  • November 22, 2010
    8:57 pm

    love turkey and all that goes with it!!!!!!!!Jo-anne Macdonald

  • November 26, 2010
    1:34 am

    Wow! Love the idea of sweet potatoes with the pears. That really has my taste buds going. The turkey tenders look quite tender in this mixutre too. Very nice, cannot wait to make it.Aussie Mum

  • November 22, 2012
    5:40 pm

    What a great way to keep the waste down, help the waist and enjoy a moist turkey! The colour is fabulous too! What is the green you have on the plate too? Spinach? Happy Thanksgiving USA!

  • November 22, 2012
    6:01 pm

    Yes, but my tummy didn’t get the memo about no homemade chocolate chip cookies, oops!