With winter break approaching, we’re all dreaming of a home cooked dinner, and wishing we could bring our college besties along too. So why not have a holiday meal before you leave campus? At school, our friends become our family, so it’s only fitting to celebrate with them. With the semester coming to an end and everyone going their separate ways, a big group dinner is the perfect way to say goodbye. Added bonus: it is totally possible in a dorm and on a college student’s budget.

Obviously, cooking a full turkey is a little farfetched when you’re working in a cramped dorm kitchen (or lack thereof). Don’t let a small space or lack of cooking skills stop you from having this holiday staple on your plate. At the supermarket, purchase ground turkey. This versatile meat can be used to make meatballs or turkey burgers. Feeling unconventional? You could make a meat sauce for pasta using turkey instead of ground beef, or stick to the basics with grilled or roasted turkey breast on sandwiches.


Photo by Rachel Davis

Is it a celebration without potatoes on the table? Mashed potatoes take time (and patience) for that decadent and creamy texture, but there are alternatives. Baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes are always great options, and with their long shelf life, you may already have some around. You could also try baking halved fingerling potatoes in olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper. Store bought microwave-ready mashed potatoes are an option, too.


Photo by Connie Fan

Any meal is not complete without fresh veggies. A nice garden salad can be a small, light and refreshing contrast to heavier dishes. In the spirit of the season, add some dried cranberries or mandarin orange slices to color your plate and give you a pop of citrus flavor.


Photo by Rachael Piorko

If you aren’t stuffed, apples (found in abundance at every dining hall) can be used to make a sweet dessert. Apple slices are always great when sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon or dipped in caramel. Impress your friends and try out this no-bake easy apple pie inspired recipe.

Not sure how to organize your pre-break feast? You could go with potluck style and have everyone in charge of a dish, or preplan a menu and split the cost amongst your group. Either way, the most important thing is the people around the table. Be sure to check out The Spoon Guide to Thanksgiving for 103 great recipes that you can make for any holiday-inspired meal.


Photo by Caroline Grew