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Thanksgiving is a holiday that use to be reserved for just family. But in recent years, the week leading up to the holiday has included the friend-based Thanksgiving: Friendsgiving. The name says it all; Friendsgiving is a Thanksgiving meal shared with friends that takes place either the night before or after Thanksgiving. Hey, we’ll take any excuse to eat, drink and be merry. Here is a round-up of the best Spoon Thanksgiving recipes to serve up at this year’s Friendsgiving.

1. Drink, Drank, Drunk

You’re allowed to indulge in as many fall inspired cocktails as you’d like with out being judged when you’re with your friends! Having multiple drinks around your grandparents at Thanksgiving seems to be frowned upon in most households. Try any of these drinks from Spoon University – UIUC to get the holiday started.

Photo by Meredith Marcus

2. Not Your Mom’s Weird Canned Cranberries

Since Friendsgiving is a new and creative holiday, it’s time to rethink cranberries and put creativity into the recipes you serve at Friendsgiving. Whether you try to incorporate cranberries into your desserts, like this brownie recipe from Spoon University – Northwestern, or opt to use them in a salad, your friends will be very thankful for you that you aren’t serving them anything congealed.

Photo by Naib Mian

3. Adult Mac & Cheese

Finally you and your friends are sharing a meal that doesn’t consist of Ramen Noodles or a leftover pizza from last Saturday night. You’re actually using your oven to make grownup things, like this fall inspired butternut squash mac & cheese (so no, it isn’t in the shape of Spongebob) from Spoon University – Michigan.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

4. The Must Have Sweet Potatoes

There are so many ways to serve this Thanksgiving classic, but all that matters is that it is on the table. If you are going for quick and easy, check out these personally designed sweet potatoes from Spoon University – UIUC, or this healthy (yes, we said healthy) twice baked sweet potato from Spoon University – U Penn.

Photo by Connie Fan

5. The Bird

A disadvantage of Friendsgiving is that our master chef mothers and fathers, who have hosted many Thanksgiving dinners, are not there to help make a juicy turkey. If you want to forgo the giant turkey, and make something a little more accessible for college students, try this deconstructed turkey dinner from Spoon University – Michigan.

Photo by Parisa Soraya

6. For the Sweet Tooth

Even though you’re finally not stuck at the kids table as a twenty something year old at Friendsgiving, you can still indulge in sweet dessert like a kid does! Try these apple pie cups, from Spoon University – U Chi to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Photo by Susanna Tuan

Photo by Parisa Soraya

Being in college means busy lives encompassed by studying, more studying, going out, recovering from hangovers and more studying. The weeks go by too fast and it’s hard to remember we won’t always be able to spend this kind of time with our friends. What better way to appreciate each others’ company than by celebrating Friendsgiving? This year, take the time to turn off your laptops, put your cell phones far away and sit down with some good wine and semi-homemade food. Whether as a Thanksgiving substitute, holiday meal, or just a special Sunday, the face-to-face quality time with your friends will be worth it.

Poor student with no idea what to cook? No problem — here’s my guide to the perfect Friendsgiving; easy on you and your budget:

1. Buy pre-made turkey. Obviously you’re not going to have the time to cook an entire bird for you and your friends, but don’t let that stop you from having a traditional-style Friendsgiving. Some grocery stores, including Whole Foods, will have pre-cooked Turkey, and if you can’t find one in your price range, just get a rotisserie chicken (sold pretty much everywhere for under $10).

2. Buy boxed stuffing and make it better. Mixing in added ingredients like fresh vegetables (chopped celery), cooked vegetables (sauteed onions and mushrooms), fresh herbs (chopped parsley and sage), nuts (pecans or walnuts) and/or dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, etc.) will take boxed stuffing to the next level. It may almost taste homemade.

Photo by Alexandra Hayes

3. Roasted vegetable medleys like beets, carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts and celery are super easy to make, healthy and perfect for Friendsgiving. All you have to do is cut up your favorite vegetables in a baking dish, add cloves of garlic and toss everything in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400°F in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until tender. Follow this recipe if you’re still unsure which combinations will taste best.

4. Cranberry sauce is always necessary and all you have to do is scoop it out of a can and mush it into a bowl.

5. Marshmallow sweet potatoes are a personal favorite and only require  a couple simple, store-bought ingredients. Follow this easy recipe.

6. Pillsbury dinner rolls or crescents that come from a tube are inexpensive, easy to bake and come out fluffy, warm and flavorful.

7. A good glass of wine makes food all the more delicious and conversation that much better (and it’s a nice break from taking shots). My personal favorite is Yellow Tail Shiraz — it’s an inexpensive, semi (but not too) sweet red wine (about $8-12 per bottle depending on where you go).

8. Store-bought pumpkin, apple or pecan pie is inexpensive and will taste great after a couple glasses of wine (especially if you top it with some whipped cream).

Photo by Alexandra Hayes

Happy holidays!


Health is hard.