I don’t know about you, but for me there can never be too many Thanksgiving dinners. So, in preparation for the best Thanksgiving ever, this year I have planned the trifecta. I’m starting out with a quaint dorm Friends-giving, followed by Thanksgiving in the school’s cafeteria (aka Pitsgiving), and finally the traditional, whole family feast. If you love Thanksgiving as much as I do, here is how to make the perfect dorm Thanksgiving:

Step 1: Turkey

So everyone knows that Thanksgiving would not be the same without the star of the meal: turkey. However, with dorm sized ovens and a lack of turkey roasting knowledge, I opted for a more manageable bird in the form of a beautiful (pre-cooked) rotisserie chicken. In order to keep some of the Thanksgiving tradition, I re-heated the whole chicken in the oven at 350 °F for 20 minutes.

Gillian Simpler

Step 2: Sides

Drum roll please… microwave peas and mashed potatoes! Although they aren’t the most exciting, for practical purposes microwave vegetables and mashed potatoes are perfect for a dorm Thanksgiving. You can add your own touch to these sides by getting garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, or adding brown sugar and butter to green beans. To continue the excitement of the sides, of course, you can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without some canned cranberry sauce. I’ve always liked the canned version better than homemade anyway, and if you can find a can-opener this side is good to go. Last, but not least, don’t think I forgot about the all-time favorite Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. These are so easy to make as long as you have a baking sheet and are definitely a crowd pleaser.

Gillian Simpler
Gillian Simpler


Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for (or at least I have): the stuffing. Stuffing is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. For this part of my friends-giving dinner, I put in a little more effort. I used the gluten-free mix from Trader Joe’s for my stuffing, but any boxed stuffing mix will work. These boxed stuffings are really manageable in a dorm kitchen because most of them only need butter and you can make them fresh on the stove.

Gillian Simpler

Step 4: Pumpkin Pie

For the pie, I put in the most amount of work as it is the most important part of the meal. It is so easy to buy a frozen unbaked crust, and pumpkin pie filling is very simple. You can find the exact measurements below, but I used a simple filling from Allrecipes which combined eggs, pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin pie spice (I like to go extra heavy on the last one). This made enough filling for two whole pies and I baked them at 375 °F for about 1 hour.

Gillian Simpler

Finished Product

This Thanksgiving was so worth it! Overall, it took very little time and effort, but was so much fun both to make and eat. Along with the food, a few plastic dishes and silverware was all I needed to pull off the perfect meal for my friends. I hope you try this dorm Thanksgiving and enjoy it as much as I did. 

Gillian Simpler

Full Ingredients List:

(Serves around 6 people)

1 Rotisserie Chicken

1 Can Cranberry Sauce

3 Bags Microwavable Green Peas

2 Bags Microwavable Mashed Potatoes

1 container Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

1 Boxed Stuffing Mix

6 tbsp Butter

2 Unbaked Pie Crusts

16 oz Pumpkin Puree

14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 eggs