“The holiday season is a time for families to gather together, reflect on the year behind them, and be thankful for the blessings in their lives.”

If this is how you would describe your holiday season… then GTFO.

Seriously, stop reading and go live in your magical world of shimmering snowflakes and holiday cheer.

I’m not saying that the holidays suck, but the reality of early November to late December is that most people would like to strangle multiple members of their family.

Like everything else in life, you must manage your holiday stress.  And what better way to have all of the holiday cheer minus the nagging parents, crying cousins, and “so have you found the right guy yet?” then to leave it all behind and go to a “Friendsgiving”?

For those of you who don’t have any friends, ‘Friendsgiving’ is when a group of people gathers together to consume large amounts of thanksgiving grub and alcohol before the actual holiday…a.k.a basically another excuse to get drunk with your friends.

But like any gathering, Friendsgiving takes effort. And since there is no “Friendsgiving For Dummies” book out there (yet), I’m going to give you all the details on how to prepare and run a successful ‘Friendsgiving’ dinner, recipes and all.

The Who, What, and Where

The Who/Where:  Traditionally, the host (so whoever is the most “type-A” in your group) hosts the party location and makes the turkey .

The What: a list of food items, and friends to bring those non-poultry food items so that the host isn’t stuck doing everything themselves.

Appetizers

“Crack”-ers

Ingredients

  • 1 package Club crackers
  • 1 package bacon
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wrap 1 piece of bacon per 1 cracker.
  3. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake until bacon is done (about 10-15 mins).

Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients

  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1 package mini hot dogs

Instructions

  1.  Wrap crescent dough around mini hot dogs.
  2.  Bake according to crescent package.
  3.  Serve with ketchup.

Shrimp

Ingredients

  • frozen shrimp
  • cocktail sauce

Instructions

  1. Thaw Shrimp.
  2. Serve with cocktail sauce.

Side Dishes

The side dishes are a vital part in making the most extravagant feast.  For Friendsgiving, each friend should be responsible for bringing one side dish to complement the turkey. Below are some of the best Thanksgiving side dishes and appetizers.

(each side dish feeds about 6 to 8 people, so adjust ingredient amounts  according to your group size)

Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup milk (whole)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 cups cooked cut green beans (using a can is easiest)
  • 2 2/3 cups French Fried Onions
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more…never can have too much cheese)

Instructions

  1.  Mix together milk, pepper, green beans, and cheddar cheese.
  2.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 mins or until hot and stir.
  3.  Top with French fried onions and more cheese if desired.
  4.  Bake for five more minutes.

(source)

Corn Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 cans of corn
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Crushed Ritz crackers

Instructions

  1.  Strain corn.
  2.  Beat eggs.
    3.  Put corn in casserole dish.
  3.  Add heavy cream and egg; mix evenly.
  4.  Cover top of casserole with crushed crackers.
  5.  Cut butter into squares and put on top of crackers.
  6.  Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes.

Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 2 medium minced onions
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 (6 oz each) packages of stovetop-style seasoned stuffing mix

Instructions

  1. Saute onions and celery in butter.
  2. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Toss this mixture into dry stuffing mix.
  5. Heat broth and set aside.
  6. Read directions on your  stuffing mix box.
  7. Add enough hot water to the broth to make up the required liquid needed.
  8. Pour over stuffing/vegetables mixture and mix well.
  9. Place in baking dish, cover and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees(source)

Mac ‘n Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces macaroni pasta
  • 16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
  • 16 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 16 ounces Velveeta, cubed
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into slices
  • 16 ounces milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Crockpot

Directions

  1. Spray your crockpot lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Layer 1/3 of the macaroni in bottom.
  3. Layer half of cheese, butter, salt & pepper.
  4. Repeat, ending with last 1/3 of macaroni on top.
  5. Pour milk over mixture.
  6. Cook on low for about 4 hours and stir about mid-way.(source)

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 12 medium size potatoes (peel and cut into large pieces…approx 4 lbs)
  • ¾ cups milk (use a whole cup if potatoes aren’t creamy enough)
  • ½ package (8 oz size) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/ 2 cup softened butter (or margarine)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • (if you want to add a kick, add some horseradish)

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes until tender.
  2. Drain potatoes.
  3.  Using a hand mixer to mash potatoes in large bowl until no lumps remain.
  4. Beat in milk in small amounts, beating after each addition.
  5. Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper.
  6. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

    (source)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, about 4 lbs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes.
  3. Prick them with a fork all over.
  4. Cook sweet potatoes  in oven until soft, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove potatoes from oven and drop oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  6. Let potatoes cool.
  7. Remove skins and add skinless potatoes to a large bowl.
  8. Add butter, cream, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt to potatoes.
  9. Mash the potatoes and other ingredients together until well combined.
    10. Transfer potatoes to an 8 x 8 casserole dish
    11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.
  10. Add marshmallows and return to oven for 5 – 10 minutes, or until marshmallows are lightly browned.

(source)

Veggies (Non-Creamy): Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag Grimmway Farms Baby Carrots
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2.  Add carrots, honey, brown sugar, dill and thyme and gently toss to combine.
  3.  Cook – stirring occasionally – until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

(source)

Rolls 

  • Purchase crescent rolls ready to bake
  • Follow directions on package

Cranberries

  • Purchase a few cans of cranberry dressing
  • Open, put in a dish and serve cold

Gravy

  • Purchase a few cans of already made gravy, and make sure to have plenty of it!

The Main Course

Turkey 

As I said before, the host is responsible for cooking and providing the turkey. Making a turkey is an all day endeavor, but the end result is delicious and the quintessential aspect of any Friendsgiving (or Thanksgiving, for that matter) meal. Go to your local meat market, and ask them for a turkey large enough to serve your guests. Sometimes, this might require multiple turkeys (or as I would say it, ‘Turki’).

Ingredients

  • Turkey big enough to feed your friends
  • 6 lemons (cut in halves)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Chicken stock
  • 1 stick butter, softened

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Dry outside and inside of Turkey before prep and cooking
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt and fresh ground pepper on outside of turkey  and 1 tablespoon inside the turkey.
  4. Pull skin away from turkey breast and spread softened butter all over the meat under the skin (on top of turkey).
  5. Place turkey on roasting rack  (deep pan with a rack that raises turkey higher than pan bottom).
  6. Stuff lemon halves into the turkey.
  7. Pour 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water into bottom of roasting pan.
  8. Put turkey in oven at 450 for 45 minutes.
  9. Lower oven to 375 and continue to roast for 2 to 2.5 hours (If turkey browns too quickly then cover it loosely with foil and put it back  in the oven).
  10. Check temperature with meat thermometer. If it is 165 degrees, then it is done. If not, then put back in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 more minutes.
  11. When done, let turkey sit for 5 minutes before doing anything.
  12. Take lemons out of turkey.
  13. Lift the turkey and dump juice out of it and into the bottom of the pan (where other drippings and juice are).
  14. Put turkey on cutting board for when you carve it.


    (source)

GRAVY 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup turkey drippings
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 sprigs of thyme

Instructions

  1. Use a strainer with a bowl underneath to strain the drippings from the roasting  pan.
  2. Measure ½ cup of strained drippings and heat them in medium sized sauce pot on medium heat.
  3. Add 1/3 cup all purpose flour (whisk constantly so no lumps are left).
  4. Keep whisking until it is paste-like; it’ll start to form a ball in the pan (takes about a minute).
  5. Whisk a little longer until it is darker.
  6. SLOWLY mix in 4 cups of chicken stock (about 45 seconds for all 4 cups).
  7. Add 2 teaspoons of salt.
  8. Add 5 sprigs of thyme.
  9. Whisk slowly, then let mixture come to a boil.
  10. Lower and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Pull out thyme.

The Desserts 

Pumpkin Pie

(source)

Ingredients

  • 2 refrigerated (or frozen)  pie crusts
  • 1 (29 oz) can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. I use Libby’s pumpkin)
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Follow  directions on pie crust packaging to prepare pie crusts.
  3. Set crusts aside to make pumpkin pie filling.
  4. In a large bowl whisk eggs.
  5. Add pumpkin, full can sweetened condensed milk and approximately 2/3-3/4 can of the evaporated milk.
  6. Stir well to combine.
  7. Add in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt.
  8. Stir well to combine.
  9. Carefully pour mixture into into pie shells.
  10. Place pies in oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
    11.  Bake for an additional 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of pie comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool for two hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  12. Store in refrigerator.

Now that I have pretty much given you all the tools to a proper Friendsgiving feast, it is up to you.  Remember all that I have told you and use with your own discretion. Have an emergency number on hold incase you happen to chop off a finger, or light your kitchen on fire.

Happy Friendsgiving!

Written by Grace Ann Goudie. And for when the holidays are over, check out her guide to SuperBowl dips.

(Featured photo courtesy of tvmediainsights.com)