At the Table / Cooking / Mains / Recipe Index / Sides

Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving has become wildly popular in the last few years, especially in a place like NYC where so many people are transplants from far away.  When you move far from home, you don’t get the opportunity to see family all the time so you form tighter bonds with friends than you might under other circumstances.  Everyone needs a support system and though it’s a little cheesy, your friends become a sort of family.  In some cases, Friendsgiving happens because it’s too expensive or difficult to fly home for the holiday.  In my case, I wouldn’t miss Thanksgiving with my actual family for anything in the world…but because my New York friends have become so important to me, I wanted to have a version of the holiday with them, too.

There is always football in the background on Thanksgiving, so we decided to build our Friendsgiving around the Niners/Redskins game since those are Albert and Shawn’s respective teams.  I wanted a cozy feel so I didn’t go crazy with formal table settings or decor.  I wanted people to grab food and then gather on the couch for optimal chit chatting.  That meant just one bouquet of flowers in warm colors in front of the window and lots of candles on the buffet table.  When you’re going for cozy, especially if it’s Fall, candles are the best decor you can provide.

Hopefully, this is the start of a new tradition!

The menu:

  • Herbed popcorn (Trader Joe’s) + olives, prosciutto, and sopressata for snacking before the main event
  • I wasn’t about to roast a turkey because 1) I don’t know how and 2) I only have one oven and needed it for all the sides.  I still wanted a bird for the main course, but I decided to change it up a bit with two different poultry options:
    • Buffalo chicken sandwiches – it’s chicken instead of turkey, but – hey – it’s still something that used to have feathers.  Since we were watching football, buffalo chicken felt right.  Also, this is done in the crock pot, which means it leaves the oven and stove top wide open.
    • When I found out on the morning of the party that a few extra guests would be attending, I freaked out and thought there wouldn’t be enough food so I ran to Trader Joe’s to pick up something else quick and easy to fill the extra bellies.  I wound up with frozen turkey meatballs that I served with toothpicks and jalapeno cranberry sauce (a seasonal ingredient) for dipping.  We definitely didn’t need the extra food, but I’m glad we had it because Thanksgiving just doesn’t feel right without turkey and cranberry sauce (even if this was a sort of nouveau version).  I may not have actually done any real cooking for this dish, but I was the genius who decided to pair the meatballs with the jalapeno cranberry sauce and it was a pretty amazing combo.
  • Garlic smashed potatoes
  • Mac and cheese
  • Broccoli casserole
  • Haricot verts with a lemony sour cream dressing and shaved parmesan
  • Pecan pie
  • Pilgrim Punch – an incredibly easy cocktail to make that looks super festive.  I would definitely make this again around Xmas since the rosemary/cranberry garnish is reminiscent of mistletoe.

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