Having trouble deciding what to bring to the dinner table? You’re not alone. Here are some easy dishes to make for your Friendsgiving feast.
By: Ashley Soriano
Friendsgiving is a great time for students to get together with their friends and show off their cooking skills with a giant potluck before heading home to their families for Thanksgiving break.
However, for those who don’t know how to cook, Friendsgiving can be a little nerve-wracking.
Many students, including myself, have no idea what they’re doing in the kitchen and it’s difficult to cook something up without almost burning the house down.
“I’m terrible at cooking,” said Kim Hernandez, a communication studies senior at Cal State Fullerton. “I’ll usually just pick up some type of dessert from the store and bring it to dinner.”
It’s time to say goodbye to those store-bought dishes.
Grab your apron, put your chef hat on and get ready to try these quick and easy Thanksgiving-style recipes that will really impress your friends.
Your friends will love this tasty side dish at Friendsgiving dinner.
Orange County chef Sonia Tovar has been in the food business for four years and has cooked for the Marriott Hotel. Her homemade mashed potato recipe consists of only five main ingredients.
“Mashed potatoes are a must have at any Thanksgiving dinner,” said Tovar. “It’s actually easier to make than most people think.”
All you need is one bag of medium russet potatoes, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 ¼ cups of hot milk, 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.
The recipe is as follows:
- Peel and cut 10 potatoes in half. Place potatoes in a large 5-quart pot on the stove and cover them with cold water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat down to medium-low for about 25 minutes. You should be able to pierce through the potatoes with a knife if boiled correctly.
- Drain the water out of the cooked potatoes and add in the hot milk, salt and butter. You may use other seasonings as well to fit your taste, such as garlic salt and pepper.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or strong wooden spoon. Be careful not to over beat the potatoes or they will become too creamy.
- Transfer the potatoes into a nice serving dish and add the chopped parsley to garnish.
This recipe is made to serve about 8 to 10 people as a side dish.
“Nothing complements a Thanksgiving turkey more than the flavor of a sweet and tart cranberry sauce to go with it,” said Tovar.
Now, I know cranberry sauce can be a hit or miss at most dinner tables, but this recipe won’t disappoint. And even better, it takes minimal effort to make!
You will need ¼ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, the zest of one orange, ½ cup of sugar and one 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries.
“The trick to making a really good cranberry sauce is adding orange zest to it,” said Tovar.
- Combine the orange juice, orange zest, sugar and ¾ cups of water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Put the sauce into a nice serving dish and let it cool before you serve it. You can put it in the fridge to cool it down quicker.
This tasty recipe is about 5 servings.
Baked Mac and Cheese
This dish is not like your ordinary boxed mac and cheese. It takes a little more effort to make, but it tastes a hundred times better.
For this recipe, you don’t even need to worry about cooking the macaroni ahead of time. All you need are four main ingredients that you throw together in a baking dish. Easy, right?
You will need 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 cups of dry macaroni elbows, 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and 6 cups of milk.
“When making mac and cheese it is really important to use good, fresh cheese,” said Tovar. “Don’t use the shredded cheese that already comes packaged. Use a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it yourself with a cheese grater.”
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour melted butter in a medium sized casserole dish. Mix in the dry macaroni.
- Top with the shredded cheese, then add the 6 cups of milk.
- Place casserole dish in the oven and let it bake for 1 hour.
- Carefully remove the dish and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Voila! Your baked mac and cheese is ready to serve 5 to 8 of your friends.
You somehow messed up the mashed potatoes?
So you did your best, but it wasn’t good enough.
If you head to your nearest Boston Market, you can order your favorite Thanksgiving-style dishes to go.
Boston Market serves meals perfect for a Friendsgiving dinner. The menu offers a wide range of items like rotisserie turkey, fresh vegetable stuffing and sweet potato casserole.
“A lot of people order out around this time,” said Jorge Ruiz-Herrera, a supervisor at Fullerton’s Boston Market. “The most popular items customers like to get are the turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes.”
During the holiday season, Fullerton’s Boston Market serves over 200 customers a day. The restaurant is only a short five-minute drive from campus and also offers a delivery service.
But, make sure to keep an eye out on Boston Market’s specials, only some deals and items are served on certain days of the week.
“I would recommend the prime rib. It’s only served three days a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays,” said Ruiz-Herrera.
Check out Boston Market’s website for more information on their hours, locations and even a few recipes to try out yourself.