Friendsgiving Hosting Tips and Recipes
If you aren’t familiar with “Friendsgiving”, the title in the name should give it away. Friendsgiving vs. Thanksgiving? There isn’t much of a difference when it comes to the concept of the event. Thanksgiving is usually family around the table, whereas Friendsgiving is a time to gather all your friends for a “thanksgiving” like feast!
The two holiday events are also similar in that you are serving a big meal in the month of November. Friendsgiving can really be held any time this month, even on actual Thanksgiving. It’s completely up to you! Typically, however, it is held on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Whether you are choosing between Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving or both, Friendsgiving is still a great way to throw an equally thankful dinner party for your second family, your friends!
When it comes to hosting a Friendsgiving there are a few things I like to do differently than we do for Thanksgiving. Because most of our friends will end up heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday, I don’t want to serve them the same things they will be eating at home shortly after. It’s good to mix it up!
For the main dish I prefer to serve a ham. A ham is still big enough to feed many people and most of your friends probably get sick of having turkey twice. When it comes to budgeting for a Friendsgiving, it can end up being a lot of money serving that big of a meal to that many people. The best way to allocate the dinner is by having it “pot luck” style! Ask each guest bring a side dish or dessert (and bottle of wine of course!). Setting up and sharing a Google doc spreadsheet make it easy to organize and provides transparency so no one brings the same thing. Meanwhile, you can stick to cooking the main dish and setting the table!
Wine, is the second (maybe first…) most important part of this meal. Since we served a ham, I poured La Crema’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Since it’s a medium-bodied wine that’s not to rich, it pairs perfectly with a ham and marries well with all the sides. When it comes to wine, you want options that easily pair with everything and won’t be too overpowering, or on the contrary, not have a presence at all! This is why my go-to, like many peoples’ go-tos for Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving, is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
For side dishes try to stray away from the traditional mash potatoes or stuffing, however, still incorporate those holiday flavors. A cranberry and turkey bacon salad, cinnamon honey roasted carrots and a goat cheese, walnut and pomegranate salad are the perfect sides for a ham dinner. All still incorporating holiday flavors, but not too filling where everyone needs a nap afterwards. Lastly, a three cheese macaroni and cheese is a worthy addition (and usually a favorite) to the feast.
For dessert try a pear apple and cranberry tart instead of traditional pie, or even a flourless chocolate cake. The key is serving dishes that most won’t have at their Thanksgiving dinner.
When it comes to setting the table, I love a bold color palette of fall colors and incorporating peaches into it with flowers or copper chargers. Make sure to set out place cards so everyone knows where to sit, but mix up couples and friends so everyone meets someone new. If you’re wanting to make this dinner even more casual, roll out craft paper as the table cloth and set out crayons for guests to draw and color during dinner.
All of these recipes below can be pre made before dinner and heated in the oven if someone brings it over. Try these recipes below!
Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Turkey Bacon
Author: La Crema Culinary Team
Recipe type: Side
- 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts (chopped)
- 1 tbs Olive Oil
- 6 Turkey Bacon Strips
- 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries (unsweetened)
- Preheat over to 400º. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and place the bacon strips along the sheet. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Meanwhile in a sautée pan, sautée the brussels sprouts with olive oil for 10 – 15 minutes, until cooked. Once the bacon is cooked, slice it into bite sized pieces. Add the bacon and cranberries to the brussels sprouts and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cinnamon and Honey Roasted Carrots
Author: La Crema Culinary Team
Recipe type: Side
- 3 lbs carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 3 tbs Olive Oil
- 1 tbs Cinnamon
- 3 tbs honey (I use agave)
- 1 1/2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the over to 400º. Place the chopped carrots on a baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss and spread the carrots in an even layer. Cooke for 20 minutes. In a small bowl mix together the honey, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar. Drizzle the carrots with the honey mixture and toss until evenly coated. Return them to the oven to roast for another 10 – 20 minutes.
Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Author: Food Network Adaptation
Recipe type: Side
Recipe adapted from here.
- 1 large egg
- 1 12 -ounce can evaporated whole milk
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/3 cups grated muenster cheese (4 ounces), plus 4 deli-thin slices (1 ounce)
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
- 4 cups medium macaroni noodles (9 ounces)
- Whisk the egg, evaporated milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss the grated cheeses in a separate bowl.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Preheat the broiler.
- Combine the egg mixture and the grated cheeses in the empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water until creamy.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce; season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a shallow casserole dish and top with muenster slices. Broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Pear, Apple and Cranberry Tart
Author: Cooking Channel TV Adaptation
Recipe type: Dessert
Recipe borrowed from here.
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 1/4 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 medium (or 1 1/2 large) firm-tart apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes)
- 1 large ripe pear, such as d’Anjou or Bartlett
- 1/2 cup (103 g) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 1 large egg, beaten well
- First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and use your fingers to work them in (you want to rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal with some pea-sized bits of butter remaining (try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt). Sprinkle the egg yolk-water mixture on top and stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together. If needed, add one more tablespoon water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times. Gather into a ball, then press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and set a rack to the second-from-the bottom position. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. Peel and cut the pear into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Gently toss together in a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, orange zest, and cloves; set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle about 16 inches wide and ? inch thick. The circle doesn’t have to be perfect-this is a rustic dessert-but try to get it as round as possible, even if that means cutting a little dough off one side to add to the other. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Arrange half the apple and pear slices over the dough, leaving a 2 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle half the cranberries over the apples. Sprinkle half the sugar-cornstarch mixture over the fruit, then repeat with the fruit and then the sugar mixture. Fold the sides of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, allowing the dough to drape over itself at each fold. Brush the dough with the beaten egg, and sprinkle all with one teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 10 minutes; lower the temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.
Photos by Jessica Christine Photography
Flowers by Plum Sage Flowers