Clarissa Davies is a sophomore Journalism and Media Communications major at CSU. She is currently planning world domination while trying to pass this math class, and forever wishing she was buried in a pile of warm, freshly laundered towels. On a good day, she looks like Jared Leto.
This week, I am thrilled to channel my inner Martha Stewart and inner domestic goddess. Growing up (and still now) I have dreamed of being on the Food Network. I would probably be pals with Guy Fieri, envy Giada De Laurentiis, have motherly affection for Ina Garten, and have hidden animosity toward Bobby Flay.
Despite the sudden, overwhelming Christmas hype, we must not forget the day of thanks. I realize that, yes, Thanksgiving is a time for family, but it is also a time for friends. Therefore, why not celebrate with both? I also realize that we are but poor college students, and that you’re thinking “I have no time to wrestle with a raw turkey or even attempt to make stuffing!” but have no fear, because this week, I’m going to tell you how you can have a cheap, simple Thanksgiving with your best pals. It is absolutely manageable, and you will feel like you’re eating like a king while your wallet still is intact.
FRIENDSGIVING GATHERING FOR YOUR COLLEGE FAMILY
The following is intended for a gathering for 3-10 people. If it is split up, people can choose what they want to bring or contribute. It can be potluck style, and an assortment of things can be brought. You can also meet up and prepare the food together while Jack Johnson or John Mayer serenade you in the background.
*Have each person bring one of the following dishes, then each person is spending only $5-$10. That’s about as much as it costs to eat out, anyway.
Basic needs that you should already own: Olive oil, salt and pepper, spices, chicken stock, butter, milk.
1. Instead of a turkey
Buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. These little babies are already cooked and browned to perfection, and are not too big. You’re also not left with a huge turkey carcass. You can buy two, depending on your crowd size, and they run for about $5-$7 a piece. No one will care that it’s not turkey.
2. Mashed potatoes are easy.
Instead of buying instant potato stuff, buy a couple of good, brown potatoes. Peel, chop and boil in water, and mash. You can add butter, milk, or whatever you chose. Buying the potatoes in their truest form is cheaper at about $1-$2 per pound, and they taste wonderful. If you’re a fan of sweet potatoes, these cost about $0.50 to $1.50 per pound. They can be mashed, baked, or prepared however you like.
3. My favorite Thanksgiving staple….green bean casserole!
It is incredibly easy to make. All you need is green beans (canned or fresh), French’s french fried onions, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and milk. You may even have some of these ingredients already. Canned green beans cost about $3 per pound, while a can of green beans cost under $1.
4. Veggies are key, people.
A bag of Brussels sprouts are cheap and easy to prepare. All you need to do is saute these. Brussels sprouts pair really well with bacon, herbs or onion. They can cost about $3-$5 per pound fresh, and $1-$3 frozen. Chances are you already own olive oil and salt. If you want carrots, you can saute these as well, I wouldn’t recommend roasting these. Normally, people like my mother cook the carrots with the turkey, but you can’t have everything. A few large carrots cost about $1-$3 per pound. You can also buy a bag of frozen corn for $2-$3, or a bundle of asparagus that are easy to saute, roast or grill. Here is a recipe for caramelized Brussels sprouts.
5. You know what they say about stuffing…simple is better.
Here is a recipe for stuffing that only requires some vegetables like onion and celery, bread, and basics like butter, salt, pepper and chicken broth. You can pick up bread for under $2, and an onion and some celery together will cost under $3.
6. What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?
These can be bought at the store for under $5. Don’t forget canned whipped cream for $2.
7. Biscuits or rolls can be a nice addition.
You can buy canned dough, like Pillsbury brand. They bake into mouthwatering, buttery, flaky rolls. A can of the dough costs under $2.
8. Good gravy.
Gravy can be made with chicken stock, butter, flour, salt and pepper. Gravy can be made with kitchen staples, and chicken broth costs under $4. Here is a recipe I found that only requires 4 ingredients, that, I might add, you probably already own. Super easy!
9. Let someone be responsible for the drinks.
Eggnog and sparkling cider are some ideas, and cost under $3.
10. If you need any more ideas on what people can bring, here are some:
Mac & cheese, salad, cranberries, more vegetables, various casseroles of their choice, soup…the list goes on.
Nothing too fancy. If you don’t have a table large enough or enough chairs to accommodate everyone, put the food on the table and have everyone gather around in the living room for some good conversation. You can even whip out the board games. If you’re feeling fancy, light some candles and don’t use paper plates. College students can be civilized, too!
Photos taken from a Friends-giving I had with my friends last Sunday…
Aaaaand to top this post off, here is a picture of my friend Kayla’s one-eyed (really) cat, Toonces, in a Christmas sweater. HOW FESTIVE!
Enjoy your Friends-giving, and I hope all of you have a most wonderful Thanksgiving next week.