As Thanksgiving approaches, a collective feeling of excitement grows among University of Texas at Austin students. Thanksgiving marks our first real break from class, even if it is only two days. While many students look forward to going home to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their families, others will remain in Austin and celebrate with their friends. This practice has been dubbed Friendsgiving.
By Jenna Khakoo
For the typical Friendsgiving, it is vital that you bring a dish to share with other attendees. Sometimes this can seem rather difficult. If you don’t want to stress about making a complicated dish on your break, but you do want to make something that is tasty and Instagram-worthy, then read on to find eight easy options sure to impress your friends.
Apple Pie Sangria
Although sangria is often thought of as a summer drink, you can put an autumn twist on it.
Two bottles of riesling
5 cups of fresh apple cider
2 cups of club soda
1 cup caramel flavored vodka
4 honeycrisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1. Start by cutting all of the fruit and putting it into the bottom of your jug.
2. Pour in all ingredients other than the cinnamon sticks and club soda.
3. Stir. (Seriously, do a lot of stirring.)
4. Let it sit for at least a few hours.
5. About four hours before you serve the sangria, add in the cinnamon sticks.
6. Right before serving, add the club soda to keep the drink crisp.
2. Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Cranberry sauce is a classic Thanksgiving dish. It complements the turkey perfectly, and it’s a great condiment for those midnight turkey sandwiches. This year, skip the cans and try this simple homemade sauce.
1 (12-ounce) package of cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup water
1. In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, water and orange juice.
2. Add cranberries once the mixture has been brought to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and boil gently for about 10 minutes.
4. During this time, occasionally stir the sauce.
5. Stir in orange zest, and let cool at room temperature in a covered bowl.
6. Refrigerate until serving time.
3. Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin is a favorite fall flavor, and hummus is a favorite first course. By combining the two, you can make a nutritious appetizer for guests to snack on.
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice — about 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender. (Yes, it really is that easy.)
Margaritas are a very versatile drink, so it comes as no surprise that there is an autumn alternative. Pour a glass and make a toast for the holiday.
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
3/4 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cups tequila
1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
1. Simply stir the ingredients together.
2. Rim glasses with either sugar or salt.
3. Serve over ice.
4. Use lime wedges or fresh cranberries as a garnish.
5. Bread Stuffing
Stuffing is arguably one of the most iconic Thanksgiving dishes. Although there are many stuffing recipes that seem complicated, you can make this simple dish in no time at all.
2 pounds hearty white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 onion, finely chopped
4 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1. Heat oven to 325 F with oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
2. Separate the bread pieces into two rimmed baking sheets, and put them in the over until they are a golden-brown color, around 50 to 55 minutes.
3. Let cool, then move them into a large bowl.
4. Next, put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, and melt it over medium-low heat.
5. Stir continuously for 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Set aside three tablespoons of browned butter in a bowl.
7. Move the heat to medium, and add the onions and celery into the skillet.
8. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
9. Mix in poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.
10. Cook for about 30 seconds.
11. Add this to the bowl with the toasted bread.
12. Increase the temperature of the oven to 425 F.
13. In the empty skillet, reduce two cups of broth for 6 to 8 minutes.
14. Combine the reduced broth with the remaining broth in the bowl containing the vegetables and bread.
15. Let sit for 10 minutes.
16. Put this mixture in a 13-by-9 inch baking dish.
17. Drizzle the butter that you set aside earlier over the top of the stuffing, and bake on the upper-middle each for 35 to 45 minutes. (The stuffing should be golden brown and crisp.)
18. Let cool, and serve.
It seems like there are endless uses for crescent rolls in the home-cooking world, and Friendsgiving should be no exception. Here’s a fresh twist on an established Thanksgiving side.
2 (8-ounce) cans of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 can (10 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 (15 ounce) cans of kitchen-sliced green beans, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups French-fried onions
ground black pepper
1. Start by heating your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Next, spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
3. Unroll the each can of dough into a rectangle shape.
4. Cut the dough into eight equally sized squares.
5. Press a dough square into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup.
6. Next, whisk the soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and dash ground black pepper into a bowl.
7. Once it is smooth, stir in the drained green beans, half of the cheese, and 2/3 cup of the onions.
8. Divide the mixture evenly in all the dough-lined muffin cups.
9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
10. Once you have removed the mini casseroles, sprinkle the leftover cheese and onions onto the tops of the muffin cups.
11. Place back into oven for 5 minutes.
12. Remove and serve.
Caramel apples are a favorite fall treat. Pairing of tangly Granny Smith apples with sweet and sticky caramel is ingenious. Capture the essence of those flavors without having to spend all the time required to actually dip all the apples with this tart.
1 sheet (half of a 17 ounce package) puff pastry, thawed
2 small Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1. Begin by preheating your one to 425 F.
2. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Thinly slice the apples, they should be about 1/4 inches thick.
4. In a bowl, toss the apple slices, lemon juice, vanilla extract and brown sugar.
5. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry onto the baking sheet.
6. To score the dough, cut a 1-inch border along the edges. (Make sure to not actually cut through the pastry.)
7. Using a fork, puncture the pastry all over.
8. Then, organize the apple slices inside the border of the puff pastry.
9. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water, then brush it onto the edges of the pastry.
10. Place the tart into the oven for 15 to 17 minutes. (It should be golden brown and puffed.)
11. After removing, drizzle the caramel sauce onto the tart and sprinkle the sea salt over the top. Slice and serve while still warm.
Let’s get real. Although you may have the best intentions for concocting a unique dish to impress your friends with, you may run out of time or motivation. If this is the case, head over to your local Tiff’s and pick up a dozen of their delicious cookies. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, you can order a dozen of their limited time Pumpkin Spice cookies. (Everyone will be pleased, I promise.)