I love Friendsgiving, it’s all the fun of Thanksgiving with a lot less pressure (and a lot less family dynamics – tee hee). It doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy, it’s a fun relaxed way to celebrate the friendships we are thankful for. This week, I threw a little Friendsgiving at the studio. I put together an easy-to-make menu that is a twist on traditional Thanksgiving. It gave me a chance to try some non-traditional and a lot more casual takes on the usual staples you find at Thanksgiving.
Who wants to be driving all over town for the ingredients and supplies when you are throwing a party? From prep to plate, Target is my one-stop shop for affordable, simple and unique Thanksgiving solutions. I really do most of my grocery shopping at Target Grocery. Well, actually, I just do a lot of every kind of shopping at Target. All the ingredients and decor for this Friendsgiving get-together were all purchased at my local Target – now how easy is that?
Get ready for a whole bunch of recipes! This post is jam packed with no-fuss, totally yummy food.
I’m a huge fan of a Mocktail, they are fun drinks the whole family can enjoy, especially when you are celebrating in the middle of the day. This is the flavors of fall in one glass.
Sparkling Vanilla Cider Mocktail
In a glass with ice, pour 2 ounces Drink Mix with about 1/2 cup Spiced Cider. Top off the rest of the glass with Dry Vanilla Bean Soda. Stir and garnish with a cinnamon stick and a slice of green apple. (For a spiked version, add a shot of Apple Whiskey.)
Any great party starts with a great Charcuterie and Cheese Board. It’s always a crowd favorite. While you put the finishing touches on the meal, guests can snack on bites of cheese, olives, and salami.
Charuterie and Cheese Board
I say anything goes with a Charcuterie Board, if you like it, put it on the board. A good mix of cheeses, meats, fruit, olives and bread or crackers and you are set. Arrange the ingredients on a pretty marble or wood cutting board. Olives can be placed in a small bowl. Cheese does not have to be sliced, just provide little cheese knives and guests can cut off what they want.
In place of traditional stuffing, I decided to make mini corn muffins with all the flavors of Thanksgiving in packed in them. Fresh sage, dried cranberries and orange zest give these muffins a little kick. And since it’s the holidays, I say, “Give Me All Carbs!”, so I served two types of bread. Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls and Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins are both fun, unique twists on the classic dinner roll.
Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients. Spray a mini muffin pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Top each muffin with a leaf of fresh sage. Bake at 400 F for about 12 minutes, or until just golden brown.
They holidays are all about indulging, but a healthy green salad with fruit, cheese and nuts, is still always a hit.
Spinach and Pomegranate Salad
In a small jar combine the oil, vinegar, juice, poppy seeds, honey and salt and pepper. Seal the jar and shake to combine.
Place the spinach, pomegranate seeds, feta and salad topping in a large bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing just before serving and toss.
A lot of the pressure of cooking a whole Thanksgiving dinner comes from having to tackle a whole huge bird. This Citrus Brined Turkey Breast is quick to cook and a lot less stressful. I was nervous that a boneless, skinless breast had the potential to be dry and flavorless. But, brining this turkey breast made all the difference. This might be the juiciest, tastiest bird I’ve ever made. Really, I mean it!
Citrus Brined Turkey Breast
Since this recipe is just for cooking a turkey breast, a 1/2 recipe of the Cider Brine is more then enough. Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large stock pot. Remove the turkey breast from the bag and place in the brine. Then place the pot into the fridge. I brined my turkey breast for about 36 hours and it was delicious! When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Spread the butter over the turkey breast and place in a small roasting bag. Prick a hole in the bag and seal it with the tie. Place on a baking tray and roast in a 375 F oven for about 1 hour or till meat thermometer reads 165 F at the center of the breast (cook time really depends on how big your turkey breast is).
Move over marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, these maple glazed, golden sweet potatoes are one of new favorite sides.
Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Cranberries
On a parchment line baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, maple syrup, parsley and salt and pepper. Roast in a 375 F over for about 30-40 mins or until the edges of the sweet potatoes are just barely charred and dark brown. Place the sweet potatoes in a serving bowl or platter and top with the cranberries and feta.
No-bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse
This recipe can be made in a 9 inch. pie pan or in 10 individual mini versions like I did.
Prepare the ginger snap crust by placing the 20 ginger snap cookies in a food processor. Process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Melt the butter and add it to the cookie crumbs. Pulse to combine. With the back of a spoon, press the crumbs into the pie pan or glass jars.
Whip the heaving whipping cream to stiff peaks, set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth, add the pumpkin pie mix and beat again until smooth. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the water and gelatin. Microwave on high for 10 seconds or until the gelatin is dissolved. With the mixer running, pour the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the filling into the pie pan, or place in a large piping bag and pipe in the jars. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with Pumpkin Spice Glazed Pepitas.
Here’s some of the pretty things I used to decorate the table with:
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