The holidays are already a crazy time of year. I feel like once Halloween hits the race is on until New Years and every weekend is jam packed with activities, events and holidays. One of the things you can be sure your calendar sports this season is at least one Friendsgiving.
Friendsgiving is like Thanksgiving but instead of with your family, it is with your friends, coworkers or community. There has never been an easier way to show those you care about how thankful you are for them.
If you are anything like me, you know the race home from work across town to your friends on a weeknight is never an easy feat. Let alone when you are responsible for bringing a hot and tasty food item. Friendsgiving can easily become stressful when you are overwhelmed and it shouldn’t be that way! That’s why I wanted to round up all my tips and recipes for the busy gal.
PREP! PREP! PREP!
Like anything else, everything is always better with a PLAN. My mom always used to say follow the 5 P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance) pretty sure my grandpa embroidered that for her on a pillow somewhere.
You will always feel less stressed when you have a plan and anything that you can prepare in advance will only benefit you when you are running from work to the party.
Find recipes that you can prep or even completely make ahead of time. Cut all the brussel sprouts ahead of time or peel the carrots the night before so all you have to do is throw them in the oven the day of.
Some recipes, especially baking ones, sometimes require no baking at all! Like these 5 Ingredient No Bake Apple Pie Cookies or these Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies.
CROCK POT IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
If you currently don’t have a crock pot you are missing out on the easiest way to master cooking. Shop my crock pot here 65% off today and such a good deal for a more expensive piece you’ll have in your kitchen forever. Also a more affordable option here.
Being able to run off to work and throw a bunch of things into a crock pot and let it do the cooking part for you allows you to show up brining a fresh hot meal full of flavor. You can make almost anything in your crock pot from side dishes like these Slow Cooker Baby Carrots with Honey and Brown Sugar to dessert with these Easy Crock Pot Fried Apples you can serve over ice cream!
USE LOW INGREDIENT RECIPES
If you have watched my stories, you know I am the type of “chef” who prefers anything easy and streamlined when it comes to cooking. I am the biggest advocate of low ingredient cooking as it saves time and money!
Low ingredient meals still come packed with flavor so you can rest assured you are not sacrificing the taste! Anything five ingredients and under is a win in my book like this 5 Ingredient Parmesan Garlic Butter Corn and this 5 Ingredient Bacon Jam Brussel Sprouts.
PRE-MADE TO-DISH CHEF
If you are really out of time and in a pinch, always remember you can make anything pre-made fancy by throwing it into a dish and calling it your own! I do recommend spicing it up a bit with a homemade touch such as buying a store bought pumpkin pie and throwing whipped cream on top and serve with ice cream. Or mix-and-add-water microwavable mashed potatoes with additional seasoning such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter and parsley.
Don’t stress yourself out by going all out with a homemade dish when you can easily dress up something store bought. It’s the thought that counts and if you dress it up as your own and add an extra touch everyone will appreciate your effort — even if you don’t win best dish!
SAVE TIME AND BUY PRE-CUT
My last tip streams from pure laziness and is a complete time saver although does come at a slightly higher cost. In the grocery store, they will always have pre-cut vegetables in perfectly wrapped packages that will save you the time of having to individually cut carrots, brussels sprouts, apples, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. I try not to buy these on a consistent basis because they are basically vegetables at a 150% cost markup you can buy the regular brussels sprouts at 97 cents a pound and the precut ones for almost $5. You can’t win them all and if you are a rush this is your biggest time saver.
RECIPES FOR THE GIRL ON THE GO
I compiled a complete list of all my favorite low ingredients easy to make recipes on my pinterest board here. You can also check out all my pins and give me a follow I pin daily so you’re always up to date!
For this selection, I tried to focus on quality over quantity. There are certainly many more pins I could have added to this board but I tried to streamline this and make it easy for you, so if you signed up to make mashed potatoes, here is a low ingredient dish for you.
Let me know if you like this layout or if you prefer a bigger selection of pins!
TIPS FOR A FESTIVE FRIENDSGIVING
My friends and I are hosting a fancy-friendsgiving this week and we are already planning all the festivities to keep everyone entertained. Some of the things we have thought of are creating awards for best side dish, best dessert and best dressed.
We also want to include little labels so everyone can write the name of their dish and who made it. After dinner, everyone will vote on their favorite dishes and win small prizes.
Make for an easy clean up with disposable flatware we are buying ours on Amazon. Keep it classy with disposable plastic wine glasses.
SHEET PAN BRUSSELS WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PECANS AND CRANBERRIES
I was so excited to make my own version of this dish I saw on Pinterest. Brussel sprouts are one of my absolute favorite vegetables and when I saw this dish I wanted to attempt to streamline some of the steps for both cost and time.
What really drew me to this dish was the color. When I think of Fall, I immediately think of all the oranges, yellows and reds and this dish just embodied the hardiness of Fall in my eyes.
One of the ways I wanted to streamline this recipe was with my tip above to buy prepackaged. This allowed me to save time on cutting vegetables.
Editor’s note: I am a wise eye cook, I never measure unless I am baking and therefore have not provided exact measurements of how much of each ingredient to use because I believe with cooking there is no wrong and you will not mess this up if you eyeball it.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Brussel Sprouts (I bought the grocery store prepackaged, 1 container)
- Butternut Squash (I bought the grocery store prepackaged, 1 container)
- ¼ lb pecans
- Dried Cranberries (I bought a bag you would toss on a salad)
- Olive Oil
- Brown Sugar
HOW TO MAKE
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil
- Toss brussel sprouts on one side of the sheet and drizzle with about half a tablespoon of olive oil (less is more so they are crunchy) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a medium sized bowl, pour butternut squash and mix with a dash of cinnamon, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a tablespoon of olive oil. Once combined, toss onto the second half of the baking sheet next to the brussels and throw in oven once heated to 400 degrees. Note: If not serving immediately, do not throw into oven and leave pan in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Heat sheet pan for 20-30 minutes checking immertiently and ready once the brussels have started to brown and the butternut squash is soft.
- Optional: Remove from oven and throw into a bowl, using the same sheet pan, throw pecans on and roast at 400 degrees for 5 minutes watching them carefully as they burn easily.
- Toss with pecans and cranberries. Serve immediately