A Friendsgiving Feast
image by Krissy O’Shea for Yankee Magazine
Thanksgiving is just a week away, and preparations are in full swing. I have a tradition every year since college, of celebrating Friendsgiving with my closest & dearest. I hosted my annual Friendsgiving in the country last weekend and now have started a new tradition with my Instagram family that I am so excited to share with you!
A lovely group of gals and I have put together our feast fit for family and Friendsgiving, last minute suggestions, and of course, a delicious addition to every Thanksgiving table. If we all lived near each other, you can bet we’d be hosting this gathering ourselves. But for now, an internet gathering of our favorite recipes will have to do.
We’re grateful you’re here — cheers to you!
My moms famous pumpkin bars… I bet you can’t eat just one!
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
16 oz can of pumpkin ( I use Libby’s 15 oz can)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Beat sugar, oil, and pumpkin in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
- Combine all other ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to pumpkin mixture.
- Pour into cake pan (13×10 or 13×9).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on your oven)
Set aside to cool, cut into brownie squares and sprinkle powdered sugar on top. You can also frost with cream cheese frosting too!
Nana’s Simple Stuffing
contributed by Alexandra Barnes of TurquoiseandSunshine A New England photographer who shares her love of travel and New England charm through her magnificent photography; follow along on her Instagram @turquoiseandsunshine
1 loaf of good bread, sliced and staled, and torn/shredded (I love ciabatta—correction, loved—but it’s still perfect for this)
2 small yellow onions, chopped small
2 stalks of celery, chopped small
12 oz. sausage (I love Jones Original Pork Sausage)
~2 c low sodium chicken broth
fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
- Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and heat on medium-low heat until warm.
- Add onion and celery, cooking until onions are sweating and celery has begun to soften.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of Bell’s Seasoning.
- Increase heat to medium, and add the sausage, breaking it up constantly as it cooks until no longer pink and ensuring there are no large clumps of meat.
- Add parsley, salt, and pepper to taste (and more Bell’s if you like) but keep in mind you’re about to add chicken broth which always has a little salt. I’ll admit tend to have a heavy hand with the parsley.
- Mix in the shredded bread and add about a half cup of chicken broth at a time. The mixture should combine and be quite moist but not soggy.
- Did I mention you can switch it up, add whatever you like, and season to taste?
- Now’s the time to stuff the bird. Or, bake in a casserole dish at 350°F about 15-25 minutes until slightly darker and golden on top.
Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese & Candied Pecans
contributed by Claire Wiley of Home with the Wileys, where classic Connecticut life, style, and motherhood are seemingly effortless. She takes us on her family adventures (and woes) at home in the Litchfield Hills and beyond on her smiley slice of Instagram @homewiththewileys.
2 lbs fresh carrots peeled
1/2 c brown sugar
4 T butter cut into small squares
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t cinnamon
4 oz goat cheese (chevre) crumbled
1 T fresh thyme, whole sprigs and removed from stems
2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
1 T brown sugar
1 c pecans roughly chopped
1/4 t salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & place the carrots in a single in a baking dish
- Spread the butter squares over the carrots and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
- Put the baking dish in the oven and cook for 55 minutes, turning the carrots every 15 minutes or so.
- While the carrots are cooking, prepare the candied pecans by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
- Once the butter is completely melted, add in the brown sugar and maple syrup and let cook until the mixture thickens, or about two minutes.
- Add the chopped pecans and gently stir until well coated. Remove from heat and top with salt.
- Once the carrots are cooked, remove from the oven, place on a baking dish and sprinkle with goat cheese, pecans and fresh thyme.
Maggie’s Holiday Mashed Potatoes
contributed by Maggie of Margaret of York Interiors, where blue and white isn’t only classic, it’s iconic. Her signature style, love of gorgeous yet simple details, and a little life outside her greenhouse can be found on Instagram at @margaretofyork.
5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese
3/4 c half-and-half
1/2 t Trader Joes Seasoning Salt
1/2 t course black ground pepper
- Peel and cut potatoes into 2 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 35 minutes.
- Drain potatoes when they are fork tender and then place back into the dry pot. Over low heat mash the potatoes allowing all steam to escape.
- Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of half-and-half and mash the potatoes. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of season salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir until well mixed and place in a medium size baking dish. Place a few slices of butter on top and bake in a 350°F oven until butter is melted and warmed through.
* I make these a day or two ahead and store in the fridge. Before cooking remove from fridge for at least 2 hours and then bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Sweet Potato Casserole
contributed by Shannon Solt of A Dash of Solt. With a lot of pep —and prep—in her step, a kind heart a sweet babe and a husband who is a chef, she also shares a quaint and coastal side of Ohio on Instagram at @shannonsolt.
for the Sweets
3 cups of sweet potatoes, cooked, skinned and mashed
1/2 c of sugar
4 T butter
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup of milk
Mix ingredients together and spread in an 8x8inch pan.
for the Topping
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c of flour
2 T soft butter
1/2 c chopped pecans
Mix until crumbly and spread on top of sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Grandma’s Apple Crisp
contributed by Lauren Fortsch of simplylauren.com. Raised on the South Shore of Boston and raising her kiddos on the south coast of Connecticut, check out her classic and simple life + style on Instagram, too, @laurenfortsch.
8 baking apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
1/2 c sugar
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c flour, sifted
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
6 T butter
- Mix apples with sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Put into well-greased 2 1/2 – 3 qt. baking dish.
- Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.
- Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is brown.
Delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.
Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Salad
contributed by Shannon Shipman, a photographer and Southerner well-versed in the ways of New England…with a heart to match. Based in Boston, you can find her on her beautiful travel blog and on Instagram @shannon.m.shipman.
2 c boiling water
3/4 cups sugar
1 large box cherry Jell-O
1 can red tart cherries, drained
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
8 oz cream cheese
- Dissolve sugar in boiling water.
- Remove from heat and add Jell-O and cherries. Stir, then add ice water.
- When cool, add celery, grapes & nuts and pour into a 9 x 13 dish.
- Make little balls out of cream cheese and add throughout the dish.
- Chill 8 hours.
Gingersnap Molasses Cookies
contributed by Samantha Lynch. Based in Kentucky with the heart of a New Englander, you can follow her travels and seasonal inspo on Instagram @_samanthalynch (and her insanely cozy hand knit hats account @slynchknitwear).
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tp salt
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c veg oil
1/4 c molasses
granulated sugar to roll cookies in
- Preheat over to 375°F.
- Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, combine brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg until smooth.
- Slowly add in flour mixture to wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix.
- Shape dough by rounded spoonful and roll into balls. Dip tops of cookie balls into the granulated sugar.
- Place balls sugar side up onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake about 9-10 minutes until set (cookies may look under-baked). Cool and transfer to wire rack.