The leaves are changing. The temperature is dropping. And everyone knows it’s quickly becoming the most wonderful time of the year. But before we get to Thanksgiving and Christmas, there’s another great holiday centered around food and another kind of family – your friends.
Friendsgiving is one of my favorite times to gather with friends before the holidays, eating good food and sharing plenty of laughs. When it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s safe to assume everything you eat is full of butter and loads of sugar, but Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be unhealthy – and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are some tips and recipes for how you can host a healthy and affordable Friendsgiving:
1. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the traditional Thanksgiving foods. Ditch the turkey and grab a rotisserie chicken. Sub out sweet potatoes for butternut squash. There are plenty of ways to make your favorite comfort foods cheaper and healthier.
2. Host a potluck. Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you need to buy everything yourself. Use Google Docs to coordinate different dishes from your friend group. This is a great way to try new cuisine and switch it up from what you’d typically make.
3. Forget the decorations. Friendsgivings are all about spending time with your friends. Light some candles you have laying around, turn on a good Spotify station, and don’t worry about dishing out extra money on decorations.
4. Get disposable tableware. Instead of worrying about cleaning all of your dishes and utensils at the end of the night, you can get disposable plates, napkins, and utensils for $3 from Brandless to save time and effort when it comes to clean up.
Looking to host a better, more affordable Friendsgiving? Here are a few recipes to get you started!
Setting out a charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, fruits, and nuts on your coffee table is the perfect way to give your guests something to nibble on before dinner gets started. Here are some of my favorite things to add to a charcuterie platter:
- Protein: Cured meats like prosciutto, salami, or smoked salmon
- Cheese: Fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, and brie are always crowd pleasers. Spice up your goat cheese by sprinkling Brandless garlic and chili flake seasoning on top
- Nuts: Brandless glazed almonds or Brandless nuts, dark chocolate, and cherry trail mix add a great crunch to the mix
- Crackers: It’s not a proper charcuterie board without some crackers. Brandless fig and thyme crisps are a fun option to layer with your meats and cheeses
- Condiment: Adding a dash of mustard like Brandless organic spicy brown mustard or organic stone brown mustard is an easy way to spice up your platter
Brussels Sprouts are totally in their heyday, and I’m all for it. Roasting a bag of brussels is an easy way to add a delicious vegetable to your spread that your guests will absolutely love.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Cut stem off of each Brussels sprout and cut the sprout in half, lengthwise.
- Shake seasonings on top of sprouts and coat generously with olive oil spray.
- Spray baking sheet with Brandless olive oil spray and layer Brussels sprouts face down.
- Place pan in oven and roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
Macaroni and cheese is always a fan favorite, particularly during the holidays. But making Macaroni and Cheese from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult, and it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. This recipe only has a handful of ingredients and uses Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream to make it incredibly creamy.
- 1 16 oz bag of Brandless organic lumaconi giganti pasta
- 2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Brandless organic garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Brandless garlic and chili flake seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Brandless organic ground pepper
- Add four cups of water to a large pot, turn heat to high, and add dash of salt and olive oil.
- When water comes to a boil, add pasta, stirring frequently until pasta is cooked (about 15 minutes).
- When pasta is al dente, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add pasta back to pot and turn off heat. Add cheese and milk to pasta, stirring constantly until cheese is totally melted (about 5 minutes). After cheese is melted, add in greek yogurt and mix to combine with pasta.
- Put lid back on pot to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
Some of the best desserts are the ones without the guilt. I love that these banana chocolate chip banana cookies are just four ingredients, so easy to make, and can be eaten for dessert or breakfast the next morning.
- 4 large ripe bananas
- 2 cups Brandless quick cook steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon Brandless organic ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place peeled bananas in a bowl and use a fork to mash until there are no lumps.
- Dump cinnamon and oats in the bowl and use a spoon to combine with bananas. You want the mixture to stick together on its own. If it’s still too wet, add more oatmeal.
- Fold chocolate chips into banana/oat mixture.
- Scoop mixture into small balls about the size of two tablespoons and place on greased baking sheet. No need to flatten.
- Bake for 15 minutes.