5 college-proof recipes for casual Friendsgiving get-togethers

Zoe Tzanis

While for many, Thanksgiving elicits feelings of hunger, comfort and warmth, for others, the seemingly delicious holiday can serve as another opportunity for discomfort and family drama. Thankfully, Friendsgiving offers Longhorns an escape — an excuse to celebrate love and gratitude with their family of choice. 

Looking to impress with a spectacular Friendsgiving dish this year? Utilize these Texan-approved, college-proof recipe ideas to help make the friendly harvest holiday special. 

Easy peasy mac and cheesy (30-60 minutes) 

Who said turkey has to be the star of the show? While the jury’s still out on whether this dish deserves the title of “entree” or “side dish,” no one, lactose intolerants included, can resist soft pasta smothered in ooey-gooey golden cheese. 

Here’s how to prepare the perfect Friendsgiving mac without breaking the bank or wasting time: First, gather the essentials — a box of elbow macaroni, ¼ cup of butter, ¼ cup of flour, 2 cups milk and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Then boil the noodles. Heat and mix the other ingredients in a saucepan. Lastly, combine the two, stir and serve. 

If time permits, take an extra 30 minutes to transfer the pasta into a large dish, cover it with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven until the crust appears golden brown. 

Ditch the Kraft and Velveeta. Bring a batch of homemade mac to the Friendsgiving table and await praise.

Roasty toasty Brussels sprouts (25 mins)

This simple, three-ingredient side dish couldn’t be easier to perfect. 

To dazzle with this delicious vegetable, first clean and cut the sprouts. Then place them on a sheet pan, douse them with cooking oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and listen closely as they sizzle and crackle under the heat. Once roasted to golden brown magnificence, in around 20-25 minutes, remove the aromatic nightshade vegetable, plate and serve.

While Brussels sprouts never top the kid food favorite list, among college students with refined taste, they’ll surely impress. 

Smashin’ mashen’ potatoes (45 mins)

Move aside, turkey. This moist and buttery blend claims true Friendsgiving fame. 

An ever-so-slightly more complicated dish, the perfect mashed potatoes require college cooks to come prepared with their favorite potato variety, milk and butter. After peeling, cutting and boiling until soft, mash the potatoes. Then add in milk, butter and seasonings for flavor. Depending on potato quantity, this dish should only take 35-45 minutes to make. 

Consumed best in ladylike spoonfuls, a bowl of fluffy, soft mashed on the Friendsgiving table won’t last long. 

Hypnotizing jalapeno cranberry sauce (20 mins)

Some live for the strange glob of cranberry sauce. Others despise it. Avoid the controversy with this irresistible, innovative take on the classic. 

Redefine the cranberry sauce debate in three easy steps. First, assemble ingredients — 12 ounces of drained cranberries (fresh or frozen), 1 cup of sugar, 3-4 jalapenos (cut or diced) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Then cook said ingredients in a saucepan by first boiling the water and sugar, then adding the other components to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Finally, store the side in the refrigerator until mealtime. 

Prepare to make Friendsgiving history. Unlike traditional cranberry sauce, no one can turn their nose up to this sweet and spicy remake. 

Praiseworthy pumpkin muffins (30-45 mins)

Perhaps a fully decked-out pumpkin pie involves too much hassle for a casual Friendsgiving get-together. No matter — surely pumpkin muffins will satisfy any lingering pumpkin cravings. 

Add canned pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to any trusty muffin recipe. Whisk, mix, bake and enjoy the most fall-like of Friendsgiving flavors. Muffins will likely require 30-45 minutes of prep and bake time. Iced, plain or topped with butter, a batch of pumpkin muffins will put a store-bought pie to shame.