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Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Set the table for a fantastic feast with helpful tips and recipes.

Make this Thanksgiving season a friendly affair when you gather folks around the table for a delicious meal. Your guests will definitely be thankful for plenty of appetizers, so serve up Cranberry Shrimp Cocktail and Sausage and Stuffing Bites for starters. Friendsgiving guests will also enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Sangria or Rosemary-Infused Apple Cider Mimosa as a pre-meal cocktail.

Set the dinner table with Dipped Walnut Place Cards and Burlap Napkin Rolls for maximum decorative effect, topped by a gorgeous Friendsgiving Centerpiece Table Decoration. When it’s time for the meal, you’ll be ready to wow guests with dishes like Apple, Spinach & Gouda-Stuffed Pork Loin, Cinnamon-Beef Pot Roast and Southwest Chicken Pot Pie. Scrumptious sides can include Fried Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Orange Honey and Squash Bacon Mac & Cheese…yum!

Complete your friendsgiving celebration with some delicious Slow Cooker Apple Crisp, perfect as a shareable dessert. After pouring your guests a Cinnamon Caramel Café Au Lait, you can send them home with Clay Wishbones and Gratitude Journals, leaving long-lasting memories of a fantastic friendsgiving!

Sausage and Stuffing Bites

Sausage and Stuffing Bites

This bite-sized version of a Thanksgiving classic is perfect for a fun and casual friendsgiving celebration.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 40 min. | Serves: 44 bites | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. spicy ground sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 package (12 oz.) herb seasoned dried cubed stuffing mix
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray 44 mini muffin cups; set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat cook sausage, crumbling until brown and fat starts to render; add onions and celery. Cook 3-5 minutes until vegetables are softened and sausage is cooked through. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Place stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add broth mixture, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add egg and parsley; mix thoroughly.
  4. Press about 2 tablespoons of mixture into each muffin cup. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 50, Calories from Fat 15, Total Fat 2g (3% DV), Saturated Fat 0.5g (2% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg (2% DV), Sodium 220mg (9% DV), Carbohydrates 6g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars < 1g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Sweet Potato Casserole Rounds

Sweet Potato Casserole Rounds

Marshmallows and sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish pairing; now try them in a bite size!

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 40 bites | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes about 2" in diameter, peeled
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. Slice sweet potatoes into ⅛”-¼” thick rounds. Place slices on baking sheet; brush with oil and sprinkle with salt mixture.
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes, flipping each round about halfway through, until tender and lightly browned.
  4. Meanwhile in a bowl mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly; mix in pecans.
  5. Divide pecan mixture evenly between sweet potatoes; top each with 1-2 marshmallows. Return to oven for 3-5 minutes until marshmallows puff and start to toast.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 35, Calories from Fat 20, Total Fat 2g (3% DV), Saturated Fat 0.5g (2% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol < 5mg (1% DV), Sodium 25mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 3g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Cranberry Shrimp Cocktail

Cranberry Shrimp Cocktail

Starting with raw shrimp only takes a little extra time, but allows you to add lots of extra flavor!

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 20 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup cocktail sauce
  • ¼ cup whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 lb. 16/20 shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails-on
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
Directions:
  1. In a bowl stir together cocktail sauce and cranberry sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F.
  3. Toss shrimp with oil, zest, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until just pink. Cool completely. Serve with sauce.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 80, Calories from Fat 20, Total Fat 2.5g (4% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 70mg (23% DV), Sodium 490mg (20% DV), Carbohydrates 5g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein 8g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 4%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Pumpkin Spinach Feta Turnovers

Pumpkin Spinach Feta Turnovers

This fall twist on spanakopita will be a favorite at your next party.

Hands-on Time: 30 min. | Total Time: 50 min. | Serves: 30 turnovers | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (10 oz.) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 10 (9”x14”) phyllo sheets, thawed
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix together spinach, pumpkin, feta, egg, dill, salt and nutmeg.
  3. On a clean work surface place a sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and top with a second sheet of phyllo; brush with butter. Cut into 6 strips about 2” wide.
  4. Place a scant tablespoon of spinach mixture on one end of each strip. Fold strip over to make a triangle; continue folding marinating triangular shape. Place on prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  5. Brush all turnovers with butter. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 140, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 8g (12% DV), Saturated Fat 4.5g (22% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 40mg (13% DV), Sodium 250mg (10% DV), Carbohydrates 13g (4% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars < 1g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 110%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 10%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Orange Honey

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Orange Honey

Fried Brussels sprouts with a bit of zesty orange makes for a craveable delicious dish!

Hands-on Time: 30 min. | Total Time: 30 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half and very dry
  • Kosher salt
  • Oil for frying
Directions:
  1. In a bowl whisk together honey, orange zest and cayenne pepper; set aside.
  2. Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels; set aside.
  3. Heat at least 3” of oil to 375°F in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Fry Brussels sprouts in small batches, 3-4 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Drain on prepared plate; sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Transfer to serving dish and drizzle with honey.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tip:

Frying Brussels sprouts in small batches will prevent oil temperature from dropping too much, making the sprouts greasy instead of crispy.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 330, Calories from Fat 10, Total Fat 1.5g (2% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 115mg (5% DV), Carbohydrates 76g (25% DV), Dietary Fiber 18g (72% DV), Sugars 45g, Protein 16g, Vitamin A 70%, Vitamin C 650%, Calcium 20%, Iron 35%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Southwest Chicken Pot Pie

Southwest Chicken Pot Pie

Precooked chicken and frozen veggies are easy shortcuts that let you make a tasty homemade crust without too much time in the kitchen.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 60 min. | Serves: 5 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 lg. egg yolk
  • 2-4 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 package (12-14 oz.) frozen pepper and onion blend
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1 can (7 oz.) diced green chiles or jalapeños, drained
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, cornmeal, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Flatten in a disk and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper and onion blend, cooking 8-10 minutes until thawed and liquid has evaporated. Add chicken, salt, cumin, garlic and pepper; stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium; add cream cheese, green chiles and broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese melts.
  4. Transfer chicken mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish.
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll out cornmeal dough to fit the casserole pan. Place on top and cut several slits to vent. Brush top with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with ground cumin.
  6. Bake 25-28 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio

Tip:

Try making this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 640, Calories from Fat 360, Total Fat 40g (62% DV), Saturated Fat 20g (100% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 195mg (65% DV), Sodium 980mg (41% DV), Carbohydrates 37g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber 3g (12% DV), Sugars 6g, Protein 33g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 80%, Calcium 8%, Iron 20%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Apple Spinach Gouda Stuffed Pork Loin

Apple Spinach Gouda Stuffed Pork Loin

Add great flavor to mild pork loin with a sweet and savory stuffing.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 1 hr. 45 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 4 oz. smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
  • 2 lb. center cut pork loin, butterflied
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oven 325°F.
  2. In a bowl mix together spinach, apples and Gouda; set aside.
  3. Lay pork flat, spread with mustard and season with salt and pepper. Spread spinach mixture evenly across pork. Roll up, securing with kitchen twine. Rub the outside of pork with oil and season with additional salt and pepper. Transfer to a rimmed baking pan.
  4. Bake 60-80 minutes until internal temperature registers 145°F. Allow to stand 10 minutes before carving.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wine Pairing: Syrah

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 450, Calories from Fat 210, Total Fat 23g (35% DV), Saturated Fat 9g (45% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 145mg (48% DV), Sodium 460mg (19% DV), Carbohydrates 7g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein 50g, Vitamin A 120%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 20%, Iron 15%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Squash-Bacon Mac and Cheese

Squash-Bacon Mac and Cheese

Frozen cooked squash is a quick and easy way to add extra nutrition to comforting mac and cheese.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (16 oz.) medium shells
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ tsp. hot sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 package (12 oz.) frozen cooked squash, thawed
  • 12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 10 slices cooked thick cut bacon, chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or spray a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside.
  2. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain and set aside.
  3. In a 4 quart sauce pan over medium heat melt butter; whisk in flour, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Slowly add milk while whisking constantly until smooth; whisk in squash. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a bubble and is thickened. Remove from the heat and add 8 ounces of cheese; stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Add pasta and bacon to cheese sauce; stir gently to coat. Pour into prepared dish; top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and cheese on top is melted.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wine Pairing: Chardonnay

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 590, Calories from Fat 260, Total Fat 29g (45% DV), Saturated Fat 14g (70% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 85mg (28% DV), Sodium 970mg (40% DV), Carbohydrates 53g (18% DV), Dietary Fiber 4g (16% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein 28g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 35%, Iron 15%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Cinnamon Caramel Café au Lait

Cinnamon Caramel Café au Lait

This cinnamon caramel sauce recipe is great to keep on hand for warm fall drinks.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 20 min. | Serves: 2 cups caramel sauce | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 oz. whole milk
  • 6 oz. strong, hot coffee
Directions:
  1. Combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and butter in a 1 quart sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook mixture 5-10 minutes until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat; add cream and vanilla. If not using right away, cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To make café au lait, heat milk with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon caramel sauce; whisk vigorously to froth slightly. Pour coffee in a mug and top with hot milk.
Tip:

Cinnamon caramel milk can also be served hot without coffee added. Try serving caramel sauce warm over vanilla ice cream. Caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 200, Calories from Fat 90, Total Fat 11g (17% DV), Saturated Fat 6g (30% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 30mg (10% DV), Sodium 80mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 21g (7% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 22g, Protein 6g, Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 20%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Pumpkin Spice Sangria

Pumpkin Spice Sangria

‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice!

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 2 hr. 10 min. | Serves: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup vanilla or whipped cream vodka
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
Directions:
  1. In a large pitcher whisk together pumpkin, vodka, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice until blended. Add wine, stirring to combine. Add apple and orange slices. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to combine flavors.
  2. Stir well before serving. Garnish with additional fruit slices or cinnamon sticks if desired.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 250, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 10mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 29g (10% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 24g, Protein < 1g, Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 6%, Iron 8%.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Rosemary Infused Apple Cider Mimosa

Rosemary Infused Apple Cider Mimosa

Apple cider tastes even better with a bit of herbal infusion before mixing it in this cocktail.

Hands-on Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 3 hrs. | Serves: 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups fresh pressed apple cider
  • 2 sprigs (5”) fresh rosemary
  • Peel from 1 orange
  • 1 bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • Additional rosemary, if desired
Directions:
  1. Bring cider to a simmer in a 1 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add rosemary and orange peel. Allow to steep for 20 minutes; transfer to a container and refrigerate until cold or overnight. Strain before serving.
  2. Fill champagne flute with equal parts apple cider and sparkling wine. Garnish with rosemary sprigs if desired.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 80, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 20mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 10g (3% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 9g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 0%, Iron 2%.  

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

Free up oven space by making this yummy dessert in your slow cooker.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 4 hrs. 30 min. | Serves: 10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. fine salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. fine salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
Directions:
  1. Toss apple slices with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter until a crumbly mixture forms. Spread oats evenly over top of the apples. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours until apples are tender. Allow to stand 30 minutes uncovered before serving.

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 400, Calories from Fat 170, Total Fat 20g (31% DV), Saturated Fat 12g (60% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 50mg (17% DV), Sodium 55mg (2% DV), Carbohydrates 56g (19% DV), Dietary Fiber 4g (16% DV), Sugars 32g, Protein 4g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.  

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Slow Cooker Pork with Apples and Kraut

Slow Cooker Pork with Apples and Kraut

Apples and sauerkraut add a nice balance of sweet and tangy to a pork shoulder.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 9 hrs. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 package (16 oz.) sauerkraut
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl mix together mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub mixture over pork.
  2. Place in a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Top with onion, apples and sauerkraut including liquid. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or until tender.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wine Pairing: Riesling

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 720, Calories from Fat 470, Total Fat 52g (80% DV), Saturated Fat 18g (90% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 200mg (67% DV), Sodium 2170mg (90% DV), Carbohydrates 11g (4% DV), Dietary Fiber 3g (12% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 50g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 20%, Calcium 8%, Iron 25%.  

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Cinnamon Beef Pot Roast

Cinnamon Beef Pot Roast

A bit of cinnamon in a savory spice rub adds great depth of flavor to a standard pot roast.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 9 hrs. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 5 lb. chuck roast
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl mix together salt, paprika, garlic, cumin, pepper and cinnamon; rub over roast.
  2. Place onions and broth in the bottom of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Add roast; cover. Cook on low 7-9 hours until tender.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wine Pairing: Zinfandel

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 850, Calories from Fat 620, Total Fat 69g (106% DV), Saturated Fat 29g (145% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 200mg (67% DV), Sodium 1820mg (76% DV), Carbohydrates 4g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars < 1g, Protein 52g, Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 4%, Iron 35%.  

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

What You Need to Know When Planning Your First Friendsgiving

What You Need to Know When Planning Your First Friendsgiving

When planning your first Friendsgiving you want everything to be just perfect. Right? Well, the first rule is don’t worry so much!

It’s so important to make sure while your guests are enjoying themselves that you are as well. Sure, we’d all like to entertain like Martha Stewart, but most of us are a bit more Sandra Lee—“semi-homemade.”

Yes, it’s OK not to make everything from scratch. So cut yourself a break and enjoy the day spent with your friends instead of being stuck in the kitchen. Pop some premade frozen appetizers (either store-bought or homemade) into the oven to have ready when your guests start arriving.

And speaking of those guests . . . lean on them a little! Ask them to bring a dish to share.

As with any dinner party (and perhaps more so on Thanksgiving) you’ll want to be mindful of your guests’ food allergies or preferences. If there’s a vegetarian in the group, make sure you have more to offer them than salad and potatoes—likewise with gluten-intolerant guests. Setting out a smattering of sides to accommodate most diets will provide variety and ensure that everyone feels included and gets enough to eat. A hearty rice dish, roasted squash and gluten-free cornbread are all crowd-pleasing options for even the pickiest eaters.

Finally, instead of leaving the table to prepare dessert, be sure to have a premade dessert on-hand, such as fresh bakery treats or a frozen pie to bake while your guests are digesting the bird.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Tips for Hosting a Potluck Thanksgiving

Tips for Hosting a Potluck Thanksgiving

Hosting a potluck Thanksgiving makes you the official menu manager, meaning it’s up to you to ensure that all the major food items and accompanying sides make it to the dinner table.

No one wants to cart around a hot turkey or gravy, so as the host, plan on preparing those yourself. You’ll need your guests to complete the meal, so at least a couple of weeks in advance, circulate a list of categories of dishes and allow your guests to dibs the ones they want to bring. Make sure to avoid too many dishes with similar flavor profiles. It’s critical to find out if your guests have dietary restrictions, and pass that information along to those bringing food to share. Once you know your head count, you can relay the appropriate amounts of food for everyone to bring.

For guests who aren’t into cooking, suggest they bring beverages (a signature cocktail, perhaps) and ice. You can also have people sign up to bring serving dishes and utensils, napkins, glassware and flatware.

Bonus: Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? Set up a to-go station for guests to fill containers with their favorite foods of the day. Baker’s twine and tags or labels will help prevent accidents as well as keep leftovers looking enticing in the fridge later.

View Party Plan: Have a Happy Friendsgiving!

Slow Cooker Recipes for a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Slow Cooker Recipes for a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

We all know the convenience of using a slow cooker any old day of the week, but on a holiday like Thanksgiving, when you can plan on being in the kitchen for the bulk of the day, invoking the slow cooker allows you more free time to spend with friends and family.

Many traditional Thanksgiving recipes can be easily transferred to a slow cooker, including mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing and even a turkey breast.

So round up your family’s slow cookers in advance, set a schedule of start times for each recipe, and enjoy the day and its scrumptious smells without hardly lifting another finger.

Turkey

While you can’t put a whole bird in a slow cooker, a small turkey breast will fit nicely—and if you’re having a smaller crowd, might be plenty. Just be sure to start the cooking early, as it takes eight hours to cook.

Ingredients:

  • 3-lb. turkey breast on the bone
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 4 chunks
  • a few sprigs each of your favorite fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place turkey breast in slow cooker on top of garlic and onion
  2. Sprinkle garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper on top of bird, rubbing under the skin if you wish
  3. Drizzle olive oil on top of seasoned bird and rub into skin
  4. Bundle fresh herbs and add to the cooker
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (check after 7)

Tip: For a quick gravy, remove turkey from slow cooker and strain the remaining veggies. Skim the fat from the top of the liquid and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/2 a cup of milk and slowly add mixture to pan until sauce thickens to your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes

Forget boiling and straining potatoes—the ease of making mashed potatoes in the slow cooker will make it your go-to method! If you wish, add your favorite herbs before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (peel if desired)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Add potatoes and stock to slow cooker, placing butter cubes and minced garlic on top
  2. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend together with a hand mixer or potato masher (be careful not to over-whip or the texture could become gummy)

Stuffing

This super-easy stuffing recipe will sate everyone’s favorite textural craving—it finishes with a tautness to the top and edges and a steamy-soft center.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups crusty white or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (if using fresh bread, toast cubes in oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring every half hour, until dried out)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat and sauté onions, celery and garlic until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes
  2. Add fresh herbs to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then remove from heat
  3. Place bread cubes in slow cooker and gently add the vegetables
  4. Combine eggs, stock, salt and pepper, then add to slow cooker and stir to combine
  5. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on low

Tip: Make it your own! Cooked ground sausage, cubed apples or chopped nuts all make great additions. Just add 1 cup of your chosen ingredient to the mixture before cooking.

Green Bean Casserole

Fun fact: The classic green bean casserole has had a place at the Thanksgiving table for more than 60 years! The slow cooker was invented 15 years earlier, so it’s no surprise that the oven-baked recipe was quickly adapted for the slow cooker to free up oven space, which is in such high demand on the holiday. Our recipe calls for frozen beans, but you can use fresh or (drained) canned beans if you wish, so long as you adjust liquids and cooking time accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 18-oz. package frozen green beans
  • 10-oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-1/2 cups French fried onions
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Reserve half of the onions, then mix all of the ingredients in the slow cooker
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours
  3. Spread the remaining onions over the top of the casserole and serve or leave on warm in the slow cooker

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato recipes call for various toppings. We’re partial to the crumbly, sweet pecan topping below, but if you prefer a gooey marshmallow topping (or if you’re serving someone with a nut allergy), skip the pecan mixture. Instead, after the given cook time, top with mini marshmallows and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer on low, or until the marshmallows have melted.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cubed butter, plus 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. Place sweet potatoes in slow cooker and add chicken broth and the cubed butter
  3. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, then mash with a potato masher
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and 1 cup of the brown sugar to slow cooker and stir
  5. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, melted butter, flour and pecans
  6. Pour the pecan mixture over the mashed sweet potatoes, replace lid and cook for 2 hours longer

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Glittered Mini Pumpkin Place Cards

Glittered Mini Pumpkin Place Cards

Add some drama to your autumnal tablescape with these glittered-stem mini pumpkin (or gourd) place cards! Pick pumpkins or gourds in colors that coordinate with the rest of your day’s decorations.

Things You'll Need:
  • Plain gift tags or cardstock, cut into 1½” circles
  • Pen/marker
  • Round pushpins
  • White glue and silver glitter (or silver paint)
  • Small paint brush
  • Mini pumpkins or squash
Directions:
  1. Write each guest’s name on a tag.
  2. Paint a small amount of white glue onto the head of each pushpin and either dip into glitter or pour glitter atop to coat (or paint with silver paint).
  3. Repeat step 2 for the stem of each pumpkin or gourd.
  4. Once everything has dried, secure name tags to each pumpkin/gourd using the glittered pushpins.

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Mini Pumpkin Centerpiece

Mini Pumpkin Centerpiece

The same mini pumpkins and gourds we use in our Glittered Mini Pumpkin Place Card designs can also be used to create a festive Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Mini pumpkins or gourds, in their earthy palette of oranges, greens and creamy whites, provide the perfect pop for a harvest-hued tablescape. Load up on one color (we love the white) or mix several shades, depending on your décor.

Simply stack the pumpkins or gourds in glass hurricanes and leave them as-is for a clean, modern look—or fill the hurricanes with water and add flowers to create an autumnal-colored arrangement, sliding the stems around the pumpkins.

Bonus: While your centerpiece will be a feast for the eyes, once Thanksgiving has passed it can become a feast for the stomach! Save those mini pumpkins or gourds for roasting—just wash, remove the tops and seeds, roast at 350°F until soft and fill with your favorite autumnal soup, grain or roasted vegetable. Nothing goes to waste!

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Candy Maize Ears

Candy Maize Ears

Resembling harvest-hued maize ears, these candy-filled party favors are the perfect takeaway for your Thanksgiving guests.

Make them several days in advance to help slim down your to-do list!

Things You'll Need:
  • Cone-shaped clear icing/pastry bags
  • Autumnal-toned candies, such as candy corn, Reese’s Pieces or brown, yellow and orange M&M’s (or a mixture of all three!)
  • Raffia
Directions:
  1. Fill icing bags with candy.
  2. Cut a handful of 4”-6” lengths of raffia and tuck into the end of each bag, then tie a longer length of raffia around the bag into a pretty bow to secure.
  3. Fan out on a tray or in a basket on a buffet or set near the front door so guests can grab on their way out.

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Cranberry Relay

Cranberry Relay

Whether you’re waiting for dinner to finish cooking or trying to get moving after eating, having an activity like the Cranberry Relay at the ready will ensure your guests are entertained.

Here’s how you play this super-easy, all-ages game:

Divide guests into two teams and set up a station at either end of a room (or outside) with two bowls and a tablespoon at each station. Fill one of the bowls at each station with about a cup of fresh raw cranberries.

Each player must carry three cranberries on a tablespoon to the opposing station without dropping any berries; if they drop one, they must start over. The first team to empty their cranberry bowl wins!

Tip: Fresh cranberries not available? Substitute nuts or acorns!

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Gratitude Journals

Gratitude Journals

Turn an everyday notebook into a keepsake for remembering to be grateful long after Thanksgiving. Your guests will remember your thoughtfulness long after the tryptophan has worn off.

Things You'll Need:
  • Blank notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Baker’s twine in your choice of color
  • Blank self-adhesive labels
Directions:
  1. Handwrite or print on each label: “[Guest name]’s Gratitude Journal”.
  2. Adhere labels to notebook covers.
  3. Using baker’s twine, tie a pencil to each journal.
  4. Set a journal on each guest’s chair or stack together in a basket for a festive presentation.

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Dipped Walnut Place Cards

Dipped Walnut Place Cards

These stacked walnut place cards make for an easy but updated table setting that works with both traditional and contemporary décor. Partially dipping the walnuts in white paint adds a modern, minimalist edge.

Things You'll Need:
  • Plain gift tags, place cards or cardstock cut into 1½"x2½" rectangles
  • Rubber stamp in shape of leaf
  • Pen/marker
  • In-the-shell walnuts
  • Paint (we used white, but you can tailor to complement your tablescape)
  • Small cup or bowl at least 1" deep
Directions:
  1. Use a rubber stamp to imprint a leaf motif onto plain tags or cardstock, then handwrite or type guests’ names on each.
  2. Pour paint into a small cup or bowl (disposable makes for easy cleanup!) and dip each walnut halfway into the paint.
  3. Allow to dry.
  4. Stack several walnuts into little piles at each place setting and wedge each guest’s place cards into the pile for a modern, yet rustic flair.

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Rustic Bundled Place Cards

Rustic Bundled Place Cards

For a rustic, elegant tablescape, use baker’s twine to tie a simple cardstock tag to tiny bundles of 3”-4” twigs.

Things You'll Need:
  • A good-size bunch of tiny twigs, broken into 3”-4” sections
  • Baker’s twine
  • Cardstock tags
  • Pen/marker
Directions:
  1. Handwrite each guest’s name onto cardstock tags and set aside.
  2. Separate your twigs into even piles matching the number of place settings at your table.
  3. Gather up each bunch of twigs and tie into small bundles using baker’s twine, wrapping the twine around each bundle several times before tying a tight knot.
  4. Slide nametag onto twine and then tie twine ends into a bow.

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Clay Wishbones

Clay Wishbones

Everyone deserves to make a wish on Thanksgiving! While the bird may only have one wishbone to break, all can share in the wish-making fun with these easy-to-prepare clay wishbones that will add a festive flair to your holiday tabletop.

Things You'll Need:
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup white school glue
  • Paint
  • Wax paper
  • Pen or wooden spoon
Directions:
  1. First, to make air-drying clay, combine cornstarch and glue in a bowl and knead with hands.
  2. Pull off a small amount of the clay and roll into a long snake. Fold this in half and pinch the middle together to create the shape of a wishbone.
  3. Place on wax paper, with the pinched edge resting on a pen or a wooden spoon handle to create a subtle curve, and let air dry for two to three hours.
  4. Paint in colors to complement your holiday décor.
  5. Set one at every other place setting and invite each guest to break one with his or her neighbor.

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Burlap Napkin Rolls

Burlap Napkin Rolls

A welcoming Thanksgiving table sets the tone for the evening. Your guests will appreciate the thoughtful way you’ve presented everything to them—right down to the silverware.

The layered textures in these burlap napkin rolls add a special touch to rolled silverware, making them great accents to both casual and dressy harvest-themed tables. They pack a big impact, but can be assembled in just minutes. Here’s how:

Roll silverware in linen-colored or fall-hued napkins (either cloth or paper) so that the seam of the roll is on the side that will face down. Wrap a 3” strip of burlap ribbon around the napkin, then wrap twine around the burlap several times and finish by tying the twine in a bow on the side facing up. Set at each guest’s place or, if serving buffet style, fan out on a tray and place white flowers at the heel end of the silverware rolls to complete the look.

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