Hosting friendsgiving can be a daunting task. I’m not talking about the hours you’ll spend giving your apartment a deep clean or stressing over who should be on the guest list. Even if you make it potluck style, hosting can get expensive very quick. Don’t worry, I have your wallet’s back. Trader Joe’s is the secret to putting together a killer friendsgiving menu. But be warned, you may do such a good job, you’ll be stuck hosting next year as well.
Snacks on snacks on snacks
Let’s be real here. Dinner is going to take a lot longer than you expected it to because of…
- Poor planning
- Woke up late
- The turkey is still partially frozen
- Peeling potatoes and bringing them to a boil takes half a millennia
- Missing ingredients
- You’re too busy joining the festivities than preparing for them
- One of the stove’s burners is out
- Your burnt out from your long week at work
The list goes on and on. But no matter which path you go down, there will always be impatient (and starving!) guests. Instead of raiding your cabinets for a box of stale Cheezits, swing by Trader Joe’s to pick up at least one appetizer. Because you’re not your mother, you won’t be putting together this meal single-handedly. If all works out as you planned (sorry, it won’t) then guests should be showing up with missing dishes. Unfortunately many of them will bring
fruit salad wine. Buzzfeed recommends that you entrust your most reliable friend with bringing an appetizer. Why? They’ll show up on time and won’t forget. In case any of my friends are reading this, I am not that guy.
My go-to dish app when entertaining is baked brie. Nothing fancy wrapped in pastry dough, although sometimes I top it with a drizzle of honey. It’s super easy and you can toast the baguette while you’re waiting for the brie to transform into cheesy, melty goodness. Trader Joe’s has a fantastic selection of cheese, so designing your own charcuterie board is also a budget friendly option. Don’t believe me? Here’s how to make your own charcuterie board for less than $30.
If you want to focus your attention on the main course or you’re just looking for something to bring to a friendsgiving party, some of my favorites include:
- Feta and Caramelized Onion Bites
- Island Salsa with Sweet Potato Chips
- Reduced Guilt Guacamole with baby carrots and celery
The star of the show
It may not be as good as mom’s but she’s had a lot more practice than ya’ll. At least Trader Joe’s will help you cut corners in and save money along the way.
If you’re still a veggie hater in your 20s, you need to talk to someone. Salads and squash may not be your favorite part of the meal but you need some color on your plate. Trader Joe’s has a ton of precut veggies that may cost more than doing it yourself, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time. And possibly a finger. Fall favorites like butternut squash are next to impossible to cut without a good set of knives. Not much of a chef? Not to worry. Check out the frozen section for twists on the classics such as mashed cauliflower.
If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or don’t eat turkey because of #reasons, I’m sure Thanksgiving has become one of your least favorite holidays. Which is depressing because it’s a holiday about my favorite things: family, friends, and food. Turkey is the superstar of the meal despite that it’s no one’s favorite part. If someone tells you it is, they’re absolutely lying and shouldn’t be trusted. But if you dare to take the turkey off of your friendsgiving menu, your meat-eating pals will not stop squawking.
Because most twenty-somethings are balling on a budget, I advise you buy your turkey at a big-box grocery store. Trader Joe’s sells fresh brined turkeys, but they’ll cost you an arm and a leg. You’re better off saving your money for some wine so no one will notice how dry the turkey is. If there’s only going to be a handful of you and preparing a bird is too much of a hassle, they have ready-to-go breast meat in the refrigerated section. Oh, and don’t forget the stuffing. Childhood favorites such as Stovetop have a ton of additives (why is there corn syrup and hydrogenated oils?!) but you should be in the clear with a Trader Joe’s stuffing mix.
Satisfy your sweet tooth
I’m addicted to sugar and the dessert spread is my favorite part of a Thanksgiving feast. The problem is that most people are so stuffed by the third course, they’re satisfied with a sliver of mediocre pumpkin pie. Trader Joe’s has some awesome frozen desserts that will make it look like you stood in line at a local bakery for hours. While their baking mixes are good, you don’t want to spend half your day in the kitchen whipping up some brownies. Okay fine, what if you’re feeling a little extra? Homemade sugar cookies paired with Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream is what dreams are made of. You’re welcome in advance.
And if alcohol is on your friendsgiving menu…
It doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or 51, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a $10 and $20 bottle of wine. While I’m nowhere near a wine connoisseur, Trader Joe’s has a wide (and affordable!) selection. Not a fan of wine? Please direct yourself to the “x” in your browser. Just kidding. Sorta. They have plenty of craft beer to choose from as well as kombucha if that’s more your speed.
Note: I’m not anyway affiliated or sponsored by Trader Joe’s. If you’re a regular reader, you know that Trader Joe’s is my favorite place to stock up my pantry.
- What’s your go-to dish to make when you entertain or bring something to a potluck?
- If I’m hosting, I usually make baked brie and if I’m going somewhere I usually bring chocolate chip cookies.
- What’s your favorite seasonal Trader Joe’s item?
- Hmmm…right now I’d have to vote for Pumpkin Ginger Hold the Cone.
- Do you celebrate friendsgiving?
- The first time I celebrated friendsgiving I was studying abroad in China. Our program got together and tried cooking a traditional dinner. I remember making green bean casserole in a wok and it actually came out pretty good. We also arranged to get a turkey from a local hotel…it cost $100 for a bird half the size of what’s normally on your family’s table.