Gathering around a table to break bread has been a form of connection for people across diverse cultures throughout history. Food is an essential part of our lives because it is the way we nourish our bodies. When shared, it can become a way to build and foster relationships. With a few simple steps, you can host a no-fuss gathering that will honor your current friendships and cultivate new ones.
While most people are familiar with the traditions that come along with celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, they may be less familiar with an offshoot known as Friendsgiving. This growing trend consists of a gathering of friends typically the week before or after Thanksgiving. Much like the latter-mentioned holiday, thoughts of gratitude and partaking in a shared meal are key elements. If you would like tips on how to host a low-stress Friendsgiving, follow along with our simple guide.
- Keep it simple
One way to keep your gathering as effortless as possible is to host a potluck-style meal. This is a great community-building option since each of your guests brings their favorite dish to share with the group. You can encourage your guests to share stories about the dish they brought and why it is meaningful to them. This can also save you time and energy in the kitchen so that you can spend extra time with your friends.
Whether you decide to have a more traditional dinner party or opt for the potluck-style meal, setting up a buffet is a great option for a group. Arranging the food, drinks, plates and eating utensils along a countertop or long table for easy access will help keep things moving along smoothly. This means more time for eating and visiting and less time hauling dishes in and out of the kitchen.
- No-fuss foods
When it comes to feeding a crowd, easy-to-assemble recipes are a must-have for keeping your gathering fuss free. Try our recipe for Turkey and Muenster Sliders adapted from the King’s Hawaiian Bread recipe for Ham and Swiss Sliders. They come together in under 30 minutes and can easily serve a larger group.
Another simple recipe to try for your Friendsgiving is the viral Baked Feta Cheese Pasta that was trending on social media earlier this year thanks to several food bloggers sharing their different takes on the dish. It’s easy comfort food at its finest and is sure to be a hit with your guests. Check out our version of the cheesy delight on our website at rwmagazine.com.
If you’re looking for an easy food option that does not require cooking, try assembling your own charcuterie board. With the right elements, you can take simple appetizers and make them the star of the night. Try including various cheeses alongside sliced salami or deli cut meats. You can also add a variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, dips and crackers. This is a fun way to eat finger foods and can be used as a beautiful centerpiece for your table.
- Honor your friends
Friendsgiving is a great time to reflect on all the ways you are thankful for your friends. Including a gratitude-centered activity during your gathering is one way you can honor your guests. Create simple name cards for each person and have your guests write a note of appreciation on the back. Take turns reading the messages out loud, and at the end of the night each guest will have a thoughtful memento to take home from the gathering.
Another great option is to write on a large poster board “I’m thankful for . . .” Allow room for each person to write their answers on the poster throughout the night. This is a great way to spark deeper conversations and bond over the meaningful things in your lives.
- Make it cozy
The changing of the season this time of year brings cooler temperatures and crisp evening air. This type of weather creates the opportunity for us to lean into the things that make us feel warm and comfortable. Create a cozy atmosphere for your Friendsgiving with warm spiced apple cider or a hot cocoa bar with fun toppings. If you want to have a low-key night, encourage your guests to don their favorite sweatshirt and comfy pants. You can have a simple movie or game night and make it cozy by offering plenty of fleece blankets and floor pillows to snuggle. Think about the different ways you can make each of your guests feel comfortable and what would speak cozy to them.
Your next gathering of friends does not have to be complicated to be successful. Make creating connections and fostering relationships your focus. Offering food and friendship are two ways to do just that.
Turkey and Cheese Sliders
- Serves 12
- 2 packages (12-count) King’s Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 6 slices deli muenster cheese
- 24 slices deli turkey breast or leftover cooked turkey breast
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove rolls from the package, making sure to keep them connected. Cut the dinner rolls in half, separating the top from the bottom. Spread half of the mayonnaise on the bottom half of the dinner rolls and layer with 12 slices of the turkey and 3 slices of the muenster. Replace the top portion of the dinner rolls and set aside. Repeat the previous steps with the second package of rolls and place into a baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over the tops of the rolls and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through, then remove foil and bake for an additional 2 minutes. Remove when the tops are slightly browned and crisp. Separate rolls with a knife and serve warm.
Baked Feta Cheese and Tomato Pasta
- Serves 8-10
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed
- 4 cloves minced garlic, divided
- ¼ cup, plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 8 oz. block feta cheese
- ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 10 oz. pasta
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup baby spinach, washed
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1/8 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes and 2 cloves of minced garlic in the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish and coat with ¼ cup olive oil. Place the block of feta in the center of the dish with the tomatoes evenly spread around the cheese. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. olive oil over the feta cheese. Top the tomatoes and cheese with ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper and ¼ tsp sea salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until tomatoes start to burst and cheese is slightly browned. Cook 10 oz. of pasta according to the package directions and drain, reserving ½ cup cooked pasta water. Immediately mix the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic into the baking dish with the cheese and tomatoes, along with the spinach, basil, parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir everything until combined and the cheese is well mixed. Add the cooked pasta to the dish and mix to combine. For a creamier sauce, add small amounts of the reserved pasta water to the dish until the desired consistency is achieved. Top with extra basil and serve warm.