Friendsgiving Menu Planning

I worked through the morning, ate lunch, worked some more and then finally decided that a workout just isn’t happening today. If I don’t make it to the gym or take Sadie for a run before noon, a rest day will more than likely take the place of a workout.

Rest days are important, too!


Lunch today revolved around one thing: Caesar dressing.

salad with black bean burger

bolthouse farms yogurt dressing caesar

I bought this Bolthouse Farms yogurt-based Caesar-Parmigiano salad dressing a little while ago and when I tried it, I was instantly smitten!

I usually prefer vinaigrette dressings to creamy dressings, but something about the parmesan flavor of this Caesar dressing called to me. It ended up being a great impulse buy, Yes, it was the dressing that motivated me to eat a salad for lunch today! 

Today’s salad included:

  • Spring mix
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Red pepper
  • 2 MorningStar Farms spicy black bean burgers
  • Caesar dressing


Friendsgiving Menu Planning

Since I sent out the invitation to our Friendsgiving party early last week, we’ve heard back from everyone and it sounds like we’re going to have a full house next weekend!

Now the pressure is on to have good food for our friends to enjoy!

As we watched a DVRed episode of New Girl last night, I grabbed a pad of paper and began jotting down menu ideas.

thanksgiving menu

(I love how turkey didn’t enter my head right away. A girl needs her sweet potato casserole and stuffing!)

So far we’re planning to make the following dishes:

  • Turkey
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes
  • Peas (I like to stir them into my mashed potatoes. I get it from my dad.)
  • Gravy
  • My mom’s homemade stuffing (Hands down my favorite dish of Thanksgiving!)
  • Cranberry sauce 
  • Bubbee’s glazed carrots (Ryan’s favorite!)
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Green beans with caramelized onions and slivered almonds
  • Diane’s pineapple souffle (I need to get this recipe from my mother-in-law and share it with you guys because it is unreal.)

homemade stuffing

Am I forgetting anything major?

I am also hoping for your help when it comes to dessert!

Neither Ryan nor I have any strong associations with fabulous Thanksgiving desserts. (Remember the year of the ice bath pumpkin mousse!?) When I think of Thanksgiving dessert, I think of pumpkin pie and apple pie, but I feel like you guys might have some fun suggestions for slightly more decadent and creative sweet treats. (No Cherpumple, please!)

Right now the only dessert I have in mind is the pecan cake with caramel mousse and brown sugar topping that I saw in the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine. 

Suggestions (and links!) are welcome!

Question of the Afternoon

  • What is your all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish? Favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

For me, it’s all about the stuffing! As for desserts, I’ll go with pumpkin pie a la mode… with extra whipped cream.


  1. says

    I love talking about Thanksgiving foods and I’m always looking for new and exciting recipes! 🙂 I love sweet potato casserole. I usually make a whipped one that is fantastic! My favorite dessert is good old pumpkin pie. I love it.


  2. says

    I’m not sure if you’re going for something pumpkin flavored, but you could make molasses cookies for dessert! They’re so delicious – they taste like ginger snaps except it’s a soft cookie. Enjoy your Friendsgiving! 🙂


  3. Maranda says

    I love this Friendsgiving idea! I am on a study abroad program with my school, and I won’t be back home until after Thanksgiving. I was really bummed that I was going to miss out on the fun, but you’ve now inspired me to have a Friendsgiving of my own!


  4. says

    I’m totally with you-sweet potato casserole is my favorite! I don’t have a recipe right off hand, but doesn’t pumpkin cheesecake sound good? Perhaps you could do some kind of maple flavored crust. Just thinking out loud!


  5. says

    I’m a huge apple pie fan but hate how heavy it can be so this little recipe for apple slab pie (almost like a pie/crisp) caught my eye on Pinterest
    Of course these turkey cookies are too adorable!


  6. says

    My favorite dish is this Buttermilk Cornbread I make every year. It always gets rave reviews from everyone, except my mom for some reason. Whatevs. She’s insane. It got the recipe when I was a member of the Little House Book Club. I was about nine at the time, so it’s been to about eighteen Thanksgivings/Christmases. Love it!


  7. says

    I’ve a vegetarian so the turkey dishes are out for me but my mom makes this awesome asparagus veggie dish with cauliflower.. omgosh I could eat the entire thing haha


  8. says

    Pioneer Woman has an amazing Pecan Pie recipe. It just wouldnt be Thanksgiving without one of those!! I also think carrot cake is a fabulous dessert for Fall. I seriously have the BEST recipe ever for one(no yucky raisins in it) that gets rave reviews every time.


  9. Ciara says

    I didn’t see any rolls of any kind on your list – do you not do them? It might be overkill with all the other great (and filling) things on the menu haha


    • says

      Sharon, I had to get back to you on this…I just made it with low-fat Almond milk, and it is fantastic. I think I just found my wietnr drink, and not a moment too soon. Snow flurries tomorrow


  10. says

    It’s all about the mashed potatoes for me! Yummm!

    And a chocolate cream pie for dessert with extra whipped cream! I’m all about eating as much as I can stuff in on Thanksgiving!


  11. hayley says

    Do a regular old pumpkin pie, but melt some dark chocolate chips and spread that over the bottom of the crust before adding the filling. Yum! Also works really well with no bake pumpkin cheesecake. (Maybe even better actually)


  12. Dana says

    Desserts (my forte):
    Cranberry Bliss Bars:

    Apple coffee cake with crumble topping and brown sugar glaze:

    Or, similar/without apples: Cinnamon streusel coffee cake:

    Pumpkin pie biscotti (even my bf who doesn’t die for pumpkin loved):

    These are typical “seasonal” items. If we want to get down to cookies, brownies, chocolate cakes…..


  13. says

    My mom makes pumpkin cake! I’m Canadian so our Thanksgiving has come and gone and I’m a little sad that I can’t indulge again with ya!
    But back to the cake.. it’s spice cake with cream cheese icing in the middle.. not on the top.. she drizzles caramel and pecans on top. So stinkin’ good.


  14. Erika says

    It’s not very “Thanksgiving”ish but our family likes Angle Food Cake – my mom makes it homemade.

    For pumpkin flavored things I like pumpkin bars with chocolate chips.


  15. says

    The newest issue of Food Network magazine has this outrageous looking pumpkin spice cake with chocolate pecan frosting/glaze. I’m not sure if they’ve put the recipe up on their site yet, but it looks incredible!


  16. says

    I love the stuffing, and then eating cranberry sauce, potatoes and turkey together (need all three in a bite!). My grandfather is from Louisville, KY and he always makes Derby Pie! It’s some kind of chocolate and pecan concoction, but always a big hit!


  17. says

    I’m so boring but my favorite part of thanksgiving is the brussels sprouts….it’s an odd fascination. I guess turkey is a close second though. Favorite dessert is always cheesecake! No getting ready for Thanksgiving over here though, since we already had ours in October:)


  18. Kate says

    You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal without mac and cheese! That’s probably my favorite dish out of any of them. The mac and cheese tastes good with a bite of pretty much everything… turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, you name it! My favorite desserts would have to be buttermilk pie and pumpkin pie. Yum!!


  19. Kim says

    I run at 5:00 am in Chicago. It is dark. I pretty much do everything wrong – it’s dark, I’m alone most days, and wear headphones.

    I am only creeped out once in awhile by a raccoon or creepy Halloween decorations!


  20. says

    I love to make trifles or layer cakes…however, our family is usually SO FULL from all the entree foods that they only eat a little of my dessert. It is more for later that night to munch on. 🙂


  21. Mary says

    We made pumpkin swirl cheesecake from the Kraft website. It was delicious with the ginger cookie crust. ( Canadian Thanksgiving which has already passed)


  22. says

    omg. I love mixing my peas with my mashed potatoes too! And I also got it from my dad! haha. So weird! This sounds like a fabulous event and I would love to do something like this once we have the space.


  23. Alison says

    So glad to see my beloved Morningstar burgers incorporated into your meal! I eat a salad with 2 Morningstar burgers almost every day, but my favorite is the Cali Turk’y burger (they are phenomenal)!! I forgot about the black bean burgers and may have purchase some next time.

    Is there a reason why you don’t eat soy burgers more often? Are you worried about eating too much soy or do you just prefer real meat?


    • says

      i love the california turk’y burger!!! and there isn’t a real reason i don’t eat them more often other than that i just forget about them b/c they’re in the freezer. i LOVE the pizza burger, too. it’s a great afternoon snack!


  24. Morgan says

    Hey Julie!

    So I’ve noticed recently that you’ve stopped doing 3 meals per day which I totally get and understand, that’s a lot of time and work! But do you think maybe some days you could include your dinner? I used to get so many wonderful ideas from this blog for dinner and would love it if you could include it on morning posts or in replace of 🙂 Thank you so much!


  25. says

    This is such a fantastic idea! My family always makes popovers for our thanksgiving meal. But friendsgiving sounds even better! We always have pie, but I don’t like it so I make sure to bring myself some decadent ice cream like Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked froyo to make up for it 🙂


  26. Kirsten says

    My family does Lime Mallow. It’s a mix of lime jello, cool whip, and pineapple chunks. It’s definitely a little weird, but so traditional for my family. My grandma used to say our family brought it over on the Mayflower. 1) My family didn’t come over on the Mayflower. 2) There wasn’t jello back in the day. She thought it made the recipe sound better. We always butterscotch pie too, which we did bring over with us from Scotland.


  27. jess says

    Coconut dream pie! Its rich but light and airy. My mom got the recipe 20 years ago and makes it every year. It uses pudding and dream whip as the main ingredients. I could get the recipe if you’re interested. 🙂


  28. Emily says

    We like to mix it up on Thanksgiving and include a family recipe ice cream dessert – it’s called Yummy Yummy dessert. Because it’s just that…yummy. It’s a crust made of crushed Oreos and Heath bars, topped with 2 layers of ice cream (usually vanilla and mint chip are among the fave) and topped with hot fudge/carmel and more crumbles of Oreo and Heath bars! I’m telling you, it’s ridiculously good. Let me know if you want the exact recipe!


  29. Cate says

    My mom has an amazing pineapple souffle recipe that we have every Easter because it pairs well with ham. I wonder if it’s the same recipe. Looks like a great menu! Stuffing is the best!


  30. says

    Ok, you totally inspired me to host a Friendsgiving this year! It’s such a cute idea and I am super excited about it. Instead of turkey I am going to make stuffed acorn squash as the main dish- still need to figure out the sides though! (but mashed potatoes for sure).

    Can’t wait to see how yours turns out 🙂


  31. says

    Derby pie is to die for! [It’s a pecan and chocolate based pie]. Or maybe a trifle? With a chocolate mousse layer, a cake/brownie layer, a nut/toffee layer, a whipped cream layer…the possibilities are endless!


  32. says

    I am OBSESSED with the Bolthouse farms Yogurt Ranch! I have to buy two bottles at a time! I had a ranch dressing aversion for probably 10 years and now I want to drink it! Funny how tastes change.


  33. Karen says

    You have inspired me to have a Friendsgiving of my own this year, but what we are doing is having it Friday night after Thanksgiving, so everyone brings a leftover (touched up of course) and then we’re turning it into a Christmas Tree Lighting party as well! Woohoo!!! So we get rid of the leftovers and enjoy some friend-time as well. 😉 Thanks for the idea!!!


  34. stephanieS says

    My mother in law makes the most amazing stuffing. She always goes out of town however, so we make it now And I cannot have thanksgiving without hashbrown casserole!


  35. says

    Besides the turkey my favorite part of thanksgiving meals is the sweet potato casserole! I think I could just eat that for dessert and be quite happy! ha You should definitely make your pumpkin dip though, that sounded so delicious!


  36. says

    Thanksgiving is such a random holiday for me because I was such a picky eater as a child that I still have these bad habits as an adult. Although I will TRY more things now of course but I just don’t like alot of things, including Turkey.
    I think we I have these awful memories of getting to taste turkey on Thanksgiving after it was passed around to the adults first and by the time it got to myself and my siblings at the kids table, it was freezing cold. So I would pile on the salt. And that didn’t make it taste any better.
    I finally tasted mashed potatoes for the first time maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Again, I was just a really picky eater as a child and something that was all mashed up didnt appeal to me.
    So NOW, I will make something simple like an Apple Stuffing (apple cider instead of water and apple slices mixed in, deeelish!) and one year my aunt made me a Spinach and Artichoke lasagna when I went vegetarian for a year. Everyone loved it, including the meat lovers.


  37. says

    you have a bubbe???? my mom is bubbe to my twin girls!! 🙂
    anyways, my fav thanksgiving dish is…… wow so many good things to chose from but if i had to pick one i would say i like the whole berry cranberry sauce! and my fav dessert would be prob pumpkin pie with pecan pie as a a very close second!! 🙂
    also i make a delicious homemade pumpkin cheesecake with a yummy homemade gingersnap crust! mmmmm! 🙂


  38. Jennifer says

    I love mashed potatoes. One year we were cutting down the sides that we make for thanksgiving and someone suggested we cut out the potatoes.

    I don’t think that person will be invited this year, lol

    My mom also makes great stuffing and fantastic pecan pie. I really like the idea of a chocolate french silk pie for dessert. I’ve made the one from Pioneer Woman’s site and it is delish.


  39. Christina says

    I just started making this recipe last year and it is amazing. It is from Pioneer Woman and it’s super easy. i only use 1 can of the soda though.

    Also, my husband’s family makes this amazing onion, greuye (sp) cheese casserole. It is so good. Let me know if you want the recipe. It’s easy to make. Some people don’t like onions and I understand.

    Can you share all of your recipes too?!


  40. Jen B. says

    I know I’m WAY late to this post, but I wanted to share my butterscotch pecan pie recipe for your next Friendsgiving menu! I just buy the pie dough (I’m too lazy to make my own) and press it into a pie plate and chill for 30 mins. Preheat the oven t0 425 and place a baking sheet in the oven to heat for 30 minutes. For the filling: Brown 6 TB butter and let cool. Mix together 2 eggs, 3/4 c packed light brown sugar, 3/4 c light corn syrup, 1/4 c cream, 2 TB scotch, 1 TB flour, 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt. Add the browned butter once it’s cooled. Spread 2 1/4 c toasted pecan halves on top of the pie dough, pour the filling in, and place the pie on the hot baking sheet. Lower the oven temp to 325 and bake 45-55 minutes, until the filling is mostly set. This pie is YUM and my husband pretty much does whatever I want when I make it 🙂



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *