Friendsgiving!!

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Yep, Friendsgiving, the word is a mix up of “friends” and “Thanksgiving” and the idea is to spend an evening near the Thanksgiving Holiday with your best buds. Apparently the “younger” generation has been celebrating this for several years, but my more “tenured” generation has finally caught up.

Friendsgiving can be a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all of the turkey, ham, and fixings or it can be a potluck, stress-free and fun for all event. That is the route my best buds and I are taking. No rules, just sign up with what you plan to bring, so we don’t have 6 courses of pigs in a blanket, and we are doing strictly paper and plastic!! But certainly, you can bring out all of the fancy china and silverware if you like!!

Here is a menu I recently cooked for a Fall Dinner, these recipes were enjoyed by all, and it would be an easy choice for a Fall Friendsgiving!!

First I cooked three small pork tenderloins, rubbed with the following recipe. The rub makes plenty, so choose the size loin you need for your size group.

Dry Rub for Pork Tenderloin, Ribs, or Chicken

Ingredients

  • ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Directions

Whisk all ingredients together and keep in an airtight container. When ready to use, sprinkle the meat with a liberal amount of the seasoning and rub it in. Be sure to cover the entire surface. Allow the meat to rest at least 2 hours in the fridge (or overnight). Cook the meat as desired.

Enjoy!

Creamed Spinach Casserole

(This is a double of an original recipe, serves 10-12)

Ingredients

  • 3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed, and a matching amount of fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups extra sharp White Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large egg whites

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Press spinach in a mesh strainer to get out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  3. Combine milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in1 cup Cheddar, cottage cheese cream cheese, and the spinach.
  4. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not overbeat. (You’ll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn’t flop over.)
  5. Gently fold the whites into the spinach mixture with a rubber spatula until uniform. (It’s OK if a few white streaks remain.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes. Top with the remaining1 cup Cheddar; continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes
  7. To make ahead: Prepare Steps 2 & 3, refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before folding in egg whites.

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Fall Vegetables Casserole with Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (½ inch)
  • I butternut squash, cut into blocks
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Place sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to coat.
  2. Cook on High for 3 hours.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with marshmallows and pecans. (The heat from the sweet potatoes will partially melt the marshmallows.)

Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker

Smashed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  2. Blanch Brussels sprouts: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and very tender, about 10 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts to ice bath to cool then drain.
  3. On a large baking sheet, toss blanched Brussels sprouts with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Using the end of a small glass or Mason jar, press down on the Brussels sprouts to smash them into a flat patty. Season each smashed Brussels sprout with salt and pepper, then sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top.
  4. Bake until the bottoms of the sprouts are crispy and the cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

A cheese plate preceded the meal. We also had some fresh bread. But the real treat was dessert, a variety of Howling Cow, the NC State University ice cream!!! It was great fun and yummy!!