New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Friendsgiving dorm dinner classics you need this break

It’s easy to have a packed dining table — even if your kitchen is the size of a matchbox — with these five Friendsgiving dinner tips.

I remember my first Friendsgiving as a first-year. We were all huddled together in my friend’s tiny Third Avenue North kitchen, cooking in shifts without the right ingredients or pots and pans. After a few tiring hours of work, our Friendsgiving spread was complete. We had some side dishes like mashed potatoes, and dessert in the form of too many cookies, but we lacked core Thanksgiving essentials like a grand turkey or any form of greens. 

But, don’t worry — I won’t let you repeat the same mistakes I made at my previous Friendsgivings. 

If you’re not heading home for the Thanksgiving break, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on a shared meal. Here are five dorm-friendly dishes you need to host the perfect mix-and-match dinner for your Friendsgiving. 

Mashed Potatoes

Bags of frozen potatoes and frozen sweet potatoes placed on a shelf among other frozen food products.
Frozen mashed potatoes at Trader Joes. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

A Thanksgiving meal is not complete without some form of potatoes on the table. Whether you prefer mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or roasted potatoes, you can’t go wrong. If you need a quick and easy way of preparing them, try instant mashed potato mix from Target, where all you need is to add some water to the pouch. Trader Joe’s frozen roasted potatoes are another simple solution — the only required step is popping the bag into the microwave. Remember, if just the plain potatoes seem too boring, you can always add meat, garlic or cheese to your concoction

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Many boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese placed side by side on a supermarket shelf among other products.
Kraft Mac & Cheese at Westside Market. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

I have always been a big fan of pasta in any form. There are times when I crave ravioli or a plate of spaghetti, but nothing hits quite like mac n cheese — the classic dish that reminds me of home. When my mom would decide to break out a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese for lunch, I would be unimaginably happy. Now, you can help yourself achieve that same happiness by grabbing a boxed mac ‘n’ cheese and sprucing it up with milk and shredded cheese for extra cheesy goodness. And, if you’re looking for a step up from the Kraft blue boxes, Trader Joe’s has a microwavable, Joe’s Diner Four Cheese Mac ‘n’ Cheese perfect for any Friendsgiving meal. 

Rotisserie Chicken

Two rows of rotisserie chicken placed on a shelf in a supermarket.
Rotisserie chicken at Westside Market. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

I know the turkey is the official mascot of Thanksgiving, but acquiring an uncooked turkey from the supermarkets in New York seems like a tedious and frustrating task — and one your roommate might not be thrilled about. I don’t think anyone would be fully capable of cooking a turkey in their dorm kitchen and especially a notoriously tiny New York City apartment. It’s time to switch meats and settle for chicken, whether it’s pre-cooked from a package or a whole cooked rotisserie chicken from Westside Market — you’ll still get protein on the table. If anyone in your friend group is vegetarian or can’t have certain types of meat, there are plenty of vegetable and plant-based meat options, like roasted brussel sprouts or braised tofu. Everyone should have accessible protein options, and it’s time to go beyond the traditional turkey. 

Cranberry Apple Salad

A white bowl with spinach, cranberries and apples placed on a table.
Cranberry Apple Salad. (Alisha Goel for WSN)

Though this may seem like a sophisticated addition to the list, salad makes the perfect side since it can be endlessly tweaked to fit your personal taste. You can buy all the ingredients from Trader Joe’s and Target: a bag of Spring Mix, sweetened cranberries, sliced almonds, an apple or two and garlic seasoned croutons. Don’t forget to purchase your favorite dressing or vinaigrette to top off the salad after tossing all the ingredients together. When in doubt, a pre-made salad mix could also suffice. I’m sorry to say that even as adults, we do need to have our greens here and there. This Friendsgiving, we’re striving for a balanced diet.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Six buckets of chocolate chip cookies stacked on a wooden shelf. Behind them is a black sign that says “ULTIMATE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES” in white letters.
Chocolate chip cookies at Wegmans. (Qianshan Weng for WSN)

Pumpkin or apple pie might be the obvious choice for the dessert slot, but chocolate chip cookies serve their purpose just as well, if not better. If you have a trusty recipe for the perfect batch of cookies, I would recommend buying a pack of Oreos and making Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Surround the Oreo with cookie dough and make sure the dough is tightly packed in a circular shape. Or, if you’re not savvy with your dorm or apartment oven, try a mug cookie recipe for minimal effort and cleanup. And, if you have no time to preheat your oven, I especially recommend the freshly baked, double chocolate chip cookies from Wegmans. Any cookie, no matter the flavor, will make for a delectable addition to your Friendsgiving spread. 

The choices are endless when you host Friendsgiving, from a potluck style with everyone bringing a store-bought dish to deciding that everyone should strive to be a cook for the evening with their own dishes. Just set the date, time, location and invite your friends. After all, that’s the charm of celebrating Friendsgiving: surrounded by the friends you love, the New York City skyline and platters of food.

Contact Sar Perez at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Qianshan Weng
Qianshan Weng, Multimedia Editor
Qianshan Weng is a junior studying Media, Culture and Communication and Journalism. You may pronounce his name as "chi''en-shan", or, if it makes your life easier, just call him "Ben." He grew up in Shenzhen, China, and has spent the last five years or so saying that he wants to learn Cantonese. The answers to the questions "when will he finally start?" and "why is this taking him so long?" remain mysteries, even to himself. You can reach out to him at [email protected]
Alisha Goel
Alisha Goel, Photo Editor
Alisha Goel (she/her) is a junior majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Integrated Design and Media. When she is not at WSN, she is developing video games/apps, reading a long book, or creating mildly disturbing art with her photography. You can find her at @03alisha17 on Instagram.

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