Friendsgiving 2017

“The best part of life is when your family become your friends and your friends become your family.”

I love that “Friendsgiving” is a thing now. I just learned that while obviously friends have been gathering for meals for a long time, “Friendsgiving” became a thing, marked by its entrance into the Urban Dictionary lexicon in 2008. The sentimental part of me, of course, loves our relationships with our friends. But let’s not lie… I also really like eating Thanksgiving dinner twice!

We’re so lucky that we found a new friend-family group to be a part of down here. Being in the challenging program that we’re in is hard enough, but these people (plus some missing from this picture!) make school and the distance from our families so much more bearable!

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Our contributions to the amazing, delicious Friendsgiving table were Dinner Rolls & Pretzel Bun Stuffing.

Our friends are also wonderful cooks, thank goodness. Their contributions:

Brandon – juicy smoked hens 🐔🐔

Nate & Karen – not-your-grandma’s green beans & decadent mashed potatoes

Matt & Sara – a flavorful, slow-cooked pork loin, gravy (my favorite part of any meal!), & white cheddar mac n cheese – not to mention, they host Friendsgiving each year!

Victoria – cranberry sauce & an entire basket of cookies

Cali – Gingerbread GIRL funfetti cake, decorated with gumdrops, M&Ms, & Skittles – pretty impressive for a kindergartner 💁🏼‍♀️

I didn’t take enough pictures, or very good ones…

Hope everyone else had as great of a Thanksgiving and/or Friendsgiving as we did!

garfieldturkey

(And better than Garfield…)

 

Pretzel Bun Stuffing

PBstuffing

Have you ever been in a restaurant and decided on a nice, big, juicy burger for dinner? You’re super-excited and think nothing can be better than your highly anticipated burger? So you place your order with the server, and then s/he asks you, “Do you want that on a regular bun or a pretzel bun?” Literally NO ONE EVER has responded with, “Ehh, just give me the regular bun.” Why? Because even though you were excited about that highly anticipated, big, juicy burger in and of itself… a pretzel bun just makes everything better!

Ok now, translate that sentiment to Thanksgiving stuffing. We made this stuffing entirely from pretzels buns. When we made stuffing last year for Friendsgiving, we added a few pretzel buns for a little surprise, and it worked well. So this year, we decided to up the ante and go with 100% pretzel bun! The idea of pretzel bun stuffing inspired me to add a few non-traditional touches to this recipe, but it’s not so non-traditional that people will turn their noses up at it. Honestly, given the overwhelming herbaciousness of the stuffing (with very traditional herbs!), you’d never notice the extra ingredients. But you will know just how delicious it tastes as you inhale it!

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Pretzel Bun Stuffing

Ingredients: 
  • 8 pretzel rolls, torn
  • 1 high quality beef hot dog, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided (1/2 cup + 1/4 cup + more)
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3+ cups beef stock, divided (2 cups + more)
  • 2 large eggs
Instructions: 
  1. Tear the bread & rolls into bite-sized pieces at least 24 hours prior to making the stuffing. Let sit out to dry.
  2. On the day you’re preparing the stuffing, place the bread into a large bowl.
  3. Toss your finely chopped hot dog into a pan over medium heat with just a splash of broth. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the hot dog has released a little fat.
  4. Add the 1/2 cup of butter to the pan, followed by the onions and garlic. Top with fresh ground black pepper. Saute for ~5 minutes as the onions soften.
  5. Now add herbs, salt, and 10 turns of pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
  6. Pour this mixture over the bread in the bowl and toss well.
  7. Melt another 1/4 cup of butter. Whisk together with 2 eggs and 2 cups of beef stock.
  8. Pour that mixture over bread. Stir until liquid is absorbed by the bread.
  9. Add additional stock by the 1/4 cup until the bread is saturated. Wait a few minutes between adding stock to ensure it all gets absorbed. (You want the bread to be very wet, but without pools of liquid in the bowl. I used just an additional 1/4 cup this time.)
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Butter a large glass baking dish. Place the bread mixture into the dish.
  12. Butter a large piece of foil and cover the dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  13. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for a few additional minutes for a crispy top.
Serves 8-12.