A Hungry Student Thanksgiving, on a Hungry Student budget

tablescape

All the Thanksgiving fuss has finally died down and that means I’ve (finally!) uploaded some photos.

In the last week I have not only eaten yet another turkey day meal that was lovingly cooked by my mother, but also prepared one of my own! That makes it two years in a row that I’ve roasted a big ol’ turkey breast and prepared assorted sides in a Townhouse kitchen. Rowan University students: It can be done!

But how?

  • Momma Jones was kind enough buy me a 7 lb. turkey breast and share some of her spare sweet potatoes when I was home for the Jones Thanksgiving a few weeks ago.
  • A friend of mine surprised me by completing our “Help! I have to cook today and need things! Give me a ride!?” shopping trip by paying for the cheeses for the mac and cheese and dessert fixins’.
  • And my roommate Maggie and her friend Dandy were kind enough to pick up some sparkling pomegranate apple cider to whet our whistles and cranberry sauce.

The lesson here? Make time to cook for your family and friends, and you shall be rewarded time and again. 🙂

I was in a pinch for time when I started cooking, so I didn’t bother to follow any actual recipes. Just what I could remember from having made this stuff time and again. Good news though – It all tasted wonderful!

If anything looks particularly delicious to you and you’d like something more exact that the blurbs under each photo, please feel free to email me at stacy.a.jones@gmail.com. I’d be happy to oblige with more details.

“But Thanksgiving has already passed,” you say?

All of these dishes are very easy to make, delicious year-round and would be great additions to your dinner table. For now, I hope you enjoy photos of my no frills Hungry Student feast.

cranbarrysauce

No, I did not make this. I didn’t even put in the manual labor required to make it ssssschloop out of the can in cylindrical form. But Maggie did. And she chopped it up fancy photo shoot style. Ahh, the wonders of canned goods.

turkey

I like to season my turkey. A lot. You’re looking at an organic poultry dry rub (from Costco) with a little extra seasoning salt and paprika mixed it. I applied this rather unceremoniously by oiling the turkey breast down and then carefully getting the rub all under the skin and then using the rest for the outside.

vegmedley

A version of how my family usually takes care of the “Shouldn’t we be eating something green too?” problem – veggie casserole. I made a blonde roux, then added some chicken stock and a small squirt of store-bought Italian dressing and simmered until it was the consistency of cream of chicken soup. That got poured over some steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. The breading on top is panko.

macncheese

Macaroni and cheese! Instead of Velveeta, I made a bechamel cheese sauce (roux + milk + cheese) and finished it off with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar on top.

mashedpotatoes

Alas, I had only three potatoes left and no time to run back out to the store. So, I supplemented them with some just-add-water mashed potatoes. To make them a little extra special, I also substituted sour cream for milk and used lots of chives.

sweetpotatoes1

Sweet potatoes without (believe it or not) any brown sugar. Once I had peeled and boiled the sweet potato chunks, I blended them with some regular sugar, pancake syrup (!), ginger, cinnamon, butter, vanilla soy milk, and vanilla coffee creamer (!). As you can see, I’ve (!)-ed the ingredients that probably sound unusual. You’d be surprised what kind of substitutions get made in a college kitchen, and even more so at how the end result remains unharmed. Give the syrup and coffee creamer a try once you’ve gotten over your seasonal aversion to (couldn’t. possibly. eat. another.) sweet potatoes.

gravy

Turkey gravy! Smooth thanks to Bee’s tips.

pumpkindessert

I apologize for the dark photo. This was taken while I was suffering from a tryptofan haze. This is a can of pumpkin puree and a box of yellow cake mix. That’s it. Just mix it up – it’ll be stiff – and spread it into a pan of your choice. I used a 9″ springform pan. I made the glaze myself by whipping up an egg white, then folding in powdered sugar and vanilla. The pumpkin dessert had a lovely spongey consistency and wasn’t too sweet at all, which went well with the sugary sweet glaze.

Whew. This marks my third and final post that mentions Thanksgiving. I promise, no more! I do hope you enjoyed your holiday though.

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