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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored friendsgiving post written by me on behalf of Del Monte®. The opinions and text are all mine.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down! Unlike the hassle of Christmas, which includes lighting your house, decorating trees, and endless shopping, Thanksgiving is simple. The day centers around the joy of gathering at the table with your family or friends, sharing a meal, and giving thanks for the good things in your life. If you live in a big city like I do, you can’t always make it “home” for the holidays. Don’t worry, though—you can still be thankful this year and have your turkey too. Just call your closest friends and, with my help, plan an Ultimate Friendsgiving that you will never forget!
Last October, I had the pleasure of enjoying an early Thanksgiving dinner, and the best part about it was, I didn’t have to lift a finger. Del Monte® and Tasty hosted the Best Friends Friendsgiving Feast, and I left super excited about my own holiday meal plans. The inspiration started when we walked in the door and saw the gorgeous table settings. The festivities continued as we enjoyed perfectly crafted holiday cocktails, while passing around delicious, unique appetizers.
To top things off, there was a DIY napkin decor station where we created personalized place settings for the meal. Dinner was everything we could’ve hoped for and more, complete with turkey and all the fixings featuring some of Del Monte’s best recipes. Tiffani Thiessen hosted this delightful event, and it was truly the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
How to Plan Your Friendsgiving
This year, plan for your Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving to be a huge success with my tips! I’ve got you covered with essentials you need to host a great dinner that everyone will enjoy.
Unlike fashion, when it comes to dinner party decor, I think that more is more. Add any number of items to your table to enhance its welcoming appearance. I am a big fan of floral centerpieces. Additionally, try some less expensive accents, like candles, pine cones or acorns, fresh gourds, and/or even berries or sliced fruit for a wow factor. Another suggestion: alternate your place settings with different charger and plate combinations.
Cocktails are an essential component of any dinner party, especially around the holidays! The key to throwing a successful party? Don’t overthink it. This advice is even more important when it comes to your drinks. My recommendation: keep it simple, plan two or three easy-to-make drinks, and serve wine and beer as your alternative. Trying to stock a full bar and take multiple drink orders is a hassle that you will want to avoid—trust me.
If possible, combine your mixers ahead of time so you can just add the booze and serve. To punch it up with more holiday flare, try garnishing with fresh herbs or even a cinnamon stick if it complements the drink.
The main event of Thanksgiving is, of course, the meal! Appetizers and cheese boards are great starters, but let’s face it: you and your friends are there to chow down. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Best Friendsgiving Feast, and if I could, I would recreate the whole menu for my Thanksgivings. You may have a signature Thanksgiving dish, but how about adding a fun twist to your meal this holiday? For an impressive Friendsgiving, I recommend separating the menu and having your culinary friends bring some of their specialties to complement your favorites. Ideally, you’ll want to serve the following at your meal:
- 1 protein
- 2 veggies
- 1–2 salads
- 1 carb (in addition to bread)
- As many desserts as your heart desires!
Cornbread has always been a staple at our Thanksgiving table. This year, I am planning on mixing it up with Del Monte’s Maple Bacon Cornbread. This recipe is a twist on a traditional dish, combining a can of Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn with bacon and maple syrup. How can you go wrong?!
Maple Bacon Skillet Cornbread
- 1 c. cornmeal
- 1 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3 Tbsp. melted butter plus more in skillet
- 1 can Del Monte® Whole Kernel Corn drained
- 10 strips cooked bacon chopped
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder) in a large skillet. Add wet ingredients (buttermilk. eggs, melted butter, and corn), and gently fold together until combined.
Grease a 9-inch, oven-safe skillet with additional butter. Fold maple syrup and all but 2 Tbsp. of chopped bacon into the mixture.
Pour mixture into prepared skillet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Garnish with remaining bacon and serve.
Entertainment and Fun
Don’t let your party come to a screeching halt. Any great party should have entertainment or a fun activity for guests to enjoy after the meal, and Friendsgiving is no exception to this rule. Interesting party games like Cards Against Humanity or Heads Up are great ways to keep the party going. If you want to capture memories from the night, set up a mini photo wall with a hashtag for the evening. Everyone can take photos to create lasting memories for years to come.
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!