Having a Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving Meal with your Roomies
By Megan O'Connell, Student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Before you pack up your car to head back home for a much-needed break, enjoy a little roommate bonding time by making a healthy Thanksgiving meal together. Tension and stress levels between roommates can be pretty high around this time of the year, so leave on a good note by cooking and enjoying a delicious meal together.
"Last year around Thanksgiving, my roommate and I were getting fed up with each other. It’s around that time of the year when you start getting stressed out over school, and all the little things start bothering you a lot. We decided to have a roommate Thanksgiving before we left for break to remember all the reasons we were thankful for each other," said Jacey Belken, student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Use the guide below to assist you in your roomie Thanksgiving dinner endeavor. Impress your mother and offer to make a dish for your family Thanksgiving! Your family will be impressed that you not only survived the first portion of this college semester, but also that you can feed yourself just fine.
• Find a location. Does your residence hall or apartment have a kitchen available for you to use? I’m sure there’s at least one kitchen available for you to use but if not, do some searching. One of the residence halls on your campus probably has a kitchen, and they would probably let you use it.
• Invite friends. Inviting a few of your neighbors will cut the cost for you and probably be more fun!
• Make a list. Make a grocery list, decide what you want to make and decide how to split the cost. After you’ve done this step, do the shopping!
• Chicken Breasts: It’s not turkey, but let’s be realistic about the cooking and time situation you’re in. Chicken breasts are a good "turkey" substitution. They’re also not very expensive and good for you! Marinade them in a marinade of your choice. You can buy marinades pre-made or use the recipe below. Once your chicken breasts have thawed, place them in a bowl or Ziplock bag with your marinade for about an hour. Cook them in the oven or on the stove.
o 1 cup olive oil
o ½ cup soy sauce
o ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
o ½ cup brown sugar
• Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are my favorite part about Thanksgiving. To keep it simple, cheap and delicious, just use a box of instant potatoes. To make them more delicious, add sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese right into the potatoes before your serve them. Top with butter, salt and pepper and you have creamy and delicious potatoes.
• Green Bean Casserole: My second favorite part of Thanksgiving. The name sounds so gross, but it tastes so good! Follow the directions below for yummy green bean casserole!
o 1 can cream of mushroom soup
o ½ cup milk
o 4 cups cooked green beans.
o 1 ½ cups French fried onions
Combine the soup, milk, green beans and a dash of pepper in a casserole dish. If you don’t have a casserole dish, purchase a tinfoil bread pan to use instead! Cover your dish and bake this at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It should look bubbly. Take the casserole out and cover it with the French fried onions. Place back in the oven for five minutes.
• Rolls: Purchase a bag of rolls from the grocery store bakery or buy frozen dough to bake in the oven. If you use frozen dough, don’t forget to let the dough rise before your bake it.
• Yogurt-filled strawberries: This Pinterest inspired idea is a great and healthy dessert idea!
o 12 strawberries
o 12 oz. of vanilla yogurt
o 4 oz. chocolate chips
o Empty egg carton or Ice cube tray
Cut the center out of your strawberries so there is a hole in the middle. Fill the centers with vanilla yogurt. Once you have a strawberry filled, place it in the empty egg carton or ice cube tray so the yogurt doesn’t spill out. Next, microwave your chocolate chips for one minute, stirring every 15 seconds. If the chips aren’t melted after one minute, do another minute and keep stirring every 15 seconds. After your chocolate chips have melted, use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the tops of your yogurt-filled strawberries. Freeze for one hour and enjoy!
The above list is just possible meal ideas. Get creative and come up with some recipes of your own. Finding ideas will give you an excuse to put off your homework and sit on Pinterest for another hour, as if you needed any more excuses.
"After we had a rough first half of the semester, the roommate Thanksgiving dinner was a great time for us to remember that we did actually like each other. It felt nice leaving for Thanksgiving break on a good note with all of my roommates," said Belken of her roommate Thanksgiving dinner experience.
Can’t go home for Thanksgiving? Not being able to make it home for Thanksgiving is a realistic experience for some people. Make the most of the day and gather up a crew of people (I’m sure you’re not the only one sitting in your dorm feeling sorry for yourself) and cook a meal together!
Not that comfortable with cooking? Volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. They always need volunteers and the experience will help you focus on doing something nice for others instead of sitting in your dorm missing home.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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