COVID-19 Friendly Thanksgiving Tips

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BY KATE ALMQUIST kate.almquist@go.mnstate.edu

Due to CDC guidelines, Americans are encouraged to limit group events and to avoid travel this holiday season. For many, this means Thanksgiving will look a little different.

This especially affects college students who look forward to Thanksgiving break as a time to spend at home with their families. Even though that may not be possible this year, there’s still ways for students to enjoy the holiday and have a sense of normalcy. 

The CDC recommends that it’s best to avoid gatherings with people outside of your immediate household. Luckily that means if you live in the dorms, you still have a whole floor of people to celebrate with. 

Gather up a group of friends who are also unable to travel home, split the cost of some easy Thanksgiving meal ingredients, and make the most of preparations and enjoy a meal together. To complete the holiday festivities, plan a movie night or find some board games to play as a group. Of course, it’s important to stay conscious of safety guidelines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun.

If you live off-campus and away from home, plan a “friendsgiving” with your roommates or a virtual dinner with other friends who live elsewhere. A virtual friendsgiving may not sound as fun as the real kind, but it can still be a fun experience for everyone involved. 

If you’re planning one, just go all out and try to make it feel as normal as possible! Once you decide on the guest list and which platform you’ll use, make a digital invitation to send out to your friends! A digital invitation will ensure that no one will miss out on the festivities since everyone will have the date,  time, and link. 

It’s still possible to play games and watch movies together through virtual meetings, so consider adding this to the party as well. Jackbox is an online platform that can be accessed through multiple channels (Playstation, Xbox, PC, or even your phone) and has a variety of different games that can be played by large groups of people. Or, do a virtual trivia night with the online platform QuizUp! This app has topics for every interest, allows you to play against friends in real time, and it’s free to download.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving alone or with a group of friends, the preparations of the meal can be an overwhelming task to be in charge of. Here are some easy alternatives to the classic dishes that will still make for a great feast:

Turkey Cutlets

If you’re only cooking for yourself or a small group of people this year, it may seem unnecessary to follow the tradition of an entire turkey roast. Instead, try some pan-seared turkey cutlets—they’re quick, easy, and taste just as good. All you’ll need is:

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided

1 package (17.6 ounces) turkey breast cutlets

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

You can always modify the recipe by adding your favorite spices or seasonings to make it your own! Once you have the ingredients, throw it all in a large skillet over medium-high heat and let each turkey cutlet sit for 2-3 minutes to cook fully through. Sprinkle it with some pepper or seasoning of choice, and that’s it!

No Mixer Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Although it may seem easier, there’s no need to resort to the boxed mashed potatoes when all you need is this easy recipe and a potato masher. You’ll need the ingredients listed below:

4-5 potatoes (the small yellowish ones)

2 tablespoons butter

3-4 cloves of crushed garlic

½ cup milk

½ cup sour cream

Start by washing, chopping, and boiling the potatoes until they’re nice and soft, and then drain them in a colander. Next, take the masher and start smooshing the potatoes, adding in the butter, milk, and sour cream as you go. Once it’s creamy and smooth, mix in the crushed garlic and it’s all set to eat!

Green Beans with Almond and Thyme

Green beans often have a bad reputation for being plain and boring. However, if done right, they can be a delicious side dish at your Thanksgiving table. This recipe calls for:

2 lbs of (fresh or frozen) green beans, trimmed

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic salt

2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Start by boiling the green beans in salted water for about five minutes or until they’re crisp-tender. Next, add the butter, dijon mustard, garlic salt, and thyme into a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, add in the green beans and toss for about four minutes or until they’re fully heated through. Last, sprinkle them with the toasted almonds and they are ready to serve!

Recipes: https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/recipes-for-friendsgiving-in-your-college-dorm-room

This Thanksgiving will not be quite the same as usual, but with a little extra planning and effort, it can still be a great celebration with friends and family—no matter where you are.

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