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Olivia Treynor / Columbia Daily Spectator

If you’re planning on having a Thanksgiving dinner with your friends, it can be hard to figure out what to cook. What can make it even more of a challenge is the size of the kitchen in your dorm and the resources available to you. But, there are still many options for cheap, quick, and easy recipes that even a beginner can cook, so here are a few of our favorites:


1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Most people bring main or side dishes to a Friendsgiving potluck, so why not be different and bring an appetizer? This way, people can snack on your delicious dip while they wait for dinner to be prepped. You don’t need to have any technical skills or a lot of equipment in order to make this dish, just dump all the ingredients into a bowl and bake it in the oven.

2. Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs can be a side dish or an appetizer, but regardless of when you’ll be eating it, this dish will definitely be finished by the end of the meal. The recipe only calls for six ingredients and is a good last-minute item to make if you’re running low on time. Simply boil the eggs, mash all the ingredients in your Ziploc or piping bag, and pipe onto the egg white halves. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even add a topping like olives, pickles, or jalapeños.


1. Thyme Roasted Carrots

This side dish only has five ingredients—three of which you probably already have in your kitchen or can borrow from a friend—so all you’d need to spend money on is carrots and thyme. Not only is this dish a cheap option, it’s also really easy to cook: Just put all the ingredients together in a pan and bake!

2. Macaroni and Cheese

This is the only dish on this list that is for the more ambitious cook. This recipe makes one of the cheesiest mac and cheese dishes you’ll ever eat. (We’d also like to imagine that Martha Stewart was making them for her Friendsgivings when she was at Barnard.) Pro tip: Since there are many ingredients in this dish, get a friend to split the cost with you and cook it together.

3. Smashed Red Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, and this recipe, although basic, doesn’t make the typical bland potatoes. It adds a twist by incorporating sour cream and saves you some time by letting you keep the skin on.

4. Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts

This brussel sprouts recipe is another great side dish that only requires you to toss all the ingredients into a pan and bake. Of course, the bacon is optional in this recipe and it tastes just as good without it!

5. Biscuits

If you’re going to a potluck with a lot of people, this may be the easiest and simplest recipe for you. You just mix all your ingredients together and put it in the oven.

6. Cranberry Sauce

There’s no need for any canned cranberry sauce this year. A Thanksgiving favorite, this fast and easy dish has four ingredients and asks for only 15 minutes of your time.


1. Raspberry Chocolate Tart

Although this isn’t a typical Thanksgiving dessert, no one will care after they take their first bite. The filling is very basic (only 2 ingredients), and the finished product looks impressive and professional.

2. Pumpkin Pie

Cooking pies can seem intimidating, but this recipe makes it really easy. Pumpkin pie is nearly essential to Thanksgiving, so this will be a definite crowd-pleaser. What’s more, this recipe completely skips the pastry-making part of the process and uses a store-bought crust instead.

3. Apple Crisp

If cooking with pastry isn’t your thing, then this dessert is perfect. Pro tip: You don’t need to include the orange if you don’t like the flavor of it, and you can replace the old-fashioned rolled oats with pumpkin spice oats to make your Apple Crisp have a more autumnal.

Staff writer Jazilah Salam can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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