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Local couple starts new tradition with ‘Friendsgiving’

November 22, 2011

By ANGIE CARNATHAN
sdnreporter@yahoo.com

Jessica Dealy of Starkville said she realized last year she was going to have to work on both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
She said that she was unwilling to give up a huge holiday feast, too, and out of that conundrum a new holiday tradition began. Her boyfriend, Josh Winter, wanted to help Jessica come up with an alternative.
“Jessica having to work through the holidays just didn’t seem fair, so we put this extra holiday together, and it turned out to be such a hit we kept it going this year,” Winter said.
Dealy and Winter threw their first “Friendsgiving” together last year, and this year’s was another huge success.
“We asked everyone that came to bring one dish or drink,” Dealy said. “As it turned out, a lot of friends appreciated the idea of being able to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast away from family. Not that we don’t love our families dearly, but having a young, adult gathering was a great deal less stressful than some family Thanksgivings.”
Matt Crane, Starkville resident and MSU alumnus, attended this year and said he had a great time, and appreciated the chance to celebrate with his family away from family.
“With fall break and Thanksgiving coming up, it was just a chance to get together with each other and celebrate with our Starkville family before we all went home to spend time with our families at home,” Crane said. “We got together about 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon and watched the Arkansas game in Josh’s backyard. There were probably 20 or more people there. Most people made their own dishes, and just about everybody brought a dish so we had more than enough food.”
Dealy said this year friends came in from out of town, old friends came, new friends came and even friends of friends were invited.
“Anyone’s invited, as long as they bring something delicious to eat,” Dealy said.
Dealy said the menu consisted of some old favorites, like the Honeybaked ham her friend Caleb brought and a few new ones.
“One of the big hits of the night was Matt Crane’s green bean casserole –– apparently there was Velvetta cheese in the recipe which put the original recipe to shame,” Dealy said. “My friend Hailey made fried green tomatoes with homemade ranch and scallion dip. That was a bit untraditional but loved and devoured nonetheless.”
Winter said he thought that this year the couple hosted twice as many people and ended up with four times as much food.
“I got a fried turkey from Brian Michael’s Burger Co., and it was delicious,” Winters said. “Of course it was demolished by the end of the night –– completely gone.”
The couple said that even when they were house shopping, they looked for a house that would work for their new tradition so they could continue to hold it each year.
“Having a backyard and deck helped out a lot,” Winters said. “It took some planning to figure out the best places to put the serving tables and the TVs for the game, but there was plenty of room.”
Dealy and Winter said they plan to continue the tradition each year, because it’s come to mean so much to each of them. Winter said he loves his family, but he has friends that are practically family and it’s great to share a holiday event with them.
“‘Friendsgiving’ represents all the best things in life: being surrounded by great friends, where everyone can let their hair down and not worry about being accepted, the end of a semester, the beginning of the holidays and a glorious feast,” Dealy said. “It is our favorite time of the year, and our friends are our family.”
The following are just a few of the recipes that made an appearance at this year’s event:

Green Bean Casserole

u 16 oz. cut green beans (3 cans)
u 2 gloves of garlic
u 4 T. butter
u 4 T. self-rising flour
u 1 c. milk
u 1 can cream of mushroom soup
u 1 T. chili powder
u 1/2 lb. cubed Velveeta cheese
u 1 large can french fried onions
In a large skillet, boil green beans for 20 minutes in two cloves of garlic and drain. Melt butter and stir in flour to make paste. Add milk to make cream sauce. Add soup, chili powder, and cheese till melted. Mix green beans and sauce mixture together. Bake in greased dish topped with french fried onions at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

Corn Pudding

u 16 oz. can creamed corn (2 cans)
u 1 cup grated sharp cheese
u 2 T. flour (not self-rising)
u 1 t. salt
u 2 eggs
u 1 cup of milk
u 1 T. sugar
u 3 T. butter
u 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together except Ritz crackers. Bake in buttered dish 1 hour at 350 degrees. Next, cover with crushed Ritz crackers and bake another 15 minutes.

Banana Foster Upside Down Cake

u 1/2 cup chopped pecans
u 1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
u 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
u 2 tablespoons rum
u 2 ripe bananas
u 3/4 cup granulated sugar
u 2 large eggs
u 3/4 cup milk
u 1/2 cup sour cream
u 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
u 2 cups all-purpose baking mix
u 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1) Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once.
2) Melt 1/4 cup butter in a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch round cake pan (with sides that are at least 2 inches high) over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar and rum.
3) Cut bananas diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices; arrange in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle pecans over bananas.
4) Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk and next 2 ingredients; beat just until blended. Beat in baking mix and cinnamon until blended. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.) Pour batter over mixture in skillet. Place skillet on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan.
5) Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen. Invert onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in skillet over cake.
Squash casserole

u 3 pounds yellow squash, sliced
u 5 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
u 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
u 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
u 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
u 1/4 cup mayonnaise
u 2 teaspoons sugar
u 1 teaspoon salt
u 20 round buttery crackers, crushed (about 3/4 cup)

Cook squash in boiling water to cover in a large skillet 8 to 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain well; gently press between paper towels.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat; stir in squash, cheese, and next 4 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Stir together melted butter and crushed crackers; sprinkle evenly over top of casserole.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.

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