This post is sponsored by Raley’s Supermarkets. All opinions, recipes, images, and thoughts are 100% my own as always.
Friendsgiving is a new concept to me. I only heard of it last year in a brief commercial or something like that. It never occurred to me that it might be something I would be celebrating in the future.
My husband and I have never considered celebrating Thanksgiving with anyone other than our relatives until we heard of this term “Friendsgiving”. It isn’t anything new, but in all honesty, it is new to us. We’re so accustomed to sending out a “Happy Thanksgiving!” text to our close friends, or posting a Thanksgiving meme on Facebook and calling it a day. Thanksgiving dinner is always reserved for family. For our Mothers, Fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, in-laws.
Friendsgiving, however, is a whole new concept that I am all in for. Have you heard of it? It’s a Thanksgiving dinner celebrated with just friends. Simple enough, right? The difference between a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and a Friendsgiving dinner is that they are held on different days. Typically either the week before, or the week after. That’s it! It’s a win win situation when you don’t want to steer away from being with family.
Last week we decided to have our first Friendsgiving dinner with our close friends who recently moved to Nevada. My husband and Eddie have been friends for over 25 years. We met Jessica in 2004 when she and Eddie started dating, and since then, we’ve all been BFF’s. Coincidentally, we also had children around the same time, and as a result, they too have become BFF’s.
The kids were beyond excited and so happy to see each other. We all were!
We spent the day before our dinner outdoors for the most. We went for a walk, did a little shopping at the outlets, then finished the day with a sushi buffet dinner. I am officially in love with Mango Mochis by the way. Holy bananas, I’ve been missing out!
Once we were back at their house, Jessica and I snuck out to do a little more shopping. We took a drive down to Raley’s to purchase the food we needed for our Friendsgiving dinner. I can always count on Raley’s for a great value on quality food. The only question now was, whole turkey, or turkey legs?
Seeing how Thanksgiving was less than two weeks away from our Friendsgiving dinner, I decided to make this one a little different. I didn’t want it to be exactly like a Thanksgiving dinner because not only is there a lot of work involved in a Thanksgiving dinner, but it can get expensive. We were only visiting for two days, so I wanted to make it as easy as possible while keeping the budget reasonable. The result was: Chile Verde Turkey Legs! They were so good! The best part was that I was able to keep the cost under $40 to make the turkey legs and stuffing for four adults, and four children.
You might need two crock-pots for this recipe, depending on the size you have on hand. Jessica had two small crock-pots, so that’s what we used. You probably can get away with using one if it’s big enough.
To start, wash the peppers and tomatillos, remove the stems, cut the peppers in half lengthwise, then remove the membranes with the seeds.
Now, because this dinner is also feeding four children, I chose to remove all the seeds from all the peppers. If you’re going for a spicier meal, leave some of the seeds in there.
Place them on a cookie sheet along with the peeled garlic cloves and white onion. Coat them all evenly with about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Broil on high for 20 minutes, flip them over and continue to broil them another 20 minutes. Turn off the broiler and let it all cool down in the oven.
Once the peppers and tomatillos are cool enough to handle, pour everything into a blender along with all the juices. Add the salt, garlic salt, coriander, thyme and cumin. Blend everything until it starts to look more like a purée than a salsa (about 30 seconds). If you aren’t serving this to children, feel free to leave it a little bit chunky.
Taste test it to see if you’d like to add a little more seasoning.
While we’re on the topic of seasonings, I have to mention another thing I love about Raley’s, which is that they offer a great value on herbs and spices in the Hispanic aisle for only .99 cents each! The next time you’re at a Raley’s store, check them out. They even come in convenient resealable bags!
Next, check the turkey legs to see if you need to remove any loose bone pieces or excess skin. I removed the skin off three of the legs and left the others alone. You don’t have to though. Put even amounts of turkey legs and potatoes in each crock-pot if you’re using two. Pour equal amounts of the sauce over the turkey legs and potatoes. If you are using one, then use it all up. Cover and cook them on high. Turn the legs over after two hours.
Keep in mind not all crock-pots cook the same, therefore the turkey legs might be done in less than four hours. By turning the turkey legs over after two hours, you’ll have a better idea as to how close they are to being done. The meat should fall off the bone easily when pierced with a knife or fork. I tested this recipe again at home in my own crock-pot and they were done in 3 1/2 hours. Just an FYI. 😉
While you’re waiting for the turkey legs to cook, put out some snacks you all can enjoy in the meantime.
We picked up a few of our favorites while we were shopping for dinner. I love the convenience of their pre-made salads. Their seafood salad with imitation crab meat is always a winner so we got that plus two bags of white cheddar popcorn.
I typically like to start with the Raley’s Purely Made brand when shopping because they offer a wide variety of products with minimally processed ingredients for a great value. The Purely Made white cheddar popcorn is one of our favorites as a family! Every time I bring it home we cannot wait to open the bag. This time I decided to add a little spice to a small batch for the adults. In a separate bowl, I sprinkled the popcorn with chili powder, added a little bit of chopped cilantro, and squeezed some fresh lime juice over it all.
Now that the hard part is done, consider using this time to play a game (or watch a game on TV if you and your buddies are into that), go for a walk with the kids, or simply hang out and talk about any future plans! The most important thing to remember at a Friendsgiving dinner is to do your best to connect in person with meaningful conversations, so take a break from the phone. I know it isn’t easy, but with a little bit of practice and a lot of self-coaching, it’s possible.
In my own experience I’ve learned that if I leave my phone in another room or in my purse, I’m far less likely to pick it up and look at it. I’ve gotten so used to leaving it out on the counter where I can always see it that I feel weird without it. If it’s in front of me, I’ll pick it up for no reason at all and magically end up with my fingers scrolling through a news feed. I want to change that, or at least find a balance somehow.
Toward the end of the day, when the turkey legs were close to being done, we started setting up the table. Jessica took the kids outside to collect leaves to give the table a more festive and fun look. The guys came along and helped for the fun of it. A short while after, I went back inside to make the stuffing and check on the turkey legs.
All I did to the stuffing was sauté minced baby bella mushrooms and chicken sausage in butter.
I then added the water, brought it to a boil, added the stuffing mix, stirred it well with a flat spatula and let it continue to cook on low a few more minutes before turning the heat off and covering it.
Finally it was all coming together and the kitchen was smelling so delicious. Our first Friendsgiving dinner was a success.
I think more people should have Friendsgiving dinners. We all have responsibilities in our lives that take up a large part of our days. What’s left of our time is spent in our homes with our families as it should be, but what about our extended families? You know, the people who were there for us before our careers, spouses, children, and financial responsibilities. Our closest and longest friendships!
We do so much for our families each day that we leave little to no time to reconnect with them. This holiday season, let’s begin to build stronger connections with our dearest friends. Let’s not forget to take some time to disconnect from our electronic devices and redirect some of that time to what really matters. People!
Crock-Pot Chile Verde Turkey Legs
- 3 Anaheim peppers
- 3 jalapeno peppers
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 20 tomatillos
- ½ large white onion, peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 turkey legs
- 1 28oz bag red ruby potatoes
- chopped cilantro for garnish
Wash the peppers and tomatillos, remove the stems, cut the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the membranes with the seeds.
Place them on a rimmed cookie sheet along with the garlic cloves and white onion. Coat them evenly with about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Broil on high for 20 minutes, flip them over and continue to broil them another 20 minutes. Turn off the broiler and let it all cool down in the oven.
Once the peppers and tomatillos are cool enough to handle, pour everything into a blender along with all the juices. Add the salt, garlic salt, coriander, thyme and cumin. Blend everything until it starts to look more like a purée than a salsa (about 30 seconds). If you aren’t serving this to children, feel free to leave it a little bit chunky. Taste test it to see if you’d like to add a little more seasoning.
Pour equal amounts of the sauce over the turkey legs and potatoes if you are using two crock-pots. If you are using one, then use it all up. Cover and cook them on high for 3½ to 4 hours. Turn the legs over after two hours. Garnish with chopped cilantro when serving.
Keep in mind not all crock-pots cook the same, therefore the turkey legs might be done in less than four hours. By turning the turkey legs over after two hours, you’ll have a better idea as to how close they are to being done. The meat should fall off the bone easily when pierced with a knife or fork.