A Thanksgiving Menu Perfect for a College Student

Even if Thanksgiving looks a little different for you this year, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy all of the delicious and famous dishes that we have cherished since we were children. Since many of us are in college with tight budgets without access to a full kitchen, there are many easy and affordable recipes and dishes that will fulfill the Thanksgiving-esque atmosphere that makes us feel like we are at home. No matter if you are in a dorm room or apartment, these Thanksgiving dish ideas will make your budget and your tummy satisfied. 

Turkey is one of the most classic Thanksgiving dishes. However, it is also one of the most difficult, time-consuming and appliance-demanding foods. Many grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, Target and Safeway sell already cooked or a cook-in-bag turkey perfect for a college setting. Also, food delivery services such as Instacart are delivering fully-cooked and ready to eat turkey’s. These options also keep the cost down, with prices ranging from about $10-$40.

Many stores sell mashed potatoes that are ready made and just need to be heated up in the microwave. If you are wanting to use a recipe from scratch, some only include up to six ingredients, such as the Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes recipe from CountryCrock. 

This is another recipe that is easy and has similar ingredients to many of the other dishes. With only eight ingredients and a total prep and cook time of 50 minutes, this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe from AllRecipes is one that is easy to follow and serves eight people.

 Dinner rolls are a great side dish to add that you can find at any store, in a can to put in the oven or ready to go in a bag. Pillsbury Grands and Kings Hawaiian Rolls are both classics. Once again, this is a low cost dish so if you are doing a friendsgiving, choose this for the potluck! 

Although you can also find this in a can, if you are wanting a more homemade Thanksgiving recipe, here is an easy and quick cranberry sauce

Gravy is another dish that can be found ready-made and at a low price. Some gravy options are more healthier than others such as Pacific Foods Organic Gravy and Swanson Ready to Serve Gravy. These two options are even available on Amazon!

There are many store bought boxed stuffings that are great in flavor and low in price. Some of them such as Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix are also low in calories! If there are any food allergies, Pacific’s Gluten Free Stuffing is perfect to accommodate for everyone. 

Since greens haven’t been mentioned in the menu yet… throwing together a salad is a solution to incorporate some vegetables while keeping costs low. Try this easy Harvest Salad for a yummy, healthy taste of fall perfect for a side dish. 

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s talk about our favorite part… dessert. There are so many options ready available at the store that keep the budget low. Some recipes also include minimal ingredients and just need a few utensils and an oven. This Pillsbury Pecan-Pumpkin Pie recipe will make everyone believe it came from a generational family recipe. For another classic dish, this Easy Apple Pie Recipe will leave everyone happy. 

There is no need to overdo it this year with extravagant dishes or over-the-top prices. Thanksgiving can still have that homey feel, all while keeping costs low and using basic appliances. Right now any normalcy we can add back into our life is important for our mental health and overall well-being. Stay safe, enjoy the holiday and allow yourself to relax and appreciate everything you have to be thankful for.