food, Lifestyle, Student Life, Students

Collaboration with @niamhcooks: Easy recipes for students who want a taste of thanksgiving

I am so so so excited to announce this collaboration with my dear, dear friend @niamhcooks. Niamh celebrates Thanksgiving each year, as half her family is American, and I have been lucky enough to be invited to her house (pre-covid) to experience the joy that is the thanksgiving dinner that her and her family cook. So I consider myself truly blessed to share with you all these recipes, so that you can have your own taste of thanksgiving this year, whether you’re American or not.

As well as trying these delicious recipes, please check out her Instagram, and follow for great, student-friendly recipes that are more than just cheese on toast or a ham omelette. She will have you cooking the most amazing meals, so please give her a follow.

Starter – Leek and Potato Soup

4 leeks
3 tablespoons butter (replace with oil/ vegan butter to be vegan)
1 onion
3 medium potatoes
1 litre chicken/veg stock (if you want it to be vegan)
salt & pepper & garlic powder to season

  • wash and chop leeks
  • peel potatoes and cut into cubes
  • peel and chop onion
  • melt the butter in a large pan and add the veggies
  • season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic (don’t add too much salt at the start because the stock is salty)
  • cover and sweat the veggies on a low heat for around 15 mins (stir occasionally)
  • add the stock and bring to a boil
  • simmer for around 15 mins
  • turn off the heat and use a hand blender to blend everything together (be careful you don’t splash yourself its hot)
  • taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed
  • enjoy!

Main Course

The main course is made up or an array of side dishes surrounding the king that is the Turkey. It’s up to you how many sides you make, whether you just make one or them all, but Niamh has provided us with such a range, there’s sure to be something for everyone. I absolutely love that the stuffing is made with actual bread, it just takes it to the next level! The main course consists of:

  • Turkey (or chicken if you prefer – can be pre-cooked or you can cook it yourself if you’re feeling brave)
  • Honey Roast Carrots
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Squash Gratin
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry Sauce (optional but I love!)
  • Pigs in Blankets (cook according to packet)


  • preheat oven to 200 oc
  • pat dry the skin with a paper towel and butter the skin. Season well with salt, pepper, garlic powder, garlic and sage (you can use other herbs such as thyme or rosemary if you want)
  • cook according to the length of time on the packet (until the meat is totally cooked through and the juice runs clear)
  • (you might need to cover the legs with foil if they look like they’re cooking faster than the rest of the bird)
  • let stand for at least 20 mins before carving so it stays moist

Honey Roast Carrots

  • peel and chop the carrots into baton shapes
  • add to a tray/roasting dish and drizzle with oil
  • season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • mix up to cover all sides of the carrots with seasoning and spread evenly on the tray
  • drizzle the carrots with honey
  • roast at ~200 oc for around 30 minutes (or until cooked)

Mashed Potatoes

  • peel and chop potatoes into ~1 inch size chunks
  • add cold water to a pan and add the potatoes – bring to a boil
  • boil until the potatoes are soft (~15/20 mins)
  • drain and add back to the pan
  • add a splash of milk, a knob of butter, salt and pepper (you can also add cheese and nutmeg if you want!)
  • mash until smooth and creamy

Green Bean Casserole

1 can campbells cream of mushroom soup (I guess other brands work too lol)
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 cups(600g) cooked, cut green beans
~1 cup(~170g) crispy fried onions (such as KTC fried onions – can get at morrisons etc.)

  • preheat oven to 175 oc
  • stir soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, green beans and half the onions in a casserole dish
  • bake for 20 minutes, or until hot & stir
  • top with the rest of the onions and bake for 5 more minutes

Squash Gratin

1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, finely sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
salt and pepper to taste
1 butternut squash, thinly sliced
150ml double cream
150ml veg stock
(optional) 2 tbsp hazelnuts, chopped
4 tbsp breadcrumbs

  • preheat oven to 220 oc
  • heat the oil in the pan and cook the leeks and garlic for 15 minutes until soft (season with the thyme, salt and pepper)
  • place a layer of squash in an ovenproof dish, top with some of the leek mixture and season a little. Repeat the layers until you use all the mixture
  • mix the cream and stock together and pour over the dish
  • top with the hazelnuts and breadcrumbs and a little more thyme
  • cover the dishes with foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes until the squash is tender and the top is golden


one bag cheap white bread ripped into bite-size chunks (you could also do multigrain if you want) – let it go stale by leaving it out overnight spread out, or dry it out in a low temp oven
1 block of butter
1 cup (100g) chopped celery
1 large white onion chopped
1-2 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste (around 1tsp each)
(optional: cranberries, chopped nuts/seeds, raisins etc – go wild)

  • melt the block of butter in a large saucepan
  • sauté the celery and onion until soft (low heat- don’t burn the butter)
  • pour the butter, onions and celery over the bread chunks in a large bowl and season
  • mix well by hand
  • add any extras if you want
  • either stuff it in the turkey/chicken and cook like that OR put into a greased loaf/roasting pan and bake until crispy (around 30 mins) (if you do this, you can start cooking it when you take the turkey/chicken out to rest!)


giblets (from the turkey/chicken- it might not have this, but if it does-use it!)
water (about 2/3 of a saucepan)
any juice/drippings you can collect from the turkey/chicken as it rests (very important)
plain flour

  • put the giblets in a saucepan 2/3 full of water
  • boil for around 30 mins on a low simmer – don’t throw away the cooking water!
  • once done, remove from water, cool and chop into tiny pieces. Set aside
  • once the turkey/chicken is done, take as much juice/drippings from the pan and add to a measuring jug. Let sit so the fat rises to the top
  • take the fat and measure it. The amount can vary with this but measure an equal amount of flour to fat. This is important!
  • add the fat to a large saucepan and slowly add an equal amount of flour, stirring constantly. Cook for a minute or two.
  • slowly add the water from cooking the giblets, stirring constantly over a low heat – it may be very thick this is fine.
  • thin out a little with the remaining drippings from the measuring jug until it is a good texture.
  • season well with sage, salt and pepper
  • add the chopped giblets and mix!

Dessert – Pumpkin Pie

JusRol shortcrust pastry
2 eggs
1 cup(200g) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup(120ml) heavy whipping cream
1 can 100% pure pumpkin puree (we use LIBBY’S)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (to make, mix 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ tsp ground allspice and ¼ tsp ground cloves)
½ tsp salt
squirty cream

  • preheat oven to 220oc
  • grease a pie tin and place your pastry into the tin. Set aside
  • beat the eggs for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer (or by hand- until it is thick and lemon coloured)
  • add all other filling ingredients and beat until well mixed (1-2 minutes)
  • pour the filling into the prepared pastry and bake for 10 minutes
  • lower the oven temperature to 175oc and bake for another 40-50 minutes (until a knife can come out clean)
  • allow the pie to cool completely and serve with squirty cream!

Let me know if you try any of these recipes and remember to check out Niamh’s Insta! If you’re interested in cooking, check out my post on easy autumnal recipes.

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