Including green bean casserole, cornbread turkeys, and pumpkin meringue pie.

November 20, 2018
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Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

When Jessica Simpson hosted Friendsgiving at her Southern California home last weekend, it was all about giving thanks and giving back. She turned a casual dinner with her closest girlfriends into a fundraiser benefiting No Kid Hungry, a national campaign by nonprofit Share Our Strength to end childhood hunger in America.

Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

On a patio that would be the envy of anyone living east of California, Simpson put together a laid-back feast with a little help from her friends. She collaborated with her best friend Stephanie Terblanche, the event director at Wham Bam Events, on the beautiful Friendsgiving table. "Jessica wanted me to put a spin on the traditional Thanksgiving decor we're used to doing to make it more of a reflection of where we live," says Terblanche. "In Southern California we don't get to experience fall the way other parts of the country do, so we wanted the tablescape to mirror the elements around us." They went with a "California Harvest" theme that brought in the greens and blues of the landscape and added in golds and touches of peach and rust for warmth. Bonus: it somehow matched Simpson's sumptuous caftan perfectly!

Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

With the assistance of Gaby Dalkin, the founder of the popular food blog What's Gaby Cooking, Simpson assembled a giant, next-level cheese plate to kick off the festivities. "Cheese boards are my favorite way to start any party because it's a DIY adventure for all your guests," says Dalkin. It was truly the horn of plenty of cheese plates, complete with charcuterie, figs, apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, olives, crackers, breadsticks, and honeycomb. Fresh rosemary sprigs strewn throughout made the platter even more striking.

Get Our Food Editor's Guide to Assembling a Cheese Platter
Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

Simpson and Dalkin also whipped up a couple of comfort-food crowd-pleasers-mac and cheese and mashed potatoes-and in classic California-girl fashion, balanced them out with a big farmers' market salad. As for the rest of the Friendsgiving meal, Simpson called in the ultimate backup: Martha! Simpson wanted to make some of her favorite Martha recipes so had none other than Martha herself walk her through them before the big day. Simpson decided on two hall-of-fame Martha sides (cornbread turkeys and green bean casserole) and a showstopping deep-dish pumpkin meringue pie-they'd make excellent additions to your Friendsgiving menu. Get the recipes below, and consider supporting No Kid Hungry at your Friendsgiving-there's nothing like eating and drinking for a good cause!

Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

CORNBREAD TURKEYS

Yes, it's totally worth getting turkey-shaped pans to make these festive cheesy cornbreads! They're as delicious as they are adorable, thanks to the addition of toothsome corn kernels, fiery jalapeños, and tangy buttermilk.

Get the Cornbread Turkeys Recipe
Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Everything you love about the quintessential Thanksgiving side, but fresher and tastier. Nothing canned or frozen here-just tender green beans, creamy homemade mushroom sauce, and crispy fried shallots.

Get the Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Kristin Burns / Kara Stout

DEEP-DISH PUMPKIN MERINGUE PIE

A sky-high meringue topping brûléed like toasted marshmallows sets this pumpkin pie apart. It's the perfect grand finale for any Friendsgiving.

Get the Deep-Dish Pumpkin Meringue Pie Recipe

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