Thanksgiving in a blender: Students learn creative food hacks

Thanksgiving in a blender: Creative food hacks for college students

Mike Gasaway, right, executive chef at Briar Cliff University, inspects the students’ turkey frittatas to see if the entrées need to go back in the oven. He taught them how to make the dish from Thanksgiving leftovers during a new event series for students focused on food and culture. Photo by Ally Karsyn, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Inviting students to experience culture through food, the executive chef at Briar Cliff University ladled pumpkin pie filling from an aluminum pan, carefully leaving behind the crisp, golden crust.


The blob of pie hit the bottom of a blender. Then in went a heaping scoop of melting vanilla ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream for good measure.


Fork and SpoonBriar Cliff's own Chef Mike has offered up two creative food hacks with the broke college student in mind:

Turkey, Dressing and Cranberry Frittata
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ounces Mom’s leftover turkey
  • ½ cup Mom’s leftover dressing (or Stovetop stuffing)
  • 1 tablespoon leftover cranberry sauce
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside. Slice leftover turkey into bite-sized pieces. Spray a small, oven-safe pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line bottom with dressing. Top with turkey. Slowly fold in the egg mixture, filling the pan a quarter-inch from the top. Bake for about 17 minutes or until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes to cool. Garnish with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. Enjoy. Chef’s note: Serves one moderately hungry college student, but feel free to double or triple it, if you’re feeling generous.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies
  • 1 slice Great Aunt Tilly’s pumpkin pie
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 dollop Cool Whip (or 7, we’re not judging)
Carefully scoop the pumpkin pie filling from the crust. Set the crust aside and combine all other ingredients in the blender. Pour into glasses, top with crumbled pie crust and serve.

In a cooking demonstration, Mike Gasaway repurposed the popular Thanksgiving dessert to make pumpkin pie smoothies, keeping in mind the time and budget constraints of broke college students living in the dorms.

“There’s better than Ramen,” he told 10 participants Tuesday night at the second-ever Cooking Cultural Cuisine with Chef Mike.

The new event series, sponsored by the multicultural department, gives undergrads the opportunity to make different ethnic dishes following step-by-step instructions.

The first cooking class featured calzones and tiramisu to celebrate National Italian American Heritage Month in October.

After learning how to make the meat-filled pastries, Desi Beckmann, a junior from Yankton, S.D., said she planned to repeat the recipe for her family. She returned for the Thanksgiving-themed meeting, eager to expand her palate and enjoy a single-serve dish of turkey frittata, along with pumpkin pie smoothies.

“The purpose was for them to solve another problem,” Gasaway said. “On the weekends, when food services is not always open at all times like it is during the week, they can be able to cook something for themselves.”

In anticipation of Thanksgiving leftovers, he created an easy frittata recipe that calls for turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

To make the smoothies, event coordinator Justin Rhodes purchased two Sara Lee Oven Fresh pumpkin pies, on sale at Hy-Vee for $5 each, for the demonstration.

True to Franciscan values, no part went to waste.

Gasaway pureed three simple ingredients, poured the velvety smooth mixture into plastic cups and topped it with the reserved, crumbled crust.

Voila! Thanksgiving in a blender.

“Pumpkin pie, ice cream, whipped cream,” Rhodes said. “How can you go wrong?”

© 2014 Sioux City Journal. Reprinted with permission

Tags: Parents, Student Life, Campus Life, Multicultural, Dining, BCU in the Media, Local Media, BCU