How to host a killer holiday gathering with minimal effort

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Presented by Bojangles’

The holiday season is the perfect excuse to gather up your friends and family for cozy dinner parties and festive get-togethers.

We know hosting can be a lot of pressure so we put together a simple entertaining guide that keeps things easy and affordable.

And the best part? Your guests will still be left wondering how you pulled it all off.

Delicious food is a staple of any holiday gathering but it can be stressful, not to mention expensive, trying to cook up a Pinterest-worthy spread.

Turns out you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to impress your guests.

We teamed up with Bojangles’ to fancy up a few of their staples and, we’re not trying to brag but the result was nothing short of Food Network level.

The turkey

Cooking a turkey is no small (or short) task. Skip the hard part this year and opt for one of Bojangles’ Seasoned Fried Turkeys.

Prepared using Bojangles’ proprietary Cajun seasoning, these birds are oven-baked and then fried. They feed up to eight people and they come fully-cooked. All you have to do is heat and serve. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

Preorder your turkey before Thanksgiving by calling your local participating Bojangles’. Find the closest Bojangles’ here. They are gunna go fast.

The sides

Nothing sets off your main course like an assortment of mouthwatering sides and Bojangles’ has got you covered. We added our own spin to some of our favorite Bo fixins’. Your guests might even think you made them yourself. Your secret is safe with us.

Macaroni ‘n Cheese

A total crowd pleaser. Add on the bread crumbs and you really get a home-cooked feel. Just like Grandma used to make.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 picnic size orders of Bojangles’ Macaroni ‘n Cheese
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (we used Italian style)
  • 1 tbs of unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Spoon all of the macaroni ‘n cheese into a 13×9 casserole dish
  2. In a skillet, on medium heat, start melting the butter
  3. Add in the breadcrumbs and stir around for a few minutes until golden brown
  4. Sprinkle over the macaroni ‘n cheese and place in the oven on broil for a few minutes (watch so that the bread crumbs don’t burn)

Green beans

Low key one of our favorite Bojangles’ fixins. They taste amazing on their own but add in some crumbled walnuts and suddenly you’ve kicked it up a notch.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 picnic size orders of Bojangles’ Green Beans
  • ½ cup of crumbled walnuts

Directions:

  • Spoon the green beans into a bowl
  • Mix in the walnuts
  • That’s seriously all you have to do

Made-from-scratch biscuits

Warm, fluffy and golden brown – biscuits are a Southern staple. We love the idea of pairing Bojangles’ made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits with unexpected toppings like hot pepper jelly.

Showcase them on the dinner table or even take it to the next level with a biscuit bar. You can feature a variety of spreads, cheeses and cured meats.

The dessert

Call us old fashioned but it’s not a proper holiday get-together without some sort of pie. Bojangles’ individual sweet potato pies are perfect and you don’t have to spend hours rolling out dough.

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 Bojangles’ Sweet Potato Pies (depending how many guests you’re serving)
  • 2 pints of salted caramel ice cream
  • 1 package of candied pecans

Directions:

  • Place a warm pie on a plate
  • Top with a scoop of ice cream
  • Sprinkle with pecans

Festive cocktails are a must for any holiday event but you don’t need fancy ingredients or bar tools to make drinks your friends will enjoy.

We put together a few recipes that are as eye-catching as they are easy to create. Be thinking of some clever Instagram captions.

Apples and Oranges Sangria

Combining crisp apples, juicy oranges and cinnamon, this drink was made for cozy gatherings and best served in front of a crackling fire.

What’s in it:

  • 2 medium apples cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 medium oranges thinly sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • One 750ml bottle of champagne or prosecco
  • 4-5 cups of apple cider
  • Serve immediately over ice, garnish with oranges and cinnamon sticks (optional)

The Rose Merry

Rosey in color and tart in taste, this drink is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner. We added a touch of rosemary for some herby flavor. This one is best paired with a sparkly dress.

What’s in it:

  • Cranberry juice
  • Vodka (You can easily make this without alcohol and serve as a mocktail)
  • Ginger ale
  • Fresh cranberries
  • A stalk of rosemary

You don’t need to spend tons of time or money to set a beautiful holiday table. Simple centerpieces can still make a statement. Here are a few ideas:

Use a pumpkin as a vase

This option is super easy to recreate and your guests will be totally enchanted by your autumnal style.

What you need:

  • 1 pumpkin (you can do more with a bigger table)
  • 1 bouquet of flowers

Directions:

  • Cut the top off your pumpkin
  • Remove the guts from the inside
  • Cut down your flower stems and place bouquet in the pumpkin
  • If you plan to have them sitting out awhile, place a jar or cup of water inside to keep them fresh

Get crafty with branches

We love this option because of the height it adds to the table spread. It works for the fall or winter months.

What you’ll need:

  • A vase or some sort of cool, tall container
  • 6-8 branches or stems (we found these colorful berry stems at the grocery store)

Pro tip: If you’re feeling crafty, find some branches in your backyard and spray paint them gold for a more glam woodland look.

Add in some layers

A dreamy tablescape isn’t made with just one vase of flowers or branches. Add in another element to finish the look.

Mini pumpkins play well off both of our centerpiece ideas. They an inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. We love the white for a clean, simple look. Opt for more asymmetrical gourds for a more rustic feel.

Candles are another way to add interest to your table. Plus, they create a nice ambiance. Add in a few mercury glass votives for a vintage, glam vibe or mini mason jars for a more southern, farmhouse look.

Send out a group text, preorder that turkey and get to planning your holiday shindig.

 

(This content was co-created with Bojangles’.)

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