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Your Menu for a Casual, Stress-Free Dinner Party

Food, and foolproof fun to nourish your soul with a simple get-together.

Sharing a homemade meal with friends is one of the best ways to stay cozy and cheerful during the dreariest months of the year. If the idea of hosting a dinner party is intimidating – or if winter weather leaves you wanting to stay curled up under a blanket with some takeout – check out this tempting, can’t-fail menu. It’s perfect for a low-key evening of board games or just catching up and sharing some laughs. Combat the cold weather blues while also showing friends how much you care by hosting a night of fun at home starring these feel-good foods.

Appetizer:
Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

We took everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant starter, crab Rangoon, and turned it into a shareable appetizer that will kick off the evening with a bang. Oven-crisped wonton wrappers serve as dippers for a creamy combo of imitation crab, scallions, and two kinds of cheese served warm from the oven.

Main:
Lightened-up Nachos

These meal-worthy nachos made with better-for-you ingredients prove that a dinner party doesn’t have to be fancy to be memorable. Loaded with butternut squash, lean ground turkey, lentils, and, of course, plenty of melty cheese, they’re ready to feed a hungry crowd in under 25 minutes using just a sheet pan.

Side:
Quinoa Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

This light, refreshing salad starring peak season grapefruit is the perfect accompaniment for the hearty nachos. Peppery arugula, nutty quinoa, and creamy avocado are a satisfying mix of tastes and textures, and the zingy lime vinaigrette brings it all together.

Drink:
Sans-gria

Whether or not your guests are doing “dry January,” this non-alcoholic take on sangria is a festive sip everyone can enjoy. Ruby-colored cran-raspberry juice and four kinds of fruit make this by-the-pitcher mocktail a beautiful addition to the appetizer table or bar.

Dessert:
Classic Carrot Cake

Here’s a sweet ending you can feel good about: our carrot cake is made in one-bowl while still bringing all the flavor you’ve known to love. Simple to make but still bringing all the moisture topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting, this classic is sure to dazzle your guests.

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