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Tips to host an effortless holiday lunch

Everyone loves the holiday season and the joy and laughter that this time of year brings! Apart from seeing family and friends you may not see all-year round, the beautiful Durban weather and seasonal shopping opportunities, we all love the festive treats and the range of holiday lunches and dinners we’re invited to. If you want to host a festive lunch for your friends and family without the hassle, consider some of these easy tips to create the perfect lunch.

A one pot or pan meal

Save time when preparing a lunch with an easy one pot or pan meal. These simple meals require very little time to prepare and cook while lessening the cleaning load. Dishes like one-pot Italian chicken require few ingredients and all you need to do is season your chicken and veg and let it cook over some heat. We love a simple pasta recipe, why not try this easy meal?


2 Tbs Olive oil

1kg Boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (4-6 thighs)

1 Large onion, chopped to 1cm pieces

3 Tbs Tomato paste

3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tbs Thyme leaves

230g Spaghetti, broken into thirds

1/3 Lightly packed cup finely grated parmesan (about 25g)

20g Fresh breadcrumbs

10g Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 ½ tsp Lemon zest



  1. Heat your oven to 220°C.
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large, oven-proof pan with a lid and place over high heat.
  3. Season your chicken thighs with ¾ teaspoon salt flakes and ½ teaspoon pepper and add to pan to cook for 7-minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat to medium and stir in your onions. Turn your chicken and cook for another 5-minutes. Let the onions soften and brown before stirring in the tomato paste, garlic and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Stir for 2-minutes until all the ingredients are brown.
  5. Add 480ml boiling water, ½ teaspoon salt flakes and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the pan and then add in spaghetti. Stir in well and use tongs to lift your chicken and place on top of spaghetti. Bring the contents to a simmer and cover with your pan lid before transferring to the oven for 30-minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. While your dish cooks, mix parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme in a small bowl and place aside.
  7. Remove your pasta from the oven and reset the temperature to a high grill setting.
  8. Sprinkle your parmesan mix over the pasta and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and place your pan back into the centre of the oven for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to settle before serving from the pan.


A bring and braai


The festive season is never complete without a traditional South African braai. An easy late lunch idea is to host a bring and braai with your friends and family. With each member bringing a dish over, this leaves little cooking for you! Opt to prepare a side pasta or potato salad while leaving the braai masters to prep the meat and boerewors.




A simple yet entertaining idea is a build-a-burger meal. Without much cooking involved, all you need to arrange are burgers of your choice and buns. Pair with a range of toppings like cheeses, salad toppings, sauces and even a side of caramelised onions or mushrooms. The choice is yours and you can even opt to serve with other sides like French fries or side salads.


Holiday lunches with your friends and family don’t need to be fancy to be fun and can be even more eventful with everyone involved. KZN is filled with a myriad of meal options, fresh ingredients and even diverse locations to host your lunch if you prefer being outdoors in the pristine Durban weather.



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