Plan a soul food friends' night in

Nov 22, 2011 at 4:40 a.m. ET

After a long week at work, a breakup or other life hurdles, there's nothing quite like getting together with the girls to gab and grab grub. And nothing quite soothes the soul like some good 'ole American soul food. So heat up that oil and rinse off those collard greens. You’re ready for a girls' night in.

Soul food - Ribs, Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potato, Biscuit

Set the right atmosphere

Soul food is all about the comfort of hearty, starchy substances hitting your belly. Create an atmosphere with equally comfortable furnishings. Break out soft lighting, comfy cushions and rich colors to enhance the warmth of your home. It isn't about being fancy, it's about being comfortable, so make it an atmosphere you'd like to spend time in. Odds are, you friends will feel the same. Pump up the music or turn on a familiar film. Tonight, it's all about relaxation.

Prep the food… together!

Hosting a party, even amongst your closest friends, can be stressful when you know you have to prepare a full meal for your guests. But part of the fun of a party is being able to socialize — and what's a better conversation starter than the experience of cooking together? Put each friend on a different duty or work as an assembly like to create a single dish. The more you work together, the quicker you'll eat!

Consider including these items on your soul food menu:

  • Fried chicken
  • Pork ribs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn on the cob
  • Collard greens
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Apple cobbler

Socialize in the kitchen

Pour mixed cocktails or glasses of wine as you fry the chicken and bake a pie. Building good feelings around your food will make it taste even better when it's finally done frying.

Chow down

When you're with your girlfriends, there's really no need to impress anyone. Which is great, because fried chicken isn't exactly the most glamorous of foods to eat. Get your grub on. You can worry about the calories later. This is a one-night bonding activity that you and your friends can cherish for some time. Put the stress and worry on the back burner.

Top it off with some entertainment

Whether it's a new release or an old favorite among your group of friends, break out a lighthearted film that everyone can cuddle up and enjoy watching. Or if you're still feeling super social, a board game is a great way to bond over faux-rivalries and drinks. Tonight is all about fun. Save the dishes for tomorrow.

Tell us

What's your favorite soul food dish? Share your pick in the comments section below!

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