Serve Caribbean- and African-inspired dishes before Santa arrives this year.

Treat your family and your close friends to dishes with Caribbean and African flavors. Ordinary ingredients such as pork, rice, and citrus fruit are seasoned with pantry staples and easy-to-find ingredients such as chili powder, allspice, and coconut milk. Chef Marvin Woods of Hollywood Prime in Hollywood, Florida, contributed several of his wonderful recipes for this holiday menu, which is great for a laid-back Christmas Eve gathering. Each recipe is perfect to serve buffet style and easy to eat with a fork while balancing a plate on your lap. So fill your plate, find a comfy chair, and be joyful.

(serves 8)

"Go Casual on Christmas Eve" is from the November 2002 issue of Southern Living.

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