Get ready for 2020 with traditions and twists

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2019

By Deirdre Parker Smith

Say goodbye to the teens, we’re headed into 2020, the start of a new decade. But we keep with tradition — what else holds us together through the years?

Do you remember how worried we were about Y2K, 2000? No big deal, except it was hard to write the correct date for a while.

There’s plenty of time to make the resolutions you won’t keep for the whole year.

To get started on the new year, make sure you have the traditional pork, black-eyed peas and greens, or you’ll have trouble.

The peas represent coins, the greens folding money and the pork progress, because pigs always move forward when grazing.

Oh and some cornbread. Corn is golden, representing wealth for some.

We’re offering a couple of tweaks to tradition, so be brave and try something a little bit new.

Throw this in your slow cooker and go take a nap. When you wake up, you’ve knocked out two side dishes with one recipe.

Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed

2 pounds collard greens

8 oz. bacon or ham, diced

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

4 cups low-sodium or unsalted chicken stock

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 large, dried bay leaves

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Fill the sink with cold water. Wash the collard greens in 3-4 changes of water, until there is no grit in the bottom of the sink. Cut thick stems out of the greens and chop the leaves or cut them into strips.

If using bacon, cook until done, but not crisp. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until soft.

Combine the beans, bacon, onions, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves and red pepper flakes in the slow cooker. The liquid should cover the top of the beans.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3 hours. Open the lid and add the greens. Recover and cook one more hour. The pot will be full, so push down the greens as best as you can. If you like  soft greens, add a half hour of cooking time.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve as your main meal with cornbread or serve as a side to cooked pork or ham and biscuits.

If you don’t like collards, use kale or swiss chard.

The Spruce Eats

For this ham, put it in the fridge tonight, and it will be ready to cook for dinner.

Orange Glazed Ham

1 7-8-pound smoked, fully cooked ham

1 cup orange juice

1 cup ginger ale

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Trim skin away from ham, leaving no more than a 1/4-inch border of fat. Place ham in a large roasting bag. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over ham. Tie bag tightly. Place in a large bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove ham from marinade, and reserve the marinade. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert thermometer, making sure it does not touch fat or bone. Bake at 325 degrees for 2-2 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees (18-24 minutes per pound), basting with reserved marinade every 20 minuets.

Southern Living

Cornmeal Cheddar Biscuits

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

3 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. sugar

1/4-1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in cheese and milk just until moistened.

Drop by 1/4-cupfuls 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Some tasters have said they added up to 1 cup of cheese, so add more, if you’d like. You could also add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix.

Taste of Home

You can whip this up New Year’s Eve and refrigerate overnight.

Frozen Mocha Marbled Loaf

2 cups finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (about 20)

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 (8 oz.) box cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

2 Tbsp. instant coffee (or espresso) granules

1 Tbsp. hot water

1/2 cup chocolate syrup

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with foil. In a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly into the bottom and 1 1/2-inch up the sides of the loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and mix well. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon half of the mixture into another bowl and set aside. Dissolve coffee in hot water; fold into the remaining cream cheese mixture. Fold in chocolate syrup.

Spoon half the chocolate mixture over crust. Top with half of the reserved cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Cut through layers with a knife to swirl the the chocolate (pan will be full). Cover and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, lift out of pan, remove foil and cut into slices.

Taste of Home

Looking for an easy cocktail to serve to the partiers tonight?

These three-ingredient pitchers are ideal for last-minute guests or for any time you want to serve 8-10 people without buying a lot of ingredients.

Sparkling Rosemary Cider Pitcher

Cut or break 4 fresh rosemary sprigs in half and place in a pitcher. Muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon to bruise and release the oils. Stir in two 750 ml bottles chilled sparkling apple cider (about 6 1/3 cups) and 2 cups vodka. Serve in ice filled glasses.

Spicy Pineapple Pitcher

Thinly slice 2 jalapeños and place in a pitcher. Remove seeds if you want a less spicy cocktail. Muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon to bruise and release juiced. Stir in 6 cups chilled pineapple juice and 2 cups vodka. Serve in ice-filled glasses.

Maybe you had a few too many cups of cheer. Pantry pasta is one of those meals you can always be ready for, if you keep certain staples in the pantry. Try to have a jar of olives, artichoke hearts, garlic, onion, dried pasta, maybe jarred pesto, canned tomatoes, parmesan cheese. Keep in mind that the water you cooked the pasta in is ideal to help make sauce, so don’t pour it all down the drain.

Here are some basic ideas:

Pantry Pasta

1 pound dried pasta, any shape

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice

Fresh basil, or dried

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Cook pasta as directed. In a large sauté pan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until garlic is fragrant. Add canned tomatoes. Cook until pasta is ready, adding pasta water if the pan begins to look dry. Reserve a cup of the pasta liquid before draining pasta and adding it to the pan. Add reserved pasta water as needed to create sauce.

Stir in basil, season to taste and serve with plenty of parmesan cheese. Add-ins: Chopped olives of any variety, stir them in with the olive oil and garlic; a tablespoon or two of jarred pesto; a handful of fresh mushrooms or a drained jar of mushrooms; dried red chile flakes; jarred roasted red peppers; a drained can of chickpeas; a cup of frozen peas; a can of tuna; pour in a little half and half or cream.

Make this your own go-to last minute dish for times when you’re too tired or too busy to cook.