The Gourmet Touch: Ideas for a delicious new year
Dec 25, 2013 | 2275 views |  0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When that big Christmas dinner is finished and there’s a little time to relax, thoughts often turn to New Year’s.

There are certain foods that Southerners consider a tradition of the first holiday of the year. There must be black-eyed peas, turnip greens and hog jowl.

When I went to the dentist several months ago, one of the dental hygienists, Jan Floyd, shared a recipe with me that would be just right for your New Year's meal. It doesn't have the hog jowl, but it does combine turnip greens and black-eyed peas for one-pot meal with great flavor.

Believe it or not, that "pot" is actually a slow cooker. This is a bonus for those of us who have spent many hours in the kitchen during the month of December. Just put the ingredients in the slow cooker and get out of the kitchen.

Jan uses pork chops on top of her vegetables but I sometimes use sliced Kielbasa or other smoked sausage. You probably could work in the hog jowl, but I will leave that to you. I call this new recipe simply "New Year's Special."

And of course, we also need to think about appetizers for the New Year's Eve party. If you have some leftover ham, you can always chop it in the food processor and add it to a cheeseball. I like the following Ham and Cheese Party Crescents made with refrigerated ready-made pie crusts.

These spicy pretzels make a great anytime snack but are especially good while watching the bowl games.

27 ounce can seasoned turnip greens
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) black-eyed peas
2 cans (10 ounces each) Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 pound smoked sausage, cut crosswise into slices about 1/4 inch thick

Spoon turnip greens into slow cooker, followed by the black-eyed peas, then Rotel. Top with smoked sausage rounds. Cover and cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours.

1 box (2 crusts) refrigerated pie crusts
8-ounce tub soft cream cheese spread
1 1/2 teaspoon McCormick's Parmesan Herb Seasoning
1/2 cup diced cooked ham
4 tablespoons minced bell pepper (I like to use half red and half green)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Unroll crusts. Combine the cream cheese with the seasoning and mix well. Spread onto each pie crust. Sprinkle the ham and peppers over the crusts. Press slightly with the fingertips. Using a pizza cutter, cut each crust into 12 wedges. Roll from larger end to the point and bend the ends slightly to make a crescent shape. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until delicately browned. Remove from pan and place on rack to cool slightly.

1 cup oil
2 teaspoons dill weed
2 teaspoons McCormick's broiled steak seasoning
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 package (about 1 1/2 ounces) Ranch dressing mix
Large bag of small pretzels

Heat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, combine the oil, steak seasoning, cayenne and ranch dressing mix. Mix well. Pour about half of the pretzels into the bowl and stir to coat well. Spoon the pretzels onto a cookie sheet (with sides). If you have more liquid in bowl, add more pretzels and repeat process until all of the oil mixture has been used. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. I like to take a few out after about 20 minutes and see if they are done. If not, I continue to bake them, testing them every 5 minutes until they are like I want them.

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