Happy New Year

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I love New Year’s Day. From the parties, noisemakers, confetti, champagne, and the iconic ball-drop in Times Square, New Year’s Eve seems to get all the attention. While all of that is fun and games, I adore a quiet New Year’s Day spent at home with our little family watching the Rose Parade in front of a nice fire, listening to Bowl Games droning on in the background while I prepare a traditional meal, and looking forward to the main event. The HGTV Dream Home Special, that is!

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I like to use dried blackeyed peas as fillers in my candle hurricanes in this mantlescape as a nod to New Year’s tradition. Speaking of food traditions, let’s get to the New Year’s meal.  Beans or peas are on many families’ menu as they resemble coins. Blackeyed peas are the legume of choice in the south in a dish called Hoppin’ John served with cornbread. This hearty fare also incorporates pork which is also eaten as a symbol of progress by way of the animal continuing to “root” along and wealth because of its rich fat content. Cooked greens, ranging from collard greens to cabbage are eaten to represent money. My take on the green portion of the meal is coleslaw. Why, I don’t know, but thinly sliced home fried potatoes round out our meal.

Hoppin’ John

1 onion
2 carrots
2 ribs, celery
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 lb. breakfast sausage or smoked sausage, browned and drained
1 package, frozen blackeyed peas
1 package, long grain and wild rice
4 cups, chicken broth

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Start by chopping vegetables into a fine chop.

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I used the food processor to shred the ones in this photo. Then, add them to the soup pot with butter or olive oil to saute until tender.

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Add in your browned sausage.

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And your blackeyed peas.

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And your rice, with the seasoning packet.

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Finish with your chicken broth.  You can use a carton, but I make mine when I roast a whole chicken and freeze it to use when I need it.  More about that here.

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Finished product.  Yum!  I can smell it already.

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I always look forward to this simple meal after the rich dips and desserts of Christmas have come and gone.  It is a carb-laden feast, but the healthy fare starts on January 2nd at our house.  The interior Christmas decorations have all been packed away and it is time for a clean slate.That is what we all love about a new year, isn’t it?  The old has been wiped clean.  The year before us full of possibilities for us to experience, achieve or change.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  Make the most of yours in 2015.

 

 

 

 

One Chuck Roast, Three Meals

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Does the recollection that Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away or that Christmas is only six weeks away make your head spin? Me, too. With all of the myriad of items on our collective To Do Lists, let’s make our cooking do triple duty.

We’re going to purchase one large chuck roast (or two if one will not yield leftovers for your family) and use it to make three meals, one of which can be frozen for a quick dinner during the holiday season or for a nutritious lunch in the thermos on a cold day.

Meal 1
Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast, served with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Green Peas.

Retain any fat that you trim from the roast and pan drippings in your roasting pan. Return any leftover onions and carrots after the meal is served back to the pan as well. Add about 16 cups of water to the pan and cook right on the stove-top over medium heat until it reduces to a nice rich color. Let cool. Pour broth through a strainer and into quart jars, leaving an inch or so of head space. Freeze.

Meal 2

Beef Stirfry

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Leftover roast beef, sliced (Save half of your beef for Meal 3)
1 t. minced garlic
¼ t. ground ginger
½ c. soy sauce
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, cut into thin sticks
1 broccoli crown, cut into spears (or snow peas, zucchini, or whatever veggie you have in the fridge)
4 mushrooms, sliced

Mix soy sauce with garlic and ground ginger and pour over leftover roast beef to marinade.

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Cut all of your vegetables. Saute vegetables in olive oil over medium-high heat, beginning with the onions for about 5 minutes first.

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Then, add in the carrots and stirfry until almost tender.

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Add remaining veggies last as they will take less time to get tender, adding beef with marinade as the broccoli and mushrooms cook. Serve over brown rice for a quick weeknight meal.

Meal 3

Vegetable Beef Soup

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Remaining leftover roast beef, shredded
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 large potatoes
1 bag, frozen mixed vegetables
1 small can tomato paste
2 quarts beef broth
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar (to reduce the acidity of tomato paste)
½ t. pepper
½ t. parsley flakes

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Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil until tender.

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Add potatoes and one quart of beef broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes before adding remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until all vegetables are cooked through and flavors blend.

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Serve for a meal. Transfer leftovers to pint or quart jars, leaving an inch or so of headspace and freeze.

Frozen Meal Helpers

Beef Broth and Vegetable Beef Soup

Enjoy!