An Appetizer Dinner on New Year’s Eve

Having just made a big sit down meal the day before, I opted for all appetizers on New Year’s Eve. Turned out to be a pretty good decision.

Some of these recipes were pretty involved, but making them all together actually saved a lot of time with so many shared ingredients (corn, onion, green onion, all the seasonings for the pork, etc.). I marinated both pork butts the night before, had my mom roast them while I was at work, and then was able to throw it all together between 4:30 and 6:30. My mom also helped with some of the chopping and prep work – and then most importantly, helped watch the kids while I cooked (or it may have taken me twice as long!)

They all turned out really good, but my personal favorite would have to be the corn muffins stuffed with pulled pork. The corn muffin is really sweet and really fresh with the corn and the tangy pork and salty butter go absolutely perfect with it.

New Year’s Eve Menu:

Avocado and Chicken Salad
Shrimp Crostini with Herbed Cream Cheese
Lettuce Wrap with Asian Pulled Pork
Corn Muffins Stuffed with BBQ Pulled Pork

Chicken and Avocado Salad

Avocado and Chicken Salad

3 ripe avocados, cubed
Juice from 2 1/2 limes
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded and chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup diced tomatoes (I used half red cherry tomatoes, and half golden cherry tomatoes)
1 1/2 cup fresh corn (boiled in water, then drained and cooled)
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced small
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1.) In a large bowl, add avocado and lime juice and combine. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
2.) Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with corn chips.

Shrimp Crostini

Shrimp Crostini with Herbed Cream Cheese

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup parsley
2 tbsp green onions, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp capers (capers only, none of the water from the jar)
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 baguette (crispy sour dough or French bread)

1.) Preheat oven to 375. Place shrimp in an even layer on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes. Place shrimp in a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
2.) Place softened cream cheese, parsley, green onions, garlic, capers, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process for about a minute until it is all well combined. Scrape sides and then process for about 30 seconds longer.
3.) Slice baguette thin, making slices between 1/4″ and 1/2″. Spread cream cheese on each slice and top with a shrimp.

Garlic Herb Cream Cheese

Lettuce Wraps with Asian Pulled Prok

Lettuce Wraps with Asian Pulled Pork

Slow Roasted Asian Pork Butt
3 lb pork butt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sweet thai chili sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp pepper
2 onions, chopped large
6 cloves garlic
6-8 slices of fresh ginger

1.) In a large Ziploc bag, combine pork and next 12 ingredients. Make sure marinade evenly coats the pork and marinate a few hours to overnight.
2.) When you’re ready to roast the pork, place chopped onions, garlic cloves and fresh ginger in the bottom of a casserole dish. Place pork on top of onions/garlic/ginger. Tightly wrap with aluminum foil and bake in a 250 degree oven for 4 to 5 hours. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Asian Pulled Pork

Asian Pulled Pork
Slow roasted pork butt (above)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp thinly shredded carrot
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sweet thai chili sauce
Juice from 1 1/2 limes
1 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1.) Using two forks, shred the roasted pork butt and place in a bowl. Set aside.
2.) In a large saute pan, heat sesame oil and sauté onion, garlic, carrot and ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. Add soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce and lime juice. Stir well. Add pork, green onion, cilantro, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Mix well to combine.

Lettuce Wraps
Asian pulled pork (above)
1 head of bibb lettuce, rinsed, dried and leaves removed
Sweet thai chili sauce
Sesame seeds

1.) To assemble, place a spoonful of pulled pork in the lettuce leaf and top with chili sauce and sesame seeds.

Make them one at a time as you’re ready to eat them because the lettuce will get soggy if it sits with the warm pork. 

Corn Muffin with BBQ

Corn Muffins Stuffed with Pulled Pork

Slow Roasted Pork Butt
3 lb pork butt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp pepper
2 onions, chopped large
6 garlic cloves

1.) In a large Ziploc bag, combine pork and next 8 ingredients. Make sure marinade evenly coats the pork and marinate a few hours to overnight.
2.) When you’re ready to roast the pork, place chopped onions and garlic cloves in the bottom of a casserole dish. Place pork on top of onions and garlic. Tightly wrap with aluminum foil and bake in a 250 degree oven for 4 to 5 hours. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
3.) Shred pork using two forks and place into a large bowl. Add BBQ sauce (recipe below) and set aside.

This recipe makes more pork than is needed for the corn muffins. You can freeze the leftovers or use it for pork sandwiches. 

BBQ Sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper

1.) Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan, mix well and heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat.

Corn Muffin Stuffed with BBQ

Corn Muffins
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh corn (boiled for 1 minute and drained)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix well until fully incorporated.
3.) Using a greased cupcake tin, place enough batter to fill each cup half way. Place a spoonful of pulled pork on top of each.
4.) Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5.) Serve warm with softened butter.

This yielded me 15 corn muffins. 

Corn Muffins with BBQ1

A New Year’s Meal

My mom and brother came up to celebrate a late Christmas with us in Georgia, but since they are leaving New Year’s day, I fixed my traditional New Year’s meal two days early.

For me, a New Year’s meal means ham, collard greens, black eyed peas and cornbread. And then I add whatever else I’m in the mood for – which this year meant we had green beans and mac and cheese. Talk about a feast! Most times I use hog jowl or salt pork, but this year I lucked out with my hubby picking up some house-smoked bacon from a local butcher shop and so half of my dishes were laden with bacon. Nothin’ wrong with that. Most of these recipes are just a few ingredients and pretty simple. It’s a mission to make it all, but well worth it when you sit down eat.

New Year’s Menu:

Ham with Honey Mustard Glaze
Southern Style Green Beans
Collard Greens
Black Eyed Peas
5 Cheese Mac and Cheese
Buttermilk Cornbread

New Years Plate
And that, my friends, is a happy plate.

Honey Mustard Glaze for Ham

2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp yellow mustard

1.) Over medium heat in a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and heat until it starts to bubble.
2.) Remove from heat and pour the glaze over a fully heated ham. Place ham back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Honey Mustard

Southern Style Green Beans

2 lbs fresh green beans, ends snapped off and snapped into 1″ to 2″ pieces
1/2 cup bacon, chopped (or you could sub with hog jowl or salt pork)
1/2 medium sized onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp sugar

1.) Add green beans to a large pot and fill with enough water to just cover the beans.
2.) Add bacon, onion, salt, pepper and sugar and heat to boil. Reduce heat to medium low (or until it reaches a low simmer) and cook uncovered for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Most of the water should be gone by the time they are done cooking.
3.) Taste beans and adjust salt, pepper and sugar to your liking.

Green Beans uncooked

Green Beans
I forgot to take a picture of the cooked beans in the pot. And now I’ve eaten them all. Oh well, a super-cropped image from the plate shot will have to do.

Collard Greens
3 tbsp butter (I used reserved bacon grease from breakfast – highly recommend)
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup bacon, chopped (or you could sub with hog jowl or salt pork)
2 lbs collard greens
5 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1.) In a large pot, heat butter and add onions to sauté. Add bacon and cook until onions are translucent. You don’t want the bacon to get crispy here.
2.) Add collards and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add water, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on.
3.) Cook for 1.5 to 2 hours or until they are as done as you’d like, and stir occasionally. Taste and adjust as needed.

Collards uncooked

Collards cooking

Collard Greens

Black Eyed Peas

1 lb dry black eyed peas, quick soaked (according to package)
6 cups water
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup bacon, chopped (or you could sub with hog jowl or salt pork)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1.) Place all ingredients in a large pot and heat to boil. Reduce heat and simmer with a lid slightly cracked for 1.5 to 2 hours. Do not stir often, as it will break the peas.

Black Eyed Peas

5 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

1 16-oz box pasta (elbows or rotini work well), cooked according to package
1 cup shredded white cheddar
1 cup shredded gruyere
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded yellow cheddar (divided)
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp salt

1.) Add all ingredients (except 1/2 cup of yellow cheddar) to a crock pot and mix well.
2.) Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cheese to top and cook until melted.

Mac n cheese uncooked

Mac n cheese

Adapted from About.com’s Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

Buttermilk Cornbread

Recipe found here. 

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