Janet's Notebook
Tastefully Kicking Off the New Year


Spicy Snack Mix


Goodbye 2016, hello 2017! Wow, this year flew. Feels like just yesterday I was making my resolutions and anticipating what 2016 had in store.

This New Year's Eve, we're heading to a neighbor's house for a quiet evening. I am bringing a few appetizers for us to munch on. I'm not sure exactly what I'm bringing yet, but there are a few recipes I'm thinking of adding to the menu.

Carol Perricone's (Massapequa Park, NY) Mini Shrimp Cocktail on Ritz Crackers is extremely easy to make - only three ingredients! "This is just a delicious bite of an appetizer when having friends over," shares Carol. "I have made this for over 20 years... it's always a hit!"

This is one of those classic appetizers that has been around for ages in different forms. Carol's method is easy and quick. It's a much more economical version of shrimp cocktail. The flavorful cocktail sauce goes so well with cream cheese and shrimp. It's delish!

Another easy munchie is Julie James' (Richville, MI) Spicy Snack Mix. We've all had snack mix before, but Julie's recipe is kicked up a few levels.

"Some recipes call for dill which we didn't care for," explains Julie. "Others for more cayenne pepper which was too spicy for the grandkids. This is the mix that we came up with which the kids and adults all enjoy."

The marinade is really the star of this recipe and the flavor is amazing. Full of ranch flavor with a punch of heat, this snack mix recipe is fabulous!

For a bit more substantial of an appetizer, try Monica Keleher's (Methuen, MA) Mini Beef Wellington Hors D'ouerves - they're the perfect party app.

"I love beef wellington and was having a cocktail/book club party with my friends one night," says Monica. "I really wanted to have some fantastic hors d'oeuvres to go with the great wine and cocktails [and] came up with several unique tasty few bites. This was by far everyone's favorite."

They're are a few steps to this recipe, but the results are very impressive. Monica suggests adding salami or prosciutto. I tried both and, honestly, I'm not sure which one I like best. I kept going back to sample "just one more." The flavor from the mushroom combination is fabulous. It's impressive and delicious.

I'm also going to make something to bring a little luck for the new year. While we may not eat it at midnight, everyone can make a plate and it will heat up wonderfully for a New Year's Day lunch or dinner.

Cooked greens, like cabbage, collards and kale, are said to bring fortune for the new year because their leaves look like money. Eating pork on New Year's Day signifies wealth and prosperity, because, it's said, a pig roots itself in the ground before pushing forward. Marcia McCance's (Stone Mountain, GA) Sauerkraut and Pork for New Year's Day incorporates both cabbage and pork making it one lucky recipe.

"My mom used to make the best sauerkraut and pork on the planet," exclaims Marcia. "We all loved it and the recipe is so simple you will hardly believe it."

Marcia gives a few variations on how to make the recipe and we went with her mom's original scrumptious recipe. It WAS scrumptious. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone and it's extremely easy to make.

Whether you're staying in and watching the ball drop from Times Square on TV or heading to a party with friends, I hope everyone has a tasty and safe New Year. Happy Pinching!



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2 Comments
ThePretentiousWichitaChef
Andy Anderson ! - Dec 27, 2016
2017... It's almost upon us :-)

Great food is an excellent way to start out the new year.