Category Archives: New Years

BLT Bites

Last month my brother-in-law and his fiancée got married.  I’m sure Michelle got lots of advice on wedding related things, but I told her my most important piece of advice is to make sure she gets a plate of food set aside for her to bring home!  I didn’t get to eat anything at my wedding reception, though I hear the food was fabulous!

Well this time I wasn’t the bride, just a bridesmaid.  So I got to eat!  There were many yummy things but there was one thing that stood out.  It was so unassuming, these little tomatoes on a platter.  I didn’t get one because I wasn’t sure what they were stuffed with and my plate was already full!  My mom got a few though and she told me to try one.  Heavenly! They taste exactly like little bite-sized BLTs, full of creamy bacon flavor.  I went back for more for myself and they were all gone :(  A few days later I went off in search of a recipe to make them and found it on Taste of Home’s website.   It was a huge hit at a jewelry party I had, I can’t wait to make them (and eat them!) again!

BLT Bites

BLT Bites
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients:
1 package grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

  • Carefully cut off the tops of the tomatoes and very carefully scoop out the insides.  Give a little thought beforehand to how you’re going to scoop them out – I used the round part on a jalapeno corer.  You don’t want to tear the outside of the tomato and you don’t want to scoop all the way through.
  • Place all the tomatoes on a plate and put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped and mixed.  If the filling is too “firm” then add a little more mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Scoop into a ziploc bag fitted with an icing piping attachment (or just make a small hole in the tip of the bag) and gently squeeze the filling into the tomatoes.
  • Cover the tray and place in the refrigerator a few hours to firm up.
  • Serve cold.

Scooped-out tomatoes

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Normally for New Years Day we have black-eyed pea soup and egg rolls.  But this year our family Christmas get together was postponed to New Years Day, so I knew I wasn’t going to want to come home and start making egg rolls.  What goes better with soup than salad?  I remembered having a cabbage salad with ramen noodles in it and my husband LOVED it.  A quick Google search brought me to the recipe and it was a winner!

It was so quick and easy to make, I advise letting it sit on the counter for a little while to let the flavors blend together.  It was not as good refrigerated, the ramen kind of got soft.  If you’re making this ahead of time, I’d keep the ramen out until you’re ready to serve it.

Chinese Cabbage Salad
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups cabbage coleslaw mix with shredded carrots in it
1 pkg ramen noodles, crushed (I used creamy chicken, the oriental would probably be good!)
slivered almonds

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil and ramen seasoning packet.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cabbage slaw mix and crushed ramen noodles.  Toss with the dressing and coat well.  Top with the toasted sesame seeds and toss well.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  • Serve topped with slivered almonds, if desired.

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Black Eyed Pea Soup

There is nothing I love more than a hearty soup.  Of course it’s better when it’s cold or nasty out, but I’m not one of those people who are like “oh it’s too hot to eat that!”  BRING IT ON!  I came across this recipe for Black Eyed Pea soup on the 365 Days of Crockpot blog, I believe it’s in her cookbook as well.  It didn’t really sound that great but the picture looked good so I decided to give it a try, especially since I happened to have a pound of black eyed peas in the pantry!  I changed a few ingredients to suit my tastes and what I happened to have on hand, so I will put my adaption here.

Black Eyed Pea Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried black eyed peas
1 lb. Italian sausage
6 cups chicken broth
1 can sliced carrots, drained
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1 tsp kosher salt
generous sprinkle of Tony’s creole seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder
8-10 shakes of your favorite hot sauce
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup beer

Method:

Soak your beans overnight.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat.  Add sausage links, cook on both sides till browned and add 1/4 cup beer.  Simmer about 5 minutes.  Remove sausage from the pan and cut into small pieces.  Return to pan and add the other 1/4 cup of beer.  Cook until sausage is done, flipping pieces over as needed.

Empty beans into a colander, picking out any discolored beans.  Pour into the crockpot.  Add the sausage, carrots and celery, stir well.  Add the chicken broth and seasonings, stir well and cover.  Cook on LOW 8 hours.  Once done, scoop out 1 cup of the beans (pick out any sausage, carrots or celery that might get trapped in there!) and puree using a blender or immersion mixer.  Return to the pot and stir in well.  This is to make it a little creamier.

Black Eyed Pea Soup

The Verdict:  Honestly, I thought I would hate it.  I thought wrong.  This was so hearty and earthy, it was fantastic.  The flavors were phenomenal together.  Shockingly, my 1 year old daughter LOVED this meal.  She actually ate a lot of it.  Hubby and friend Anthony also really enjoyed it, each eating several helpings!  I thought I’d have a ton leftover but actually, we don’t have much!

Extra Note Added 9/21/09:  I made this for a second time using the store brand/off brand black eyed peas and they were not as good.  Could have been a fluke but there were a lot of “discolored” beans when I sorted them and they didn’t cook as soft.  I will definitely use the Camellia brand from now on like I did originally!