New Year’s Day is a great time for friends and family to get together. Even if you aren’t into the football games, it’s a day off, and that’s cause enough to celebrate. However, if you spent the previous night partying until midnight, coming up with a New Year’s Day dinner menu may seem like a daunting task. If you’re hosting a New Year’s Day party, do it easy by using a variety of appetizers or small plates instead of a regular “sit down” dinner. This can be done easily by careful planning ahead of the party date. Most of these appetizers can be easily made in advance and quickly heated on New Year’s Day.
Here are a few easy to make recipes, all of which can be made in the days before New Year’s Day:
Chicken Wings – Whether you like them lightly fried and plain, or sizzling hot, this is an easy dish to prepare in advance. Many chicken wings come already prepared, but if you want to make them fresh, it’s just as easy and a lot less expensive. Cut the wing tips off and discard. Lightly dust the wings with flour, salt and pepper, and either fry or oven bake them. Reserve some of the wings for those who can’t take the heat. The others can be coated in a mixture of Red Hot sauce and melted butter, tossed lightly. Refrigerate until New Year’s Day, and then bring them out and microwave to heat.
Nachos – A perennial favorite for football fanatics, this is also a very easy dish to make. Purchase chips, cheese, tomatoes, onion, hot peppers, green onion, refried beans and meat (either chicken or ground beef). Prepare the meat a day or so in advance, it will keep. You can also chop the vegetables in advance and store in the refrigerator. On New Year’s Day, assemble your ingredients. Heat the meat, beans and cheese, and let your guests assemble.
Chili – In my area of the country, New Year’s Day is usually met with cold weather. A good, hot bowl of chili makes a great addition to any party, and the good thing is that you can make the chili a week in advance. On New Year’s Day, put your chili into a slow cooker and let your guests serve themselves. Make sure you have condiments ready, like chopped onion, shredded cheese, and sliced hot peppers. Serve with fresh rolls or oyster crackers.
Fruit and Vegetable Platters – These can be purchased pre-made for your New Year’s Day get-togethers, but if you have time, prepare from fresh fruit yourself the day before. Chop the fruit and vegetables into bite sized pieces. Suitable fruits include apples (lightly spray with lemon juice to prevent browning) with caramel sauce, pineapple, bananas, oranges, strawberries and grapes. Good vegetable choices include carrots, celery, raw broccoli and cauliflower. Serve the vegetables with ranch dressing.
Meatballs – Make your own a week in advance, or buy frozen, pre-made meatballs that are already cooked. Meatballs can be heated the morning of New Year’s by placing in a crock pot. Add your favorite sauce, either gravy, Swedish meatball sauce, or a jelly sauce.
Cold Cut and Cheese Tray – These also can be purchased in advance, but you can also assemble your own. Gather a variety of cheeses, sliced meats, and sausages, and serve on New Year’s Day with crackers, bread or croissants.
There’s no reason for the hostess to miss out on the New Year’s Day festivities. Make it easy, and enjoy yourself with the rest of your guests!