Use these seven ideas to ring in the new year deliciously.

By Sheena Chihak
December 14, 2020
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Kick off the new year with fresh recipes from our January 2021 issue of Better Homes & Gardens® magazine. Soon you’ll master perfectly flaky fish, whip up flavorful skillet dinners, and make a recipe sure to bring luck in the new year.

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Chef and author Belinda Smith-Sullivan created this lovely cake for a New Year’s Day brunch. A three-tier layer cake may not be a holiday staple, but that’s no reason not to add it to your menu. Her recipe stays true to the Southern classic—a tender yellow cake with a cooked, fudgelike caramel frosting—with added edible begonias for flair. “Now, that is a Southern cake right there,” she says. “The caramel is just very, very sweet. It’s almost too sweet, but you love it anyway.”

 

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Traditionally, corn bread represents wealth in the new year. Instead, Smith-Sullivan cuts a batch of thick cheesy grits into cakes to top with pork and greens. “Cabbage collards are a variety of collards well-known and grown in the Carolinas but have only now spread to other states,” she says. “They’re more tender and milder than regular collards, but you can always use regular.” We tested with regular collards and cooked them about 1 hour.

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Adding black-eyed peas, which represent coins or pennies, makes this succotash New Year’s Day compatible. “People will be looking for the black-eyed peas,” Smith-Sullivan says. “You gotta have them.” While you're at it, try our other lucky foods to eat for a prosperous year.

 

 

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“My dad would have fried green tomatoes just about every day.” But green tomatoes can be hard to come by in January, so try tomatillos instead. “It’s not a tomato,” Smith-Sullivan says, but it’s “tomato-esque.”

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Champagne splashed with grapefruit juice refreshes any Sunday brunch. At the holidays Smith-Sullivan spikes her spritz with vodka and bitter Aperol for a splash of something special.

Related: Breakfast and Brunch Cocktails

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We set out to create a better-for-you crunchy filet; one that rivals the deep-fried version without all the fat. The keys to our faux-fry success? Using a pan rack for air circulation and a crisp-from-the start coating. Green olives and fresh dill update the traditional tartar sauce you’re accustomed to.

Buy It: Made By Design Cooling Rack ($9, Target)

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Flounder Grenobloise—a French recipe for a brown butter-caper sauce with lemon—sounds fancy, but it’s the quickest (20 minutes start to finish), most delicious way to cook delicate whitefish. The secrets to getting this relatively simple dish right are selecting filets of uniform thickness, shaking off excess flour (you want a light dusting, not a crust), and cooking in a sturdy pan (such as a cast-iron skillet or a heavy-bottomed sauté pan).

Buy It: GreenPan Covered Sauté Pan ($70, Bed Bath & Beyond)

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The technique of steaming fish in parchment is not novel, but this customizable recipe might become your new go-to one-dish meal. Fold up your choice of fish, veggies, hearty grains, and seasonings. As steam builds in the pouch, it gently cooks the fish while the seasonings infuse everything.

Buy It: Reynolds Parchment Paper ($4, Target)

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Traditionally, Greek pastitsio is a pasta-and-lamb casserole with spiced tomato sauce and béchamel sauce. Our stove-top version relies on purchased Alfredo for ease and speed. Customize the pasta with whatever is in your pantry. We used ziti, but small shells, rotini, or penne would work well too.

Buy It: GreenPan Ceramic Fry Pan ($100, Williams Sonoma)

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Browning butter is a practically effortless way to infuse a dish with savory, caramelized notes. Sizzling the rice in the brown butter toasts the rice for a bit of extra flavor. Your protein, starch, and veggies cook together in one pan so there’s no need to make additional side dishes.

Related: Chicken Skillet Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners

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