Food, Photography, Pioneer Woman Challenge

PW1: New Year’s Day Dinner

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Happy New Year! Hopefully you are entering the new year with some great resolutions and goals for yourselves and let’s just hope one of them is to eat good food! One of my resolutions I made was to cook my way through a cookbook to show respect for the chef who created it. And this is my first meal I made!

I am choosing to cook my way through Pioneer Woman’s: Year of Holidays cookbook. I am very excited to say that this dish was a hit!

Dustin and I decided to invite his family over to do some shopping, watch football and of course eat some good food. This was going to be way too much food for just him and I so why not have a good excuse to eat and laugh and make memories? Perfect way to start off the new year if you ask me. 😉
I admit, I was a little worried that my northern family wouldn’t like such a southern dish but they absolutely loved it! We watched the Citrus bowl (because we are Wolverine fans.. Go Blue!) and just as halftime began, dinner was ready to be served! Perfect timing if you ask me.

The Dinner:

I first started by working on the black eye peas for Hoppin John. I may have cheated ever so slightly. While at Meijer I found some black eyed peas that had been “pre-soaked” and all I needed to do was boil them for 10 minutes or so and they would be ready and work as perfect as dried beans. It was definitely a time saver. I started to boil those as I whipped up the cornbread batter. I had no buttermilk on hand but Ree does state in the cookbook how to make your own “buttermilk” in a pinch which is what I did! Add a little vinegar to some milk and Voilà! 

I think began to start chopping peppers… And chop more peppers.

Did I mention I had to chop peppers? Yes lots of peppers but they were oh so good!

I chopped peppers for the cornbread, sautéed them and poured the batter over top. I popped the cornbread skillet in the oven and now I was back to chopping peppers for the next dish! (I am starting to see a pattern.)

Around this time the black eyed peas were done boiling so I drained them and began to sauté the peppers. I added in some garlic, the BEPs, chicken stock, and ham chunks. (It calls for ham hocks but she says you can use ham chunks instead which was easier for me to find plus I figure I could leave them in.) I combined all the ingredients and spices from the recipe together (except the vinegar) and simmered it for an hour.

My cornbread was done shortly after so I pulled it out to cool and began working on the black eyed pea salsa. It started with chopping peppers! I have become an expert at pepper chopping. And I am certainly not complaining because I absolutely love peppers ❤

I chopped my cucumber, jalapeño, celery, and stirred in the rest of the ingredients.  I did leave out the green onions because a few people didn’t like onions but I threw in just a sprinkle of onion powder to give it a little zing. I also used lime juice instead of a fresh lime… Okay I know I have sinned but the first step to changing my ways is admitting it right? I did everything else as follows though I promise! I placed it in the fridge to chill until dinner was ready.

My last dish was collared greens so as my Hoppin John was boiling away, cornbread a cooling, and salsa a chilling, I began to strip the leaves of the collared greens away from the stems. This was perfect enough to take up enough time until the soup was about 15 minutes away from being done.

I will admit, I was pretty worried about the collard greens… I had never had them before and neither had most of his family.. I have heard they are bitter, and some of his family aren’t “green” eaters. I followed the directions exactly! I swear…. Okay maybe I added one more slice of bacon and a little more vinegar than she called for but it turned out fantastic! I loved it.

At this point it was almost halftime so I set out plates and utensils, chopped up the cornbread, got some tortilla chips ready with the salsa and waited the last minute until I could call the family to dinner. I made sure to tell them how the black eyed peas were good luck and they should leave 3 peas in the bowl after finishing Hoppin John. I also told them the collared greens would bring them lots of wealth and money so even if they didn’t like them, they should still try them haha.

Everyone loved everything! It was a hit. I was so excited to feed them a fantastic dinner and something they might have never tried otherwise! And the best part? I had NO collared greens leftover! I don’t know if it was the money line, but they were one of the favorites along with the Hoppin John. The salsa left a nice fresh and crisp bite compared to the hearty flavors of the soup and cornbread (which I proudly ate with each other! YUM!)

The Cornbread:

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Black Eyed Pea Salsa:

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Collared Greens:

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Hoppin John:

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I was very excited to make this dish and can’t wait to make the next. We decided for the rest of the month of January, we will do one smoothie and one french toast each weekend (to space out groceries and it’s only the two of us most days) so I will be making those throughout the month until we get to Super Bowl.

We shopped, watched football, ate good food, and spent the afternoon bowling. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!

What about you? Did you make any good resolutions for the New Year? Do you have any traditions you do at the beginning of a new year?

Southern Lovin,

Samantha ❤

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