New Year’s Day Dinner Tradition

My very southern family had a traditional New Year’s Day dinner that we always had. Regardless of where we lived or what our situation was, my parents would never think about changing it up.

New Year banner with turnip greens, black-eye peas, and pork chops

Main Entrée for a New Year’s Day Dinner

The most important part of the meal was including some sort of pork. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was based on a superstition? I’m not sure. But whatever the case, I’ve continued it through adulthood. My choice of pork is a bone-in pork chop with a medium thickness.

Fortunately, there was no stipulation on how it had to be cooked. Therefore, I can put a dollop of barbecue sauce on my husband’s pork chop. On mine, I put lots of organic seasoning.

For your New Year’s Day dinner, you can put whatever seasoning each person likes on their pork chops. You can prepare them any way you want.

I prefer to bake these pork chops in the oven because it makes cleanup so much easier. Then I place the meat on a single baking pan and sprinkle seasoned salt and organic seasoning from Costco on mine. My husband’s chop gets a light dusting of the organic seasoning and, of course, a healthy slathering of barbecue sauce.

New Year’s Day Dinner Sides

You can use either fresh or canned greens for your New Year’s Day dinner. Here are fresh turnip greens and my favorite brand of canned collard greens.

Almost as important were the sides. Regardless of what type of pork we had—ham, pork chops, or pork roast—we had to have black-eye peas and some sort of greens. I like all green vegetables, but for my traditional New Year’s Day dinner, I prefer either turnip greens or collards.

If you have time to soak the peas, dried and bagged black-eye peas are the best for your New Year’s Day dinner. However, the canned ones are good, and they save a lot of time.

New Year’s Day Dinner Superstitions

You can have anything else you want, as long as those first three items are on the plate. My superstitious grandmother (and I’m pretty sure my great-grandmother) insisted on eating every bite of the greens. Apparently, this symbolized earning money. The other thing she insisted on was leaving one pea on the plate, which represented saving some of that hard-earned money.

While I’m not superstitious, I do enjoy tradition. So I enjoy my pork, greens, and black-eye peas.

Other Sides for New Year’s Day Dinner

Other items I enjoy with my New Year’s Day dinner include baked sweet potatoes, gluten-free cornbread, and a deliciously decadent dessert. One I might try this year is from the Back to My Southern Roots blog by my friend Julie Pollitt: Cinnamon Spiced Bread Pudding. Her desserts always make me happy.

New Year’s Day dinner isn’t complete without a yummy dessert!

New Year’s Day Soup and Salad

If you enjoy starting your meal with soup or salad, you might to try my homemade bean soup or my shrimp cocktail salad. Both of these are easy to prepare and delicious, and they’ll satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.

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