You can make the best New Year’s Day meal for your family with these 4 recipes~all easy, delicious, and (mostly) make ahead!!!!
This New Year’s Day Meal is Traditional (and Delicious)
Each year on January 1, I serve this New Year’s Day meal. It consists of black eyed peas, a “mess of greens,” pimento cheese cornbread and baby back ribs. I start buying and prepping for these recipes a day or two ahead. On the morning of New Year’s Day, most of the food prep is done, and all that is left to do is to cook or reheat.
Before I share my recipes, I thought it would be fun to look at the tradition behind the foods that many of traditionally eat on the first day of the year. Even though we who aren’t superstitious don’t put stock into these claims, it is fun to know the why behind them.
What is a traditional New Year’s Day meal?
The traditional New Year’s Day meal, especially in the South, is black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork ribs. Tradition has it that eating these foods on New Year’s Day will bring luck the entire year. Although my family enjoys this meal at the start of every year, we don’t do it for “luck” but rather for the sake of tradition. Below is a photo of this meal that we enjoyed in 2016. We will have the same on this year to ring in 2020!!!
Why are black eyed peas and greens eaten on New Year’s Day?
Tradition likens dried peas to coins. Also, since dried peas expand when soaked in water, they are said to represent growing wealth. Leafy greens represent the U.S. currency. Eating these at the beginning of the year supposedly will usher in prosperity for the rest of the year.
Why is pork a traditional food for New Year’s Day?
Pork and sauerkraut is commonly eaten for New Years Day in Pennsylvania-Dutch country. Pork ribs or ham are the more traditional choice for those of us in the South.
How are baby back ribs and St. Louis style spareribs different?
Pork ribs come in 2 common cuts~baby back ribs (smaller, tender, lean and more expensive) and St. Louis style spareribs (larger, fattier, less expensive). Baby back ribs are the only ribs I buy/make. I buy a slab for every two people being served (so 3 slabs for my family of 5 and more if we have guests).
Why is cornbread a traditional New Year’s Day food?
Cornbread represents pocket money or spending money, according to tradition. Again, Southerners will likely always pair greens with cornbread (and pepper sauce) because they just go together. I share an absolutely yummy pimento cheese cornbread recipe below that uses a specific box mix along with store bought pimento cheese. Trust me, this is a cornbread that is crazy easy and always a hit.
For those of you who may have received an Instant Pot for Christmas this year, you absolutely must try my super easy recipe (below) for collard or turnip greens in the Instant Pot. They are as good as any greens you’ll ever eat. For those of you who don’t have an Instant Pot, I link to an old fashioned recipe as well.
Dessert is a toss up; just serve whatever your family likes. Many of my friends serve banana pudding with this type of down home meal, one even orders a pan of Dreamland banana pudding to pick up. My easy recipe is below.
Family Savvy Favorite Recipes for New Year’s Day
The Queen’s Chessmen Banana Pudding (the Queen would be Paula Deen, and this pudding is FAB)!
Tips & Tools for Making this Meal (and Cleanup) Easier
- Use a large sheet pan for ribs. I love this commercial big sheet (have two; store on top of fridge). BEST sheet pan ever!
- Have lots of heavy duty aluminum foil. Line all sheet pans for easier cleanup.
- Use oven liners. If BBQ sauce drips or anything overflows, just toss and add another. I’ve used these oven liners for years.
- Buy pepper sauce early! One year, ALL stores were sold out; it was awful! I now keep 2-3 bottles on hand year round.
- Buy a bag or two of frozen chopped onion. You’ll thank me. Greens and peas will be so much easier (and just as delish).
- Rise EARLY if you serve the ribs for lunch. They need long, low and slow in the oven. I’ll have mine in by 5:00 a.m. Remember~they will be find sitting (wrapped in foil) for several hours after baking. Early is always better!
I SO hope you make and enjoy one of these recipes for your family. If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I try to reply quickly to everyone who writes!
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As always, thanks so much for visiting Family Savvy. Wishing you a joyful and blessed New Year!!!