Easy New Year’s Eve Dinner

By Kathy Hester

I’m determined for this year’s dinner to be simple. I’ll be serving pomegranate martinis. Make a pitcher or two in advance so you won’t have to play bartender all night. A non-alcoholic drink for the designated drivers and anyone else who wants to abstain for the evening is a must. This year mine will be pomegranate juice, lime juice and sparkling water.

I like to put out a few things to munch on while everyone is arriving. Make a quick hummus by throwing a couple of cans of cooked chickpeas in a food processor with 3 – 4 cloves of minced garlic, a few tablespoons of tahini and olive oil. If you don’t have any tahini on hand substitute peanut or almond butter. You can use this as a base for any number of additions to take it to the next level. Try adding roasted red pepper, fresh herbs, or even artichoke. Serve with fresh veggies and mini whole wheat pitas.

A salad of spinach, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese with a balsamic dressing is a perfect way to start off your meal. This time I’m going to serve the salad and soup together as my main course. You can plate the salad in advance and keep all of them chilled until serving time and pass the dressing then. I prefer to toss my salad with dressing before serving. That way I use about 1/2 as much. It’s an easy way to cut a few calories and get a head start on my new year goal.

I’m making a super easy oyster stew for my soup. even though it’s called a stew, it’s really more of a soup. I’ll be making it in my slow cooker. That way I won’t have to be cooking while my guests arrive, plus it will be at the perfect temperature when I’m ready to serve it. Oyster stew is not the healthiest treat, but you can make it a little better by cutting the butter in half. Also try using 2% milk instead of whole milk. I like to use Over the Moon 2% because it’s as thick as whole milk, so the consistency of the stew stays the same.

Pour 1 quart milk into your slow cooker and heat it on high for a little over an hour. In a saucepan (on the stove) melt 1/4 cup butter, add 1 pint oysters and their liquid, and simmer on low until the edges of the oysters curl up. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine with milk in the slow cooker. Cook the stew for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours and it’s ready to serve in your best Noritake bowls.

Have a happy new year!