Staying in on New Year's Eve? Here's a Great Recipe for You

Here are the foods you should eat to start the New Year--and a delicious recipe, too.

By Judi Gallagher December 29, 2015

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While most of you will be celebrating with a lovely dinner at one of Sarasota’s finest restaurants (and yes, there are still reservations available at many of the best of the best), we prefer and long leisurely lunch and 4 p.m. movie before settling in for the night.

While I'm not a suspicious person, I do take note now not to eat chicken (it sets you back). and I double up on extra leafy green veggies (which symbolizes money coming your way). Sorry, I can’t do black eyed peas--it's a texture thing--but I will make a batch of lentil soup with chorizo and ham bone (recipe below). Since spiral hams are on sale right now at The Fresh Market, I will bake the ham, save two-thirds and freeze for another dinner and breakfast casserole, and use the bone and remaining ham for a hearty soup that includes chorizo sausage and Mario Batali’s  spicy jarred tomato sauce. I'll serve with a kale Caesar salad with chilled shrimp and oval croutons that will symbolize coins for the New Year.

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Other New Year's food superstitions you should know:

Eat shrimp for a long life.

Do not eat lobster--it sets you back, as does chicken. (Not a problem for me; since I eat roast chicken almost every week I can surely skip one day!)

I would eat 12 grapes at midnight like they do in Spain, but we will be snoring by then.

Fish will bring you success, and if you don’t mind the smell place a few scales in your wallet.

The pig symbolizes progress and beans like lentils symbolize money, so I think I have that one covered.

Regarding dessert, round-shaped cakes, fruits and cookies with apples, cinnamon and raisins are considered lucky--but I just say they're darn good.

So, where wherever you go and however you celebrate, here’s to a tasteful 2016!

Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup with Chorizo and Ham

1 cup dried lentils (soaked)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 ham bone

2 cups diced ham

2 chorizo sausages (chopped and browned)

½ tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

About 1 quart chicken stock

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 cup jarred spicy tomato sauce

Water (if needed)

In a 3 1/2 quart or larger slow cooker, combine the lentils, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, browned chorizo and ham. Season with thyme, oregano, the bay leaf and pepper. Stir in the chicken broth, water (if needed) and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low for 11 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

Serve with round bread and round cakes, but then again, who says I am superstitious?!

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