Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Party For Nick

Okay, it wasn't really a birthday party, but since December 31 was Nicholas Sparks' birthday, I thought I'd share some of the yummy food we prepared for our New Year's Eve celebrations. We were blessed to have my parents here to celebrate the New Year with us, and since my brother and sister-in-law had spent Christmas in Maine with her parents, they came over and we had a kind of Second Christmas. (Except for the unusually spring-like weather; Moe built a "mud" man--no snow, you see--and fed the ducks and geese.)

We had an early afternoon Christmas dinner of sorts (scaled down and more casual--click here to see what we prepared on Christmas Day): A spiral ham from Costco, and:

My mother's wonderful corn pudding:

2 15-ounce cans yellow corn

1 1/2 cans evaporated milk (18 oz)

1/2 tsp salt

2 T sugar

3-4 eggs, beaten

Beat eggs and milk together. Add sugar, corn, and salt; stir. Pour into a deep baking dish that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or more until set. The top will turn brown; corn pudding is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Green Beans with Roquefort Cheese and Walnuts (a recipe my mother-in-law gave me some years ago):

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

4 thick bacon slices, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

4 oz. Roquefort Cheese, crumbled (you can use blue cheese or gorgonzola if you wish)

1 cup walnuts, toasted

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 freshly ground pepper

Place green beans in boiling water to cover in a large saucepan, and simmer 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain. Set aside. (Grandma B says you can put them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes and then throw in ice water)

Cook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in a skillet.

Saute' green beans in hot drippings in skillet 2 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with cheese and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds or just until cheese begins to melt. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts, salt, pepper, and bacon; serve immediately.


Fruited Rice Pilaf, a dish I made for this blog. Click here for the recipe!


In the evening, our friends Barbara and Andy and their family came to celebrate with us (Click here and here to see what we brought to THEIR house last year!). Even though we were practically engorged with all we had already eaten, we enjoyed quite a spread of appetizers, snacks, and salads for the REAL New Year's Eve party. The main attraction? I had made a double pot of chili the day before when the boys had some of their friends over, and since I had a quite a bit left we reheated it, and it was enjoyed by all.


(Side note: Joe and the boys agree that I make the best chili ever. I'm flattered and a little embarrassed by this, because the recipe originally came from the owner's manual for my food processor that Joe's brother had given us as a wedding present. I've long since lost the manual and recipe book, but I managed to find the chili recipe online some years ago.)

2 lg. garlic cloves
2 lg. onions
2 tbsp. oil
2 lbs. lean chuck
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
3 c. beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Crushed red peppers to taste

In Cuisinart work bowl using metal blade, mince garlic, then chop onion with short on-off bursts. Saute for 10 minutes in large pot or Dutch oven. Chop meat in batches using same technique. (I always use ground beef instead. Already chopped.) Add meat to onions and brown. Pour juice from tomatoes in pan. Chop tomatoes in work bowl (don't puree them!) and add to pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered 1 hour. Serve with chopped onions and grated cheese.

Between the chili and the appetizers and Barbara's seafood pasta salad, needless to say we were stuffed.

Happy New Year, everyone! (It's still the New Year, right?)

Oh, and happy belated birthday, Nick!


  1. Your blog is awesome! As a fan of Nicholas Sparks, I absolutely love the concept of your blog.

  2. Thanks, Ro! I'm having a lot of fun with it. Glad you're enjoying it! I'm hoping to put up another post in the next day or two.