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Paula’s Best New Year’s Recipes

By Paula Deen

New Year’s Eve is one of the best nights of the year—a night to celebrate the year that has passed and full of excitement about what’s to come. It’s also a night where huge crowds of people pack into restaurants to celebrate with friends and family. Save yourself the hassle of battling the crowds and securing that hard-to-get dinner reservation; this New Years, invite your friends and family over for a southern dinner, Paula Deen style. Whether you live in the South or the North, these recipes will be sure to impress your guests. An intimate night with the people you love the most—what better way is there to ring in the New Year?

Satisfy your guests’ hunger while you put the finishing touches on the meal with Collard Green Wontons. A perfect one-bite appetizer full of Southern flavor, the crispy wonton works perfectly with the creamy, cheesy center. And, it’s great way to get your vegetables! It doesn’t hurt that they’re also alleged to bring you prosperity.

Hoppin’ John Salad is a wonderful side dish for your meal. Full of beans and black-eyed peas (a staple in the South believed to bring luck), this dish is hearty and delicious. Get a second serving for good luck!

For the centerpiece of the meal; Thyme Mustard Catfish With Black Eyed Pea Cakes. It’s a lightly fried and perfectly flaky fish. Make the black-eyed pea cake patties ahead of time, and cook them off when ready to serve. If you can’t get catfish in your area or it isn’t your favorite fish, you can substitute another thin white fish filet.

Jalapeno Cracklin Corn Bread packs a punch thanks to the kick from the jalapeno and wonderful flavor from the cracklins. It’s the perfect way to sop up the extra sauce on your plate!

Cornbread Leek and Bacon Bread Pudding. A great southern twist on bread pudding, the crumbly cornbread adds extra flavor to this savory bread pudding, and the smoky bacon and ham add a real depth of flavor. This rich and creamy dish is impossible to resist.

A truly southern recipe, The Lady and Sons Okra and Tomatoes is a perfect vegetable side dish. This stewed okra is a really warm and comforting dish. It’s simple and flavorful and can be made ahead and re-heated when it’s time to serve.

New Year’s Eve is a night of decadence—one last splurge before you commit to those New Years resolutions. Paula’s Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake is rich and delicious, a real show stopper!

And…to ring in the New Year, Paula’s Startini is a beautiful cocktail for such a festive occasion.

Nothing says comfort like a real southern meal, so cozy up with the people you love, pop the bubbly (if you so choose), and enjoy these classic southern dishes.

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

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