New Years Eve…does anyone over the age of 25 still celebrate the holiday or is everyone in agreement that it’s just too late to celebrate? Midnight is a long time to stay awake to, what? To countdown from 10 and grab a kiss from your equally exhausted spouse? Perhaps it’s obvious New Years Eve is not my holiday.
September through December 25 exhaust me unlike any other time of year. There are so many sports, school events, parties, celebrations, vacations, gatherings, hosting, buying, preparing, planning, and doing of all the things that I just don’t have it in me. I need sleep, quiet, and peace. We trick or treated, and we hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now another party?
However, New Year’s Eve is the holiday of the year for many. The idea of putting the past behind you and starting over (for a few weeks, anyway) with a fresh, clean slate is appealing to many. Sequins and champagne and a night out are appealing to others. Some people aren’t exhausted all the time (I know, I’d like to meet one of those people, too). There are some people who can’t wait to get a sitter and have a fun adult night out without the kids. Some like to celebrate with their kids (ours go to bed around 9 that evening and we usually fall asleep together watching a movie).
You do you, and you own it. Bedtime at 9 pm? Awesome. Partying until 3 am? Cool. It’s your night, and it’s for you.
New Year’s Eve Menu Ideas
Whether you are a celebrate with the kids, without the kids, host a party, go to a party kind of New Year’s Eve kind of person, we have recipes for you. Even if you stay home and host friends for an early dinner and everyone is home and in bed by midnight, you might still want to throw together a few NYE ideas. We have a little bit of everything to choose from, so you’re all covered.
Create a Dessert Charcuterie Board
Who doesn’t love a dessert charcuterie? It’s…dessert. Each of these items is easy to bake or make, they hold up well on a tray, and they’re a huge hit on a holiday like this one. Perfect for adults and kids alike, it doesn’t matter how you’re celebrating. You’ll start your diet in the morning. Or on Monday. Oh, wait, New Years Day is on a Monday this year. It is the perfect day to start fresh, no?
Who doesn’t love fudge? This recipe is simple enough, and you can add to it. Some people like their fudge with nuts. Others like it plain. You can even dress it up with some fun sparkles in the form of holiday sprinkles. This is your party.
2. Chocolate covered pretzels
Technically, this is not a baked good. But it is a good dessert to let the kids make on their own while you’re doing other things. These make a great charcuterie board filler because they’re easy to place anywhere on a board. Your kids can make them, you can focus on other things, but they still feel like they’re helping without getting in your way.
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
I’m not going to pretend like there is a better recipe than my grandmother’s, and I’m not going to pretend like I don’t make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, so we won’t be sharing an internet recipe. Here’s what you do:
Add the following to your standing mixer:
- 1 stick of shortening
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Mix all three
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Salt to taste
(This is all very much done by feel, so the measurements are not precise. I don’t even remember the measurements for this portion of the recipe. It’s all done to taste and by feel, so good luck and sorry.)
Add 2.5 cups of flour, mix, and then add semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can get a little crazy here and add other ingredients. Sometimes I add mini M&Ms or sprinkles. Sometimes walnuts. On occasion, I add chocolate chunks. Whatever you want, go for it.
Now, throw your dough in the fridge for around 30 minutes. Take it out, and then form one-inch balls. Place them on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. You want them soft and slightly doughy. Trust me.
Everyone loves a truffle. They’re pretty, they’re easily changed to make what you want from them, and you can color-coordinate them for every holiday. What do I mean? I mean you can make the same ones each holiday, all year, and they never have to look the same based on the exterior details.
5. Chocolate Raisins
Someone has to add something healthy to the mix, right? Chocolate covered raisins are a fun way to get kids to eat something a little healthier than, say a brownie, but they’re also easy to make. Another item to toss the kids’ way and go on about your business doing the messier stuff. You’re welcome.
Fancy Desserts for an Adults-Only Gathering
If you are some kind of magic human who gets plenty of sleep and doesn’t turn into a raging nightmare of a human if the clock strikes 9 pm, here’s a menu for you. Well, I assume that if you are attending an adults-only soiree, you are staying up until midnight because you are not a tired person. I envy your lack of exhaustion, but I’m sure you don’t have designer bags under your eyes, do you?
1. Champagne Cupcakes
Popular opinion: Add champagne to all the desserts.
2. Champagne Cake Balls
Please refer to above popular opinion, and continue to add champagne to all the desserts. In all honestly, isn’t champagne the unofficially official beverage of choice on this particular eve?
3. Bourbon Apple Pie Bites
Unpopular opinion: My husband prefers bourbon to champagne, and he’s requested I make a point to share his opinion with other husbands and gentlemen. Bourbon is good (he always recommends Basil Hayden), and why not add it to a holiday classic?
4. Rumchata Brownies
Okay, okay, people do like the rumchata, even if it’s not my personal favorite. I mean, let’s be honest, I’m going to be fine eating it with brownies, but still. This is a fun dish, and it’s delicious.
5. Rumchata Truffles
Truffles are such a gift. You can add these to your charcuterie board provided all your guests are over the age of 21.
Baking More than Just Dessert Items for NYE
I don’t know why, and I don’t support it on a personal level, but people like to eat real food on New Year’s Eve. In my opinion, this is a holiday meant to eat nothing but dessert, have too many glasses of champagne, and suffer for the first three days of the year – but that’s a personal choice. Some people like apps. Here’s the best apps.
1. Artichoke Dip Stuffed Bread
It’s a crowd-pleaser no matter the time of year. A good round bread from the local bakery is a perfect option, but I suppose you can bake your own bread to make this a baking project. The dip is easy enough, and you can add whatever you want to use in the dip. I like a mixture of bread (duh), crackers, and veggies such as carrots and celery.
2. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Can someone let me know if there is a confirmed recipe on the planet that is not delicious when wrapped in bacon? These are so easy, but also so delicious. Remember that you control how spicy they are by your removal of seeds. Sometimes a good mixture is the best way to go, but do be sure you’re separating the hot ones from the not ones.
3. Baked Chicken Legs With Your Choice of Accoutrements
We love a baked chicken leg only because I don’t know how to make them, but they always taste wonderful when someone else does. It’s also a one-stop dish that you can make for a small gathering without spending all day in the kitchen. The problem with cooking versus baking is the sheer number of things you have to do all the time. There’s too much going on at once. However, when you bake everything together, it defies the odds.
4. Garlic Butter Salmon
I love this recipe, and we make this one every week or so depending on how many nights we actually eat at home between kids’ sports and activities. However, it’s a great dish for New Year’s Eve because it’s healthy by flavorful enough you won’t know.
5. Oven Roasted Filet
It’s like a sous vie, and it’s always a good choice. I know I said above that I like to think of NYE as a night to drink too much, eat junk, and regret it, but I usually don’t. My husband is a wonderful chef – he is not a professional chef, but he could have been had he wanted to be – and he loves to make a lovely filet on New Year’s Eve. It’s usually us and our best friends and our combined seven kids celebrating together (until about 8:30 when they go home and we go to bed), and it’s always filet.
He pairs it with a lovely roasted red potato with all kinds of decadent seasonings, a made-from scratch Caesar salad, roasted broccoli, and he grills French bread. My darling husband buys a loaf of fresh French bread, slices it in half so he has two long pieces of bread. He drizzles it with EVOO, salt and pepper, and he grills it. So simple, but so wonderful.
New Years Day Breakfast Baking – You Can Make Some of These In Advance
Let’s talk about the morning after. It’s always a morning. No matter what you did the night before, you’re starting a new year. It’s a new day, the holidays are officially over, and the holiday hangover of fun, excitement, and cheer is gone. You have eight boring months to go until football season starts and the holiday season quickly follows. Oh, sorry, is that just me? I mean, I find January – August mostly useless, but that could be a personal problem.
The morning after requires a good breakfast. For many, it requires a hearty breakfast that’s both greasy and carb-loaded, if you are picking up what I’m putting down. Since I know most of you won’t be in the mood to cook the morning after, you can make these the day before, freeze them, and just pop them into the oven the day after.
1. Sausage and Kale Frittata
It’s going to be a little greasy with the sausage, but also a little bit healthier with the kale. I know you’re all on a diet the morning after, so baby steps, right?
2. Hashbrown Casserole
Hashbrowns: The unofficial hangover food for most. Listen, you didn’t mean to end up feeling like this, but you forgot your 4 ibuprofen and a bottle of water before bed. (Actually, the trick is to stick to vodka and Pellegrino. You add a drop – and I do mean just a drop – of vodka to your cup, fill it with sparkling water, and you are technically drinking and feeling good all night, but you’re also hydrating and you’ll be pleasantly buzzed but also fine after 23 of these).
3. Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Turning a bagel into a casserole is a genius move. Who is responsible for this, and how do we nominate them for a Pulitzer Prize?
4. Biscuit Breakfast Casserole
The second best thing to biscuits and gravy, I’ll admit, but too many of you are not southerners and you can’t make biscuits and gravy correctly. This is nothing against you, of course; you simply weren’t raised in the south.
5. Croissant Breakfast Casserole
This is one of my favorite holiday morning dishes. I actually make this one for Christmas morning, and everyone loves it. Kids included.
Additional Resources for Celebrating the New Year’s Holiday:
- Awesome Baking Ideas for Kids
- Awesome Snow Day Ideas for Baking
- Activities to Keep the Kids Busy When It’s Snowing