Happy New Year! Don’t you just love the idea of a new beginning and a fresh start? I typically launch every January with an impossible list of rigid resolutions to be a kinder and gentler person, lose some weight, exercise more often, drink less alcohol, go to church regularly, learn how to say “no,” spend more time reading, plant an herb garden, take more time off from work, spend less time on social media, and all that jazz. My resolve, when I’m lucky, tends to hang in there for about ten days. It’s impractical to believe that anyone can morph into a completely new person just because January 1st has rolled by once again. This year, in an attempt at being realistic, I intend to take baby steps and try to accomplish one life-affirming task as a time. New Year’s resolutions aren’t all doomed to be failures, the trick is making plans that maximize the odds of success. I’ll let you know how well my new scheme works out. In the meantime, may love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. Cheers to a healthy, happy, and fun-filled 2024!
p.s. The recipes this week are two of my cold weather favorites. After a month of party food and heavy desserts, it’s so nice to have a couple of make-ahead dishes in the refrigerator. You’ll notice that I purposefully didn’t include a sweet treat. Eating less sugar is another one of my resolutions that probably won’t last until next week.
Classic Seven Layer Salad
A favorite from my childhood.
5 cups romaine lettuce cut into small pieces
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
Chopped red onion, to taste
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 (12-ounce) package bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Place salad ingredients, in layers, in a large glass bowl or trifle dish. Top with salad dressing and garnish with cheddar cheese. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serves 12.
Comfort food at its best. Cottage Pie can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. Allow additional time to heat through.
4 to 6 medium-sized red potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup milk
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef broth
2 (.87-ounce) packages brown gravy mix
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup dry red wine
½ teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup fresh carrots, diced
1 (8-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup ketchup
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Cut potatoes into 2-inch pieces. Place potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and milk and beat with electric hand mixer until potatoes are mashed. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine beef broth with gravy mix, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, tarragon, and thyme; set aside. In a Dutch oven, cook ground chuck with onion until meat is browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Return meat mixture to Dutch oven and add gravy mixture, carrots, mushrooms, peas, and ketchup. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Place warm meat mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350
degree oven. Top with grated cheddar cheese and return to oven for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Serves 8.
The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of three cookbooks, Celebrate Beaufort, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. For more great recipes and to view her cooking demonstrations, visit and subscribe to Debbi’s YouTube channel. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 843-525-0350 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.