Every year we choose to stay in for New Year’s Eve and celebrate with our sons: less crowds, no driving on slippery roads and an incredible meal at a fraction of the cost. The only issue with staying home on New Year’s Eve is, you have to cook and clean, versus being waited on in a crowded restaurant. Here’s the perfect solution.  A couple of days before Ryan Seacrest kicks off the New Year, zip out to the store and get the ingredients for the celebration menu.  This meal is so easy to prepare that you’ll have time to enjoy a glass of bubbly, cozy up on the couch and watch the large, soft snow flakes falling outside and ring in 2012, with very little work. Then, elicit the help of your children and husband to rinse off the dishes and place them in the dishwasher so it’s a team effort-and very little work for you.

Appetizers

  • One pound of frozen pre-cooked shrimp thawed and served on crushed ice with a side of cocktail sauce.
  • Bowls of mixed nuts
  • Mini cocktail hot dogs wrapped in immaculate bakery’s crescent roll. I like this brand because there are no chemicals or preservatives and the kids love em. Serve a side of ketchup and mustard in little dipping bowls

Dinner

Make a hearty roast. Start with 2 pound beef roast (I save up and purchase a beef tenderloin roast, but with the marinade, you can use your favorite cut of beef).

Marinade Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. rosemary chopped
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • ½ t. powdered garlic (or 1 clove of garlic, minced)
  • ¼ cup water

Directions:

  1. Place meat in a glass container or plastic zipper bag; pour mixture over meat and let marinade for at least 4 hours. *When I use a leaner cut of beef, such as a tenderloin, you can simply pour this marinade over the meat and cook in the oven. If you are using a less tender cut of meat, marinade and then remove the beef from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about an hour before roasting.
  2. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120°F for rare, 125°F to 130°F for medium rare, or 135°F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes. 
  4. When you remove the roast from the oven, tent with aluminum oil and let sit for 10-15 minutes while you plate the rest of the meal.  (I often pull the roast out when it’s rare so that while the roast sits, tented, it won’t over cook.)

Sides

  • Rinse and trim a bunch of asparagus and place side-by-side on a cookie sheet and sprinkle olive oil and sea salt over top. Roast in 375* oven until a fork test comes out tender. (Steam broccoli for the kids).

  • Make it easy on yourself and pop in a bag of Trader Joe’s instant white or brown rice into the microwave. It’s really delicious and cooks up perfectly every time-in just three minutes.  My sons top it with soy sauce or butter and sea salt.

Dessert

My no-bake brownie recipe from my new book, Real Moms Love to Eat (Penguin Books, January, 2012), are so easy and quick to make and taste so chocolatey delicious (not to mention healthy for you):

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups raw walnut halves
  • 16 pitted dates
  • ⅔ cup raw cacao powder (or ½ cup cocoa powder)
  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs (or mini chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup raisins, dried cherries, or dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Put each ingredient in the food processor, in order, processing each addition for about eight pulses.

  2. Press into an 8″ x 8″ ungreased pan and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cut into 12 squares and then scoop one out for yourself and savor every sweet, chocolaty, heavenly nibble. (You will only need a tiny piece.)
  4. Top with sliced berries and whipped topping.

Here’s a mom’s New Year’s trick. Push the clocks ahead an hour so the kiddos can enjoy their sparkling grape juice and get to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour.

Happy New Year!