Here’s To a Spicy New Year!

Imagine my surprise when I realized I haven’t shared a New Year’s Eve inspired post since December 2019. Now I realize that things were not very contusive for a New Year Celebration at the end of 2020, but to skip it – really?

Granted, last year’s Seventh Day of Christmas post did include a recipe for Shrimp Cocktail to ring in the New Year. That should count for something, right? While I will still share a Seventh Day of Christmas post again this year, and include an elegant New Year’s Eve supper, I couldn’t ignore New Year’s Eve as it’s own celebration.

This year, like every New Year’s Eve over the past 10 years, we’ll drive up to my sister’s house to ring in the New Year with friends and family. It will be a night of games, plenty of munchy-type foods, drinks and tons of fun. It’s our tradition and not even the state mandate stay-at-home orders of 2020 got in the way.

Every year on the 4th of July, my sister buys sparklers that we light at midnight on New Year’s eve. Last year, in a display of our twisted sense of humor, we even toasted the New Year with bottles of Corona Beer. Yeah, we’re a bit off. But if you can’t find the humor in the face of tragedy, when you can’t laugh as the world goes insane, you just might loose what little mind you may have left.

That is not to make light of what has happened. Or dismiss the sadness families have felt over the loss of loved ones. At the height of the pandemic, our daughter lost her battle against breast cancer. Because she was in a hospice facility that was in lock down, we could not be with her. Our good byes were over a telephone. So we get it.

This year that same group of rowdy red-necks will be ringing in another New Year together. We’ll even be playing Jeff Foxworthy’s card game, Relative Insanity. It’s along the lines of Cards Against Humanity, with a red-neck tacky spin. With that in mind, I began assembling recipes for my appetizer contributions. As I did, I noticed that there emerged common California theme. Nope, not the Hollywood Fancy-Pants California, but my beloved Ag California. And no, not vegetarian either. Think Farm worker inspired awesomeness. Margarita and Beer crowd appetizers. Yeah, we’re gonna have a great time.

New Year’s Eve from California
One-Bite Tamale Meatballs
Margarita Chicken Wings
Warm Chili-Cheese Dip with Tortilla Rounds
Mini Carnitas Nacho Cups


One-Bite Tamale Meatballs
2 cups Cornmeal
3/4 cup Flour
5 cups Spicy V8 Juice, divided
4 teaspoons New Mexican Red Chili Powder, divided
4 teaspoons Cumin, divided
2 teaspoons Salt, divided
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
2 lbs bulk Hot Breakfast Sausage
2 bags Frito Corn Chip Scoops

Heat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack in the baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix cornmeal, flour, 1 cup V8 juice, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Add sausage; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls.

Place meatballs in the heated oven. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes or so.

While the meatballs cook, make the sauce for the slow cooker. In a 4-quart slow cooker, mix remaining V8 juice, chili powder, cumin and salt. Taste sauce, adjust seasoning as necessary.

Remove meatballs from the oven. Let cool slightly to help hold shape. Gently stir meatballs into the sauce. Cover, cook on low until heated through, about 3-1/2 hours.

Serve with tortilla chip scoops.

Margarita Chicken Wings
Margarita Marinade
3 cups Margarita Pre-made Cocktails
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons Margarita Salt

Chicken Wings
4 lbs Chicken Wings, thawed if frozen
2 Limes, cut into wedges

In a large, non-reactive bowl, mix Margarita, lime juice and salt. Stir until salt has dissolved. Pour Margarita marinade into a zip-lock gallon bag.

Rinse wings and pat dry. Place wings in the bag with the marinade. Close bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Lay flat in a rimmed baking dish and let marinade for several hours or overnight (best).

Heat oven to 500-degrees. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and coat lightly with oil. Arrange wings skin side up and brush with reserved marinade.

Bake wings until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn over, brush with marinade, and bake another 5 to 6 minutes. Turn once more, brush with marinade, and bake until skin is brown and glossy, 2 to 4 minutes.

Serve warm, with lime wedges.

Warm Chili-Cheese Dip with Tortilla Rounds
2 Cups Chili with Beans (Dennison’s Hot Chili)
1 Cup Salsa
1 Package (16 oz) Velveeta Cheese, cubed
Tortilla Chip Rounds for dipping

In a microwave safe bowl, mix chili, salsa and cheese. Microwave on HIGH 3-4 Minutes or until cheese is melted. Stir to blend. Serve with chips for dipping.

Note: Dip can be made ahead and refrigerated. When ready to serve, microwave until warm.

Mini Carnitas Nacho Cups
1/2 lb Carnitas, rough chopped
6 Flour Tortillas
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Salsa
1 cup Refried Black Beans
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup Cotija Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Guacamole
Cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 425-degrees.  Place a few drops of olive oil in the bottom of each mini muffin tin mold. Set tin aside.

Roughly chop Carnitas into small pieces, set aside.

With a 2-1/2 inch pastry cutter, cut circles from the tortillas. Use fingers to gently press each tortilla circle into the muffin tin. Bake in the heated oven for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cups remain in tin to hold shape. Keep oven hot.

Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carnitas and cook until meat begins to crisp. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix the salsa with the refried beans. Season mixture with garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.  

Assemble cups while still in the tin. Scoop 1 teaspoon of beans into each cup, then layer with 1 tablespoon of carnitas and top with cheese. Return cups to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

While the nacho cups finish baking, chop cilantro for garnish. Set aside.

Remove nacho cups from oven. Gently lift cups from the tin, arrange on a serving platter. Top each nacho cup with guacamole and sour cream. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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