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Chef's Hat: Bring in the new year with these snacks

Try Apple Cider Glazed Chicken Wings or Ham & Cheese Sliders

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Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
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New Year's Eve is a time some people stop and think about the passing year — things that were good, things that were not so good.

Some people start thinking about goals for the upcoming year and even go so far as to set resolutions.

Of course, the way the new year is rushed in is celebrated by people in various ways. Some people enjoy going to parties and celebrating the year with family and friends in a festive manner.

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And then there are those people who like to bring in the new year in a pair of old cozy pajamas, sipping hot chocolate and watching old movies.

There are also some common and some not so common New Year’s Eve traditions. Most people are familiar with toasting the new year with champagne and counting down the last 10 seconds to midnight and the official start of the new year.

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Watching the ball drop, either actually at Times Square or on TV, has been a long-standing tradition. New York City has been attracting crowds and dropping that ball since the early 1900s.

Throughout the world there are many other traditions that people often participate in to bring in the new year.

  • Eating lucky foods — 12 grapes or raisins, one each at each stroke of midnight.
  • Throwing water out a window. In certain parts of the world, throwing a bucket of water out a window celebrates renewal. In other areas, it is a way to ward off evil.
  • Throwing a coin up in the air at midnight is one tradition that will supposedly lead to an increase in wealth.
  • Jumping off a chair or sofa to “literally” jump into the new year is a tradition in some countries.
  • Wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is supposed to bring the wearer luck. Some countries insist it has to be “new” underwear.
  • Got salt? Some people consider it good luck to sprinkle salt on your doorstep as soon as the clock strikes midnight. This will supposedly promote both peace and prosperity in the upcoming year.

If you are staying home and having people over or if you are just entertaining your family, instead of serving a big meal, it is often customary to serve finger foods.

Chicken wings are always a favorite. Just like banana bread, there are dozens of ways to prepare wings.

This Apple Cider Glazed Chicken Wing recipe has a nice crunch and, if desired, you can add a bit of hot sauce to give it more zip.

The recipe calls for apple cider. If you can’t find any bottles of apple cider, the small packets that you mix with hot water that are generally located with the powdered hot cocoa mixes can be mixed up and used in the recipe.

For large gatherings, sliders come together quickly and make a big batch with little effort. If you have leftover ham or turkey, this is a great way to use it up.

The ideal roll to use is a Hawaiian Sweet Roll as it adds a nice sugar flavor that combines will with the meat and cheese. However, other types of rolls or buns can be used in the recipe.

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New Year's Eve is a great time to reflect, set goals, get together with friends or curl up on the couch with a good book.

No matter how you celebrate, appetizing snacks are a great way to welcome 2023. Happy Eating and Happy New Year!

Apple Cider Glazed Chicken Wings

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Apple Cider Glazed Chicken Wings make a great New Year's Eve snack no matter how you ring in the new year.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, cut into thirds and remove and discard tips (or save for soups)
  • 2 tablespoons Montreal Chicken seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, if desired
  • Apple slices, optional
  • Cheese slices, optional
  • Slices of garlic bread, optional

Place the wings in a resealable container. In a small bowl, combine the Montreal Chicken seasoning, paprika, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread the mixture over the chicken wings and toss the wings to make sure all the wings are coated with the seasoning. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a rack in the middle position. Spray two large-rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Place the wings, divided evenly, on the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the trays and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

While the wings are cooking, combine the apple cider, vinegar, Worcestershire and rum in a medium saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Dijon mustard and hot sauce, if using. Taste. If desired, season with salt and pepper.

Remove the wings from the oven. Turn the oven to broil. Transfer all of the wings to one tray. Brush them with about a quarter of the cider mixture. Place the wings back in the oven and broil just until the wings start to brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them from the oven, flip the wings over and brush the other side with about a quarter of the mixture. Place the wings back into the oven and broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the wings from the oven. Pour the remaining cider mixture into a bowl. Add the wings and lightly toss. Place the wings on a serving platter. If desired, serve with garlic bread, cheese or apple slices.

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Ham & Cheese Sliders

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Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

  • 12 to 24 slices of deli ham (or use leftover ham)
  • 6 ounces of provolone or Swiss cheese, sliced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package (12 count) Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls (other rolls or buns can be used)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the rolls in half and place the bottom half in the prepared dish. Spread the mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on one side of the rolls. Place slices of ham on the rolls and top with the cheese. Top with the other half of the rolls.

In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, melted butter, onion and garlic powders and Worcestershire sauce. Lightly brush the sauce over the rolls. Cover the rolls with foil and let set for 10 minutes.

While the rolls are sitting, heat an oven to 350 degrees. Place the rolls in the oven and bake them for 12 to 15 minutes. The cheese will be melted and the buns slightly warmed. Serve immediately.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

Opinion by Donna Evans
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