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Kicking 2020 to the Curb With a Fun and Festive New Year’s Eve

Yummly staff and contributors ring in the new year with their favorite recipes and activities

Photograph by Nader Khouri 

Like everything else this year, our New Year’s Eve celebrations are going to be a little different. 

The party clothes are staying in the closet, and we’ll pull on our best stretchy pants and fuzziest slippers instead. No crowding into our favorite bars or party hopping this December 31. We’re pulling out board games, cueing up our favorite movies, and gathering our loved ones close. Some of us are heading to the woods, others staying home on the couch. All of us are cooking our favorite Yummly recipes from chili to clam chowder, from onion soup to homemade pasta, and of course, black-eyed peas. And every single one of us will be grateful to see the backside of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year and be ready to welcome what can only be a brighter year ahead.

Here are 22 COVID-friendly ways the Yummly team is celebrating — and you might, too.

1. Board games in front of the fire and a classic cheese fondue

“My family (husband and grown twin sons) and I have actually gotten it together and are heading to a cabin outside Yosemite. For New Year’s Eve, I’m thinking classic cheese fondue — all that time tromping around in the snow will burn it off, right? We’ll pour some good Champagne and play board games by the fire (Wingspan is a current family favorite).” –Elaine Johnson, Senior Content Editor 

2. A rich vegetarian feast

“I’m (still) hunkering down with my six-year-old, my husband, and my husband’s sister who lives with us. Every one of them’s vegetarian, but trust me, they’re worth it. For New Year’s Eve, I’ll make something rich and a little involved, like a savory leek pie that pairs nicely with a glass of bubbly. For dessert, I may try ras malai, an Indian dessert that’s a childhood favorite of my husband’s. A video call to my mother-in-law for tips will be part of the prep. A creamy main dish followed by a milky dessert isn’t a very balanced menu, but I can seek balance in the new year.” –Ruth Rangan, Head of Content

3. Bundling up for a backyard celebration

“We'll be hosting an intimate backyard celebration with our little quaranteam, featuring safe, socially distanced small bites. These Bacon Scallop Lollipops with Honey Sriracha Glaze, some Garlic Butter Steak Bites, and savory Creamy Blue Cheese and Red Onion Crostini (which as a bonus, can largely be prepped in advance), and simple shrimp cocktails should keep the evening feeling festive. We'll bundle up, play movies and music on our outdoor projector, and raise a toast to all of our friends and family who can't be with us. I'm loving a bright Blanc de Blancs for the requisite bubbles, and hot, spiced apple cider to help keep the chill at bay.” –Christine Ayers, Senior HR Manager

4. A hike in the hills and a bowl of turkey chili 

“This New Year’s Eve, my husband, two adult daughters, and I plan on taking our traditional hike in the Bay Area foothills — with our two dogs in tow. After the hike, we will dive into our favorite Slow Cooker Turkey Black Bean Chili, along with a hearty chunk of sourdough bread and a bottle of Zinfandel, while launching into an evening of Settlers of Catan or maybe a few rounds of hearts.” –Nancy Nichols, VP of Talent 

5. Sledding with hot cocoa, cocktails, and homemade pretzels

“I'm going to trek across the mountains from where I live in Seattle to a cabin outside of Leavenworth, Washington. Along with a few of our three-year-old daughter's friends who are all in our daycare quarantine bubble, we'll be sledding all day. And when we come in from the cold, we’re going to try out some hot chocolate bombs. After the kids fall asleep, there will be Manhattans, Beer Cheese Dip, and homemade Soft Pretzels for the grown-ups.” –Ryan Smith, Head of Platform 

6. Movie night and spring rolls 

“Ever since my son was born 14 years ago, our family has rung in the new year with an all-appetizers movie night. We get into our PJs early, put on sparkly paper hats, and watch Rocky followed by Star Wars — yes, those two movies, every year — and blow noisemakers at midnight. While we watch we nibble hors d’oeuvres like pigs-in-a-blanket, homemade cheese straws, mini knishes, and quick chocolate fondue (good dark chocolate melted into hot heavy cream) with marshmallows, fruit, and shortbread cookies. To balance all that, I like to include something lighter and vegetable-focused, like Vegetarian Summer Rolls. Maybe 2021 is the year my picky kid actually eats some.” –Debbie Koenig, Yummly contributor 

7. Banana bread on the couch 

Yummly Original

“During the longest March, but the shortest year, the days started feeling like an endless row of missed opportunities. I was too busy or exhausted to join the #quarantinebaking trend, but there's nothing like the 11th hour for catching up! I'm looking forward to finally making my first loaf of banana bread and filling the house with the comforting scents of cinnamon and sugar. My boyfriend and I will sit on the couch to eat it straight out of the pan with a stick of cultured butter at the ready.” –Su-Jit Lin, Yummly contributor  

8. Board games, movies, French onion soup, and Champagne

“My family and I will be staying at home with a typical line-up of a day that will include many board games and most likely watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (for the third time this season). Late afternoon when the kids get absorbed in the movie, my wife and I will migrate to the kitchen to find a bottle of Champagne and I will begin the long process of softening the onions for the world's best French Onion Soup. In true holiday fashion I like to substitute brut Champagne for the wine.” –Andrew Grose, VP of Business Development and Operations 

9. Bolognese and bubbles

“My fiancé and I have a tradition of making Homemade Pasta (this year, tagliatelle) and Bolognese on New Year's Eve. It feels like a marathon cooking event, but when we finally sit down to enjoy the fruits of our labor (bottle of bubbles in tow), we feel a sense of accomplishment — a feeling we wish to end every year with.” –Jamie Vespa, RD and Yummly contributor 

10. Gratitude and chowder

“This year has taught me to practice patience, be grateful for the gifts I normally take for granted, and let go of the uncontrollable. With the extra time at home, I’ve learned to bake delectable sourdough bread. The plan for New Year’s Eve is to escape for a few days with my better half and reconnect with the outdoors. Dinner will consist of freshly baked sourdough bread bowls filled with my favorite Yummly recipe for homemade clam chowder. Cheers to 2021!” –Ray Wong, Senior Account Manager

11. Black-eyed peas and puzzles

“My family has always done a mish-mash of Midwestern pork roast and sauerkraut with Southern black-eyed peas. I'm amazed at how well they go together, honestly. We have a complicated puzzle set aside to tackle as the minutes tick down to midnight, and we'll see if we can finish it before 2021 starts.” Sara Bir, Yummly contributor 

12. Grapes and goat cheese at midnight

“I'll be bringing in the new year at home with music, small bites, and Champagne. I'll be making roasted grape and goat cheese toasts, which make the perfect midnight snack.” Marisa Moore, RDN and Yummly contributor 

13. A virtual bourbon tasting with faraway friends

“This New Year's Eve, I'll be hosting a virtual bourbon tasting with my friends. I'll be sending them four or five two-ounce bottles of different bourbons (don’t tell the USPS), including a bottled-in-bond, a wheated bourbon, and perhaps one or two top-shelf bourbons. I'll pair the bourbons with a charcuterie board including prosciutto di Parma, coppa, and soppressata, and encourage my friends to do the same.” –Jeff Perkins, Director of SEO

14. Classic movies and Cantonese pork belly

“This year it will be just me, my husband, and our cat but it's always fun and celebratory when we cook together. For New Year's Eve, we will likely watch a classic film like "The Last Starfighter." I’ll tap into my half-Chinese side and go the comfort food route with some slow-roasted crispy Cantonese-style pork belly (Siu Yuk) over rice with quick-pickled vegetables. I've tried several Cantonese roast pork belly recipes but this one is best for juicy, melt-in-the-mouth, tender meat with a ton of flavor and a delicately crisp bubbled skin that shatters easily as you bite into it.” –Melissa Guyre, VP of Product

15. Fruit tart and “The Great British Bake-Off

“While we don't have any dinner festivities planned yet (perhaps some simple stir-fry along with my favorite herbal Chinese chicken soup), I have been thinking about the most important meal of the day: dessert. Lately, I've been binge-watching ‘The Great British Bake-Off’ with my family, and I'm eager to try my hand at making a fresh fruit tart from scratch! Looking forward to cozying up on the couch with our family cats (well one of them at least — the other is rather fond of social distancing), putting on an episode of ‘The Great British Bake-Off: Holidays,’ and stuffing my face with some decadent creme patisserie as we welcome the new year.” –Natalie Lei, Data Manager

16. Charcuterie and spicy pecans

Yummly Original

“While we won't be going to a big New Year's Eve shindig this year, that's not going to stop us from eating like party-goers at home! My family will ring in the new year with a spread of our favorite hors d'oeuvres: a substantial charcuterie board overflowing with cured meats, cheeses, olives, and sweet and spicy pecans; a bubbling hot dish of my grandmother's 1950s-style pepper-clam dip (served with Ritz crackers, of course); a classic shrimp cocktail; and some bacon-wrapped scallops with a red wine reduction. For dessert? Chocolate truffles. Don't forget the bubbly!” –Joanna LeRoy, UX-Product Content Strategy Manager

17. A whole steamed fish and dominos 

“We almost always plan for a night at home on New Year‘s Eve. Me, all the kids, my dad, and sister stick to a family tradition of a whole steamed fish, garnished (more like covered) with herbs (finely chopped green onion and cilantro), and topped with crisp garlic fried in sesame oil. It’s something my mother used to make and my grandmother before her. We’ll likely end the evening with a few rounds of dominos and me falling asleep far before midnight.” –Luke Atwood Abiol, Creative Director

18. Lucky foods from around the world and a LEGO party

“For as long as I can remember, it has been utterly important to me to have my good luck foods on New Years’ Day — black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham, and rice. While I reserve those foods for January 1, this year, we are going to take it one step further and start eating for good luck on New Years’ Eve. Because every little bit helps, right? Our family loves Asian food, and noodles (as well as rice) are considered “lucky” foods — noodles for longevity and rice for wealth. We plan to enjoy our favorite Chinese take-out-style recipes at home, including sesame chicken with steamed rice and vegetable lo mein. Afterward, I’m pretty sure we’ll be building LEGOs from Santa with my 5-year-old.” Ashley Strickland Freeman, Yummly contributor

19. Flank steak and chocolate cake 

“Every year since I was five, I’ve spent New Year’s Eve at my aunt and uncle’s cozy cabin in the Sierra, staying up late to watch the ball drop, wearing goofy party hats, drinking sparkling apple cider, and hoping to be snowed in (forced extended vacation, anyone?). The trip always coincides with a birthday celebration for my dad, so our New Year’s Eve dinner typically transforms into a birthday soiree, complete with obligatory barbecued flank steak and chocolate cake. With the holidays a little less certain these days, hopefully, my young kids will still get to experience this special annual getaway. Otherwise, rain (or should I say “snow”?) check.” –Marni DeWitt, SEO Content Specialist  

20. Black-eyed peas and cotton candy cocktails

“Our new year’s tradition is to slow-cook a large pot of black-eyed peas to eat on New Year’s Day. A symbol of good luck and prosperity in the new year, this hearty dish is served along with a pot of collard greens and sometimes fried catfish. We especially love this Black-Eyed Peas recipe from Hungry Hutch. He uses smoked bacon in his recipe, but you can also use a ham hock or turkey leg. We’ll also ring in the new year with Cotton Candy Champagne Cocktails and probably get extra-fresh packaged cotton candy for all six of our kids.” –Krysten Clark Wilkes and Marrekus Wilkes, Cooks with Soul, Yummly contributors

21. Storytime with crab-stuffed mushrooms

Yummly Original

“This year we’re planning a festive, old-fashioned fête. My partner likes to read books to his daughters as they draw and I embroider, so this New Year’s Eve we’ll hear a few chapters of Lizard Music, a zany tale of a 10-year-old boy whose reality is upended when he discovers an island of talking lizards, all named Reynold. But we’ll spend most of the evening playing “Aww Hell,” a card game my family invented that seems especially fitting this year. Throughout the night we’ll be grazing on crab-stuffed mushrooms and a double batch of addictive Sweet and Spicy Pecans. We can’t get enough.” Tory Davis, Yummly contributor

 

22. Backcountry skiing followed by ribeyes and a family jam session

“My family and I hope to spend New Year’s Eve cozied up in a cabin at Lake Tahoe. My son and I plan to ski in the backcountry of Desolation Wilderness while the ladies roam the cross-country trails around the cabin. I will then make my favorite after a day of snow play — Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce, which goes exceptionally well with a nice bottle of Cabernet. The kids and I may then play a song (or five, or ten) for my wife since three-quarters of our family is musically inclined.” –Yuri Yuryev, VP of Engineering 

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