Southern New Year’s Day dinner skillet incorporates many of the traditional good luck foods for a quick and easy one-pan meal with incredible flavor!
Here in the South, New Years Day calls for certain foods to be eaten to ensure a healthy and prosperous year ahead.
In my family, you were supposed to eat 3 main foods:
- Pork - It used to be more of a special occasion food in the South, particularly the “high on the hog” cuts. That, along with the rich fat content, is meant to symbolize wealth and prosperity.
- Black-eyed peas - Some people say lentils and peas are eaten on New Years Day because they resemble small coins. That's what we always said at my house. Others say the black-eyed peas tradition dates back to the Civil War when Vicksburg, Mississippi, was cut off from food supplies and the people resorted to eating the crops used to feed cattle (which is why these are sometimes called cowpeas). This saved them from starvation and made the peas a symbol of resourcefulness and good fortune.
- Greens (in particular, collard greens) - Their green color is meant to symbolize paper money and ensure wealth and prosperity.
And the bonus food is cornbread. It’s golden color and the golden nuggets of corn are also supposed to ensure a year of financial success.
I bucked this tradition when I was a child, taking the tiniest bite I could muster from a pile of black-eyed peas, a pile of collard greens and a slice of ham.
Now, as an adult, I welcome the chance to combine these goodies into all kinds of dishes!
I brought you my quick Southern collard greens with bacon earlier this month and today it’s my Southern New Year’s Day dinner skillet.
(I also have one more New Years Day recipe coming up for you on Friday so stay tuned! If you sign up for my free e-newsletter, you’ll also get my free Healthy Weeknight Dinner recipes e-book!)
This New Years Day skillet recipe is perfect for when you want to get in all the goodies to set yourself up for a happy, prosperous year but you seriously don’t want to spend any more time in the kitchen.
Cause I feel you.
It’s a holiday. You may or may not have made it to midnight the night before. You may or may not have had too much bubbly, too many cocktails or wine, and you may or may not be dragging ass on New Year’s Day.
So come dinner time, I kinda want to cut to the chase.
And this quick and easy Southern New Year's Day dinner skillet is everything you need in a one-pan meal that’s seriously hard for me to resist.
Case in point: I’ve made it 4 times in the past couple of months and we haven’t even gotten to New Years Day yet!
The tender collards and onion cooked in the bacon grease is epic, obviously.
But the little bit of spice, the perfectly incorporated black-eyed peas, the shredded chicken for a little extra heartiness and the shot of vinegar at the end to really brighten it up really brings this whole dish together.
Plus, then you top it with your reserved crumbly, salty bacon. That makes me start to drool a little...
OK, let's get cooking.
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips and substitutions coming up below on how to make this New Year's Day dinner skillet. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
- Bacon: I prefer using thick-cut bacon (and I find it fits better in my pan), but any kind will do.
- Collards: I julienne cut my collard greens, after they’ve been washed and trimmed, which is why they cook so quickly. (See picture above to see what I mean or check out my quick Southern collard greens post for more details and a how-to video.)
- Chicken: You can use leftover roast chicken or a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. Or you can substitute ham if you have some. You could also skip the chicken, but I like that it adds some heft and protein.
- Cheese: Feel free to add some shredded cheddar cheese when serving if you want a cheesy element to the dish.
I like to serve this over my steamed perfect brown rice and top it with some cheddar cheese and green onions, in addition to the crumbled bacon. And some hot sauce for a little extra kick.
I have a thing for toppings. And by “thing,” I mean mild obsession. (OK, OK, total addiction. Sheesh!)
And of course, feel free to serve with a big slab of golden cornbread on the side. 👍
Also, let's talk about how to handle any leftovers.
Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot.
Some other of my favorite New Year's Day recipes include:
Gotta get in those good luck foods one way or another. 😉
Let’s make the coming year a wonderful (and apparently financially fabulous) one!
I’ll also do my best to help you make it a healthy and delicious year too.
- 5 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch collard greens, stem removed, rolled tightly and thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 14.5 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- cooked brown rice, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon until crispy, about 8-10 minutes, flipping as needed. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan. Add onions to the pan and sauté in the bacon grease over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until tender.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in collards greens and season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken broth and sauté until the liquid is mostly evaporated, 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in black-eyed peas and cooked chicken. Cook 1-2 minutes, until heated through.
- Add white wine vinegar, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve over brown rice and top with reserved crumbled bacon. Top with cheddar cheese and green onions, if desired.
Bacon: I prefer using thick-cut bacon (and I find it fits better in my pan), but any kind will do.
Collards: I julienne cut my collard greens, after they’ve been washed and trimmed, which is why they cook so quickly. (See picture above to see what I mean or check out my quick Southern collard greens post for more details and a how-to video.)
Chicken: You can use leftover roast chicken or a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. Or you can substitute ham if you have some. You could also skip the chicken, but I like that it adds some heft and protein.
Cheese: Feel free to add some shredded cheddar cheese when serving if you want a cheesy element to the dish.
Serving: We love this served over steamed rice (white or brown) for a full meal. You could also serve it with some cornbread.
Leftovers: Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 26g