New Year's Eve is coming up in two days.
Where is your ideal place to ring in the new year? How will you celebrate?
Traditionally New Year’s Eve brings out the party animals and bucket-listers in droves. Not me though, I’m not big on parties.
My worst nightmare is to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
Watching the ball drop while being squeezed flat by a million screaming people is literally my idea of hell. Just the thought of it takes the life out me.
Seriously people, how is that even fun?
To be honest, I resent altogether the idea that New Year’s Eve is the biggest night of the year. One MUST get drunk, MUST dance the night away, MUST have the time of his/her life.
It really stresses me out because there’s this unspoken pressure for it to be the best party of the year.
It never is.
When expectations are too high, disappointment is always right around the corner.
Don’t think of me as a pessimist, but when it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’ve learned that’s pretty much always the case.
I’ve had a few good ones but nowadays I’d rather spend a relatively quiet and peaceful evening with the people I love. Good food, some fun games, going to bed relatively early, and waking up rested. That’s the New Year’s Eve I like.
Last year, I whipped up a to-die-for Tex-Mex style dinner.
Key West Spicy Chicken Quesadillas, a big batch of fiery chili, cilantro-lime rice, guacamole, salsa, tortillas, etc.
Even the kids loved it. They played all night “I dare you to eat the spicy chili”.
We actually had to stop them, as we feared they would have ended up with a heartburn by the end of the night.
This year I’m planning on making an Eastern European inspired menu. Sweet-And-Sour Cabbage Soup, Russian Salad, Pierogies, and - of course - Goulash.
Sounds good right?
Talking about goulash, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a stew (or soup) of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika.
Goulash originally hails from Hungary, it’s nothing fancy or elaborate, just a rustic, simple, and tasty dish.
As far as I know there are thousands of different recipes for goulash.
I like to make mine with carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes, but I’ve seen variations using parsnips, sweet potatoes, even turnips. In it’s most simple form goulash can really be made from nothing but beef, onions and paprika.
As I said before, it’s a simple dish. Full of flavor and so easy to make. You can’t go wrong with this recipe.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, medium and diced
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½ inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½ inch chunks
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons sweet paprika (or smoked paprika)
1 (15 oz / 425 gr) can diced tomatoes
2 cups / 500 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or a pot with a thick bottom) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every now and then, until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the paprika.
Add the beef and garlic, return to the heat and season generously with salt and pepper.
Cook, uncovered, until the meat is browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in the bell peppers and cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Add the carrots, tomato sauce, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, until the liquid has begun to reduce.
One serving yields 343 calories, 13 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs, and 34 grams of protein.