January Recipes for a Fresh Start to the New Year

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

There's no better way to kick off a New Year—and to help recover from the holidays—than by staying in and enjoying the comforts of home. With these January recipes embrace warm, cozy homemade soup, warm up your weeknights with our five delicious spins on classic soul-satisfying stews, and enjoy flavors from creamy chicken-and-rice soup to cheesy roasted tomato soup. If you're trying to bounce back from weeks of holiday feasting, we've got a fresh salads that'll make it oh-so easy. With ingredients like juicy clementines, crisp collards, and creamy goat cheese, it won't make the transition back to healthy eating too painful at all. And if you get the itch for one more comforting feast, we've got a menu for you that includes the easiest-ever roasted beef tenderloin, a spicy take on mac 'n cheese—you heard that right—and buttery chive-and-mustard drop biscuits. Cap it all off with a few desserts, and you're surely striking a tasty culinary note. The only question is, should you make more than one of our lemon-lime meringue pie? Here's to a healthy and happy reset and to the Southern spirit that'll make it your best year yet.

01 of 16

Smoked Turkey-and-Andouille Gumbo

Recipe: Smoked Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

You can learn a lot about the history of Southern food by studying a bowl of gumbo. It represents the intersection of three cultures—European, Native American, and West African—that created what we know today as Southern cuisine.

This turkey and andouille gumbo recipe has taken first place in the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff eleven times. The chef says leftovers taste better the second day, and that it freezes well. Take your batch beyond January recipes and into those early yet still chilly days of spring, if you wish.

02 of 16

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Collard Greens

Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Collard Greens
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Collard Greens

A little heavy cream adds body and richness to classic chicken and rice soup, and collard greens make it heartier and more nutritious. If you're looking for a tasty side, we recommend this Buttermilk Drop Biscuits Recipe that gets extra flavor from chives and whole-grain mustard.

The Southern tradition of using collard greens as a culinary accent goes beyond taste. These greens are nutrient dense and low in calories. They're an excellent source of calcium, folate, and vitamins K, C, and A. If you have health goals in mind for your January recipes, choosing collard greens will lead you in the right direction.

03 of 16

Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

This salad hits all the right notes: Tangy goat cheese, sweet oranges, earthy walnuts, jammy cherries, and slightly-spicy mustard. The Dijon adds a nice tang to the dressing, contrasting with notes of molasses from the port.

A few tips from our Test Kitchen: Cutting the collards into thin strips and gently massaging them, as you would raw kale, goes a long way in tenderizing the greens. While this dish makes a beautiful main, we love to serve it alongside salmon for brunch or grilled chicken strips for dinner.

04 of 16

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits Recipe

Buttery Chive-and-Mustard Drop Biscuits
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Buttermilk Drop Biscuits Recipe

A biscuit is the perfect Southern breakfast food, ready to be filled with everything from eggs and bacon to fresh fruit jam. With the right biscuit recipe on hand, these homemade breads can easily make their way to the table for any meal.

A biscuit is versatile, taking on the flavors of the toppings you choose. But some are meant to be savory on their own. The unexpected touch of mustard in these fuss-free drop biscuits pairs wonderfully with our Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe, especially when dipped in the rich broth.

05 of 16

Roasted Tomato-Cheddar Soup

Roasted Tomato-Cheddar Soup
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Roasted Tomato-Cheddar Soup

Plum tomatoes tend to have excellent flavor and a thick, dense texture and are a good ingredient for tomato juice, sauce, soups, and stews. This exemplified to perfection in our Roasted Tomato Cheddar Soup. And this soup puts everyone's favorite kitchen gadget, the immersion blender, to work.

If you don't have this kitchen tool, try this Southern Living Test Kitchen trick: simply transfer the hot soup in batches to a blender and process until smooth. Fill the blender no more than halfway so steam can escape.

Your other option is to gift yourself with an immersion blender for all of those January recipes that you are about to tackle, in the name of cozy and delicious comfort food.

06 of 16

Smoky Split Pea and Sausage Soup

Smoky Split Pea-and-Sausage Soup
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Smoky Split Pea-and-Sausage Soup

This split pea soup gets extra flavor from Conecuh sausage. Conecuh sausage has a bold, hickory-smoked flavor that is ideal for hearty soups and stews, and narrow size, which makes it easier to eat with a spoon. Conecuh is made in Alabama and sold in grocery stores throughout the South. If you can't find it, substitute your favorite smoked sausage.

07 of 16

Lemony Slow-Cooked Salmon with Potatoes and Fennel

Lemony Slow-Cooked Salmon with Potatoes and Fennel
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Lemony Slow-Cooked Salmon with Potatoes and Fennel

Not only is salmon supremely light and packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, but it's also extremely simple and quick to prepare. Our go-to method for cooking salmon used to be a quick stovetop sear—that is, until we met this slow-cooked salmon. Using your slow-cooker during those colder months just feels right, doesn't it?

A member of the carrot family, the fennel plant possesses a mild, licorice-like flavor. Aside from its many culinary uses, fennel and its seeds offer a wide array of health benefits and may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.

08 of 16

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Cheese Sauce over Cauliflower
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Approaching beef tenderloin as a party pleasing main dish will have your guests worshipping your culinary choices and your kitchen skills. Take it to the top and use Southern cooking legend Nathalie Dupree's Vidalia Onion and Vinegar Sauce recipe to offset the richness of this cut of beef. You can just as easily pair this sauce with a variety of proteins, including roasted chicken, turkey, and pork. Made with sweet Georgia onions, dry white wine, and tangy red vinegar, it's a delicious way take you protein choice to a delicious level.

09 of 16

Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese

Navi Kitchen Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese
Greg Dupree, Food Styling: Mary Claire Britton, Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese

It's almost required that you try new things with January recipes, and this bend on traditional mac and cheese is the perfect way to go. Chef Preeti Mistry's flavorful version of our beloved side dish the spices of Indian cooking to your table: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fenugrek, and red chile powder.

Tikka masala is a tomato and cream-based sauce with a lot of spices added. Slightly spicy with an earthy undertone, you palate will not only be pleased, you might just want to try other recipes with a more international flare, such as rajma (punjabi red beans).

10 of 16

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon

We spiced up plain-Jane lentil soup with the addition of tender sweet potato chunks, fire-roasted tomatoes, and bacon. This rich, comforting, smoky soup is perfect if you are planning a tailgate event or weekend party because it can be prepared up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It tastes even better when the flavors have have a chance to marry.

11 of 16

Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie

Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie
Photographer: Will Dickey Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford Food Stylist: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie

One of the most time-consuming parts of making a chicken pot pie from scratch is cooking the chicken and vegetables. An Instant Pot makes this step happen much more quickly, while also infusing the broth with so much savory flavor.

Believe it or not, there are many approaches to pot pie. You might embrace this one due to the Instant Pot effect, but when considering January recipes, jump right in and make it a pot pie month!

12 of 16

Three-Cheese-And-Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Bacon
Callie Nash

Recipe: Three-Cheese-And-Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This is the ultimate grilled cheese. Three types of cheeses and bacon come together to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever. Perfectly golden and crisp exterior, gooey bacon-studded interior. Definitely indulgent on its own and only needs a simple soup or salad pairing. We like our Roasted Tomato Soup best for those cold winter nights. We cut our sandwiches into sticks for easy dipping. A high-quality white sandwich bread is perfect for these; the flavor of sourdough or wheat would overpower the cheeses.

13 of 16

Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans
Sheri Giblin

Recipe: Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Whip up a salad full of delicious surprises like smoky candied pecans and a bit of orange zest and allspice in the vinaigrette. We used Granny Smith apples, but your favorite variety will work also. Almost two full cups of creamy goat cheese makes a savory addition to this hearty salad. The greens are dressed with a vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, orange zest, and ground allspice. Be sure and keep that vinaigrette in mind for other salads, as it serves well with a variety of greens and other flavors.

14 of 16

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling; Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie

Although the use of meringue had been documented in Europe as early as the 1600s, it was not linked with lemon pudding or custard until 19th-century Philadelphia. Lemon meringue pie is a unique slice of Americana. Unlike apple pie, which arrived from England via the early settlers, lemon meringue pie got its start right here.

Like a cross between lemon meringue and Key lime pie, Nathalie Dupree's Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie will be a hit with any citrus lover. The sweet, pillowy meringue topping balances out the tartness of the filling for a beautifully balanced dessert. You can use regular limes or Key limes in the filling; the Key limes will have a more delicate flavor.

15 of 16

Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns

Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns

We turned one of New Orleans' famous desserts into a sweet brunch treat. These Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns are perfect served alongside your usual breakfast casseroles and egg dishes, or alongside a hot pot of tea or coffee. And because they are made with refrigerated crescent roll dough, they're much easier to whip up than cinnamon rolls. Choose bananas that are starting to show signs of ripeness (small brown dots). They will have just the right amount of sweetness and won't turn to mush when cooked.

16 of 16

Simplest Pear Tart

Simplest Pear Tart
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Simplest Pear Tart

We're shining a light on one of the most underrated fruits: Pears. Apples have historically gotten all of the attention, but a pear is just as sweet. And with this one, the secret is in the name: This really is the Simplest Pear Tart. This fruit is versatile and there are multiple varieties to be found at your grocer.

Pears are great to just munch on plain, others sing when paired with a soft, ripe cheese or sliced thin and put between bread with cheddar for a lovely grilled sandwich. You can also bake pears with warming spices for a festive dessert and toss some chopped fruit in a salad with pecans to give winter greens a nice, crisp sweetness.

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