Cooking Up Luck and Good Health This New Year


Cathy Blatnik and Lauren Brumbach

Whether you’re hosting family after the holidays or you’ve made a resolution to spend more time in the kitchen working on your creative cooking skills, you’ll need some new recipes to try! From Pennsylvania Dutch pork and sauerkraut to creamy dill pickle soup, we’ve got you covered with recipes that are anything but run of the mill.

Pennsylvania Dutch Port and Sauerkraut (Lauren Brumbach)

Food has a way of bringing generations together. Coming from a strong Pennsylvania German family, I remember every New Year both of my grandmothers would make pork and sauerkraut, a long-standing tradition meant to bring good luck in the coming year. Like many of our family dishes, it wouldn’t be complete without mashed potatoes and smothered with gravy.


  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 large can of sauerkraut
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder/ pork roast
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Cut onions and apple into medium to large slices.
  2. Add onion, apple and pork to crockpot, cook the pork shoulder in water with salt and pepper until done.
  3. Add sauerkraut to crock pot at least 45 minutes before pork is done.
  4. After everything is cooked separate kraut from pork.
  5. Serve with mashed potatoes.


Dill Pickle Soup (Cathy Blatnik)

One of my very good friends and I have this running “joke” about pickles. It started a while back, and now, every time I find a food item that has pickles as an ingredient, I will send it to her. In one of my conversations with my pickle “buddy,” I jokingly sent her a recipe for Dill Pickle Soup. After discussing it a bit more, we decided I would make it and report back to her what it tasted like. The verdict is in. It was super creamy and delicious – I had two bowls!


  • Two 14-ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth plus 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 cup Polish dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


In a large stockpot, combine the chicken broth, 1 ½ cups water, potatoes, carrots and butter, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). Add the chopped pickles and return to boil.

While the soup is boiling, you need to make up the “paste.” Put the flour, sour cream and water in a small to medium bowl. Using a whisk or a large spoon, stir until the mixture is smooth. Drop two tablespoons of the “paste” at a time into the boiling soup, stirring constantly. Some of the potatoes might get broken up a bit, but don’t worry. You might also see some small balls of flour form as you are doing this, but they will eventually almost completely disappear.

When you are done adding all of the “past,” add the pickle juice, Old Bay seasoning, black pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Boil an additional 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add a little water until you get it to the consistency you want. Garnish with a sprig of dill or sliced pickles if desired. Serve immediately.

Minestrone Soup (Cathy Blatnik)

January is National Soup Month! In honor of this, here’s a delicious and healthy recipe for a soup that’s sure to keep you warm this winter.


  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 28-ounce can stewed and sliced tomatoes (drained)
  • 6 cups water
  • 14-ounce can chicken broth
  • 15.5-ounce can light or dark red kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni


Melt on tablespoon of butter or margarine in the bottom of a large stockpot. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook until almost soft. Add the carrots, tomatoes, water and broth. Drain the liquid from the kidney beans and add them to the soup. Add the basil, marjoram, pepper and salt. Cover with lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add elbow macaroni and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes.


Cathy Blatnik

Cathy is originally from Maryland, but has been living in the Midwest for more than 13 years. She has been "retired" from the paid workforce since 1996 to raise her family, which includes her husband, adult stepson, an adult daughter in college and a son in middle school. She has been baking and cooking for as long as she can remember in "Cathy's Kitchen". She is very excited to be able to share her recipes with other home cooks!

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