The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 26, 2012

BICKER: Great food for the holidays

CLINTON — One of the many aspects that I enjoy about getting together with family and friends during Christmas, is the food. The aromas that fill the air are absolutely intoxicating.

For the last couple of years, I have made homemade meatballs for my family’s Christmas Eve get-together. Since my life gets very hectic around this time of year, meatballs are a go-to dish that is quick, easy and tastes really good. Plus, there is that added aroma factor. My old dog will attest to that one.

I am a big fan of church cookbooks. Inside you will find some of the best recipes in the world. One of my favorite recipes I happened to stumble upon one day when I had a boat load of zucchini sitting out in my garden, was zucchini casserole. I have mentioned that one before in this column. You just simply can’t go wrong with it. Since I had about six zucchini plants this summer, this recipe came in very handy. I made up several batches at a time and kept freezing individually-sized portions until my plants died and I ran out of room in my freezer. Let’s just say I finally finished off my last serving this month.

Besides making meatballs for my family, I also made up a batch for my co-workers as well during our Christmas potluck last week. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but they were all gone in about 15 minutes. I guess I will just have to make more next year.

Even if you’re not like Julia Child in the kitchen, meatballs can still be easily mastered.

Here is the recipe that I like to use:

Barbecued meatballs

• 2 pounds hamburger

• 1 cup bread crumbs

• 2⁄3 cup milk

• 2 eggs

• 2 tablespoons minced onion

• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

• 1 teaspoon salt

• ½ teaspoon pepper

• 4 tablespoons brown sugar

• 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• 1 cup ketchup

• 1 can tomato soup

• ½ soup can of water

Mixing directions: Mix hamburger, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper together. Make into 40 balls. Brown on a cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Put in crockpot or baking dish. Mix brown sugar, vinegar, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, tomato soup and water together. Pour over browned meatballs. Cook in crockpot for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. If this is not enough sauce, add more ketchup and another can of soup.

Another treat that I enjoy this time of year, is my aunt Marilyn’s annual plate of candy. After Thanksgiving, I’m just counting down the days until I can get my sugar high for the year. My aunt makes the best candy — Martha Stewart looks like a shabby amateur compared to her; I’m serious. She just has that special knack. This year Aunt Marilyn gave me a whole bag of my favorite treat. I don’t know if it has an official name, but she takes Fruit Loops and peanuts and swirls it in almond bark like a peanut cluster. It may sound a little bizarre, but I absolutely love it and her for making it for me year after year.

Side note: I would like to thank one of my readers for enlightening me on a very important fact last week. A local school official told me that area school districts do allow children to say the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “one nation under God.” Our teachers and school personnel do a wonderful job educating tomorrow’s leaders and I’m overjoyed God is present in that process.

Angie Bicker is the Lifestyles Editor of the Clinton Herald. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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