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Lou Liebetrau: New year, new recipes

Published 12:16am Thursday, January 20, 2011

This column encourages readers’ recipe contributions and requests, helpful hints and timely trivia. Phone them in to 683-7266 or mail them to 527 Philip Rd., Niles, MI 49120. Thank you!

As we bid goodbye 2010 and usher in the new year of 2011, I am anxious to see what new food trends will be introduced. Rest assured there will be some, for just about the time we feel we must have met the extreme, something new will come along to literally boggle our minds.

When I visit the houseware sections of our shopping areas, I marvel at the contrivances that homemakers of today have at their fingertips. Not only are we surrounded by a tremendous selection of cooking utensils of every description that you could possibly imagine, but they are even color-coordinated to appeal to even the most fastidious homemakers.

The variety of cookbooks available is astounding, for they are so completely detailed they do everything but prepare the recipes for you. You can purchase individual cookbooks devoted entirely to meats, vegetables, desserts, salads, breads, cookies, pies, fruits, cakes, fish and beverages, or books containing a variety of selections.

It is said we Americans spend $1 billion to $3 billion a year on “health” foods, vitamin supplements and fad diets. That is certainly a tremendous outlay for dubious benefit and possibly harmful effects, when all you really need to do is remember the three key principals of eating well are simply moderation, balance and variety.

Everyone needs to allow themselves occasional leisure time, or else they are destined to lose some spirit and vitality. You may feel that you simply do not have time for leisure in your schedule, but you are going to have to make time for recovery if your health fails. It’s not the activity that you choose that determines whether you are working or playing, it’s your attitude toward it that counts. Sustained effort toward a goal, even though it may prove gratifying, is bound to run you down after a while if not balanced by some freedom, laughter and spontaneous feeling. Work eventually drains your battery, whereas play charges you up.

You must learn to take some leisure in stride as part of your life and not regard it as a pot of gold awaiting you at the end of the rainbow. Only if you allow yourself to savor and enjoy them, do you have the potential to make your life as good as it can be.

Happy 2011 to all.

Smorgasbord Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chuck

1/2 lb. ground pork

3/4 c. onions, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. milk

2 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. snipped parsley

1 egg

2 tbsp. butter or Oleo

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except butter or Oleo. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Melt butter in large skillet, then brown meatballs in skillet for about 5 to 8 minutes on medium-high heat. Slide meatballs uncovered into 350-degree oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Yields up to 84 meatballs.

• There are quiet hours and lonely hours, and hours that have no end, but the wonderful hour is the evening hour, when you walk beside a friend.

Homemaker’s Hint: In reply to a reader’s curiosity as to what benefit hand gels might have against warding off the flu, in a study, the well-known Dial Corp. seems to believe the gels are of little benefit.

Homemade Creamy Garlic Dressing

Ingredients:

1/2 c. dairy sour cream

1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 tbsp. snipped chives

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4. tsp. white pepper

1 tbsp. milk

Directions:

Blend ingredients together. Note: The reader who shared this dressing recipe with us describes it as her family’s favorite, and so easy to prepare. Thanks for sharing with us, Claudia.

Chinese Beef and Green Peppers

Ingredients:

1 lb. beef round steak

1 1/2 tbsp. salad oil

1 c. beef bouillon

2 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. dry cooking sherry

1 clove garlic, crushed

Dash pepper

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. ginger

1 c. green peppers, cut into 1-inch squares

Directions:

Have the butcher cut your round steak very thin. Brown garlic in hot oil and remove. Sprinkle with pepper. Add bouillon and cook for a few seconds. Combine cornstarch, water and soy sauce. Stir into meat mixture and  stir until thickened. Add sherry and ginger, then add peppers and cook until only crisp tender.

Food for Thought: When the world says, “give up,” hope whispers, “try it one more time.”

Sausage/Sauerkraut Balls

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. mild bulk sausage

2 lb. fresh or canned sauerkraut

(2) 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tbsp. prepared mustard

1 c. bread crumbs

1/4 c. Oleo

Flour as needed

Directions:

Cook sausage, then drain it well. Rinse and drain sauerkraut and cut into small pieces. Combine with cream cheese and mustard, then beat until smooth. Stir in sausage, sauerkraut and parsley. Cover well and place in refrigerator for at least four hours, if not overnight. Shape chilled sausage into 1-inch balls, roll in flour, drip into beaten eggs and saute for a few moments in a bit of Oleo until evenly browned on all sides.

• The best kind of friend is the one you could sit with on a porch, never saying a word, and walk away feeling completely understood.

• A reader questioned me at great length the other day regarding my opinion of the process of marinating. All this consists of is simply steeping your meat or fish by placing it into what amounts to a pickling solution before you cook it. Frankly, I find it quite tasty and cannot fathom the idea of why anyone would object to simply trying it. If you are venturesome to prepare veggies in different ways, why would you hesitate when it comes to using various tactics when preparing meats? A spice rack also gets a tremendous workout in my home.

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