These are some of the dishes our family has traditionally sampled during the Christmas season. Our tradition involves serving primarily hors d’ oeuvres on Christmas Eve, followed by a big dinner on Christmas Day.
A typical Christmas Eve menu might be:
– Sweet and Sour Meatballs
– Italian-style Antipasto: Cold cuts, grilled bell peppers, pepperoncini, provolone, french bread for mini-sandwiches, & mustard
– Gourmet Cheese assortment
– Pate with cornichons & mustard
– Blue Cheese and Walnut Creme de Fromage on French Bread
– Drinks: Egg Nog w/ Rum and Gluhewein
– Dessert: Wall O’ Schnapps, Chili Fudge, and Christmas Cookies.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
This recipe was lent to my mom by an old and dear friend who made her promise never to give it up. Because of this, I’m reluctant to publish it, but the recipe is so tasty I have to share.
My mother started making this one pretty late in the game, while I was in high school. At least that’s when I really started seeing it for Christmas Eves. Before that, she would make some to take to pot luck adult-only cocktail parties, but I seldom saw them! They have some real bite to them due to the vinegar, but they are just the right balance of flavors in your mouth. These are always the first things to go at a party, so we usually make a double batch.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs…
1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp allspice
1 can pineapple tidbits
1/4 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix together hamburger, bread crumbs, and allspice. Make small meatballs from the mixture. Brown in oil, remove, and drain.
Drain pineapple and keep juice. Add water to juice to get 11/2 cups. Put juice mixture, soy, and vinegar in skillet. Add sugar, corn starch, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil, simmer, and whisk gently until sauce thickens and clears.
Add the meatballs and pineapple. Simmer until all is warm.
Christmas Butter Cookies
My mother was making these cookies a few days before Christmas for as long as I can remember. They’re a lot like the shortbread cookies many people get in round tins around the holidays, except my mother always wanted to make her own. Of course made-from-scratch cookies are going to come out better than anything you get out of a tin!
Like the store-bought shortbread cookies, these will keep for considerably longer than other kinds of cookies, so we always make plenty to snack on throughout the week between Christmas and New Year’s.