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2009 Holiday Recipe Contest

Sponsored by Texas Peanut Producers

The peanut is evidently a popular ingredient among cooks out there in co-op land.

This year marked Texas Co-op Power’s first Holiday Recipe Contest sponsored by the Texas Peanut Producers Board, and we received an amazing response from our readers. More than 1,400 entries, a record for the magazine’s annual holiday contest, poured into my inbox and mailbox, and the versatile legume was featured in every way imaginable: from soup to, well, nuts.

Picking the winner from among all the strong competitors was a tall order: Staff members here at Texas Electric Cooperatives (TEC) cooked and ate their way through many entries before settling on our finalists.

My thanks to my fellow Texas Co-op Power staff members who cooked and everyone at TEC who sampled and shared their opinions. I’d especially like to thank our sponsor, the Texas Peanut Producers Board, which represents peanut farmers across the state.

Picking the best recipe from among the finalists was no easy task, but Myrna Toote’s Peanut “Meat” Balls won us over with their easy preparation, sweet and sour flavor and remarkable meaty texture—although they don’t contain an ounce of meat.

Take these to your next potluck, either as an hors d’oeuvre or a main dish, and I’ll wager no one will guess your secret.

$3,000 Grand Prizewinner

Myrna Toote, Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative

Myrna said she first developed her meatless meatballs years ago when she lived in Michigan and needed to come up with something suitable for a dinner for new church members who were vegetarians.

Over the intervening years, she made the dish several times, adjusting the ingredients and improving the recipe.

Myrna, an educational psychologist, is married to Paul and is currently staying at home in McKinney to care for their twin son and daughter.

Paul II and Jasmine turned 2 in October, a day after their mom turned 40. “I had so much excitement on my [38th] birthday that I went into labor the next day,” she said.

She cooks often for the family, describing her culinary style “as throwing stuff together.”

“I’m not a cookbook cook,” she explained. But when creating this recipe for the contest, she says, “I actually had to go through the process of measuring and writing stuff down.”

We think she did a great job.

Peanut ‘Meat’ Balls

1  1/4 cups cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely ground raw peanuts
3/4 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons minced parsley
Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix well all ingredients except Apricot Barbecue Sauce in a bowl. Form into 1  1/2- to 2-inch balls (about the size of a small lime) and put into 12×9-inch casserole dish. Pour Apricot Barbecue Sauce over top and bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

Apricot Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
2 tablespoons grated onions
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash hot pepper sauce

Mix all ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil.

Servings: 6. Serving size: 2 meatballs. Per serving: 528 calories, 15.7 g protein, 25.1 g fat, 60.6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 877 mg sodium, 155 mg cholesterol