German Birthday Feast

Friday was my husband’s 40th birthday, and we made a German “feast”, so to speak, of some of his favorite foods along with other German dishes. It wasn’t until after he left for work on Friday that I even put the menu together, so we had to take some shortcuts, as you’ll see below.

One of his favorite dishes at Schmidts (a local German restaurant) is sauerkraut balls, kind of like a croquette with sauerkraut and sausage inside. We modified and combined this and this recipe on Recipezaar to come up with our version.


Sauerkraut Balls with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

For the balls:
8 oz. beer bratwurst, removed from casing and crumbled
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
14 oz. can sauerkraut (squeeze dry and chop fine)
2 tbsp. plain bread crumbs
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. flour
2 beaten eggs
1/4 c. milk
1 c. plain breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
3/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. honey
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic salt

Cook bratwurst and onion until meat is brown; drain. Add sauerkraut and 2 tbsp. bread crumbs to the mixture. Combine cream cheese, parsley, mustard, garlic salt, and pepper. Add to sauerkraut mixture. Chill one hour. Form into small balls and coat with flour. Dip in egg-milk mixture and roll in bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat until brown. Serve hot with dipping sauce on the side.

To make the dipping sauce, mix all sauce ingredients together to combine, and serve alongside sauerkraut balls.

For the second course, we made German Lentil Soup with Frankfurters. While it looked pretty enough, neither one of us cared for the taste or texture.


For the main course, I used my grandmother’s recipe for frikadellen (the same meat mixture I use for her layered ground beef and cabbage – basically just 3 lbs. ground beef mixed with 2 eggs, 5 or 6 caraway rolls soaked in milk until soft, a tablespoon of maggi, 2 tsp of salt, and 3/4 tsp. of pepper – but this time I criss-crossed the bottom of giant muffin cups with a slice of bacon, and made frikadellen meatloaf muffins. On the side, I made a batch of my favorite spaetzle recipe which I tossed with brown butter. Yum.


For dessert, since I was so short on time, I couldn’t make a real Black Forest Cherry Cake, so I made Black Forest Dump Cake. Not exactly the same, but it had the vibe I was looking for. This was delicious with some whipped cream, I loved the deep chocolate flavor and the texture of the nuts along with crunchy bits of chocolate. This comes together very quickly, too – so it’s ideal for a last minute dessert that can bake in the oven while you’re sitting down to dinner.


Black Forest Dump Cake
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained with juice reserved
21 oz. can cherry pie filling
18 1/2 oz. package devil’s food cake mix (without pudding)
1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
whipped topping
chocolate shavings (optional, I didn’t use these)

Spread drained pineapple in a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan. Add pie filling, spreading gently. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pie filling. Sprinkle with pecans. Combine butter and reserved pineapple liquid. Drizzle on cake mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares (I just scooped it up like a bread pudding), top with whipped cream and (optional) chocoalte shavings.

Our 11th anniversary is this Thursday, and I’m not sure yet what we’ll be doing. Probably going out to eat since neither one of us is up to cooking another huge meal. Anyone have any suggestions for somewhere romantic where you don’t have to get all dressed up for?

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