Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays bloggers and readers! Get ready for a long post because mom and I went all out for this meal!
This was a complete meal with appetizer, sides, main course, and dessert. I will break up this post by food category, and I’m only including photos of the finished dishes rather then prep photos + finished product photos. I tried to take prep photos, but I realized that would be a lot of pictures, so I decided against that.
Appetizer- For our appetizer we decided on fresh bruschetta on sliced and toasted french bread. This was a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients needed. We made the bruschetta the day before because it needed to sit at room temperature for a few hours. We made the bread the day of because it just need to be put in the oven with some olive oil on top for toasting. It turned out great, and the flavor of the leftover bruschetta just got better and better the longer it sat.
Recipe here – http://www.spendwithpennies.com/hollys-bruschetta/
Sides – For our sides we had some regular mashed potatoes that mom made, and buffalo chicken pasta salad that we found on Pintrest. This pasta salad was excellent, and really had that buffalo taste and spice. We left out the chicken because we thought that might be too much with the main course and everything else. However, I think that this dish could definitely be a main course if the chicken were added. The spice wasn’t too much, but it did get spicier the longer it sat in the fridge, so just a heads up there. This also had a rather short list of ingredients, and it took no time at all to make. It was mostly just adding the ingredients, and mixing them together in a bowl. Cooking the noodles is what took the longest.
Recipe here – http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/post/1425329/2903662123 (Warning the recipe never actually says when to add the chicken or how much to put in, so if you decide to try this and add chicken you will just have to guess on the amount. For cooking I would suggest just putting frozen tenders in a skillet with some vegetable/olive oil, or putting them on a George Foreman, then chopping into bite sized pieces and adding to the pasta salad mixture.)
Main Course – This was probably the best part of the whole meal, and I would make this again in a second. For our main course we chose to make brown sugar balsamic glazed pork tenderloin in the crock pot. Just typing it out I can taste it again. The prep for the pork was easy, and of course the crock pot does all the rest, so by the time it was ready to eat it was perfectly tender and full of flavor. The recipe suggests putting the pork in the oven to broil and create a more caramelized look, but we opted to not do that. We definitely weren’t disappointed in our decision as it still tasted wonderful. We did hold back the extra sauce for dipping, and that is something I would recommend as it gives the full flavor the recipe wants you to have. I am also a fan of sauce! We cut the recipe in half because only three of us were eating, so we only had a pound of pork instead of two.
Recipe here – http://laurassweetspot.com/2013/06/12/crockpot-brown-sugar-balsamic-glazed-pork-tenderloin/
Dessert – for the final part of the meal we chose to make chocolate cup cakes with peanut butter frosting, all from scratch. We made these the day before as well because the prep time was kind of long, and I think it actually took us a little longer then the recipe said it would, so something to keep in mind. The recipe also calls for a Reese Cup in the center of the cup ckaes, which we did add, but it didn’t turn out quite like the picture, ours was actually flat and squished on the bottom. I would recommend leaving them out, but of course that is up to you! We also left out the coffee the recipe calls for, and that didn’t seem to affect anything as far as cooking and consistency in the cakes. However, over all these cup cakes were really good, and a big hit with everyone that got to try them. They are very rich though, so don’t plan on eating more then one at a time, unless you can really stomach the rich stuff! The frosting was my favorite part, it had the perfect sweet and peanut buttery flavor I thought it would have, and it was the perfect companion to the chocolate cup cakes. It also wasn’t difficult to make the frosting from scratch, just mixing everything together in a kitchen mixer!
Unfortunately I didn’t snap a photo of our cupcakes, so I am using one from the website where the recipe is posted. Recipe here – http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cupcakes/#_a5y_p=1169711
This is probably one of my favorite meals to date, and I would highly recommend any of these recipes as they were all perfectly delicious!