Mini Reindeer Cakes

Looking for a festive sweet treat to bake for your Christmas guests? Look no further then this blog entry!

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Cake pops will be the death of me, I am sure of it.  Every year at Christmas time my mom asks me to bake something for her office party.  She hates/can’t cook, and she’ll be the first to admit it.  I have been obsessed with mastering the cake pop, so I thought I would try again.  I used a different recipe this time, and still they didn’t come out like the perfect pops I see at stores.

I couldn’t send my mom to work with those disasters, so I had to think on my feet.  I used the batter to create these cookie shaped cakes, and decorated them with this awesome kit.  Making the cakes takes no time at all, and is much simpler than attempted those damn cake pops!

Ingredients

Any Cake Mix (I used devil’s food cake)

Pudding Mix (Match the flavor of the mix to the flavor of the cake. I used chocolate cake mix, and chocolate pudding mix)

3 Large Eggs

Milk

Vegetable Oil

Baking Spray

Cake Decorating Kit

Directions:

Your cake mix box will provide you with instructions.  It will tell you to use water.  Replace the water with half the amount of milk.  If the box instructs you to use 2 cups of water, you would use 1 cup of milk instead.  Once the wet ingredients have been whisked together, add the cake mix.  Do not over stir the cake batter, simply make sure that all ingredients are wet.  Next, add the pudding mix and stir together until wet.

Take a wide cup, and place a plastic ziplock bag inside of the cup.  Make sure the top bag covers the edges of the cup.  Using your mixing spoon, spoon in the cake mixture into the ziplock baggy.  Once filled, cut the tip off of the bottom corner of the bag.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray your baking sheet with baking spray, so that the cakes to do not stick to the pan.  Pipe your cake mix onto a baking sheet in a circular motion, creating a circle the size of a medium cookie.  Let the cakes bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.  Let sit, and cool.

Once cooled, take chocolate frosting and cover the top of the cakes only.  Add your candy ears, eyes, noses, and bows.  You’re all done, and ready to enjoy with your guests.

Have a question about the recipe? Leave a comment below.

Happy Holidays!

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Pork Chops & Pasta? It Happened

pork chops and pasta

What’s for Dinner?

Sometimes you have to force someone to take a chance, even if it’s just to experiment with food.  We can get so set in our ways when it comes to what we eat.  Visiting the same restaurants, ordering the same dishes, cooking the same meal night after night.  We grow up on certain types of food depending on our cultural backgrounds, then grow up and find other types of foods intimidating.  While the foods you grew up on were amazing, you’ll miss out on some great meals If you never try new things.

My boyfriend’s sister was kind enough to send us a giant package of meat from Omaha steaks for his birthday.  Among the amazing steaks were a few pork chops.  I knew my boyfriend would love them, despite his hate of pork. My mission would be to cook the pork chops in a way where he couldn’t deny their amazing flavor.

I chose to apply my fail-safe marinade to the pork chops, and fix a side of pasta to go with them.  The recipe for these bomb.com pork chops is below.

Ingredients:

Pork Chops (Amount depends on who you’re cooking for. My boyfriend was able to eat 3 in one meal)

Pasta (I used regular spaghetti noodles, you can use any type of noodle you prefer)

Marinade:

Balsamic Vinegar

2 tablespoon Oregano

1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 tablespoon Pepper

1 tablespoon Garlic Salt

Olive Oil

Pre-Cooking Instructions:

The night before I coated the pork chops in olive oil.  Take a tablespoon of olive oil and rub it into the meat.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: garlic salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and pepper.

Sprinkle the mixture over the pork chops and pat down compacting the dry ingredients.

put the pork chops into a plastic Ziplock bag, and add the balsamic vinegar.

Put into the refrigerator, and let sit over night.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat your oven to 200 F

Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a sauce pan, and add your pork chops

Place the pork chops into the oven without a lid.

Let cook for 10 minutes then flip the pork chops, and let them cook for another 10 minutes

Take the pan out of the oven and put it on the stove top over high heat.

Cook the pork chops on either side for 1 to five minutes depending how brown you want the outside.

Take a piece of aluminum foil and loosely tent the pan letting the pork sit for 10 minutes

This will save the pork juices, preventing drying.

pork chops in pan

Pasta:

Boil Water

Add salt and teaspoon of olive oil

Add pasta when water comes to a boil

Cook aldente and drain

Remove pork chops from the cooking pan

Do not clean the pan.

Place pan over medium heat, and add pasta.

Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and tablespoon of olive oil

Mix the pasta with the drippings from the pork chops

Cook for five minutes or until mixed.

Plate with pork chops and serve!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe.  Come visit us here at Meeshme.com again soon!

Balsamic Salmon Sliders

Barbecuing might seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t be.  The dishes you can make using your BBQ are endless.  Today’s recipe is simpler than you might think, thanks to your trusty grill.

salmon sliders

To make these delicious seafood sliders, start by preparing your salmon.  Start with a boneless, skinless filet of salmon.  Take out a large sheet of aluminum foil.  Set your grill to medium heat.  Create a dry rub using salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt.  Rub your salmon filet with these ingredients.  Place your salmon filet on the large sheet of foil.  Next, heavily drizzle balsamic vinegar over the salmon.  Add pats of cold butter on top of and around the salmon filet.  Cover the salmon completely by folding over the aluminum foil.  Place the foil directly on top of your grill.  Let the salmon cook on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes.

While your salmon is cooking, you can begin to prepare the biscuits and cabbage slaw.  You can make biscuits from scratch, or take a shortcut by using the ready to bake kind found in your local freezer section.  I used Pillsburry flaky layers biscuits.  Using a biscuit that flakes easily is important, because you’ll be dividing them in half to make each slider.  Bake the biscuits per package instructions.  To make the slaw, start by making the simple dressing.  Mix four table spoons of olive oil and vinegar.  Add black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Next, take shredded cabbage, and blend in bowl with dressing.

When your biscuits have cooled, pull them apart creating two equal pieces.  Do this to each of your biscuits.  You can add a slice of your favorite cheese.  I used provolone cheese.  Place the salmon on top of the bottom biscuit.  Add your cabbage slaw, and place the second biscuit piece on top.  And you’re done! Enjoy.

Skip the Chain Restaurant Game

Cook at home

You Get to Lick the Bowl

Sure cooking at home takes a little more work than driving to the Cheesecake Factory, but the results are worth the effort.

1) Mo Money in Your Pocket.

Eating out gets expensive, and these aren’t the times to be squandering your pennies on a meal you could create at home.  Cooking can become expensive as well, but if you are smart about how you shop, you can definitely save a couple hundred dollars a month.  There are few dishes that a restaurant can make at lower cost by purchasing in bulk, but most meals can be made at home at lower cost.  Certain conveniences like pre-cut vegetables and fruits, and frozen pre-made meals can get pricey, so if you’re on a budget you will get much more for your buck by cutting your own produce.

2) Get Fresh with Me.

You would be surprised to learn how many restaurants use Campbell’s soup, or packaged pre-made sauces.  If you’re going to eat these pre-made items, why would you spend $15 to $20 on a night at an Italian restaurant when you could spend $5 and eat from home.  Those chain restaurants you love get their meals from test kitchens.  A chef prepares the meals in a test kitchen ahead of time, the meals get packaged, frozen and shipped to your chain location where they then proceed to microwave your order.  Doesn’t sound to appealing does it? Not to mention the fact that places like TGIFridays sells these same items at your local grocery store, and you can microwave the dish yourself and skip the tip.  Taking the time to pick out fresh produce, meats, and cheeses will taste so much better on your plate.

3) That has HOW many calories?

Now that it’s pretty standard to display calorie amounts on restaurant menus, life has become pretty depressing.  I find it very difficult to enjoy eating out when I can see that my one dish has more calories than I should be eating in an entire day.  As someone who has lost over 85 pounds, calorie counting became an important part of my life.  From the age of 16 I started researching how many calories are in food items.  I know that a bean and cheese burrito I make at home has less than 300 calories, so why is it up to 900 calories when you eat out? And there is just NO reason why a salad should ever have 1,000 calories.  When you prepare your own meals at home you can cut so many unwanted calories.  Try cooking from home for one month, and see how much weight you lose.

4) Tip Yourself

Tipping has always been an interesting topic for me.  I have a set of tasks I have to accomplish at work every day.  Whether I am friendly and smile all day, or act grumpy, I’m going to get paid the same amount.  If I decide to bring my boss his cup of coffee, or ask if he would like a refill, I’m not going to get paid any more.  As a waiter/waitress you are being paid to serve people drinks and food.  It is in your job description to bring them what they ask for, and check up on them.  That is your job.  The restaurant owner should be paying you an adequate salary for performing your job tasks.  It shouldn’t be up to me to make up the difference for what your boss stiffs you on.  Are you going to pay me extra when you see my ads on Google, because you think I’m not being paid enough for what I do? I don’t think so.  That being said, I always tip around 18%. I know how it feels to struggle, and I’d be embarrassed if I tipped any less than what was standard.  If I’m on a budget I won’t go to a restaurant.  I won’t stiff on the tip, I just won’t go.  If I make my own meal, I get the credit and I can save my tip.

5) The Wait

When I get really hungry I might as well be lost on an alien planet. I know I’m hungry, but I’m lost as to what I want to eat.  I know I need food in me now, but that’s about it.  My patience grows very thin, I feel weak, and I sometimes want to cry.  So dramatic, but it’s true.  When I’m hungry, and I walk into a restaurant where the hostess tells me it’s going to be 30 minutes to an hour for me to be seated, I want to throw my purse at her.  Not only do you have to wait to be seated, you have to wait for the server to get to your table, take your order, get the food prepared, then bring it to you.  In all that time I could have just fixed myself a sandwich at home in under 10 minutes.