Friday, July 13, 2012

Burning the midnight oil...again.

Well the 1:30am oil actually. No matter how hard we try, it seems we can't get away from late night before prep. At least it wasn't too much, and we should have very little to do in the morning.

We wanted to do a no grill BBQ this year. Either Jason or Pop Pop Randy are usually stuck for hours at the grill during our parties, not a very fun place to be. So this year, thanks to....Pinterest, we plan to do crock pot hot dogs and mini meatballs. The meatballs need an 8 hour cook, so we made them up and started them before we went to bed.
Cranberry Chili Mini MeatballsMakes 70 mini meatballs
Prep time: 30 minutes (*see note below)
Cook time: 8 hours on low

***We one and a halfed the rec.
• 2 pounds lean ground beef
• 1 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh onions
• salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup ketchup
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
• 1 (12 ounce) bottle sweet chili sauce

Combine beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, onions, and salt & pepper.

In a large bowl; using a tablespoon measure, shape mixture into 1 inch meatballs.
Combine ketchup, brown sugar, cranberry sauce, and chili sauce in a slow cooker (crockpot); gently stir in meatballs.
Cover with lid; cook on low setting 8 hours. Serve with toothpicks, optional.
*Note: this recipe also works with pre-made frozen mini meatballs if you’re short on time (or unmotivated!) Reduce cooking time to 4 hours.

Fruit is always a party fave, so we include it every year...which means it is also a last min, night before prep too. We had a little rainbow fun with the fruit this year, rainbow fruit skewers and I painted our watermelon basket with a little rainbow and cloud design.
The other last minute thing we did was our 6 layer rainbow cake!
Don't know yet about the cake, but the frosting is amazing...and I am NOT a frosting lover, I almost never eat it. This will be our go to frosting from now on.

It wasn't an easy cake to make...and we did have to remake one of the 6 layers after it broke trying to get it out of the pan, but it turned out great. Hope it is a hit tomorrow!
We used 8" pans, and 3 boxes of white cake mix. 1 box of cake mix will make two 8" cakes. So we made 2 cakes at a time....once you prepare the cake mix split it into two bowls and color them, then bake. Make sure you grease (we used Pam) the pans WELL, so the cakes come out without damage. 

You have to cut the tops off the cakes so the next layer can sit on it level. Frost between each layer, and then all over.
For the yummy frosting:
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold milk
8 ounces Cool Whip, Thawed

We timed this by 4 and have just enough for this big cake.

Mix dry pudding mix, milk and powdered sugar with mixer for 1 minute until creamy. Fold in cool whip. Spread on cake. We chilled the frosting before using it for a good 5 hours...helped it thicken up a bit.

So ready for tomorrow!!!

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