HARD BOILED EGGS

Hard to believe Easter is right around the corner. With that in mind I have a fool proof method for boiling eggs so your yolks come out perfectly yellow. I hate cutting into a hard boiled egg only to find a green ring around my yolk. I’m a yolk kinda gal so it’s very important to me…hahaha.

I have heard and seen all sorts of methods from throwing a penny in the water, adding a ton of salt, add some vinegar, and the list goes on and on. Truthfully, none of those have ever worked for me. I have found that fresh eggs present the biggest problem. Dont you just hate when you peel an egg only to lose all the white? They look horrible and the only thing you can do with them is add them to salads, or, hide them and eat them when nobody is looking.

I place my not so fresh eggs in a pan big enough to accomodate them without them laying on top of one another. Then add cold water to cover. On high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. When that happens, immediately remove them from the heat, and cover with a lid.  Set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, place them in a water and ice bath. The object here is to stop the cooking process. Your yolks will be perfectly yellow.

So, when Peter Cottontail rolls around, you will have eggs worthy of any Easter basket. Our family loves them Easter morning with toasted Easter Bread. Bet ya can’t guess what the next post is!!!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

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SUNSHINE CAKE & MY DOMAIN….

Well, I now own the domain “aroundthebutcherblock.com”. Thanks to my daughter, who is very good at these things.  All I had to do was have Sunday dinner and tell her I needed help. Just like that, I own it. I am hoping, that together, we can better organize this site. In doing so, making it easier to locate specific recipes. Bear with me as I go through this transition.

My one son-in-law loves sweets and fortunately is able to eat them. He also loves pineapple. So I made a dessert I found called Sunshine Cake. It is a Weight Watcher friendly cake coming in at 9 SP per serving. I made a couple changes and it worked out perfectly. It is moist, light, and loaded with flavor. More importantly, it was quick and easy. The icing stands on it’s own as a dessert.

I can see different flavors and have some ideas on how to change it up. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I hope you try this one. I think it would be the perfect guilt free Easter dessert.

SUNSHINE CAKE

16 SERVINGS/9SP PER SERVING

  • 1 (18oz) box of yellow or white cake mix
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (20oz) can of crushed pineapple, divided in 1/2 (do not drain)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of liquid egg whites
  • 1 (12oz) container of Cool Whip lite
  • 1 (1.5oz) package of Sugar Free instant vanilla, lemon, or white chocolate pudding mix
  • Vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 cake pan with non-stick spray
  3. In a bowl, add the cake mix, egg whites, 1/2 the pineapple, and the applesauce and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix as directed on the package with a hand mixer.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake at 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted and removed. Cool completely.
  5. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting: mix the Cool Whip Lite, instant pudding, other half of the crushed pineapple and juices, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and set aside in the refrigerator to set.
  6. Frost the top of the cake, making sure it has cooled completely.
  7. Cut into squares and serve, keep refrigerated.

Note: If you use lemon pudding use fresh squeezed lemon juice, instead of the vanilla, in the cake and icing. You can also add some lemon zest.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

CAJUN SHRIMP & CAULIFLOWER GRITS

I love Shrimp, and I love Shrimp and Grits. What I don’t love is all the butter and heavy cream required to make grits palatable and creamy. So I decided to do my own take on a dish that I love.

Joe brought home some Shrimp.  It’s one of those dishes whether  you are watching your weight or not, it’s just good. They are,  in fact, an excellent choice when you are watching the calories. Steamed and grilled are excellent choices since you aren’t adding extra fat. They have also been touted as being one of those foods that boost your metabolism, and have antixoidants, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Spicy foods are also a metabolism booster.  Winner, winner, shrimp dinner!

Something else I love is mashed, or pureed cauliflower. It’s a great vehicle for many flavors. It can be mashed, broiled, pureed, or baked. I use it all he time in place of potatoes to reduce calories and carbs. I have actually become very adept in making it taste like mashed potatoes. So much so, that when I served it to someone he said, “These are the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. What did you do to them?”  I had to laugh, but was, at the same time flattered he didn’t know what they were. By the way, he didn’t believe me when I told him it was cauliflower. Don’t get me wrong, I love potatoes and I cook them all the time. When I want a huge portion however, cauliflower mash does it for me every time.

Try the cauliflower on it’s own and add flavors that you like. I find adding some turnip to the mix gives it that earthy flavor like potato but no added carbs. When I make cauliflower as a side dish, I also grate a bit of fresh nutmeg in it. It gives it a nice hint of warmth. Be careful, nutmeg can be overpowering if you use too much. Last, but not least, when making cauliflower mash; steam it. It absorbs a lot of water when boiled, and will make your mash runny.

This is another weight friendly recipe. I promise it is big on flavor and very filling. If any of you use the point system from Weight Watchers it is only 7 Smart Points and makes two huge portions or as the say in the south “boo coo, boo coo”.

CAJUN SHRIMP & CAULIFLOWER GRITS

For the Cauliflower

  • 1/4 C fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tsp granulated chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 Tbsp Brummel & Brown spread
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 small turnip or 1/2 cup, peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 wedges of Laughing Cow White Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and fresh ground Pepper to taste

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, without the tails
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 Tbsp Brummel & Brown spread
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp white wine
  • 1/4 C fat free chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 of 1 link of hot lean Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • cooking spray (I use Pam olive oil spray)
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Assemble and prepare all the ingredients first.
  2. For the cauliflower mash: place the cauliflower, turnip, smashed garlic, and 1/4 C chicken broth in a container covered with plastic wrap or a steamer and microwave at high for 4 minutes, stir and cook an additional 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer all to a blender or food processor with a slotted spoon, along with the granulated chicken boullion, Brummel & Brown and Laughing Cow cheese. Process until smooth or to desired consistency.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into 2 bowls and place in a warm oven.
  5. For the Shrimp: Coat the shrimp liberally with Cajun seasoning, toss to coat evenly.
  6. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray and add 1/2 Tbsp Brummel and Brown until melted.
  7. Cook the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks for about 5 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook on each side for about 1 minute or until pink, about 1-2 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium; add the tomato paste, garlic, and scallions to the shrimp and sausage mixture, stirring all together and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant and the scallions are softened, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the white wine and the chicken broth and bring to the boil and cook for about 2 minutes or until sauce is developed.
  10. Divide the servings in half and put over top of the hot bowls of cauliflower grits and garnish with parsley if using.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

LIQUID ASSETS (LA) IN OCEAN CITY

Well, as I said before, it’s home show season for my husband. This weekend was no exception. He was at the home show in Ocean City at the Convention Center this past weekend. With a prime spot at the entrance, he had a very productive, busy weekend. After the show it’s time to relax and we have the perfect spot, Liquid Assets, or LA.

It’s a pretty cool place. It’s a package store that sells liquor, beer, and wine. There is a sizeable bar in the center of the store, with tables and couches and various places to sit and eat. The walls, lined with bottles, coolers of beer, old wine barrels and crates, make up the decor to create an eclectic atmosphere. But, the food is the star of this place. You must go! Be prepared to wait, they do not take reservations and the place is always packed. The drinks flow freely, and the staff could not be more attentive.

The menu includes items such as house made Pate’, various varieties of oysters, seafood potpie, steaks, sandwiches, fresh salads, and homemade doughnuts. Their bread puddings change with the season and are fantastic. There are a vast array of cheeses to choose from and meats so that you can indulge in a Charcuterie’ board. It’s great to pick out your favorites and share over cocktails. But these are just a few items, their menu is on line.

We went with our friends Jennifer, and Kevin who also participate in the Spring home shows. We introduced them to LA after realizing they loved food as much as we do. We actually went there twice this trip. They became fast fans and like us, know they are going to get good food and great service.

Our meals were great! Both Jennifer and I love roasted brussel sprouts. They prepare Buffalo Brussel Sprouts with Blue Cheese dressing on the side as a starter. Honestly, I could have made that my meal. It’s more than an ample portion and huge on flavor. Of course my Vodka Martini with Blue Cheese olives didn’t hurt my feelings either. 

I am proud to say that I duplicated the recipe and it was just as satisfying. I roasted my brussel sprouts, halved, tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper. I cooked them until they started browning and were al dente. Then they were finished under the broiler so they were extra crispy. Out of the oven, with a toss in my favorite buffalo sauce and a side of blue cheese for dipping. They turned out great. 

My Buffalo Brussel Sprouts will keep me happy until I can dine there again! When your in Ocean City, stop by there and try them out. I guarantee it will become a fast favorite for you too.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars

Woop woop……you have got to try these! They are in the freezer section where you do your shopping. I found mine at Walmart.

My biggest downfall when trying to lose weight is sweets. Seems the older I get the worse it gets. There is a scientific fact to support this. As time marches on and we mature, sweet is the most prevalent tastebud. Great!!!! 

Anyway, I decided to make some yogurt pops. So off to the store I went in search of ingredients and happened to see these babies. I quickly whipped out my bar code scanner from Weight Watchers.  Much to my surprise…….3 Smart Points. What!!!!????? So I abandoned making them and in my cart they went. 

I bought the Sea Salt and Caramel, and the Coffee flavored ones. Both 3 points a pop. There were two other varieties, Cookie Dough, and Mint Chocolate Chip coming in at 4 Smart Points. Still not bad!!!

I had one last night and am in love. If you like ice cream and you like sweets you definitely don’t want to miss this one. I feel like I discovered the new world….hahaha. Give them a try! I would love to hear your thoughts and which one is your favorite.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Grandmom Minnie’s Yeast Rolls

It’s March 13th! There are threats of a huge snow storm for the eastern states. My husband thinks I talked this one up…haha! Truly, I am ready for Spring and flowers and some sunshine. Whatever the weather brings, we will deal with it and move on.

In my last post I mentioned my Grandmother Minnie’s yeast rolls and was asked by a reader if I would give them the recipe. I can still smell her kitchen every time these are made or served somewhere. She was a wonderful woman and cooked every day of her life. She made enough to feed an army, and most times had that many at her table.

A big pot of stew or soup are the perfect vehicle for these rolls. They will become a quick favorite. Be careful though, it’s hard to eat just one. Serve warm and with plenty of good butter. Enjoy!

GRANDMOM MINNIE’S YEAST ROLLS

  • 1 C warm water
  • 2 pkgs, active dry yeast
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/2 C all purpose flour
  1. Combine the warm water and the yeast in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. (if your yeast does not bubble on the surface, it’s no good. Get some new yeast. Also remember if the water is too hot it will kill your yeast.)
  2. Stir in the butter, sugar, eggs, and salt and 1 C of the flour.
  3. Continue to add flour a 1/2 C at a time until the dough is too stiff to mix. (you may or may not need all of the 4 1/2 C of flour. It varies when I make these dependent on the weather. So if it all won’t fit, don’t add it.)
  4. Cover the dough (I use plastic wrap) and refrigerate 2 hours.
  5. Grease a 13×9 pan.
  6. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  7. Divide into 24 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth round ball. Place in even rows in the greased pan.
  8. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise about 1 hour or until doubled in a warm place. (The oven is a great place with just the oven light on to let them rise.)
  9. Remove from the oven when risen. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes.
  10. Brush with melted butter and break apart to serve.

Yield: 2 dozen rolls

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

OLD SALTY’S BAKED PINEAPPLE

What a great meal and a great night at Old Salty’s Restaurant. If you haven’t been you need to take the trip. A day trip would be great if you haven’t been there. Located in Fishing Creek, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, the view is nothing less than spectacular.

We went to dinner with our friends the Fleming’s and their daughter last night. I had one of the best meals I have had in a long time. We all had an appetizer of Honga River oysters, raw, on the half shell. Salty, sweet, fat, and plenty of taste. You don’t get any fresher than that. I got the crab cake with kale, and beets, best crab cake I have had in a long time. It was nothing but chunks of fresh crab meat, no filler there. Our friends had the stuffed flounder. It was a beautiful piece of moist white meat with a mound of crab imperial under it that rivals any stuffed flounder I have ever seen. Joe got the shrimp and scallop combo and a side of collard greens and the baked pineapple. After dinner we all looked at each other and said “we need to come back here more often”. Everything is homemade and fresh and pleasing on the palate. By the way, if you like stewed tomatoes do not miss ordering them here. Made in true Eastern Shore fashion, sweet enough to eat for dessert. I had a nostalgic moment when I tasted the yeast roll, which reminded me of my Grandmom, Minnie Bloodsworth.

Our waitress, Mary, was fantastic as well as entertaining. She made sure everything was just the way we wanted it. My friend Rhonda, asked her; “have you ever seen any ghosts?” With a little gleam in her eye she said “I sure have.” We were told about the lady that is seen from time to time in the far back booth. Apparently she comes in and sits down, when the staff go to get her a menu and come back she is no longer there. There are also two women that have been seen by people passing by. They come into the restaurant looking for the two women that wave to them only to find out, they were never there. The owner, Jay, came out with a historical book and showed us a picture of two women. He said when he showed the customers the picture they pointed to them, saying “that’s them”. The picture was taken many years ago when the school was in use, so the two school girls in the picture passed away many years ag0.  Have cold chills yet? There was a tale of butter flying across the room and of a water pitcher being poured in mid air. All in all, we really got our moneys worth!

Mary could tell I was beside myself over the baked pineapple. Out she comes with the recipe and an explanation of exactly how it is made. I am going to share it with you but honestly, you just need to go there and try it for yourself. Ask for Mary and make sure you meet Jay. You will also say, “we need to come here more often.”
BAKED PINEAPPLE FROM OLD SALTY’S

  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple with the juice
  • 2 slices of bread, cubed in large chunks
  • 1/4-1/2 C melted butter
  1. Butter an 8×8 baking dish
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, flour, and pineapple together and put in the greased baking dish
  3. Put the cubed bread on top and pour the melted butter over it
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. 

Served hot or cold it is to die for!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

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