So, with the hubby’s birthday right in the smack of pumpkin month, I don’t even ask him what flavor cake he wants. He’d normally say “chocolate,” but in September, October and November, the only option is pumpkin spice. Check out my Lightened Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake (gluten-free), get the recipe and find out what yumminess I served it with. Continue reading
Today I’m sharing my healthier (but just as heavenly) version of a Gooey Butter Cake – I’m calling it Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake. Before I dive into the recipe (uh . . . figuratively and literally), let me tell you how this sweet treat came to life . . . ‘cause I usually don’t make a lot of cakes.
So, last week I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the super decadent Banana Foster Butter Cake at Eddie V’s Seafood Restaurant– it’s loaded with fat and sugar (as the name more than hints) and was topped with caramel, whipped cream and butter pecan ice cream. It didn’t take long to remember just how delicious this style of ooey, gooey, butter batter sticky cake actually is – in the past I had made Paula Deen’s version – she’s the Queen of Butter, y’all!
Not that I have anything against butter or cream cheese or even a bit of actual sugar in moderation – but, there is absolutely no moderation in these traditional recipes — a modest sized piece with no toppings is pushing 600 calories! That’s fine every 25 years (haha), but not every weekend. I surfed the internet looking for a healthier butter cake, a preferably one that was gluten-free and lower in sugar so all my family and friends could partake in the cake partaaaay! I found a reasonably good-sounding Bobby Flay riff (however, not gluten-free) and a few other “meh” makeover recipes as well. Naturally, in the end, I did my own thing based on the concepts and am more than pleased with the results.
And, according to calculations, my version has 188 calories per serving and 8 grams of fat while the, ahem, Southern Lady version has 545 calories and 28 grams of fat for the same size serving! Both nutrition counts are calculated without toppings or a la mode!
Today my gluten-free cake is shown with strawberries to keep it lighter, but I’ve also done bananas and caramel sauce.
I’m also a big fan of this gluten-free Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake from Cooking Light! Check it out!
What would you put on top of your Gooey Butter Cake? What is your go-to dessert for celebrations? How many years have you been married, if you’d like to share! XOXO — Jennifer
‘Tis the season for eating well and enjoying the experience with family and friends. Serving a perfectly prepared beef roast is always a showstopper at holiday celebrations and dinner parties. It can be our little secret, but roasting beef actually requires very little time and effort! I learned everything I need to know from my dad (who does a tenderloin roast every Christmas) and my friends at the Texas Beef Council.
With my easy-to-follow tips that follow, you can transform a large hunk of beef into a delicious roast ready to be carved into succulent slices — there probably won’t be a leftover morsel in sight, so consider making two roasts! Also, if you’d like to test out your skills and don’t have a recipe, try the mouth-watering recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Rubbed Tenderloin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables featured at the bottom of this post.
BTW, if you are on the Beef Team and are still in possession of your holiday Chateau Loin (which is center cut sirloin), it will easily substitute without modifications in this roast recipe.
Tips for the Perfect Roast Beef:
1) Choose the right cut. We’re demonstrating roasting tips with a beef tenderloin roast, but the same process will work with other cuts including ribeye and tri tip roasts and more economical cuts like sirloin and round roasts. The way to ensure perfect outcomes when preparing beef is to pair a cut with the appropriate cooking method – and also your budget. The Interactive Butcher Counter helps take the uncertainty out of selecting the right cut of beef to roast – check it out!
2) You can’t flub a rub. Dry rubs are an easy way to add flavor to a roast and can be as simple as salt and pepper or as complex and spicy as you want to get – chili powder, herbs, brown sugar and even ground coffee beans are all ingredients I’ve seen used in rubs. Really, the only must-do for a rub is to apply it generously – rub in the mixture thickly on the top, bottom and every side (including the ends) and your reward will be a crusty, caramelized exterior that adds flavor and helps to hold in juices. A variant of dry rubs is to massage olive oil, spices and even fresh aromatic herbs into the beef – that’s what we’re doing with the recipe below.
3) Use the proper roasting gear. Actually, very little gear is required for roasting beef in the oven. When it comes to cookware, choose a metal pan with an approximate 2 to 3-inch rim. Metal conducts heat better than other materials and yields a more evenly browned roast. You won’t need a lid, as oven roasting is a dry heat cooking method. Also, use a roasting rack to elevate the meat above the pan so that the heat can circulate underneath. If you don’t have a roasting rack or fancy silicon roasting laurel, simply substitute heavy-duty aluminum foil that has been scrunched up and twisted into a figure-8 shape. A reliable meat thermometer is also needed to ensure you cook your roast to perfect doneness – those inexpensive instant-read thermometers found at most grocery stores will do the job fine.
4) Learn how to tell when your roast is done. If you’re not following a recipe, get familiar with the suggested cooking times and oven temperatures for your selected cut of beef. I like to reference this useful chart on Beef Roast Table Times. Abiding by this chart will ensure you rule the roast every time; however, remember that temperatures vary from oven to oven making cooking times approximate. You’ll know when your roast is “done” for your taste preferences when the thermometer is stuck into the center, thickest part of the roast (but not near a bone) and reads 10 degrees LESS than the time indicated for medium-rare, medium, or well-done. When you take a roast out of the oven early like this, the temperature will continue to rise and cook the roast for a few more minutes out of the oven.For example, a medium-rare roast is finished at 145 F degrees, but should be removed at 135 F degrees. See the chart below for more details.
5) Give it a rest. As tempting as it is to cut into a roast or steak right as it comes off the heat, you must let it rest on the countertop for at least 10 minutes as just mentioned. This allows the juices time to redistribute between the relaxing muscle fibers and ultimately create a more tender and enjoyable eating experience. If you’re not sure if the roast has rested long enough, it should be ready to carve when the temperature drops to 120 F degrees or below.
Are you a roast-cooking newbie — or do you have well seasoned skills? Do you like the food pun? Feel free to share a “funny,” too! A steak pun is a rare medium well done — heehee, another pun! XOXO, Jennifer
Has your week of work, working out and kids’ activities been more jam-packed and crazy than a floral shop filled with frantic husbands and boyfriends fighting for the last bouquet? Well, don’t fret that you haven’t made a menu for Valentine’s Day, I’ve got you covered! Check out my ideas for quick-to-make, kid-friendly dinner ideas that provide the quality nutrition you love! I have three ideas each for salads, entrees and desserts — plus a bonus baked heart fries recipe– feel free to mix and match!
Strawberry Spinach Salad – This beautiful berry salad will get any spinach avoider to start eating greens!
Simple Green Salad with Cucumber Cutouts – Dress up a simple green salad with cucumbers punched out in the center with a small heart cookie cutter.
Grapefruit and Hearts of Palm Salad – Fall in love with the sweet-tart zing of this salad from Cooking Light. If you think the kids won’t like the slightly nutty, semi-firm texture of palm hearts (but I think they will), simply swap for another veggie.
Give Me Some Amore Pizza with Quick Homemade Sauce – The kids will be begging for one more slice of this super-quick, convenience crust pizza that features homemade sauce made quickly in the blender (no simmering required).
Herbed Cod with Vegetables in Papillote – This recipe I made for Litehouse foods sounds like it should be learned in a French culinary school, but it’s really super easy! Just wrap up ingredients in parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes!
Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks – You can’t fail with a filet – and caramelized with spices and grilled to perfection, you will win Valentine’s Day dinner hands down. Oh, and not only is tenderloin super tender (duh), it’s one of the leaner cuts!
Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Topping – I love this fun idea from friend Emily at the Litehouse Foods blog, she transformed Green yogurt fruit dip into a frozen “bark” to use as garnish on a favorite flavor of ice cream.
Berries with Chocolate Dip – Simple, sensible and a real sanity saver if you haven’t anything planned for dessert
These were a popular recipe from last week — Herb Lover’s Oven Potato Fries