Making Watermelon Better

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Picture not mine

My aunt showed me how to make this awesome salad with watermelon and balsamic vinaigrette, and I tweaked it a bit to make it so it’s just the watermelon, but still as flavorful.

So cube up some watermelon and put salt, pepper, and a tiny spritz of balsamic vinaigrette on it. Actually I like to use sea salt because there are bigger pieces of salt and the taste works better with the sweetness of the watermelon.

It seems weird to put salt and pepper on something sweet and fruity, but it works on watermelon so it may work on other things as well. Try it for yourself. 🙂

Enjoy!

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Homemade Pizza

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Due to internet issues, this blog is a day late, sorry.

 

Now on to the good stuff. Pizza! This pizza is as good as delivery and about 1/3 of the price.

First, shopping! In the supermarket (I go to Stop and Shop) there are these packets of pizza dough for 1$. You just add 1/2 cup of hot water to this dough powder stuff and let it sit and you get easily malleable pizza dough. Also grab some pizza sauce if you like it and a block of whole milk mozzarella cheese. Then get anything you like on top of the pizza. My mom likes mushrooms, so I made a half mushroom/half no sauce pizza.

Heat the oven to 450. Once the dough is made, spread it out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan if you have one. Make sure there is olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Then rub olive oil on the top of the dough and add some spices. I put salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, and oregano on the dough. I like using herbs and spices that correlate to the flavors in the sauce. Now pop that into the oven for about 15 minutes. Basically just keep an eye on it to see the top get slightly golden.

Now get to adding the toppings. I added sauce to half of it and left the other half without, because I don’t really like sauce. I then sprinkled the cheese, which I half shredded and half cut up into little chunks (because I got lazy halfway through shredding), onto the pizza. I may have put more on the sauce-less side, but hey, I’m the cook so I get more. 🙂 Then just put on the topping and put it into the oven until the cheese is all melted. Keep a close eye on it though because the cheese goes from done to burnt really quickly.

And despite what this picture looks like, I totally didn’t drink a whole bottle of wine with my pizza. Totally. For real. You don’t believe me, do you? Perceptive little bastards. Okay, so pizza! Enjoy!

-The Kitchen Queen

 

Poor Man’s Paella

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Poor Man’s Paella is a dish I made to feel fancy and feed a whole group of drunken idiots (also known as my friends) while still keeping to my budget. Now it’s not really paella, but it’s kind of close enough for me to feel okay naming it that.

First you can start cooking the rice. I use Rice Pilaf because it has a good texture to go with the chicken and shrimp that I add to the dish. I add a dash of Old Bay to the cooking rice to match all the flavors together.

While the rice is cooking, I start of the shrimp and chicken. Preheat the oven to 350 and get all the shells off the shrimp, even the tails. (Make sure you get uncooked shrimp)

Get out a baking sheet and put some Aluminum Foil on it. Then spread out the shrimp over half of the baking sheet and sprinkle some Old Bay on them.  Melt a stick of butter and crush up some Ritz crackers (or any kind of cracker, I just feel Ritz works best in this case) and mix up the butter and crushed crackers. Spoon out the crackers over the shrimp.

For the chicken, cut it up into little bite size pieces and then sprinkle those with Old Bay, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme  and spread it out over the other half of the baking sheet.

Put Aluminum Foil over the baking sheet, not sealing it over the food, just laying it on top. This will ensure proper cooking without burning the cracker crumble.

I usually let it cook for about 40 minutes, but every oven is different so go with what you know about your own kitchen. Check out the chicken and shrimp to make sure everything is cooked to perfection.

When the rice and the meats are finished cooking, add the shrimp/cracker topping and the chicken into the rice. Stir it all up and it’s done. The crackers will soak up the juice from the rice and meats and give a nice crunch to the meal.

Bowl of poor mans paella, not a great picture sorry.

Enjoy!

To add to the Red Wine Steak Sauce

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Yesterday I made cheeseburgers and thought about spicing them up. I wondered what they would taste like with that steak sauce I made.

As the burgers were cooking I added the steak sauce ingredients to the pan. I put the red wine, A1, Old Bay, chicken spice, salt, and pepper right into the pant with the burgers. I got a spoon and stirred it all around, picking up the burgers to get the sauce under them, and just let the magic work on its own.

They ended up tasting a bit like cheesy meatballs, but mostly it was a nice seasoned, juicy burger.

This isn’t a Tuesday post because it wasn’t something new. This was more of a tips and tricks type deal to show you that you can not only experiment with flavors, but with what foods you put those flavors on. I tend to cook on a whim, deciding as I’m cooking what I want to do with it. And I like drinking red wine.

Okay! So actually this dish came about because I was drinking wine from the bottle while cooking and grease bubbled up and hit my arm, making me flinch and spill some wine into the pan, panicked, then made the best out of the situation by recreating my steak sauce. You got me, I’m a dumb-ass who probably shouldn’t be near hot things like stoves, but whatever. I got a yummy meal out of it.

Enjoy!

DRUNK WEDNESDAYS!

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Whiskey!

I’m very Irish. So it may come as a surprise to all of you that I really like to drink. No? No one is surprised? Yeah, some stereotypes are true, and that just happens to be one of them. My favorite alcoholic beverage to partake in is whiskey. Bushmills is my favorite brand. It’s Ireland’s oldest whiskey and it is so good. It’s also not that expensive but only comes in one size, so no handles of this one. My St. Paddy’s just got a little darker.

Found pic on the internet

Bushmills has these great subtle flavors or almond and cherry. At least they do to me, and even though most of you don’t know me, I’m pretty much the expert. Now what I like to do is get a big ole glass of Bushmills and add a tiny bit of grenadine and a small spoonful of almond liquor and a drop of water to help bring out the flavors more. DO NOT CHILL THIS! It’s way better room temperature.

Have fun and Enjoy!

Also found on the internet

Red Wine Steak Sauce

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When I was a kid, my mom was the cook in the family. We would have steak once a month, if we were lucky. I can understand why. My mom, like many people, think that the only way to have good steak is to buy the best cut of meat the store has. We couldn’t have steak too much because one cut of steak was around 9$ and there were 4 of us in the family.

Being poor, yet loving a good chunk of meat in my mouth, I couldn’t stand for that. I go to the store and buy the cheapest cut of beef I can find, because that’s all I can afford. Recently I made my mom try the cheap steak and she was blown away. It was better than her 9$ tiny steak, and this one cut was big enough to feed the whole family.

I started out with a large top round cut of steak. I fed my whole family with one 3.47$ steak. The way to make a great steak dinner without spending a lot of money is seasoning and cutting.

First I got my seasonings together. I have Old Bay, Salt, Pepper, and this generic chicken spice that I got at the dollar store that has some garlic and onion powders and a whole mess of delicious, aromatic herbs. I know it’s weird to use chicken seasoning, but I always liked it better than the steak seasonings. Steak seasoning is always a little tamer and less spicy than I like, but you should always experiment with different kinds of seasoning. And the dollar store has a huge selection of spices to help you find the right fit and build your own spice rack.

SPICES!

Then I rubbed the spices generously on the steak. I rubbed my mixture into the steak, getting the flavors to really get into the meat itself. One way to make sure this happens is to poke some fork holes into the meat before you put the spices on. Use about half of the mixture, you’ll need the other half for the sauce.

Look at that giant piece of meat! Is your mouth watering yet? Mine would be but I’m too busy eating the leftovers.

Now you should let the steak and seasoning get to know each other for awhile. So let it sit, out on the counter not fridge (cold meat doesn’t cook as well as room temperature. If you want a nice, tender steak, let it breath out in the air, not in the fridge) and do something for about a half hour. I fed and took my dog out. Jack the pug, he’s the cutest dog in the world.

JACK ATTACK!

Now that the steak is seasoned, time to cook! I like to get the pan really hot so I can get a nice sear on both sides then turn the stove down so the middle can cook. I love steak to be cooked medium, but you can cook it however you like.

After cooking the steak to perfection, it’s time to make the sauce. While you make the sauce, let the steak settle and the juices redistribute before cutting it. Leave the pan on, and add a bit of butter. This will get up some of the leftover juice. Once the butter is melted, pour a bit of red wine in the pan. Then drink a bit of that wine, straight from the bottle. Trust me, it’s important to the cooking process…maybe. Anyway, now add some A1 steak sauce (or something similar) and the rest of the seasoning. Mix this all up and let it get nice and thick.

Cut the meat in a diagonal against the grain. This should make the steak pieces thin and easy to cut and eat. With the steak all cut up, put the pieces into the pan with the sauce cooking. Get all the pieces nice and coated in the sauce.

There it is! This is just my plate, with the steak cut on an angle and some more sauce on top. Delicious, right?

I completed my dinner with some green beans and potato salad.

Ignore the dirty dishes in the background!

I bet you’re hungry now. Go ahead, leave the blog and cook. I understand.

Enjoy!

Old Bay Seasoning

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I’m not getting paid to endorse this product, but I’d be totally willing to be a spokesperson for a lifetime supply of  Old Bay.

I literally put this seasoning on everything! I once put Old Bay in vanilla ice cream, true story. It was awesome.

Old Bay is primarily used for seafood and poultry. It is a blend of spices and herbs, that I think is top secret or something. If I divulge too much an operative may come by to kill me. I do that it includes paprika, celery salt, black and red pepper, and a multitude of other things.

A little sprinkle on any dish you make and it will add a brilliant burst of flavor. It’s great for any beginner to get to know how much spice they want in their food. Even as a seasoned (buh dum che) cook, I use it liberally.

My own personal stash

This is just my first tip from my arsenal of cooking adventures. Enjoy!

-The Kitchen Queen

DRUNK WEDNESDAYS!

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Every Wednesday I will be sharing some sort of alcoholic concoction with you. To start it off, I will be sharing the greatest hangover cure ever, more alcohol!

I’ve always found that the morning after a big night of drinking, the best thing to wake you up and get rid of that nasty headache is to indulge in a little bit of morning booze. Add that to some coffee and you are a smooth sailing for the rest of the day.

This treat takes some prep time, but is perfect for the summer. Especially if you are a teacher and have to deal with rotten high school kids that day, a little day drinking never hurt anyone, right?

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

coffee ice cubes- between 10 and 15 cubes

A blender

Baileys (Or something similar)

The first step is to make a pot of coffee the night before. Wait for the coffee to cool and then make ice cubes out of the coffee. Let these freeze overnight so you can be sure that they are completely frozen for the morning.

Coffee Cubes

Now you can put the cubes (as many as you think are necessary for you or how ever many people you are making it for. I found that 10-15 work best for 2 people) in the blender.

Here comes the fun part. Add in enough Baileys to reach the top of the coffee cubes. And take a swig of it. Just because you can. The noise of the blender may be too much for your hangover, so getting in on the buzz quicker will make it more enjoyable. And Baileys is delicious.

Blend until smooth and devoid of ice chunks. Since the ice cubes are made of coffee, getting a chunk of that is going to taste pretty bad. Unless you like black, unsweetened coffee. Which I don’t.

Depending on the kind of alcohol you use or your own personal tastes, you can add flavor of any kind to this. Sometimes chocolate syrup can go a long way, or caramel, french vanilla, whatever! Experiment with it, find out what you like.

This is also cost effective, because you are making the coffee yourself, you can get a bunch of flavorings at any dollar store, and you can splurge on the booze, which, lets face it, if you’re smart you do that anyway!

Enjoy! Responsibly.

-The self proclaimed Kitchen Queen

Hello world!

This blog is going to be a food blog about learning how to experiment with cheap ingredients to make a delicious meal without breaking the bank. As a recent college grad with no job, I need to stretch my dollar as much as I can, but being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have eat like it.

“The important thing is the spices. A man can live on packaged food from here ’til Judgment Day if he’s got enough rosemary.”-Shepherd Book, Firefly

 

I will be adding a new blog every Tuesday, complete with pictures, stories, and yummy recipes! Next week is going to be a red wine steak sauce to go over some steak stroganoff.

Til we meet again,

Maura Keaney, The self proclaimed Kitchen Queen