Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to make a perfect Omelet

I love Omelets. I usually load mine with tomatoes and spinach but since I made this one for my boyfriend it is quite meaty and cheesy. Here are my tips for getting a perfect omelet every time. This particular Omelet is his favorite combo of salami, ham, and cheese.

3 Eggs for a medium skillet.
     (2 eggs for a small skillet.)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Preferred Toppings- Meat, cheese, or veggies (chopped preferred)
Vegetable Spray

1. Spray pan WELL so that your egg won't stick and turn on medium heat. Don't turn it on high or your egg will cook too fast.
2. Whip eggs until they are an even consistency. Add seasonings here.
3. Pour eggs into skillet and make sure it covers the entire surface area. This should be a small or medium skillet unless you want a really large omelet.
4. When your Omelet has begun to cook a little bit, add your toppings to one side only of the omelet.
5. When the clear side of your omelet (the one without toppings) is almost completely cooked take your spatula or fork and pull one side over to cover the other. I do this by putting my spatula underneath the clear side then taking my fork or finger and pulling it over.
6. Let the contents melt once your omelet is folded for about 30 second to a minute or whenever you notice it is cooked enough to flip.
7. Flip your Omelet and push down with your spatula to make sure the inside is cooked to your liking. Some people like their eggs runny.
8. After you're sure it is done, flip one more time and serve. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


I have a serious addiction to Cajun food. Especially if it has seafood involved. My Uncle moved away from North Carolina to Mississippi. However, he usually brings up a big bag of craw-fish when he comes during the summer. The Gumbo his wife makes is amazing. Jambalaya and Gumbo are different. Gumbo being more of a soup or stew and Jambalaya being more rice based. Here is my recipe. This is a Non-slow cooker recipe. Don't be intimidated by the long ingredients list, this isn't to hard. If you're not one for spicy food, go easy on the cayenne pepper and the hot sauce. This recipe calls for Multi-tasking. Chop your veggies first and then work on your meat while the rice and vegetables are softening.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

1 pkg Smoked Sausage (2 cups)
1 pkg Shrimp 1-2 lbs (De-veined and tails off)
2 Chicken Breast (diced)
Jambalaya Rice Mix - 1 8-oz box
Water - 2 1/4 cups
Brown Rice 1 cup
Chicken broth (homemade is best) 2 1/4 cups
Onion - a mix of yellow, red, and green onions (tops included), all chopped - 2 cups total
Bell peppers a mix 2 cups total
Celery, chopped - 1 cup
Garlic, minced - 1 heaping Tablespoon
Diced tomatoes - 1/3 of a 14-oz can
Sugar - 1 pinch
Hot sauce - several sprinkles
Oregano - 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
Cajun Seasoning to Taste

Instructions (Grab a large Stock Pot)
1. Start off with chicken broth steaming in stock pot. 2  1/4 c
2. Thinly slice sausage and then brown it in batches in a skillet (DO NOT DRAIN). Pour remaining fat into the stock pot with Chicken broth. After, use the same skillet to cook your chicken breast.
3. Add Cajun Rice and brown rice to pot with 2  1/4 c water on Medium Heat. 
4. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery to pot. (If you want softer veggies cook them in a skillet first for about 5-7 minutes on HIGH heat.)
5. Next Add diced tomatoes and spices. Make sure your mixture doesn't try out but you also don't want it to be to liquidy.
6.  Stir Often and cook for an Hour as the rice absorbs the liquid. Taste it as you go! Make sure the rice and vegetables are as tender as you would like. If not then add water.
7.  When the rice has absorbed as much moisture as it can,  slowly add in the cooked shrimp.  Cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and you're done.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pecan Crusted Swai

Swai is a white fish with a mild (slightly sweet) kind of taste. I've never had it, that I know of, or cooked it. I saw it and since I was home with my parents thought it would be a great crowd to try it out on. I really do not like nuts unless they are dipped in chocolate. However, my Mother and Father are nut fanatics so I decided to do a Pecan crusted Swai Recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

4-6 Swai fillets (or substitute with Tilapia)
1 cup finely chopped Pecans
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs or Ritz Crackers

1. Defrost fish fillets and Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Crush Pecans with a rolling pin. You can also process them but Pecans have lots of moisture so putting them in a grinder makes this paste-like.
3. Place crushed pecans on a plate and add bread crumbs and seasonings.
4. Dredge the Swai in egg and cover with pecan mixture completely.
5. Bake for 17-20 minutes.  

With Sides

Monday, February 18, 2013

Moroccan Cinnamin-Rubbed Lamb

Let me first say that the results do not match the title or ingredients. You would think the lamb would be somewhat sweet with the cinnamon and honey combo but it wasn't really sweet. I know you're probably thinking what comfy college living student is making lamb for dinner. I finally ran into a sale on lamb at Harris Teeter so I decided to give it a go. This recipe came from one of Oprah's Favorite Chefs. It is different than the usual rosemary and mint combination but I loved it. I also did skillet Parmesan greens bean as a side. I will include recipes for both.

3 Lamb Shoulder Chops
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place lamb in a roasting pan.
2. Rinse lamb and pat dry. Rub honey over entire surface, then combine spices and salt and pat into honey.
3. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until medium-rare. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. 
**Meat should be 145 degrees if you would like it medium-rare. 

Skillet Green Beans
1. Add 1 tsp butter into the skillet and let it melt.
2. Add green beans and heat until soft and hot.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
3. Add green bean to a bowl of 1/4 of Parmesan cheese and mix. Serve hot with rice.

10 Royal Caribbean Cruises tips

I thought I would continue my trip tips posts. My boyfriend and I are Cruising junkies!!! Cruising is so affordable right now and to not take advantage would be ridiculous. It cost much more than $350.00 bucks to spend an entire week in Miami. Cruises have food and room included in their prices. It is just such a full, fun, and endless opportunity type trip.
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean each time and have become quite loyal to them. (They aren't getting stuck out at sea or running into rocks) The staff is incredibly friendly and service oriented. Cruising the second time was much easier than the 2nd and we hope it will be the same for the third. So here are some tips if you're considering a Royal Caribbean Cruise!

1. Gratuity
Pay your gratuity in advance. It is easier than having to pay the gratuity at the end of your trip. We included our gratuity in our package payment. This year gratuity went up 2 weeks before the cruise for anyone that didn't prepay. I was so glad that we did. Gratuity is for the following personnel:

Suite attendant: $7.25 USD a day per guest
Stateroom attendant: $5.00 USD a day per guest
Dining Room Waiter: $3.75 USD a day per guest
Assistant Waiter: $2.15 USD a day per guest
Headwaiter: $.75 USD a day per guest

2. Nix the window and balcony
Unless you really love windows and balconies, do without it. 
There is usually a $30-100 difference between prices of rooms with balconies and windows. The first year we got a room that had a window and paid a little extra. We literally spent ZERO time in our rooms. Most of the time we were in our room it is at night and you can't see anything anyway. Save your money, get out of your room and enjoy the view from upstairs.

3. Soda and Juice Packages
Royal Caribbean offers Soda and Juice packages for those who prefer these options for meals. If you do not purchase the packages, your options for beverages are water, tea, and lemonade. This is very much so a choice that you should make based on personal preferences. However, we opted out of buying the packages for several reasons. A. We don't drink Soda. We weren't really missing anything without having a soda package. B. We love tea and lemonade! and C. You are allowed to carry on a certain amount of unopened juice or soda. We carried on 2 or 3 liters of ginger ale (for upset tummies) and individual small juices. There is a limit and they have to be unopened. They will be suspicious of those trying to sneak on Alcohol. 

4. Eat Eat Eat
I'm a huge foodie and cruises have the most incredible food. Take advantage of this time to try new things. I never had the desire to try Escargot but it was amazing. We also tried conch fritters and fried conch, something we don't eat regularly in the states. Ask for more than one entree or desert! Our waiters were incredibly forward about us trying more than one thing. They would bring of two different deserts, and three different appetizers all the time. I made the most of this time to experience new cuisine and now that I'm blogging I will even try to replicate them. When you're on the Islands, indulge in Local Cuisine! You can eat McDonalds anytime, ask around for the best local spots and enjoy.

5. Carry On Bags
It takes your luggage a while sometimes to make it to your room.On one trip my bag didn't arrive at our room until almost 8:00 pm which was almost dinner time. I didn't want to go to dinner in my travel clothes so I luckily had extra in my carry on. For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, maybe workout clothes, and any medications you may need. This will allow you to begin enjoying your vacation immediately, because you won't have to wait for your bags to arrive at your stateroom.

6. Pack for the season!
It is common for people to take cruises during Christmas and for Spring Break. While you may be going somewhere tropical and warm you still have to get there. Be conscious of the season. Is this the season for rain? Is this the season for chillier nights than days? We have been cruising in March with wonderful 80 degrees and up weather. However, there were times where being on the deck at night when the boat is traveling it's fastest, that it got very windy and somewhat chilly. Also, most trips to the beach or a cruise are not complete without at least one rain storm. Always pack a hoodie or sweater for some cold or rainy nights.

7. Cash Stash
 I lose I really lose things. One tip my parents gave me was to stash money in different places in the event you lose a wallet or purse. I usually keep cash in my suitcase, make-up bag, and a few pockets of select pants in case I lose money. Never keep all your money in one place because in the event you lose that wallet, ALL of your money is gone and that's never a good time. Also, cash is helpful on the Islands for buying souvenirs quick and easy.

8. Look into your itinerary
There are so many great things that the Cruise Line will have planned for you and your family to participate in. Comedy Shows, Musical Performances, Magic Shows, Karaoke, Bingo (with big prizes) and on deck parties are great!

9. Photo Ops! 
Most cruise lines have photographers who are there to capture your moments when you're getting on and off the boat each day. Take as many as you can, I mean every chance you see a photographer take a picture. They are so funny to look at when they display them on your deck at the end of that day. Sometimes the pictures are pricey but some aren't (depending on size). I found a few last year that were hilarious and worth the money to have forever. They are also awesome quality pictures.

10. Drinks on the boat
Lots of people tried to sneak alcohol on the boat. Some got away with it, many didn't. However, there are some great drink specials on the boat. They have a drink of the day for $6.95 that comes in a glass souvenir cup that you can keep. The drink changes each day. They also have drink packages for more than soda. Alcohol
packages were about $55.00 a day.

Follow Queen Cuisine on Pinterest

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Key Lime Truffles

Instead of going the usual Valentine's Day route, I decided to make my boyfriend truffles of his favorite flavor, Key Lime. Even though they aren't for me, I wanted them to be slightly healthy and not overly sweet. Sugar free cake batter and fat free cream cheese helped achieve that goal.
Angel Cake batter (sugar-free)
1/2 c Water
3/4 c Key Lime Juice
8 oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese
1/3 c Olive oil or Vegetable oil
Melted Almond Bark

1. Mix cake batter with Key Lime Juice.
2. Bake Cake according to Box instructions.
3. Let cake cool and crumble in a bowl.
4. Combine cake crumbles with cream cheese.
5. Roll the combination into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for 20 min.
6. Melt almond bark or white chocolate in microwave or on stove.
7. Dip cake balls into melted almond bark and cover completely.
8. Add Sprinkles on top and allow almond bark to harden.

Follow Queen Cuisine on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This was the most grueling process as a first timer but I guarantee I will be good at it the next time. I got a little festive since it is close to Valentine's Day and I'm freakishly festive thanks to my Mother (whom I adore). I cut my pepperonis into little hearts with a mini cookie cutter. I used what excess pep underneath the cheese because I didn't want to waste it. Above are my cookspirations. These women taught me almost everything I know and continue to do so over the phone while I'm away for Grad School. I wouldn't love cooking without them. Look at my Grandma's very festive Valentine's Day shirt. Now about our little friend the Cauliflower. MESSY!! Very very messy. My advice to anyone that tries this recipe goes as follows.

a.) If you want to process cauliflower rice with a cheese grater, it does not work well and it is totally messy. However, if you prefer this method, leave the stems ON and use that as a handle while you grate. You won't need to use much of the stem so it works better that way.
b.) Get the cauliflower rice as dry as possible. Excess moisture makes it hard for your crust to bind.
c.) Wet paper towels cleans up excess cauliflower the best.

Pizza toppings of choice
    Turkey Pepperoni 
1/3 c Mozzarella Cheese
1 jar or half a jar of Pizza Sauce
One head of Cauliflower
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 egg

Cauliflower Rice Instructions: (skip if you know how to prepare rice)
1. Remove leaves and stems from the cauliflower.
2. Cut cauliflower into florets ONLY! (unless you're going to use a grater) Too much stem will not process fully.
3. Allow Cauliflower to  dry COMPLETELY. (I left mine dry while I worked out for an hour)
4. After it is dry, put it into your food processor and process until the cauliflower looks like rice. You may also grate the cauliflower florets if you don't have a processor but leave the stems on.
5. Put the rice into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 5-7 minutes. My lid popped off as expected but no mess.
6. Place the rice into a tea towel or clean dish towel and squeeze the water out. I suggest letting it cool before squeezing because the water will be hot.
7. After the rice is dry, place it back into the bowl and proceed with step 2 below.

1. Prepare Cauliflower rice.
2. Combine egg, seasoning, and 1/3 c cheese with cauliflower rice.
3. Flatten rice, thinly, into a crust like shape either circular or square.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 min or until crust is golden brown and hard.
5. Take out the crust and add toppings: 1.) Sauce 2.) Cheese 3.) Optional toppings
6. Turn off oven and now broil on high for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
     (this part happens fast so keep a check on your pizza, I burned mine the first time)
7. ENJOY!!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pesto Linguine with Shrimp and Zucchini

I absolutely love Pesto and Shrimp so why not combine the two. Tonight I'm branching out with the vegetables. I've never really chosen zucchini as a vegetable of choice but I actually really like it. I loved this meal and will put in rotation quite often!
1 lb Shrimp
2 servings of Linguine
2 tsp Pesto (per serving)
1 Zucchini
1 T Olive oil

1. Boil pasta for 10 min.
2. Heat shrimp in skillet with Olive oil.
3. Remove shrimp and heat zucchini with remaining olive oil.
4. Combine veggies and shrimp in a bowl with pesto and pasta!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pineapple Crock pot Chicken

Some days I just do not feel like standing in front of the stove. I'm new to the crock pot world but I decided to give the Pineapple chicken recipe a go. I took soy sauce out of the recipe because it is a little saltier than I like. It was so great without it! Just a little reminder that I rarely use full fat or full sodium cooking items. I use low-sodium Teriyaki sauce, fat free may and dressings, and I rarely ever add salt to my food.

3-4 Chicken Breast
1 can chunk pineapples (half juice drained)
1/2 c Low-sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Crushed Red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced garlic

Coat crock pot with cooking spray or Olive oil. Place frozen chicken breast in pot and cover with pineapples, Teriyaki sauce,crushed red, and garlic. 

 Cook on high for 4-6 hours.
Serve with rice and sauce from the crock pot.

Follow Queen Cuisine on Pinterest