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Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon = summer. It’s just a fact of life. There’s nothing better on a sweltering July afternoon than devouring a giant slice of juicy delicious watermelon. Getting all that sticky sweetness running down your chin. Even better when the watermelon is the size of your head. Preferably while walking Main Street in Disneyland, listening to the old timey piano and enjoy the smell of churros.  My sisters are in The Happiest Place on Earth right now. Without me. I’m having serious withdrawls.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

This salsa combines the icy chill of watermelon with the spicy zing of jalapeno in the absolute perfect summer dip for your chips. My grandmother gave me this bowl. It is perfection.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

Just chop up some watermelon, add some peppers, onions, cilantro and a hit of lime and you have a delightfully cool salsa.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

It’s so light, you may find yourself eating the entire bowl as you lounge around in the sunshine.

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

If you are wondering how to easily chop up a watermelon into all those tiny pieces, simply cut the ends off the watermelon, then slice off the rind all around until it looks like this. Excuse the poor quality photo — what a difference a cell phone makes.

Quick and Easy Way to Chop Up a Watermelon - Bakerlady

Then cut into slices (they look like giant tomato slices). These are thicker because I was chunking this watermelon. Just make thinner slices for the salsa. Then cut across horizontally and vertically like you are making a tiny squared checker board. Boom. Done.

Quick and Easy Way to Chop Up a Watermelon - Bakerlady

Enjoy!

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

Fire and Ice Watermelon Salsa

3 cups chopped watermelon

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, green bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno and garlic salt. Mix well and serve.

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Fourth of July Flag Bean Dip

Independence Day is coming this weekend! Break out your stars and stripes, fireworks and booze! Because we’re celebrating “Merica”! Whip up this festive bean dip and you’ll be the hero of the day!

Festive 4th of July Flag Bean Dip - Bakerlady

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Hamburger Cookies

I got the idea for these adorable cookies from my friend Rachel. She’s always doing fun things with her girls and is just generally an awesome resource for delightful kiddo entertainment. I gave my kids a simple demo and then let them do the rest. They LOVED making (and eating!) these cookies! Easy, delicious and super cute!

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

First you’ll need a box of Nilla Wafers, a package of dipped Oreos and two tubes of frosting (one red, one green). You could also use Peppermint Patties, Grasshopper Cookies or (during Girl Scout season) Thin Mints. I really liked the taste of the dipped Oreos though. Besides, not everyone likes mint…but who doesn’t LOVE Oreos?

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

I gave each kid a frosting tube and put small star tips on the ends. One did three red ketchup swooshes, the other got to do the lettuce green swipes in between the red ones. You can also do yellow for mustard, and/or top with tinted coconut for lettuce instead of the green frosting – but each kid having a tube and assembly line simplicity worked really well for my two munchkins.

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

Stick the Oreo together between two Nilla wafers with a little dab of frosting on the bottom.

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

Done.

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

Adorable hamburger cookies for your next BBQ. The entire plate was devoured. My kids were so proud of their creations!

Hamburger Cookies - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Hamburger Cookies

Hamburger Cookies

20 vanilla wafer cookies
10 dipped Oreo cookies
1 (4.25 ounce) Betty Crocker red decorator frosting
1 (4.25 ounce) Betty Crocker green decorator frosting

Directions

For each burger you will need two vanilla wafers as the buns. Place a small dot of frosting on the bottom bun and then place your Oreo cookie on top to look like a hamburger patty.
Make three dots of red frosting on top of the cookie to look like the tomato or ketchup, then three dots of the green frosting to look like lettuce. Finish by placing second vanilla wafer on top as the top burger bun.

BBQ Master Tri Tip Steak

Beef. Gorgeous and delicious when it’s done right. Tasteless hockey puck when done wrong. Don’t let your meat be a tasteless hockey puck. This tri tip recipe includes a fantastic marinade that produces a flavorful, robust steak, and a grilling hint straight from Gordon Ramsey’s mouth. Well, from his mouth via my TV. Ok…via my computer screen. I don’t have a TV. I watch Master Chef on my monitor. And I love every minute.

BBQ Master Tri Tip Steak - Bakerlady

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Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers

This post is going to upset some people. People like Ron Swanson, who think that a burger should be made of meat…and nothing else. On this one point (and pretty much nothing else…I love you RON!) I disagree. I think that burgers should taste amazing, and be incredibly juicy without serving them mooing on the inside. If it is sacrilegious to mix non-meat items into a burger, I apologize…sort of. I don’t tread lightly on tradition when the result is better tasting food. And these burgers taste ridiculously good. Far surpassing any other I’ve ever had. Ever.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

We start with nice fatty ground beef. 20% fat. Keep your lean meat far away from these. If you want a lean burger, make it out of rice and veggies. We add bread crumbs, seasonings (garlic, onion, chili powder), some Worcestershire, salt n’ pepper, milk and an egg yolk. Just the yolk. The white is basically water. We don’t need no stinkin’ water in our burger.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Mix it all up with your hands, form it into a lump and make like it’s a big old meat pizza. Sliced meat. That could be a thing. Right?

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Take each portion and make burger softballs. Check for uniform size. There’s a joke here somewhere about team sports…but I’m striking out trying to come up with it. (insert eye roll here)

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Then we’re going to use a little secret. A mold. You can use a big peanut butter jar lid, or anything that’s a decent size and reasonably round/flat. I use an empty painter’s tape container. Set some plastic wrap down inside (for easy release) and plop one of your softballs in.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

More plastic on top, then use your favorite rounded measuring cup to smoosh the meat into a flat shape all around the edges.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Burger ball becomes burger patty. Awesome.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Repeat with remaining balls of meat. I make more than I need, then freeze the rest so I can have delicious homemade patties just as fast as someone else can make a pre-made, store-bought, frozen meat puck. See? Nice and flat and even. This way, when they plump as they cook, they don’t end up rolling off your bun.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Hand off the perfectly formed patties to your favorite grill master. Mine goes by the name of Zack. He makes meat look pretty.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Top it with your favorite accoutrements.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Consume with breathless anticipation of the juicy, gorgeous deliciousness. No mooing. Still incredibly tender and full of flavor. I really did intend to take a picture before I’d wolfed down a giant bite. Really I did. But the meat heaven was calling me. I had to answer.

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers - Bakerlady

Print Recipe for Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers

Perfectly Juicy Hamburgers
a Bakerlady original

Ingredients
2 pounds ground beef (20% fat…yes, this matters)
1 egg yolk, beaten
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 pinches of fresh cracked pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat grill for high heat.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg yolk, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion powder, pepper, salt and garlic using your hands. Form the mixture into 8 hamburger patties by pressing into a mold.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done.

Barbeque Turkey Sliders

I recently started dabbling in wine. I’ve always been more of a vodka girl personally, but it just seems so socially grown up to drink a glass of wine at a party. Who says peer pressure stays in high school? A while back I managed to finish my first glass, but it was Moscato so I hardly think that counts. My next attempt was a Riesling. I got a local wine called 14 Hands and found it to be delightful. I’m still a long way from attempting a musky red wine, but I feel I’m maturing.

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Summer Slaw

In the summer, there are lots of opportunities to bring salads and slaws to BBQs. I recently brought a sweet & sour apple slaw (light & delicious) and of course there’s always my standby Chinese chicken salad (perfection!) if I’m not sure what to bring. Last weekend I wanted to make something close to a traditional cole slaw, but with a little twist. I dunno why, it has been forever since I had just a cole slaw. I needed that kind of dressing. This is what I came up with. Crunchy apples with moist tender chicken and a killer slaw sauce with a kick from lemon juice and cider vinegar.

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Marvelous Marinade

It’s grilling season! Woo-hoo! This tasty marinade is quick and easy and will turn just about any cut of meat into a tender, flavorful mouth party. I know, it’s supposed to be meatless Monday. And obviously that’s a picture of steak. Be patient.

I love to soak some big chunks of steak and chicken in this glorious saucy goodness and then grill them up as kebabs. Mmmmm. Kebabs. Meat on a stick. Does anyone else hear Liam Neeson saying “Sam! I’ve done chicken kebabs!” in his gorgeous “Love Actually” accent? Sometimes, I wish my name was Sam. Anyone?

It’s also incredibly delicious on veggies. But I only bathe them in the marinade for about 15 minutes. Don’t want them to lose their fresh bright flavor. There. That counts right? Meatless veggies on a stick.

Also, am I the only one who keeps my veggies on different skewers? Maybe it’s because I like crisp veg and if they share a stick & stay on the fire long enough to cook my meat, the mushrooms are mostly just mush and the peppers have lost their pep. And that is just wrong. Veggies get their own stick in my house. You gotta keep em separated.

Great. Now I have scenes from Love Actually & the lyrics of “Keep Em Separated” running thru my head simultaneously. Bet that’s never happened to anyone in the history of the world. Since the movie is about a bunch of people getting together, and the song has pretty much the exact opposite goal.

Speaking of getting people together, have a BBQ, make this marinade and cook up some flavorful moist and marvelous meat. Your friends will love it! So will you! It’s fantastic and delicious! Oh, if you don’t have any teriyaki sauce, no worries – I love that I can use up the little bit that’s left at the bottom of my bottles when making this, but it’s great sans the bottled stuff too.

Marvelous Marinade
adapted from Food.com

1 1/2 cups oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 – 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup and fill it almost to the top)
3-4 cloves fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup store-bought teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup honey

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender, food processor or a ziploc bag. Blend, pulse or shake the crazy out of the bag until combined.
  2. This recipe makes 3-1/2 cups of marinade, but may be stored in the refrigerator tightly covered in a glass container for up to 3 weeks.
  3. Pour over your favorite cut of meat for 2-24 hours. Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, venison etc…can be used on almost anything!

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

You could eat an old shoe with this marinade and it would be delicious. Which is perfect, since that’s how some people think of mushrooms anyway. In my quest to have a meatless meal once a week, I stumbled upon these meaty mushrooms. They would be an awesome substitution for your burger, or sliced up on a salad. I just had them aside some fresh green beans and roasted potatoes. Absolutely delicious.

Obviously mine got a little too much love from the grill. My poor hubby is so used to steaks that the Portobello were a new kind of animal for him.  Hee-hee, a new kind of animal. The insides were still gorgeous and full of flavor though so no complains from me. All those onions and garlic just melt into the mushrooms as the grill. Yum, yum!

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
from Allrecipes.com

  • 3 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
  3. Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter

Do you want to know why your steak at a restaurant is a taste explosion drenched in awesome and your BBQ beef is just passable? Come on. You know you’re dying to find out. It’s because chefs aren’t afraid to douse your meat in butter and most of us home cooks think it’s beyond decadence to do so to a steak coming off our grill.

It’s true. Don’t believe me? Try this recipe. One bite of perfectly pink, sinfully scrumptious meat and you’ll forget you’ve ever needed to visit a steakhouse for your carnivorous cravings. Whoa. I’m going a little crazy with the alliteration today.

You won’t whittle your waistline with this meal, but you’ll wonder how you’ll ever eat another steak without this sauce on top. It is ah-mazing.

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter
from Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds beef top sirloin steaks
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat with garlic powder and minced garlic. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill steaks 4 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When done, transfer to plates. Brush tops liberally with garlic butter, and allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
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