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Uh, dude – that’s BACON wrapped Tilapia…

Things My Belly Likes

That’s right. I said it. Bacon. Wrapped. Tilapia.

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A New Recipe – And A Full Dinner – From Mrs. Bgddy Jim

My wife just started working with the Broiler a couple of weeks ago and she absolutely hit one out of the park – by accident.  Be prepared to save this one, it’s simple and as good as any chicken I’ve ever had at a restaurant.

Prepare 2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts by fileting them, butterfly style – watch your fingers.

Pour 1/8 cup of Olive Oil into a plastic freezer bag

Add 1 Packet of McCormick’s Grill Mates Zesty Herb Marinade to the Olive Oil.  Close the bag and mix the ingredients.

Drop in the chicken breast and coat them in the mixture.

Place a cookie cooling rack on a cookie sheet (the metal thing you bake cookies on) and place the chicken on the rack and set aside.

Prepare a salad (our favorite is mixed greens, spinach, carrots, celery and cucumbers).

Prepare 1 box of Lundberg Farms Creamy Parmesan Risotto according to the instructions – after you add the water and mix, preheat the oven to Broil (525 degrees).  After the Risotto’s come to a boil and been simmering for a few minutes, Broil that chicken.  The wife says 4-6 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the filets ‘0 chicken.

The risotto and chicken should be done just about the same time.

 

This is one of the quickest, easiest dinners my wife makes, and I’m telling you, it’s unbelievable!  Even my two ultra picky “can’t we just have hot dogs” daughters love it – and all you hear from my end of the table is Nom, nom, nom, nom…

Life Proof – Initial Thoughts

The Life Proof case that I wrote about the other day showed up last night so I was able to get everything put together and installed for use. I have some initial thoughts, all but one are good.

First, we’ll deal with my one complaint – you have to tap the screen just a bit harder… It’s a little difficult to get used to. This is to be expected, of course, there’s a plastic layer over the screen… After all. It’s WATERPROOF!!! Only six feet of course.

The bike stem holder is great and comes with several shims so it will fit on just about any stem or handlebar. Very simple construction and exceedingly easy to install.

The swimming/running arm-band is exquisite and far exceeds my expectation. Some of the coolest features include a gel pad between the case and the arm that is absolutely wonderful and conforms somewhat to the triceps so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a big, flat board on my arm. Another neat little feature is the new tight loop Velcro closure. It seems like this should last a lot longer and attach more securely than standard Velcro while being less destructive to the system every time you pull the two apart. The arm band is very special and is actually a bargain IMAO. As expensive as it is, it’s so innovative and comfortable, it’s worth more than the price they charge for it – now that’s rare indeed, though I truly believe the market wouldn’t bear a price point higher than what they already charge.

Finally, I’ll never have to worry about having my phone on me in the rain again – riding running, or even… swimming! (Snicker).

My initial impression is that being able to breathe more freely about the safety of my phone is going to be nice, the case and accessories will be worth every penny.

UPDATE:  I missed one item that I wanted to include in this post…  Even though my iPhone is now sealed and waterproof, the sound quality is better!  I’m sure it has to do with some amplification of sound wave deflection and/or something or other that I don’t know how to describe because I ride bikes and run, rather than spend time being an audiophile.  Either way, the bass is a lot better.

Cooking For Twelve…

I got into grilling several years ago and found out that I was pretty good at it.  Nothing makes me happier than cooking a dinner for a bunch of friends – a good old-fashioned cookout.  We had one a few years back, an absolute feast, for some of my closest friends and it was incredible…so I figured I’d share everything.  We had Cajun Tilapia, Steak and Grilled Chicken along with my special potatoes, grilled asparagus and grilled pineapple.  All of which would make any health conscious recipe book (except the potatoes maybe).  I’m just giving the recipes first, I’ll give the order of which to cook, when, after the recipes.  The beauty of these recipes is how simple they are, and they’re all fabulous.

The Cajun Tilapia was the easiest:

Tilapia Filets and Cajun Seasoning (Emiril’s Bayou Blast).  Sprinkle the seasoning over the thawed filets.  You don’t want to coat them, but you want all of the real estate covered.  If you have frozen fish, thaw it by running them, in a plastic bag, under cold running water – if you use warm you’ll turn your fish into mush and it won’t grill well.  Grill for two minutes a side on medium to high heat with the grill lid open.  Flip them with a spatula.  Place the fish on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 215 degrees F.

Grilled Chicken, one of my wife’s favorites:

I use boneless chicken breasts.  Sprinkle on McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning, but be careful not to over-season them, and slap them on the grill.  Unlike the Tilapia, too much seasoning will overpower the chicken – go for a middle ground here – you don’t want to coat the chicken, but you need to get some flavor in there.  Before you pull the chicken off, top it with some Mexican Blend cheese and let it melt, then a scoop of Garden Fresh Salsa.  Jack’s Special Medium is our favorite.  Place on a cookie sheet or plate and place in the oven.

Technical Note on Grilling Chicken:

Chicken is tough to get right on the grill.  Cook it too hard and you’ll be gnawing on dry rubber.  Too light and the result will be a lot of upset bellies.  Start out with the grill on high heat.  Place the chicken on the grill and cook with the lid down for four minutes.  With thongs (not a fork!!!), turn the chicken 90 degrees on the grill and turn the heat down to medium.  Close the lid.  After two minutes flip the chicken (you’ll have nice grill marks if you’ve done it right and the chicken will be browning slightly on that side).  Turn the heat down to low and close the lid.  After five minutes, take a look at the side you just cooked – the coloring should look just like the top, a little brown around the edges, nice dark grill marks…  If it doesn’t, you’ve got white chunks of congealed fat, it’s not done yet…close the lid and give it a couple of more minutes.  The trick with chicken and getting it right relies on three factors.  Time, hot spots on the grill and flame.  You don’t want the flame licking at the chicken, but you want it on the hot spots.  When timing this for the first attempt, if you’re new to, or not very good at, grilling it is wise to cut a piece open to make sure you’ve cooked it all the way through.  Start by wearing a watch and keeping time meticulously.  Follow the times above and cut the least cooked piece open – if the meat isn’t all white all the way through, it’s not done, you need to add two minutes to the bottom side at low heat.  If it’s white, but not juicy (when you cut the chicken you should see the juices run out), knock a minute off the first side and a minute off the second side next time.  If you get the timing right, you will become a legend with your friends and family.  Getting chicken to cook all the way through and stay juicy is not easy unless you watch your times.  Before long, you’ll be able to identify when it’s done by how it looks on the outside.  Grills vary by brand how hot they get and where, get to know your grill.

Steaks

Steaks are easy.  Marinade for 1/2 hour in a zip lock bag with some fresh pressed garlic and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.  Don’t buy off the shelf garlic – buy a press and press it yourself.

Cooking a steak is a lot like cooking chicken, but doesn’t take quite as long, depending on the cut.  You’re going for medium, no more…  I know, I know, I used to only eat it well done too but that was because I didn’t know any better.  For a thinner cut (3/4″ to 1″) figure four minutes a side – high on the first side, medium/low on the second.  For a thicker cut 1-1/2″ +, figure five to six.  The cheese and salsa topping works great on lower grade steaks too (my kids love it).  When they’re done, place them on a plate or cookie sheet and place in the oven at 215.

Asparagus

You’ll need:

  • Asparagus, a pound serves four
  • Pressed garlic (at least two large pieces per pound, I use three)
  • 1 Cup Olive Oil
  • Lemon

If you are not generally an asparagus fan, it’s because you haven’t had this…  Put your olive oil and pressed garlic in a cup and let sit for a half hour.  Wash your asparagus off, shake the extra water off and break the bottoms off according to the normal custom.  Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet and brush on the olive oil and garlic onto your asparagus.  You want to go a little heavy on the garlic because some will fall off in the grilling process and it tastes really good grilled.  Place the asparagus on the grill, perpendicular to the grate (so they don’t fall through).  Cook till they start showing a little brown/black (I like ’em black though they’re good browned).  Place them on a cookie sheet and drizzle with lemon juice and place in the oven at 215.  The fake lemon juice in a bottle will do, but there is no substitute for real lemons.

Grilled Pineapple

Slice a pineapple up and place the pieces on a grill – it’s that easy.  You’re going for grill marks and just a little brown around the edges.  When you’re done, serve dinner and when the oven is empty, place the pineapple in the oven to keep it warm (still at 215)

Now this is a lot of work, there’s no doubt about it, but the oven will save you because it keeps everything hot without drying it out – just don’t go over 215.

Here’s the order:  Potatoes, Asparagus, Fish, Chicken, Steak and Pineapple.

Cook the potatoes, Asparagus and Fish on their own.  Put the chicken on the grill and get it going, two minutes later put on the steak and they should be done at the same time.  Then cook the pineapple and you’re done.  If you have a wonderful wife handy, see if she’ll whip up a salad while you’re on the grill.

Total prep time is about 45 minutes.  Total cook time is 45 minutes to an hour.  Sitting down to that feast is priceless.

While I’m on the recipes, I’ve got one I made up for potatoes.

This recipe won’t be like the barbequed heart attacks on a bun that I posted last night.  First of all, for the recipes section of this blog, I’m no chef (though my soon to be brother-in-law is, and he is good), I just like to cook.  More to the point, I like to grill.  In fact, I can grill almost anything.

Cooking out and need a neat desert course?  Grill pineapple (plain pineapple slices, just slap ’em on a grill till they brown on the edges and have a nice grill mark on them).  Try it,  it’s fantastic.

Today’s recipe, though, is for potatoes;  You guessed it, grilled.  These take a bit, so cook them before your meat.

  • Potatoes (they reheat well, don’t be afraid to cook too many)
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Shredded Cheese (we use the Mexican blend)

You can use any kind of potato here, yellow, red or regular Idaho russets.  Slice them into sixes, or wide enough that they won’t fall through the grill – you’re going for the wedge here – and leave the skins on, that’s where all of the vitamins are don’t ya know (at least according to my mom).  Now, we’ve gotta boil them first or they’ll shrivel up into black hunks on the grill before the insides cook, but if you boil them too hard, they’ll turn to mush on the grill, so follow this easy process – it’ll give you the perfect consistency every time.  Fill up your pot half way with water and set on the stove (DON’T TURN ON THE STOVE YET).  Slice up your potato wedges and put them in the pot.  Turn on the heat to medium – high.  Once the water comes to an active boil, leave the taters in there for another five minutes and they’re ready.  Much shorter and they’re a little tough, much longer and they’re mush.

Strain the potato wedges and place on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with Olive Oil, then sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and seasoned salt. (I don’t wash the oil and seasoning off the cookie sheet after I place the wedges on the grill, I place them back on there as is when they’re done).

Place them on the grill, long ways – across the grill pattern so they won’t fall through, til the edges brown and you get a decent grill mark on them – flip them as best you can and do the other side the same way.  When you take them off the grill and place them on your cookie sheet, take them inside and drizzle with seasoned salt and then top with your favorite shredded cheese and place them in the oven at 210 to keep warm and melt the cheese, until y0ur meat’s done.

If you’re using a gas grill, you’re bound to have hot spots that cook food faster than others – rotate your food.  As the stuff on the hot spots become done, move it to a coolest spot on the grill and rotate in food from the other cool spots.

That’s it, and it’s one of my wife and kid’s favorites.

 

An interesting problem requires drastic action

I hit the scale today and was a little disheartened to find that I dropped another pound – that puts me at 157.2.  If I go by the BMI calculators, I’m smack dab, right in the middle of my healthy weight – in other words, I don’t want to lose any more…

So drastic measures are in order.  WARNING:  If you’re on a diet, stop reading this now.  If you happen to be a cardiologist, look away, look away.

Big Daddy Jim’s Bad-Bad BBQ Bacon Burgers:

1/3 lb Burger (ea.) times 2 per person

Fry Bacon (2 pcs per burger minimum) in a skillet

Dice one onion and saute the onion in the leftover bacon grease – if you think this sounds good, wait till you smell it.  Yum

Place onions on a plate and set in the oven with the bacon (which you also put on a plate for the litigious in the house) and keep warm at 210 degrees F – this trick also works for large meals that you can’t possibly make everything finish at the same time.

Prepare burgers, season with McCormick’s Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning

Grill burgers (or fry them in the leftover bacon grease if your cholesterol level on your last checkup was below 150).

Top burger with bacon, sauteed onions, a little mayo and some Sweet Baby Rays Barbeque Sauce

Serve with a side salad…(Kind of like the Diet Coke with a Double Cheeseburger, Chicken Nuggets and Large Fries).

Good luck just eating one – I won’t.

 

UPDATE:  I didn’t eat just one and they were heavenly…  I didn’t think that the recipe, simple as it was, could be improved upon.  I was mistaken.  God bless my lovely wife who suggested donning the burger with…  wait for it… 

Mesquite BBQ Potato Chips

I need a nap.

Bgddyjim out.