Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Home Renovations

Maybe I mentioned it, maybe not, but we've been overrun by home improvement projects... You all saw the new appliances :) well, that was only the beginning... The lighting has been changed from fluorescent light box to halogen pots (my last post was done at great risk to my person, there were wires hanging from the ceiling and one bare bulb dangling from above the sink to light my way... what a thrill!), which DO look very nice... I'm sure I will come to appreciate them more when we have A FLOOR!!! Yeah! No floor!. That came up a few days ago, linoleum out of the kitchen and crappy laminate from the living room. There was a bit of suspense as the tile was supposed to be delivered Saturday before noon, and didn't show until Tuesday at 11:30... grr. I know it will look nice when it is all done. but it is horrendously frustrating to be displaced like this with the kid and the dog (hubby is thankfully out of town for a week), and still work and school to get to. Yes. A total pain in the ass.

Anyway, here are the few pics i thought to take of the event...
The first one was where I realised that this was all going to be a very, very big deal. Really, it hadn't occurred to me the entire time we were picking out the tile, not when we were pulling the appliances out, not even when we had no table to put our pizza on. This, this right here was the moment I decided that if I was going to cry, now was the time, and I better get it out of my system already, because this was going to be a big deal.

Here we have the heating cable started. This stuff is a SERIOUS pain in the butt. It's picky, particular, and somewhat fragile. It's also stupid-expensive, but means we can do away with the baseboard heat, and no cold floors in the morning! YAY. There are other less labor intensive versions (they come in mats that you can roll out and cut), but they're about 2-3 times the price. So the hubby brought home the knee pads (tee hee) and got to it.

This last shot is at about 11 pm. The end of an extremely long 2 days of furniture moving, demolition, prep work and of course, bickering. Mmm, beer.

We appreciate your patience while we make changes in order to feed you better.

lol. There'll be a new post soon. A food post. Promise.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On Fat, and Other Necessary Evils

You may have noticed, there is no tofu in my cooking. Nor is there likely to ever be any tofu. I've tried it, and it's nasty. It seems that no matter what one does to the stuff, it insists on having the consistency of crumbled erasers, and the vague taste of styrofoam. We eat enough soy indirectly to keep the industry running even without Toe Fue; think about it, what do chickens eat now? pigs and cows? what do we cook with? it's all soy based! ALL OF IT! gah. ok. I'm done with that...

Fat.Oh, did you know that tofu has more fat per serving than a porkchop?

Some fat is required in a diet. It is what makes meat taste so good. It assists the digestive process. It makes your brain work properly, and your joints move smoothly. It's alot easier to choke down a little fat on the edge of a steak now and then than it is to gulp fish oil supplements! So don't be a sissy! Just EAT!

The overall quality of diet in my house sucks. I've told you before that 4 nights out of 7 I have to rush to get dinner on the table. Sometimes that means I give convenience a place ahead of wholesomeness. Minute rice, for example, is something we eat more than we should. Canned condensed soups are also not the best thing- they contain more than 3/4 the reccomended daily intake per serving of sodium, and they're processed to smithereens. Cheese Whiz, and processed cheese slices; yes they are disgusting, full of salt, and empty of nutrition... BUT what I'm trying to say here is that when used in moderation, and to make the "yucky healthy" crap more palatable- WHO CARES! My 4 year old will eat ANYTHING if I give him ketchup on it. I mean ANYTHING. Brussels Sprouts. Fish. Liver. Whatever I want him to eat, goes down quite nicely with some tomato snot. My 35 year old, will eat his veggies with or without cheese, but he sure makes fewer faces about it when his broccoli is basted in molten cheese-like stuff. In the end, if it gets them eating, all's fair in love and cooking.

The moral of the story is- The devil is in your kitchen, keeping the scurvy at bay. Give the man a hand!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chicken and Rice...

This was one of those nights that I made it in the door with less than an hour to plan and prepare a dinner... basically I do this about 4 nights out of 7... Sure I could be more organized, but that takes time too!

* Quick tip on getting the clutter out of your house- Get someone who you know and trust- who knows you fairly well- have them over to your house on a Saturday. Give them a box of trash bags and tell them to toss everything that they think you don't need. You MUST leave the house while they do this. Tell them to take the bags away when they are done, so you are not tempted to go digging through them to "rescue" your crap. Remember- it's ALL CRAP! LET IT GO.
You will more than likely never guess what they threw out, and you will have so much less clutter!

Ok. Back to dinner...

You will need-
  • 1 lb chicken breast- boneless, skinless (or one per person)
  • Honey Garlic BBQ sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • pepper
  • Minute Rice
  • Mixed vegetables

Heat oven to 375 degrees, line baking sheet in foil BECAUSE WE HATE CLEANING, place chicken face down on sheet, sprinkle liberally with garlic powder and pepper. Turn right side up, make several shallow (1/4'') slices lengthwise (that's ALONG the "grain") into the meat and baste liberally with BBQ sauce (remember we didn't have time to marinate the meat, so this will help get the flavor in while it's cooking). Stick it in the hot oven on the middle rack and go do something for 20 minutes.
Ok, now that you're back, get your medium sized pot (one with a lid that fits, OR you can use a dinner plate to cover the pot if need be)... Basically you will prepare the rice according to the directions on the box PLUS add 1 cup of mixed- frozen veggies to the water. Bring the water and veggies to a rolling boil, add the rice, slap the lid on and remove from heat. 5 Minutes later you will have rice and veggies! YAY

Assuming that took altogether another 10 minutes, you can pull the chicken out and cut into it. If it's white all through and the juices are clear (not pink) then you have Chicken! YAY! If you're not so sure about the done-ness, kill it for another 10-15 minutes.

TADA! My hubby thinks rice is for sissys and chicken is for girls (I'm paraphrasing here) So I asked him to rate it on a 1-10 scale. 1 being "Rancid Pork Fat" (I'll tell you about that some other time) and 10 being "Prime Rib"... He actually gave it a 6! Really! Coming from the Neanderthal, that's fairly decent! He even had 2nds of the rice.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Requests and Suggestions Welcome!

We at the Hillbilly Grill are always open to ideas for posts, and other comments and suggestions.
Remember the main Idea is "Regular Food For Regular Folk"... Something we can all do without having to go out of our way (or our budgets) to make simple and tasty food.

Now, I know everyone is starting from their own individual levels of ability, and from their own tastes and resources... so if there's ever anything you need explained in more detail, or you are wondering how/ whether you can substitute something, just e-mail me and ask. I'll be happy to help.

When all else fails, eat toast.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pork Tenderloin and Taters... (ok, veggies too)

Dad's comin for dinner tonight, and he is one of my favourite people to feed :)
He eats it and tells me it is good even when it isn't, but when it is he really goo's about it, which makes me happy.

You will need

  • 2lb pork tenderloin (they come in vac-packs of 2 where i buy them, and they're about a pound apeice)

  • 1 medium potato per person (tonight that's 3 plus the kid)

  • 1.5 lbs of veggies, like broccoli- approx 1 cup per person

  • Olive oil

  • Coarse pepper

  • Coarse salt

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 med onion

  • AT LEAST 3 cloves of garlic (I will use more, and still hold back so my hubby will eat it...)

  • Flour/corn starch

  • boullion cubes (beef is nicer for this) OR use packaged gravy mix. WHATEVER YOU LIKE, roast gravy, mushroom gravy, Au Jus... your fave is fine

  • More pepper

  • Soy Sauce

  • Worcestershire

  • 3 cups water

Start by peeling and cutting your potatos. They will actually take longer than the meat in this case! Get them rinsed and in a pot just covering them with salted water.

Trim your tenderloins- you will need a sharp knife- ideally you will be trimming away the whitish bands of tough tendon you can see along one side, without hacking the rest to bits. This takes practice, but fear not, it will still taste wonderful NO MATTER what it looks like.

Start the potatoes.

Dice the garlic and half the onion, add to roasting pan with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp coarse pepper, 1/2 tsp salt. Mix together and put tenderloins in, turning to coat with seasonings and RUB IT IN. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or so, at least until the oven is preheated to 425 degrees.

start the vegetables.

Cook covered for first 10 minutes, then remove lid from roaster. Total cook time should be about 30 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees. When done, remove from roaster to platter, and put the roaster on the stovetop at medium heat. Pour in your water, boullion, tbsp soy sauce, tbsp worcestershire. When it's boiling, in another cup stir together 3 tbsp flour (or cornstarch) with COLD water. Add slowly while stirring to boiling pan. If you get lumps, don't panic- you can pour the works thru a strainer (thanks Mom, you're my hero).

Get the gravy good and thick, and if you used flour make sure the "floury" taste is cooked out... if you used cornstarch, don't cook it too long, it makes a gel-ly texture if it goes too long.

Mash potatos with butter, milk and a blob of sour cream... drain and season the veggies... slice tenderloin on a diagonal to maximize texture... serve with gravy-mmmmmmm....

This is quick, simple and neat thing to "whip up" when the in-laws are coming. It is also fairly inexpensive, low in fat and modifiable to what else you have in the cupboards.

As you can see, Dad enjoyed!