Written by Stephen P. Sowulewski
Ditch the drive-through window and delivery meals by adding a few healthy, simple dishes to your culinary repertoire
From Food Network and Cooking Channel to bestselling cookbooks, chefs like Guy Fieri, Gordon Ramsey, Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver are putting a masculine spin on cooking and showing male audiences simple, quick and easy recipes that are appetizing and healthy. Guys are no strangers to the smoky flavors of the grill, but don’t let that be your only foodie adventure. Pad out your resume of ribs and brisket to include these simple, nutritious meals that you can make in no time flat.
Green Eggs and Ham
Courtesy of the Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, Calif.
1 English muffin
2 thin slices Black Forest ham
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 1 Tbsp. smooth pesto
Split and toast English muffin and top each half with a thin slice of Black Forest ham.
In a small nonstick skillet over low heat, melt the butter; it should not froth. Crack the eggs into the pan—the eggs shouldn’t crackle or split on contact; that would mean your heat is too high—and cook over low heat until the whites are settled but yolks are still runny, three to four minutes.
Once the whites look soft and white, gently spoon the melted butter in the pan over the yolks until hot, about one minute. This will help cook the eggs from top to bottom and keep the yolk silky but warm.
Season with salt and pepper (a pinch of each), and transfer the eggs to the English muffin.
Spoon a nice smooth pesto over the eggs. Not the chunky, jarred pesto—the smoother stuff from the refrigerator or freezer case is better.
My own recipe.
2 medium eggs
½ c. fresh spinach
¼ c. mushrooms (stems and pieces from a can)
2 Tbsp. shredded light cheddar cheese
½ c. salsa
1 slice of rye toast on the side (rye can fill you up longer than wheat bread)
Crack eggs in a mixing bowl and stir with fork.
Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Pour eggs into a heated skillet.
Add spinach into egg mixture along with mushrooms and cheese. Cook on one side until eggs are firm and fold other half over vegetables—cook until done.
Add salsa and enjoy!
Catfish Sloppy Joes
Courtesy of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
8 oz. skinless catfish (or tilapia) fillet, cut into ⅓-inch dice
Pinch of coarse salt
¼ c. canola oil
1 small onion, diced (about ¾ c.)
2 tsp. paprika
1 c. barbecue sauce
1 pat unsalted butter, softened
1 oversized burger bun (or other soft roll), split
Season the catfish with salt.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot (a drop of water will sizzle on contact) add the oil, onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes.
Stir in the paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the catfish and cook for one minute, stirring frequently so all sides of the fish come in contact with the hot pan. Stir in the barbecue sauce and bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, 10 to 12 minutes.
Butter the buns and lightly toast buttered-side down, in a skillet. Fill the buns and serve hot.
Courtesy of my student, Tammy Vee
2 cups of bite-sized pheasant pieces (remove bones)
½ pound hickory smoked thick-sliced bacon
⅔ c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
Mix brown sugar and chili powder in a bowl.
Wrap ½ slice of bacon around each piece of pheasant and roll in mixture. Secure each piece with a toothpick and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 30 minutes.
Drain any grease halfway through the cooking process using a turkey baster.
Courtesy of my mom.
1 lb. of the leanest ground sirloin (90% lean or above)
¼ c. onion
¼ c. chopped green pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Small jar of Prego spaghetti sauce
1 lb. macaroni
Saute the ground sirloin, onion and green pepper over medium heat.
Add sauce to the skillet and simmer for 45 minutes.
Boil macaroni in water until slightly soft, strain and add to sauce.
Other quick ideas for healthy meals:
Zatarain’s Reduced-Sodium Black Beans and Rice
In combination, rice and beans are considered complementary proteins that provide all of the essential amino acids.
Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers
Patties are made from potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, bell peppers and “Indian” spices. Make on stovetop or countertop grill.
Food for thought
• Get healthy, pre-made meals at your local grocery store. Chicken breasts, salmon, tilapia and crab cakes are often available in single portions.
• An electric skillet is good for savory dishes made quick and along with easy clean-up.
• Arm your pantry with spices; they’ll add variety to any meal. I like the Grill Mates series from McCormick.
• Soup it up! A big bowl of soup can fill you up without as many calories as a traditional meal. Try Progresso’s Chicken & Wild Rice or Light Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken. My other two favorites are Campbell’s Chunky soups in Hearty Bean & Ham or Hearty Beef Barley.
• Soothe your sweet tooth. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too—I’m talking about angel food cake. Top it with sliced strawberries and a scoop of frozen yogurt. Angel-food cake is made with egg whites and therefore isn’t packed with fat.
If you still find yourself struggling, try one of these books:
Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen by Jon Shook
Man, a Can, a Plan: 50 Great Guy Meals Even You Can Make by David Joachim