Food fuels your body and your brain. It has a dramatic impact on how you look, feel, and age. Who you are tomorrow, next month, or a year from now, is related to the foods you choose each day. It’s important to engage in healthy eating habits now for an active and hearty lifestyle for years to come.
Many of us grew up on fast food, processed foods, or family ‘comfort food’ meals. But, today, we know these fried foods and fatty cuts of meat and potatoes smothered with butter and gravy are not healthy for us. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best.
The core principles of healthy eating are similar to what our ancestors used, and many thrive today with this traditional style of eating, think the Mediterranean diet or Paleo like way of eating
Enjoying a healthful diet isn’t difficult, and it can be fun to try new recipes and experiment with varied spices and cuisines. It’s not a diet in the popular modern media sense, it’s a diet in the traditional sense, a lifelong way of eating.
Change slowly and give yourself time to adjust. You’re doing this for the long-term, not just a few weeks or months. Don’t worry about being perfect, just strive for 80 – 90% adherence. Your nutrition intake will balance out if your overall healthy eating pattern is good.
Food for Energy
A quality food program includes foods high in nutrient density while low in calorie density. Meaning the foods provide substantial amounts of nutrients with only the necessary amount of calories – large quantities of vital nutrients per 100 calories.
Those nutrients include:
Nutrient-dense foods include veggies, fruits, and chicken breasts, turkey breasts, and other lean protein. Foods low in nutrient density are items such as donuts, soft drinks, cookies, crackers, and ice cream.
Since you eat food, not just nutrients though, let’s look at some ways to help you incorporate healthy food in an enjoyable manner for a lifelong diet. These guidelines are intended for healthy people, so for those with medical conditions consult your doctor for additional guidance.
Make a great meal tonight using this flexible plan below. It incorporates good flavors so meals will taste great and be healthy for you too. Consider cooking meals in a slow cooker or one pot for timesaving and less mess as well.
Start With Choosing Protein, Carbs, and Healthy Fats
Select one ingredient from each of the four columns below:
||Extra Virgin Olive Oil
||Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Portion Your Ingredients
The guidelines for males are two palm-sized servings of protein, two fists sized servings of vegetables, 2 cupped hand sized servings of smart carbs, and two thumb-sized servings of healthy fats. For females use one-half of the male servings.
Adjust portions up or down according to how active you are, how frequently you eat, and your particular size and calorie needs.
Make additional servings for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
Choose a Flavor Profile
Select a flavor profile and use at least three of the ingredients in your dish.
||Fresh Curry Leaf
Cook, plate and serve.
Mix and match the ingredients above and let your imagination flow.
Try Thai 3 Ways:
· Shrimp with coconut brown rice and bok choy
· Chicken with eggplant, spelt, and peanuts
· Steak with broccoli and spaghetti squash
Mexican 3 Ways:
· Chicken with spinach and quinoa
· Salmon with bell peppers and plantain
· Beans with carrots, brown rice, and avocado
Try A Slow Cooker Pot Roast
4 lb boneless beef shoulder pot roast, trimmed of fat
4 dashes salt & pepper
2 tsp thyme, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
64 baby carrots (about 21 oz)
2 lbs yellow potatoes, peeled & cut
Place the pot roast in your slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper, & thyme.
- Add carrots and potatoes around the roast.
- Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Serve & Enjoy!
Develop Your Healthy Eating Plan
Moving to a healthier eating plan may seem daunting so keep these things in mind:
- Eat vegetables at all meals. In salads, side dishes, soups, and add veggies to your sandwich or wrap.
- When craving something sweet, eat a serving of fruit to satisfy the craving.
- When eating meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free, to maximize nutrients without harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc.
- Stock healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Nuts, seeds, and fruit are great for ‘grab and go’ snacks.
- Eating healthy food on at regular intervals will help you avoid unhealthy choices so never leave the house without food when you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours.
For busy mornings this is my favorite time saver meal hack, a super smoothie:
Pick a liquid, 4-8 ounces, less for thicker shake and more for thinner shakes
- Almond Milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- Cow’s milk
- Soy milk (unsweetened)
- Hemp milk (unsweetened)
- Green iced tea (unsweetened)
Choose a protein powder; one scoop is usually sufficient
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Rice protein
- Hemp protein
- Pea protein
- Bone broth protein
- Other protein/protein blend
Pick a vegetable, 1-2 handfuls of raw or roasted veggies:
- Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach
- Sweet potato
- Or powdered green supplement
Pick a fruit, 1-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen fruit
Choose a healthy fat, 1-2 thumb-sized portions
- Almond butter or other nut butter
- Flax, hemp, or chia seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Add greek yogurt for additional protein and smoother texture
- Add oats for additional carbs
- Sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate shavings for extra zip
- Add ice if using fresh, not frozen fruit
Blend all ingredients in a good blender and enjoy as an excellent meal replacement when you are short on time.
(c) Can Stock Photo / ikophotos
Divorce is a time of immeasurable change. The challenges of a new relationship status, possibly relocating to a new home, schedule changes, and stress overshadows the importance of nutrition. As such, it’s no wonder that divorced men’s health tends to fall by the wayside.
The overall health benefits of proper eating are well-known and widely discussed. Whether your goals are to expand your knowledge of healthy eating, get on track in your newly single existence, or take this opportunity to set goals and make changes to your body, the basics of nutrition are the same. Here are a few easy ways to build healthy habits and incorporate healthful foods into your newly single life.
The Best Nutrition Hack: Mindful Eating
One of the most simple, cost effective steps to incorporate healthy habits into your life as a newly single guy is to practice mindful eating. Our society is saturated with images of fast food, technological distractions, and a constant state of being engaged in our work and social lives.
You know how your mouth starts to water when you smell freshly baked bread or see a commercial featuring a sizzling steak on the grill? That’s because our senses are heavily tied into our digestive systems, which starts with the secretion of extra saliva in our mouths to help break down food. Consider the visual stimuli in advertisements; in combination with our overloaded schedules, it’s no wonder that our hunger cues are out of whack.
This is where mindful eating comes in. Mindful eating allows us to become more aware of our hunger cues, helping us eat enough to fuel ourselves while preventing overeating. To practice mindful eating, choose one meal per day and practice these habit building activities:
- Eat without distraction: Social media, television, and work can wait for a few minutes while you focus on your meal. This practice will help ensure that you’re able to listen to your hunger cues and better detect when you’re satiated.
- Take it slow: If the first step in the digestion process occurs in the mouth, it makes sense to keep your food there long enough for the mouth to do its work. Instead of scarfing everything down, chew your food properly. When you think you’re done chewing, chew five more times. Set your utensils down between bites to take a few extra seconds. Take a sip of water between bites. Think about the texture, taste, and what you’re getting from this meal.
- Stop at 80% full: It takes time for your digestive system to do its work. By getting back in touch with your hunger cues and eating until you feel almost full, you’ll prevent overeating. Shortly after stopping, that near full sensation will develop into complete satiation.
These mindful eating practices take time to develop, and it won’t always be possible to follow through. It’s important to remember that everyone faces deadlines, scheduling issues, and situations where a meal must be quickly consumed. However, if you can practice mindful eating more often than not, the benefits are numerous. One study on the effects of mindful eating not only resulted in an average 9lb weight loss amongst participants over the twelve weeks, but a correlating reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress levels.
Portion control, calorie limits, and other measuring methods tend to be overcomplicated. Due to the tedious nature with which we approach some of these methods, many people become discouraged and fall off the wagon. So let’s look at a simple way to categorize and measure food.
Simply put, food can be broken down into four categories: Protein, Carbs, Fats, and Vegetables. You may recognize the first three as macronutrients or something our bodies require in large amounts. You may recognize the fourth category as the part of the buffet that you walk past without a sideways glance. Let’s change that.
As far as measuring goes, we’re going to ditch the scale and measuring cups for something easier to transport: your hands. Not only are your hands with you wherever you go, but they’re also proportionate to the size of your body. Serving sizes on food labels are one size fits all, which doesn’t make sense when you look at a basketball player in comparison to a horse jockey, does it?
Lean Protein – Your Palm
Protein is the ambrosia of bodybuilders and weight loss professionals alike. The average man requires two palm-sized servings of protein per meal, approximating a total of 6-8 servings per day. This can include foods such as:
- Greek yogurt
Protein is not the fabled muscle building unicorn of the nutrition world but is made up of amino acids, or the building blocks of life. Protein helps with building muscle, metabolism, athletic performance, and weight management.
Carbohydrates – Your Cupped Hand
Cup your hand as though you’re holding an egg. That’s the size of your carbohydrate serving. The average man requires about two servings of carbs per meal, for a total of 6-8 per day. Many choose to cycle their carbs, reducing their intake by a serving or two on days they aren’t exercising, while adding a serving or two on days they are. Carbs are not the monsters they are made out to be; many people just need to make smarter carb choices. Rather than bread and pasta, try to choose carbs like:
- Quinoa & lentils – both great sources of protein as well
- Brown rice
- Red skin or sweet potatoes
Slowly digested carbs in the right portion size, like the ones listed above, can assist with energy levels for exercise and building lean muscle mass. In excess, carbohydrates can be stored as fat.
Fats – Your Thumb
Once upon a time, people were under the misconception that dietary fat and body fat were the same things. On the contrary, dietary fats are crucial to a healthy diet, especially monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Try to avoid processed fats like trans and hydrogenated, as these are not beneficial to the diet and can cause health issues. Processed sources of saturated fats are also detrimental, while natural sources (like eggs) can be beneficial in moderation.
Healthy fat sources include:
- Tree nuts
- Olive oil
Healthy fats help with cellular function, hormonal responses, nutrient absorption and satiety. The average man needs two thumb-sized servings per meal, for a total of 6-8 servings per day.
Vegetables – Your Fist
It’s time to think outside the hype surrounding macro tracking and add some greens to your plate. Diversifying your vegetable intake will increase your exposure to mood and performance boosting micronutrients, or in layman’s terms, vitamins and minerals.
Versatile vegetable options include:
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Red cabbage
- Beet greens
The average man requires two fist-sized servings of vegetables per meal, for a total of 6-8 servings per day. Different vegetables offer different nutrient options, so don’t hesitate to shake things up and try something new.
Keep in mind, these recommended portions are just the framework for you to base your nutrition decisions on. If you feel over-full while following these portions, or hope to lose weight, consider removing a few servings of carbs or fat per day. Alternatively, if you aren’t feeling satisfied or are trying to build muscle, consider adding a few servings of carbs or fat per day.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be the time-consuming ordeal that it’s sometimes made out to be. Start by keeping it simple. Plan on eating the same thing a couple of times a week until you get into a routine. Rather than thinking about the finished product, approach each meal by deciding on one component from each of the four categories above. Use these building blocks to create a simple dish, then season as needed.
You may decide to buy in bulk for the week and dedicate a set amount of time to meal prep. Alternatively, depending on your location and access to the grocery store, you may decide to play it by ear and pick up a basket of fresh food every couple of days before replenishing. Rather than dedicating yourself to one way of doing things, allow yourself the time and flexibility to figure out what works for you in your newly single status.
Finding Your Groove
With everything else going on, it will be all too easy to fall into the trap of relying on fast food and having take-out restaurants on speed dial. By incorporating healthy nutrition habits like the ones listed above, you’ll save money, feel better, and start your journey as a newly single guy off on the right foot. Keeping it simple with a habit-based approach gives you the flexibility to adjust your plan to fit your needs, or at least keep you healthy while you figure out your next steps.
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Let’s face it, cooking for one can seem like too much effort. Rather than man meals , most recipes are intended for family servings. The prep, cook time and clean up involved, not including stopping by the grocery store for whatever ingredients you don’t have on hand, is not happening after the day you’ve had. It’s no wonder that a bowl of cereal or a good ol’ PB & J sandwich (with crusts cut off if you’re feeling like a Top Chef) are often the go-to for a quick dinner after a draining day of work, traffic and errands.
But even the most unsophisticated of palettes wants a real meal every now and then. For those occasions when Thai take out or a ride through the drive through just won’t do, we got you covered with five meals that don’t come with plastic packets of soy sauce or flimsy sporks, but will still be hot and ready by the time the game starts.
One Pot Spaghetti Bolognese
That’s right, you cook everything together, which ensures the flavors seep into the pasta, and the clean-up takes only minutes. Easy is one of the first criteria for good man meals. Total prep and cook time it takes to be chopping down on this deliciousness is only 30 minutes.
What you need:
- 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 jar of Pasta Sauce, (26 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, (or half as much table salt)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 pound Angel hair pasta, broken into thirds
- 2 cups baby spinach or chopped kale
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
What you do with it:
- In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, sauté the meat until it is browning in places and no longer pink —3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the sauce and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then stir in the salt, sugar, olive oil, water, pasta, and veggies.
- Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently — stirring frequently so that the bottom doesn’t scorch —for 10 or so minutes, until the pasta is tender.
French Toast (Man Meals Can Be Eaten Anytime)
What do you do with that loaf of bread that is starting to get a bit stale? Whip up this quick and scrumptious French toast. And hey, since there’s no one to judge us, we can eat this for breakfast, or for lunch, or as a midnight snack after getting home late from a night out.
What you need:
- Sliver of butter or teaspoon of oil
- One egg
- ¼ cup liquid (milk, milk substitute or water)
- Dash of vanilla (if you have it)
- Dash of salt
- 2 – 3 slices of bread depending on their size
What you do:
- Beat egg with liquid, vanilla, and salt in a medium flat bowl.
- Soak bread slices in the liquid until saturated on both sides (2 minutes per side)
- Place a small or medium sized pan on medium heat hotplate or stove top. Melt butter or add olive oil to the pan.
- Place bread in pan and cook until golden brown on bottom side. Flip and cook other side until it is also golden brown.
- Serve with jam, nut butter or drizzle some syrup.
If you can make a grilled cheese sandwich you are more than half-way there to making this tasty creation. You can use any type of sliced meat and your favorite melting cheese. The pickles and mustard add a nice tang.
What you need:
- 2 slices bread or one roll sliced open horizontally
- Yellow mustard
- 4 – 6 thin slices baked ham, roast pork and/or turkey
- 2 thin slices provolone cheese
- 2 dill pickle slices
- Butter, room temperature
What you do:
- Lay the bread open and spread each side with mustard.
- Divide the ingredients evenly among the slices of roll. Start with the ham followed by the turkey, cheese, and dill pickles. Bring the tops and bottoms together.
- Butter the outside of each side of the sandwich.
- Heat a small pan over medium heat (you can use a Panini maker or sandwich press if you have one).
- Place in the pan and press down firmly with a spatula. Flip when golden brown. Cheese should be melted.
- Serve warm.
Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
Yes, you can have a home cooked dinner that is easy to make, easy to clean-up and done in less than 45 minutes. This one-pot version of a popular Latin dish tastes like your grandmother slaved over a hot stove for hours to create. This recipe makes enough for a couple meals—so you’re covered for lunch tomorrow.
What you need:
- 2 chicken legs, without skin & rubbed with salt & pepper (& cumin, chili powder, or other spices if you choose)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ an onion, chopped
- ½ cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 cup liquid (i.e. broth or water)
- Salt & pepper to taste
What you do:
- In a pot over medium heat sauté chicken in olive oil, turning until all sides are golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Sauté onions in olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
- Add broth, salt and any other items you’d like (i.e. black beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn). Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken back in.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 35 – 40 minutes, turning the chicken once about half way through. Done when rice is tender and juices run clear when chicken is cut into.
- Note: You can also serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or avocado slices. This recipe makes enough for a couple meals—so you’re covered for lunch tomorrow.
Two Minute Shrimp Scampi
Dinner in 2 minutes? If only your calls from mom were this short.
What you need:
- 24 large frozen shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 1/2 cup spinach leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 or 2 splashes of hot sauce
What you do:
- In a large microwavable bowl, mix all the ingredients together, tossing well to coat the shrimp.
- Microwave for 1 minute.
- Remove and toss well again. Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds more.
- Sprinkle mixture with sesame seeds if desired
Have a favorite quick meal you like to make when dining solo? Send us your recipes for man meals.
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(c) Can Stock Photo / fanfo
For some men, grocery shopping is akin to having a tooth pulled: a dreaded experience to be delayed as long as humanly possible. You put off going until you can’t stand the pain or, in this instance, the cupboard is so bare that the mice have moved out. At least the dentist has anesthesia. But guess what? We’re about to give you some (pain) killer advice to take the “ouch” out of food shopping for you and your wallet.
Grocery Shopping 101: Make a List
Let’s start with the one absolute essential: a list. A list is important for several reasons, not the least of which is actually coming home with what you went for in the first place. In his book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, psychologist and market researcher Paco Underhill writes that supermarkets are “places of high impulse buying… Fully 60% to 70% of purchases there were unplanned.” Honestly, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I went to get one or two things, got neither one and brought home three or four “unplanned” sacks. Golden Grocery Shopping Rule numero uno is know before you go.
Store Loyalty Cards
All the big chain stores have phone apps and customer loyalty or reward cards, and you should have one! The app for our favorite local store, Smith’s, has a built in list and loads digital coupons to your card. Kids need shampoo or a notebook for school? If they have the app, you enter your loyalty card number and they can add what they need to the list from their own phone or device like an iPad mini. (Beware the “soda” and chips requests….)
There is most definitely a science to shopping, which grocery stores use to their advantage. When it comes to getting your money, nothing is left to chance. Familiarizing yourself with your local store is both a time and money saver.
The stores themselves aren’t just randomly laid out; there are carefully researched psychological reasons for everything – from the placement of aisles and specialized areas for things like produce and meats to how packages are specifically placed on the shelves, counters and racks.
Store brands, bulk and discounted items are down near the floor because things on the bottom shelf typically get overlooked by a majority of shoppers. Why? Because that two-thirds majority often wear skirts in which they avoid bending down. Nowadays guys are cutting into those numbers and grocery stores know it.
The next time you go in, take a peek at the books and magazine rack (near the front by the cash registers where those in line are more likely to pick them up). The Times they are a changing’. Once filled with romance novels, Women’s Day and Cosmo, you are just as likely to find books by Clive Cussler and Steve Berry right alongside Wired and GQ today. The traditional image of a female dominated, domesticated shopping environment is fading. All of this makes it easier for you to be a shopping king!
Men Are Savvy Shoppers
Men armed with just a few insider tips, like we’ve given here, actually make better shoppers. They tend to overlook the marketing tactics that females fall for. Researchers discovered that given a choice between two identical items, women will almost always pick up the one with the most eye-catching packaging, even though it cost more.
The attention grabbing item for men is typically meat and in that department, more often than not, you guys make better, more practical choices. On the other hand, you average a lot less time in the store and spend more money. Golden Grocery Shopping Rule number two: slow the heck down! Take time to smell the roses in the floral section and leave less of your own green stuff behind. Or grab a seat at the increasing number of in-store coffee and sandwich bars opening up.
Once upon a time, grocery stores wanted you to shop hungry, believing you’d buy more. Why not use what they already order in bulk in a different way? Customers can buy freshly prepared food to enjoy instantly and the ingredients to take home later. Of course, this isn’t an example of saving a lot of money, but it is a great way to strike up a conversation with the redhead at the next table! You could tell her about Golden Grocery Shopping Rule number three…
The Secret Power of Unit Pricing
Every box, bag, can, carrot or egg carton has a ‘cost per unit’ label located either on the shelf beneath it or attached to the bulk bin and rule number three is to never buy anything without at least glancing at it. This little gem is the single most over-looked shopping tool consumers have at their disposal. It displays the item’s individual barcode, utilized by dozens of apps that can tell you everything from ingredients and allergy info, whether a coupon is available, best local price and MSR to whether or not the manufacturer is on a boycott list somewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, the barcode information is fantastic, but for now we’re interested in the tiny little box in the lower left-hand corner: the unit price. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The real truth in advertising! Is that sale price really the best price?
Your first task is to define the unit. This might say “per ounce” or even “per sheet” – in the case of paper towels. How is this useful? In about two seconds you can determine how much more you pay for a name brand product compared to the store brand. It tells you that the great deli cheese on sale is actually cheaper than the prepackaged stuff in the dairy case. More is less? You bet! The price you pay for that larger jar of mayo may appear higher, but the cost per ounce is significantly lower. Getting into the habit of quickly scanning the unit price of surrounding items saves you money and takes mere seconds.
Let Someone Else Do The Shopping
Did you know that more and more stores let you shop online and simply stop in to pick up your order? Stores like Walmart and Kroger are offering this service at no additional cost to the customer.
You get to select your items, including review unit pricing, and schedule a time to stop by for pickup. Some stores will even load the car for you. You can’t beat this option for time saved, convenience, and the money saving benefit of avoiding impulse purchases, since you aren’t setting foot in the store.
Have you tried online grocery services yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Know any guys who need help shopping?
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Like pasta salad, meatloaf is an unfairly maligned dish. Yeah, it’s pretty boring, if you make it 1950s suburban style. But it’s also really simple to make, and like most simple recipes, you can, uh, kick it up a notch into something awesome with just a little bit of creativity. Cooking for men can be all about creativity!
Remember: the easiest way to make any food a little more awesome is to vary up the spices a bit. In this recipe, we’re adding cumin and chili powder — which, if you have been following our cooking for men suggestions and read our article on stocking your pantry, you’ve already got in your kitchen — as well as a mild poblano pepper and salsa to give meatloaf a new lease on culinary life.
Of course, while it is cooking for men, keep in mind that you’re basically just eating solid meat here; do your colon a favor and pair this with a spinach salad or gazpacho soup. Tasty is important, but so is healthy, right?
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (you want the kind that consists of 20% or less fat)
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion
- 1 fresh poblano pepper
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 jar salsa
- grated cheddar cheese
- sour cream
You’re going to use a loaf pan to bake this; if you don’t have one already, you can buy a perfectly sufficient aluminum foil single-use one at the grocery store when you get the rest of the ingredients.
Start by de-seeding your poblano pepper by cutting off the top (where the stem is) with a kitchen knife and cutting out the seeds from the inside. Then dice the pepper and the onion into 1/4″ chunks.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a big mixing bowl and throw all the ingredients except for the salsa into it, including the chopped onion and peppers and, yes, the egg. Now: squish it all together with your hands until everything’s totally well-mixed together. Hopefully you aren’t too OCD about slimy stuff, but trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Take your big ball of meat and egg and spices and veggies and shove it into the pan. Flatten it down, making sure it totally fills the bottom of the pan, like you’re about to make a loaf of bread.
There should be room at the top of the pan still, which you are going to use to cover your meatloaf with the salsa. You can use a spoon or a spatula to spread it evenly over the top — think of how normal meatloaf has ketchup on it. At this point, if you want to, you can put a layer of grated cheese, which isn’t necessary but also tastes pretty awesome.
Put it in your oven, on the middle rack, and bake it for an hour. You’ll probably want to use a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked all the way through — nothing sucks worse than meatloaf tartare.
When it’s done, you can garnish it with sour cream, nacho-style, and serve it in slices, or even on a sandwich or in a tortilla with avocado slices if you want to get fancy.
Cooking for Men Means Variations
If you dig Tex-Mex meatloaf, you can also try experimenting with adapting it to fuse with other types of cuisine. For example: instead of using cumin and chili powder and Worcestershire, try using soy sauce and ginger and garlic, and topping it with black bean sauce, and you’ve got Asian meatloaf! You can also make a pretty decent vegan version by using lentils or ground beef substitute and replacing the egg with uncooked oatmeal and the Worcestershire (which contains a bit of anchovy) with soy sauce.
Get creative! See what you can come up with. And if you find something awesome for cooking with men, share it with us in the comments!
Like this recipe? Be sure to share on your social media.
(c) Can Stock Photo / bhofack2
Pasta salad. It’s the Fleetwood Mac of entrees: it’s impossible to offend anybody with it, but mainly because it’s just so damn boring. It’s potluck food. Lame. Right? Well, usually. But, our cooking for men tip is that you can actually make some pretty awesome variations on the standard old suburban model…like blackened chicken, which gives your pasta salad a Cajun-style kick. It’s not too difficult to do and it’s a really great meal for a summer weekday, matched with a good light beer or white wine (or a margarita).
This is going to require a cast-iron skillet, though, as you need to be able to quickly cook the chicken at very high heat, and a lot of inexpensive non-stick pans are actually too thin and will melt or burn at high temperatures. You may I personally feel that having is cast iron skillet is essential to cooking for men. (Cast-iron skillets are a whole other deal — check out our guide to buying and maintaining one.)
- 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or tenders (it doesn’t matter, we’re cutting them up anyway)
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 lb. package fusilli (spiral) pasta
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or substitute; see below)
- 1 stick celery
- 1 small can. pre-sliced black olives
- 2 small roma tomatoes, diced
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Start by putting your pasta in a pot of water and putting it on medium high heat to boil. That’s gonna take a while.
After that, take all of the spices for the chicken and pour them out together on a plate. Mix them up. You’re going to be coating your chicken in them in a minute, so make sure they’re well mixed. This is your “rub”. Cut your chicken into chunks about 1 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide — think about the size of chicken nuggets.
Preheat your skillet on high — all the way up. Once the chicken is cut into chunks, you need to coat it with your melted butter. You can use a marinade brush for this, or another trick is to pour the (slightly cooled) butter into a gallon freezer bag, throw the chicken in with it, seal it, and shake the hell out of it. After you’ve done this, take each piece of chicken and drag it through the rub on both sides to coat it.
Here’s the tricky part: first, open all your windows. Next, throw your chicken into the pan, making sure it’s not too overcrowded — you can do this in batches if you need to. As soon as the chicken hits the skillet, it’s going to sizzle and smoke. It’s going to look like it’s burning. That’s fine — it kind of is, but it’s cool. Just make sure it doesn’t set off your smoke alarms!
You want to cook each piece for around two to three minutes on each side. The key is to blacken the outside — by charring the meat a bit, but mainly by charring the spices coating it — and also get the inside cooked to a safe temperature. If you’ve got a meat thermometer, make sure it’s at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit inside. Or you can cut a piece open and make sure the inside is white all the way through — you don’t want any pink in there.
Once all your chicken is done, set it aside and cover it to keep it moist. Don’t worry about keeping it warm — that’s not a priority here. Now check on your pasta. It should be al dente, which means it’s soft but not mushy. Once it’s at that point, drain it in a colander and run cold water over it to cool it down — it can be slightly warm but you don’t want it hot, and it’s easier to chill it with water from the faucet than it is to put it in the fridge and wait for it to cool down over several hours.
Cooking For Men – Healthy Substitutions
Now: you may not be a mayo kind of guy. Personally, I adore the stuff, but some people absolutely can’t stand it. If you’re one of them, here’s a guide to some healthy alternatives. For our purposes, the olive oil or the “nayonnaise” is probably best — yogurt and mustard will change the flavor too much, and if you want to add almond butter here, well…it takes all kinds, I guess.
When it’s cool, drop it in a big mixing bowl and add in your mayo or substitute. Your mileage may vary here — a half cup might be enough for you, or you may be one of those dudes who likes your pasta salad super-creamy. Experiment with it. Dice your celery stick into small cubes, about 1/4″ on a side.
You also need to dice your tomatoes, and here’s a useful trick for doing that: cut the tomato in half and use your knife to scoop out the pulp and seeds. It’ll be way nicer and less messy when you chop the rest of the tomato into cubes. Add your celery and tomato and your pre-sliced black olives to the pasta and mix in salt, pepper and just a little paprika to taste. When it’s awesome, throw your chicken in and mix it around.
Voila! Cooking for men ain’t boring! You just made pasta salad that doesn’t suck. This goes well with garlic bread, roasted corn or fresh greens on the side. And don’t forget the beer!
(c) Can Stock Photo / tommaso79