Some Not So Low-Calorie Recipes
Alex mentions Low-Calorie Recipes at AskMen.com. Some of the recipes sound good. I don't know much about low-cal, but I've got some recipes that are fast, super-easy, and might even be sort of healthy.
There's virtually nothing to couscous, so it can't be that bad for you! You can get the prespiced stuff in the supermarket, but it is cheaper to just get the canister and make up however much you want for a meal. You can make it plain or add spices:
- Curry flavored: add curry seasoning to the water while it is boiling. Throw some raisins (you're welcome to try other small chunks of fruit if you don't like raisins) in with the couscous.
- Garlic flavored: add garlic powder to the water.
- Vegetables. Get some green in there! Keep frozen vegetables in the freezer. I've find either sweet peas or frozen broccoli to work the best. Frozen carrots also wouldn't be bad if you don't mind larger chunks. The canned stuff is junk.
- Don't mess around with chili flavored couscous. It just doesn't come out right.
I may be committing some kind of severe man-sin by saying this, but I kind of like the veggie burgers. Especially the salsa kind. The best part is that they keep in the freezer, so you can have them on hand for when you don't feel like cooking a real meal. The trick is to dress them up (which is where I often commit the fat-sin...).
- Fastest method is to throw the thing in the toaster oven (5-8 minutes cook time).
- You don't need to have it on bread -- it works just fine when eaten off a plate, with a fork.
- Spoon salsa over the top of it. Salsa is fat free.
- Put a slice of cheddar cheese on the burger for the last minute or so of cooking. Leave this off if you're worried about fat. Substitute some of that soy cheese if you're really into the soy stuff -- I haven't tried it.
Beans, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes
Keep canned beans on hand. I always have a couple of cans of kidney beans in the cupboard. You'll also want canned tomatoes (I usually have either Mexican style and Italian style on hand). And onions; these will keep quite a while sitting in the bottom of your pantry. And garlic; fresh is best, but I usually just keep a jar of the preprocessed stuff in the fridge. Again, this keeps for quite a while.
What the heck do you do with all of this stuff? There are many variations, I make it differently every time. Don't ask me what I call it. (Ok, since you're wondering, I call it "beans".) It takes about 40 minutes to put together, from chop to chow. Here's one possibility.
- Get a medium-sized saucepan.
- In another pan, start some rice. That will take about 20 minutes to cook.
- Chop an onion.
- Put a little olive oil in the saucepan and heat it up. Add the garlic and onion. Cook on med-high until the onion is, well, cooked.
- Add the (undrained) tomatoes. This time we're using Mexican style.
- Drain and rinse the beans. Add them in.
- You might need to add a little water if it looks like it isn't soupy enough.
- Add chili powder and/or red pepper and/or tabasco to taste. Don't overdo it.
- Lower the heat. Cover and simmer for a while. 20 minutes or until your patience runs out, whichever happens faster. The more it cooks, the better the flavor will be. When it smells done, it probably is.
- Serve over the rice.
If you want it to come out a little bit saucier, try this. Put a splash of water (a quarter cup or so) in a small bowl. Add a scant spoonful of cornstarch. Stir until it is dissolved in the water. Add this to the bean/tomato/rice mixture. Stir. The cornstarch will thicken and you'll have a saucier dish.
If you want something with meat in it, use a skillet instead of a saucepan and brown ground beef with the onion and garlic. I usually skip the rice (see below). You'll end up with some kind of skillet chili. Brown green peppers with the beef for a little extra flavor. Yum.
For a real adventure, make the skillet chili. When you throw in the cornstarch mixture, toss in a couple of handfuls of uncooked macaroni. Yum yum.
Speaking of Macaroni...
One of my favorites that I haven't made in a while is my cheeseburger mac. No, this isn't hamburger helper. Get yourself a box of store brand cheapo mac & cheese and some ground beef.
- Brown the ground beef.
- Add the uncooked mac & cheese and some water.
- Again: yum.
I'm sure this is not quite what the askmen.com people had in mind when they wrote their article... but who needs healthy?
Brian's Famous Bachelor's Grilled Cheese
Ok, so it's not famous. And it's not really grilled cheese. But I'm not a bachelor anymore either, not that it has anything to do with this.
- Two slices of bread.
- One or two slices of american cheese (the orange stuff).
- Butter the bread (lightly), if you really want.
- Throw the sucker in the toaster oven on med-dark.
- Bam! Grilled cheese with no effort and no pan to clean!
Use some of that low-fat bread they talk about and you'll be just fine.