Time for another recipe! A short one.
Yesterday I had a hankerin’ for a toasted BLT sandwich, so I looked in the fridge for the primary ingredient. You would think that is bacon, right? Nope.
When you want to make a sandwich, what is the first thing you reach for? That’s right. Bread.
Maybe someone should write a paper on that. Say you go into a restaurant and they list their sandwiches: BLT, Reuben (the perfect sandwich), ham and gruyere with French mustard and apple slices, turkey and grilled cheddar cheese, corned beef with tomato jam and field greens, grilled chicken with aioli pesto and goat cheese. Notice what’s missing? Yep, they never mention the bread. Or the butter, for that matter. Yet bread and butter are steps one and two of making a sandwich. Do we just assume their existence, or are we secretly ashamed of them?
But I digress. I had no bread, and if you are trying to lose weight (a perpetual state for me) bread is your enemy anyway. So I experimented a little.
I crisped four slices of precooked bacon in the microwave. I piled romaine lettuce leaves on a plate, then tore the bacon into chunks and dropped it on the lettuce. Next I added chunks of red tomato and a generous dollop of Smart Balance mayo. A little pepper, some crumbled pecans for extra protein, and a few croutons in sympathy for the missing bread. Finally, I topped it off with sprinkles of parmesan cheese just because I could.
Tada! I had lunch in less time than it took to write this.
I figure it’s about 25g of protein, and a handful of fat and carbs to make life worth living.
I don’t expect it to appear on restaurant menus everywhere (or anywhere) but if you do see it, make sure you tell them where you saw it first.
If you don’t have time for the omelette, try these:
(1) I do all of this in a blender bottle which you can get at any health food or vitamin store. You could use a real blender but that’s overkill. Maybe you have a little hand blender?
Pour in about 8 oz milk or Silk. Add a scoop of protein powder, the kind that comes in massive bags or bottles and gives you 25g of protein per scoop. You can get protein powder anywhere, from health food stores to grocery stores and Costco. I think they are all pretty much the same but some brands taste better than others. I found chocolate flavor works best with this recipe but anything is fine.
Add a scoop of clear fiber supplement, like Benefiber or the Metamucil Clear and Natural. Bonus tip: if you use chocolate flavored protein powder and add orange flavored Metamucil, then you get orange chocolate, which is kind of like a Terry’s chocolate orange in liquid form… but I find the psyllium based fiber supplements get all clumpy.
Next, add a spoonful of hemp hearts for a little more fiber and protein, plus they add a slightly nutty flavor. You can get hemp hearts from Whole Foods or any health food store (I assume). They are kind of like flax flakes except softer in texture and milder in taste.
Shake up the concoction and drink. You need to give the bottle a swirl before every swig or the hemp hearts settle to the bottom. You’ll get around 30g of protein and a few grams of fiber. It’s almost enough to hold me ’til noon, but usually I need a few almonds at around 11 to get me through the morning.
Rinse out the bottle and put it out to dry. Boy was that ever easy, and you get to feel like Rocky except with hemp hearts instead of raw eggs. Progress.
(2) Here’s an even simpler one. First, wrap two strips of pre-cooked bacon in a paper towel, then zap in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Add a small dollop of BBQ sauce or HP sauce or whatever for dipping. Restrict yourself to a wee dot of sauce per morsel of bacon.
Then add a generous blob of low fat cottage cheese and a small blob of low sugar strawberry jam. Stir it up. Voila! Quick and easy.
It’s about 25g of protein but maybe 12g of carbs. Oh well. Live a little. You can always cut out the jam and sauce and be miserable.
A manly meal has three main requirements:
(1) can be made during your average television commercial break, or a series of such breaks;
(2) can be eaten in front of the TV;
(3) is full of meat, because meat is synonymous with manliness;
(4) there is danger involved in its preparation.
Steak and burgers definitely fit these criteria because you can cook them during commercial breaks on a backyard grill. A grill is fraught with peril because it can go foomp! and singe your eyebrows. Not that it has ever happened to me.
Pizza also fits these criteria because you put it in the oven during one commercial break and pull it out during the next commercial break. And really, an oven is almost as dangerous as a grill — you can burn your forearms pulling out your pizza, especially if your attention is still on the TV. Not that it has ever happened to me.
To the above list of manly meal requirements, I’d like to add:
(5) low-carb, because obesity creates man-boobs which are decidedly un-manly, and fortunately low-carb diets work like crazy for men.
So here are a couple of low-carb recipes for lunch you can do in the microwave:
Hey! you scream. How is a microwave oven dangerous? Well, I’m sure you have seen The Mythbusters superheating distilled water in one. Kaboom! ‘Nuff said.
Manly lunch 1:
Dump a couple big scoops of Carolina BBQ pork on a plate, add lots of chopped celery, and a small scoop of Smart Balance mayo. Optional: some bell peppers and tomatoes, and white cheese (cheddar doesn’t work here). Roll into a ball, nuke to warm it up, and that’s it.
Carolina style BBQ is vinegar based, not tomato based. This cuts out a lot of sugar and it means you can taste the celery.
Manly lunch 2:
Take pieces of cooked chicken, add some chopped onion, a big scoop of Smart Balance mayo to add flavor and moisture, and chunks of your favorite soft cheese. Add random veggies like chopped peppers if you have them. Mix with fork, nuke to melt the cheese, and that’s it.
If you try any of these, tell me if you like ’em. Have any manly recipes of your own?
Here’s a quick and ultra-low-carb yet tasty-and-filling recipe for a morning omelette, that’s easy to make and requires little cleanup (especially if you have a dog).
First, spray olive oil Pam in a microwaveable bowl. If you don’t have that, smear some olive oil around the bowl with your fingers. This is important because egg sticks like concrete when it dries.
Next, crack two whole eggs into it. If you haven’t heard, eggs are back on the healthy menu because they have good and bad cholesterol, and the good more than counters the bad. Still, my doctor doesn’t recommend more than two yolks a day, so I add a little Egg Beaters to the mix, say another egg’s worth.
Add a splash of milk, because it makes the eggs fluffy (science!) and adds a little protein. Chop some cheddar cheese and drop it in. Add real bacon bits, either crumbled from a pre-cooked strip, or you can buy them precooked and prechopped in little bags or bottles.
Optional one: chop a little bell pepper and onion and toss them in. Optional two: add a tablespoon of hemp hearts or ground flax for fiber and Omega-3.
Stir the concoction with a fork, cover the bowl with a paper towel, and stick it in the microwave. Cook 3 minutes for two eggs, and 4 minutes for three eggs or equivalent Eggbeater combo. Cook at 70% power to heat evenly.
At around the halfway mark, pop open the microwave and give it a stir with the fork. If you forget to do this, no biggie but the texture will be uneven and all the veggies will be at the bottom. Also you can get nasty air pockets which explode and spray hot egg at you when you poke them. Also at this point, you can add chopped tomato bits.
Generally I consider the omelette done when it feels done and there is no liquid left dribbling around on the bottom of the bowl, however depending how many veggies you put in, there may be a little liquid left anyway. More for the dog.
When done, flip it onto a plate, then add salt, pepper, and Tabasco. It’s around 25 grams of protein and almost no carbs. There is a little fat, but when you are low carbing you don’t care about fat so long as it’s reasonable and mostly non-saturated. (Low carb beats low fat every time.)
Cleanup is simple: give the bowl to the dog for a prewash then pop it and the cutting board into the dishwasher. Since I don’t have that many microwaveable bowls or cutting boards, and my dog is getting rather complacent about cleaning every last bit of egg from the bowl, I have started washing by hand which adds an extra 2 minutes.
My wife’s contribution: chop the veggies and cheese ahead of time and store them in Tupperware bins in the fridge. Over the week this saves a lot of time in the chopping and cleaning up phases. Danger: this requires some planning ahead.
If you try it, let me know if you like it, and/or if you have any variations of your own.