Built in the Kitchen; Sculpted in the Gym.

Home Articles Posted by FitMenCook

Posts by : FitMenCook

FitMenCook
Author Author / 471 Posts
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
,

I love delicious, relatively cheap eats!  Here’s one that’s sure to “spice up” dinner or your lunch this week.

 

STUFFED TUNA MELT RECIPE

Ingredients for 4 patties:

  • 16oz canned wild albacore tuna, drained – make sure the tuna is DRAINED
  • 1/3 cup fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup green onion
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon lite safflower mayo
    • Substitute: regular reduced-fat mayo, Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup (wheat) panko crumbs
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon favorite hot sauce (I like Tapatio or Frank’s)
  • Filling
    • 3oz Monterey Jack (4 equal sized squares – weighed at .75oz  each)
  • Crust
    • 1/2 cup (wheat) panko crumbs

 

Steps:

  1. In bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the patties.  If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon or two of Dijon mustard. Alternatively, if it is too wet/loose, add a tablespoon or two of panko.
  2. Form a golf ball size amount of tuna in your hand, then flatten it out.  Add a chunk of the cheese to the palm of your hand, then cover it with another golf ball size amount of tuna.  Repeat.
  3. Place the patties in the fridge for at least 1 hour in order to become more firm before cooking.
  4. Set oven to 410F.
  5. Spray a (nonstick) skillet with olive oil and set on medium heat. Then, right before adding the patties to the warmed skillet, lightly coat them one last time in the “crust” panko.
  6. Sear the patty on one side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, careful to ensure the patty is not sticking.  If it is, then reduce the heat and/or spray the skillet with more olive oil. Then flip them over and place the entire skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy immediately with a salad or on a multigrain bun.  Note: as the patties cool, they become more solid and are less delicate; however, you don’t get the crazy, stringy, cheesy goodness either…just want to point that out. Lol

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 patties:

337 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 15g fat, 37g protein, .5g fiber, 1g sugar

,

 

Today’s meal prep was inspired by an experience I had when traveling in Israel.  This chef made an amazing farm-to-table spread for us and included these stone oven roasted/charred sweet potatoes, topped with slow cooked lentils, tahini and some feta.  Delicious!

Got me thinking that it would be an incredible meal prep recipe, particularly a good lunch or post-workout meal. So, I had to create my own version, but of course with some southern mojo.

 

VEGAN BBQ BAKED BEANS RECIPE

bbq baked beans - vegan meal prep

Ingredients for 12 servings (of about 1/2 cup each serving):

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dried red beans
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or ketchup (no salt)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • substitutes: honey, agave, sugar-free maple syrup
  • 3 cups water
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (~200g each), raw
  • Garnish
    • green onion

 

**This recipe makes a lot.  Remember, you do not have to eat everything at one time.  Portion out enough for your meal size, then freeze the rest.  Defrost in a pot/skillet with veggie stock and more tomato sauce if desired.**

 

Steps:

  1. Place dried red beans in a bowl, add 4 cups of water and soak the beans overnight for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Add olive oil, red onion, garlic and celery to a dutch oven (or slow cooker) and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the seasonings and bloom the spices together for about a minute.  Then add the remaining ingredients – except the sweet potato.  Mix together, bring the dutch oven to a simmer.  Place in the oven at 350F for 5 hours until beans are tender.
  4. Wash sweet potatoes under cold weather to remove dirt, poke a few holes in the sweet potato using forks, then bake for 45 minutes or until tender at 350F.
  5. Check on the baked beans one final time and season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  6. Slice open the sweet potato and fluff out the insides with a fork.  Add your sized portion of red beans to the baked sweet potato. Add creamy tahini sauce (see below) to the top of the beans, then garnish with green onion.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 12 servings of BBQ beans:

147 calories, 30g carbohydrates, 1g fat, 8g protein, 6g fiber, 8g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving of BBQ beans WITH a medium sweet potato:

172 calories, 40g carbohydrates, 0g fat, 3g protein, 6g fiber, 8g sugar

 

Tip: slice the sweet potato in half to eat in two separate meals in order to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in a serving.


 

PROTEIN TAHINI SAUCE RECIPE

Ingredients for 12 servings, with approximately two tablespoons per serving:

  • 395g firm tofu
  • 112g (about 8 tablespoons) tahini
  • 1 garlic clove (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • juice from 3 lemons (or more/less according to preferences)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more/less according to preferences)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Steps:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree.  Season to taste with sea salt & pepper.  Add water and/or lemon and puree until you reach your desired consistency.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 12 servings:

88 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 5g protein, 1g fiber, 0g sugar

 

,

If you ever visit Texas (or Mexico for that matter), you’ll notice that there are a TON of different taco options. It can be pretty overwhelming for a taco newbie. And while most people in the south are “Texas-polite” and patient, all courtesy goes out the door if you hold up the taco line. Lol

One of my favorite tacos is barbacoa. It’s a cross between roast beef and fatty brisket, in my opinion. It’s slow cooked beef chuck and it’s delicious. Admittedly, it’s even more delicious when you’re eating it outside the taco stand, while the sun beats down on your face and you’re chasing this savory, spicy deliciousness (wrapped in corn tortillas) with a chilled Topo Chico.  This is life, bro!

Anyway, I don’t have a taco shop – not yet anyway 😉 – and I love slow cooking on the weekend because I can chillax (chill + relax) on the couch or catch up with friends/family while my food prepares in the background.  So, here’s a huge cheers to the weekend with my southwest style pulled flank.  Great recipe for (weekend) meal prep!

 

SLOW COOKER FLANK STEAK RECIPE

pulled flank steak recipe

Ingredients for at least 8 servings of 4oz

  • 2 lb raw lean flank, beef or buffalo
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Garnish
    • fresh lime
    • fresh chopped cilantro
  • olive oil spray

 

Steps

  1. Spray the slow cooker with olive oil, then add the flank steak.  For best results, it’s best if the flank steak is not rolled – try as much as possible to lay it flat. Add the rest of the ingredients, give it a quick stir, then cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Alternatively, you can also use a dutch oven and cook for about 2 to 3 hours on low heat.
  2. When the meat is about 85%  complete with the cooking cycle, gently pull it apart with forks, then allow it to cook for the remaining time in it’s own juices.
  3. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, fresh lime and cilantro
  4. Enjoy this warm, or even cold the next day in a lunch burrito!

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 8 servings of four ounces:

155 calories, 1g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 24g protein, 0g fiber, 1g sugar

,

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by my recent trip to Colombia. After spending a few days in Cali, I headed to San Andres Island where I had the most flavorful rice I’ve ever tasted – arroz con coco! It’s both sweet and savory.

In some dishes, coconut rice is so sweet it’s like a dessert, and in other dishes, it’s much more salty and savory (with a hint of sweet).  It’s often or best paired with seafood.

Suffice to say, I’ve been craving it ever since I touched back down in the United States, so I got cooking in the kitchen to make my own calorie conscious version which is actually a pretty darn good meal prep recipe.

Here’s my delicious journey below!

 

HEALTHY COLOMBIAN COCONUT RICE RECIPE (VEGAN)

healthy colombian coconut rice

Ingredients for 15 servings (of about 1/3 cup each):

  • 1 can (13.5oz) lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon stevia in the raw (OR 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or raw cane sugar)
  • 1/3 cup raisins, optional
  • 1 teaspoon allspice * (optional, my addition)
  • 3 cups of water
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish:
    • coconut flakes

 

Steps:

  1. Set a large pan/pot on low heat and add about 3/4 of the lite coconut milk (make sure the majority of the fat gets added first).  Bring it to a simmer and continuously stir.  As the liquid reduces, you’re left with a thick coconut paste.  Continue stirring, scraping the pan to prevent any sticking, and keeping it on low heat.  Once the paste begins to curdle and turn brown, then it’s ready.  This should take about 25 minutes. Be patient – it’s worth it!
  2. Add the brown rice, raisins and the remaining coconut milk.  Give it a good stir for about 3 minutes, then add the stevia (or coconut/cane sugar) and a little allspice if desired. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is fluffy.  Note: add more water as needed to ensure the rice cooks and does not burn.  
  3. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper and garnish.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 15 servings:

119 calories, 22g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 2g sugar

 

GRILLED SALMON RECIPE

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • three 6oz wild salmon filets, raw
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 pinch of sea salt, 3 pinches of pepper
  • grapeseed or olive oil spray

 

Steps:

  1. Season the salmon with the seasonings, then set a nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Spray it with olive oil or grapeseed oil, then add the salmon filets once it’s hot.  Sear the salmon on both sides for about 4 to 5 minutes each, careful not to let it burn or stick to the skillet.  Use the fat from the salmon as gravy and bathe the salmon in it while it cooks.
  2. Once the salmon is cooked to desired readiness, remove it from the heat.

Approximate macros for 1 of 3 servings:

241 calories, 0g carbohydrates, 34g protein, 0g fiber, 0g sugar

 

MIXED SALAD WITH ORANGE DIJON VINAIGRETTE RECIPE:

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 1/3 cup cucumber slices
  • 1/3 cup red onion slices
  • Vinaigrette:
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • juice from 1/2 orange or tangelo
  • Garnish
    • cracked pepper

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving:

81 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 0g fat, 1g protein, 3g fiber, 9g sugar.

 

,

One thing I’ve learned from my recent travel is that I do not incorporate enough raw fruits into recipes or my daily diet. It occurred to me when I was in Nigeria and Colombia, where I was readily enjoying fresh fruits.  Incorporating fruits into recipes add both flavor and the hint of sweetness to take your palate on wild adventures.

Here’s a super easy shrimp salad I made that is sweet, salty and spicy!

Shrimp Stuffed Avocado Salad Recipe

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • spray olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced or paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Salad
    • 2 medium vine tomatoes, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, peeled
    • 1/3 cup (or more) red onion, diced
    • 1 jalapeño, chopped (remove some seeds for less spice)
    • 1/3 cup chopped mango
    • 1/2 orange (or red) bell pepper, chopped
    • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or more if desired)
    • juice from 3 limes
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 large avocados

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil.  Add garlic, shrimp and chili powder.  Cook until the shrimp is no longer pink on the outside and completely cooked, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Place the cooked shrimp on a cutting sheet or board and cut into smaller pieces.  Add the pieces to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the ingredients for the salad, mix together and season to taste with sea salt & pepper (and more lime juice if desired).  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Slice open an avocado and peel it.
  5. Add the salad to the avocado halves and enjoy.  You can also enjoy the salad by itself, with mixed greens or even wheat tortilla chips.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings of just the salad:

157 calories, 11g carbohydrates, 1g fat, 26g protein, 1g fiber, 5g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings with the salad and 1/2 avocado:

318 calories, 20g carbohydrates, 15g fat, 28g protein, 8g fiber, 6g sugar

 

,

It’s no secret that one of my favorite foods is sweet potato. It’s up there with rice and bread for me – I just have to have it (in some way) in my diet.  On a recent flight from Nigeria to the States, I was served a creamy rice dish that got me craving risotto…

I immediately started thinking about a calorie-conscious way to makeover the dish with complex carbohydrates and heart healthier fats.  Then, I realized that done correctly, risotto could make for a pretty satisfying post-workout meal…so, sweet potato to the rescue!

The baked sweet potato acts as an additional thickener to the recipe, making it creamier while boosting the flavors, not compromising them.  The sweetness of both the potato and the coconut cream/milk balances out the savoriness of the risotto and gives your body a dose of complex carbohydrates for lasting energy and muscle rebuilding.  I really like this meal after a workout, but it also makes for a satisfying lunch or comfort food makeover.

SWEET POTATO RISOTTO RECIPE

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  • 1 1/2 lb raw chicken breast, cut into chunks (OR your choice of lean veggie or animal protein)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced/chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice (or regular long grain brown rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium veggie broth or chicken broth
  • 300g baked sweet potato, no skin
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (**see steps below)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish for meal prep containers
    • raw kale for salad
    • diced red bell pepper

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 410F.  If you do not have leftover baked sweet potato from your meal prep, then you’ll need to bake a large sweet potato.  Wash it, poke a few holes in it using a fork, then place it on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the outside is so tender you can easily pierce it with a fork.  Set it aside once it has been baked.
  2. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray it with olive oil.  When the skillet is hot, toss in the chicken chunks.  Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the pieces of chicken are no longer pink and there is a slight sear on the outer edges.  Remove the chicken (set it aside), then put the skillet back on the heat.
  3. Add olive oil and garlic and red onion.  Sauté until the red onion turns slightly brown and translucent and be careful not to burn the garlic, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the uncooked brown rice and only 2 cups of the low sodium veggie/chicken broth.  Reduce the heat to a simmer – low-medium heat, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked and no longer crunchy.  Monitor the skillet to make sure there is adequate liquid in the skillet and add tablespoons of water or broth as needed.
  5. Once the rice has finished cooking, add the baked sweet potato WITHOUT the skin to the skillet, along with coconut milk.  ** Scoop from the top of the can to get mostly coconut cream. For best results, open the can and let it sit for about 20 minutes before scooping out the milk – this will allow for the majority of the cream to rise to the top.  Stir everything together until the consistency is smooth, then add the cooked chicken and 1/2 cup broth to the mixture.  Season to taste with sea salt & pepper, then cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Add frozen peas to the skillet and fold everything together.  Cover and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Enjoy immediately or add to meal prep containers.  If you are adding to meal prep containers, remember to allow the food to cool before adding the lid to prevent further cooking from the steam.

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings (without garnish):

394 calories, 46g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 38g protein, 6g fiber, 8g sugar

,

With the summer weather upon us, I’ve been getting the urge more than usual to fire up the grill to smoke and cook some food. Yesterday I returned from a trip to Nigeria and came home to an empty fridge (with intense “hanger” pains).

For some reason or another, I was craving seafood – something fatty and flavorful – so I headed to Kroger.   Of course, I scooped up some salmon but I noticed that rainbow trout was on sale so I bought some too.

What I really like about trout is that it pretty much has the same texture of salmon (and even look of salmon) but with a slightly different taste. In my opinion, it tastes less “fishy” than salmon does which is a common complaint I hear about people’s aversion to salmon.

Also, it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is fairly high in protein with over 20g at just 3 oz.  While it does have some fat, it’s still considered low-fat so it’s a good, heart-healthy substitute for beef and lamb.  Oh yeah – it’s low in mercury so it’s one of those fish you can comfortably enjoy on a weekly basis.

BAKED TROUT RECIPE

smoked spicy trout

Ingredients

  • 1lb rainbow trout
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon (smoked) paprika
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • zest of lemon (or lime or orange)
    • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
    • pinch of sea salt
    • pinch of cinnamon (optional instead of using coconut sugar or brown sugar)
  • Garnish
    • fresh lemon juice (or lime or orange)
    • kosher salt & cracked pepper

 

Steps

  1. Fire up the smoker/grill to about 200F (or set oven to 300F).
  2. Brush the fish with olive oil, then rub it in the seasonings.  Careful not to use all the oil – you’ll need it for basting. If you are going to bake the fish in the oven, then you may want to consider using smoked paprika (or adding a drop or 2 of liquid smoke to the rub) in order to achieve a somewhat smoky flavor that makes this recipe really tasty.
  3. Place the fish on a wood plank (the same flavor as the wood you’re smoking).  Or, if you’re using the oven, set the fish on a baking tray.
  4. Smoke for 2.5 to 3 hours, or bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Brush the fish with the remaining olive oil every 45 minutes.
  5. Garnish and enjoy!

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings:

165 calories, 0g carbohydrates, 7.5g fat, 23g protein, 0g fiber, 0g sugar

 

 

 

 

,

Now, more than ever, I’ve been racking up the frequent flyer miles, working with brands and other influencers on various food projects.  While I’m grateful for the opportunities, I cannot deny that a part of me misses my weekly routine of gym, meal prep and laundry.  There’s nothing quite like working out in your home gym and whipping up a meal in your kitchen.

It’s not always possible, but whenever I can, I like to prep a meal or two to take with me – I’ll either enjoy it on the plane, or when I arrive at my final destination.  Makes me “feel” like I’m in control (especially when there are so many other variables out of my control when traveling – flight delays, access to “healthy” food, customer service, etc).

Here’s a quick meal prep that I made that came out to under $4 per meal for 5 meals/servings.  It’s based off common items in the fridge and pantry so it shouldn’t cause you to break the bank (of course depending on where you are in the world).

 

Freezable Lunch Bag mentioned in the video:
Packit Social Lunch Bag from Kohl’s – http://bit.ly/2or0Rii

PEANUT CHICKEN PASTA RECIPE

Ingredients for 5 servings:

  • 1 3/4 lb raw chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • spray olive oil
  • 32 oz Shirataki tofu noodles
  • 1 medium raw purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 celery stalk, chopped
  •  Sauce:
    • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
    • 1/3 cup warm water (or more if you desire a thinner sauce)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (or peanut oil)
    • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced or paste)
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar (or your choice of vinegar)
    • Sriracha to taste (spice level)
  • Garnish
    • chopped green onions
    • chopped peanuts
    • cracked pepper (if desired)

 

Steps:

  1. Chop chicken breasts into small pieces.  About the size of your thumb.
  2. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray it with olive oil.  Toss in the chicken and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside or outside.  The outside of the chicken should be lightly seared/brown.  Set the chicken aside (or place it in the fridge to chill).
  3. Prep the veggies by chopping the red bell pepper and celery, then shredding the cabbage using a sharp knife or mandolin.
  4. Drain or strain the Shirataki noodles and place them in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl. Cook in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes in order to remove the odor.  After that, place it in the fridge to chill.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce.  Place in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
  6. In a larger bowl, add the noodles, chicken, bell pepper, celery and the sauce.  Fold everything together so that it is well mixed.
  7. Add about a cup of shredded cabbage to each meal container, then evenly divide the peanut pasta among the containers.
  8. Garnish, chill and enjoy!

 

Note: (**)  – Remember to always adjust recipes to fit your diet and wellness needs.*

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings:

430 calories, 19g carbohydrates, 20g fat, 47g protein, 8g fiber, 5g sugar

,

Like every other honest person in the world, I get cravings…and I have to admit that sometimes I cave and enjoy a non-scheduled indulgent treat, or two…or three.  And yes, I try to plan when I’m going to eat something that is less calorie-conscious because if I actually plan for it, then it’s not really “cheating.”  Rather, it’s a part of my well-balanced diet and lifestyle.

All that to say, today I was craving both salty potato chips and sushi.  I had dreams of a deep fried sushi roll that was somehow crusted with kettle chips. Yeah, it was one of those days.

Instead of heading out to the nearest gas station for chips and then swinging by my favorite sushi spot for tempura-fried rolls (with Sriracha mayo drizzle), I started thinking about a way I could satisfy both cravings in a much more calorie-conscious way.

I stopped by my favorite seafood market in Dallas and fired up the air-fryer I got from Kohl’s last month (aside: if you haven’t checked out my review on the Philipps Air-Fryer, you should.)

If you do not have an air-fryer, no worries! You can still make the chips but it will take a bit longer.  Check out my video here on making baked sweet potato chips.

SUSHI POKE AND SWEET POTATO CHIPS RECIPE

Video from FitMenCook Instagram Story

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1/2 lb sushi-grade wild tuna
  • 1 large sweet potato (~12oz or 341g)
  • 1 teaspoon safflower oil (or grapeseed oil or olive oil)
  • Salad
    • 1 cup chopped bok choy
    • 1 cup shredded (purple) cabbage
  • Sauce
    • 1/4 cup diced red onion (or chopped green onion)
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (or ginger paste)
    • 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (or Bragg Liquid Aminos)
    • 1 tablespoon (toasted) sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or more to cut saltiness as needed)
    • fresh lime juice to taste
  • Garnish
    • diced red onion
    • fresh chopped cilantro
    • sesame seeds

 

Utensils needed: mandolin, sharp chef’s knife

 

Steps:

Set the air-fryer to about 290F – 300F.  Do not go higher than this or you will risk burning the chips.  Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the sweet potato into thin pieces, about the thickness of a nickel.

Put the slices in a bowl, then add the oil.  Mix together using your hands to ensure that each piece has a little bit of oil on it.  Add the slices to the air-fryer tray and cook for about 25 minutes (or more as needed).  Check the slices every 8 minutes – shake the tray – to ensure they are not sticking to each other.  Remove them once the edges are browned.  Note:  remember the chips harden as they cool so do not keep them in the air-fryer for too long.

Prepare the salad by cutting the end/butt off the bok choy, then chopping it into pieces.  It’s best to use a mandolin to cut up the cabbage so that it is fine like strands of hair or hay.  Mix the two together and then set it aside.

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl.   Then, using a very sharp knife, carefully slice the tuna into small cubes and set it aside.

Once the chips are ready, add the tuna to the sauce and gently fold the tuna in the sauce.  Allow it to marinate for about 5 minutes.  Then, add the tuna poke to the top of the nixed salad and garnish.  Pour in the extra sauce.  You can either mix everything together, or enjoy the poke with the chips, then eat the salad after with all the sauce from the poke having marinated it very well.

Enjoy and try your hardest to share…operative word being try.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 2 servings of sushi poke:

154 calories, 32g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 3g protein, 5g fiber, 7g sugar

Approximate macros for 1 of 2 servings of sweet potato chips:

222 calories, 7g carbohydrates, 9g fat, 28g protein, 1g fiber, 5g sugar

,

With all of the writing I’ve been doing for my upcoming book on meal prep and meal prep recipes, I wanted to do a deeper dive on an article I wrote a while back on cooking chicken in bulk and having variety.  Besides over cooking the protein, I often hear complaints about the lack of variety.

So, here’s a video showing how I cook protein – beef (or ground meats) and chicken (poultry) – in bulk.  Regardless of your diet, there’s a lot of key learnings in this video for everyone, even vegans.  It talks about how to do exact meal prep or calorie counting so that you better arrive at the intended calories and macronutrients for each meal.

 

Is calorie counting necessary to lose weight?

No.  Is it helpful? Yes.  If you’ve never measured or weighed food before I highly suggest doing it.  Helps your “Kitchen IQ” so you know by “eyeballing” something how many calories are in it.

 

GROUND MEAT MEAL PREP (BEEF)

cooking protein in bulk

I like cooking ground meats with other veggies, but for calorie counting, I’ve found the most success with patties and meatballs.  I prefer the meatballs over patties because smaller, cooked pieces of meat are easier to portion out, transport, cook and eat.

The quick process:

First, I start by adding a bowl to a food scale and zero-ing it out.  This will allow you to know the weight of all the ingredients – including any additions such as chopped veggies and seasonings.

Write down how much the seasoned meat weighs and then divide that amount by the number of days you’re prepping for. And that should give you the amount for each day (or meal).

Remove it from the scale, then mix everything together.

Make the meatballs.  Scoop out a portion of the meat, weigh it, roll it and then add it to a (mini-) muffin pan.  I like using a muffin pan because it keeps the meat separate, it cooks in its own juices and keeps them round.   Also, I find that the smaller pieces cook faster in the muffin tins because the metal around it is also hot.  This is a plus because it cuts down on cooking time.

Keep in mind that leaner pieces of ground meat will cook much faster so you may have to either reduce the cooking time and/or temperature.

 

 

CHICKEN MEAL PREP

cooking protein in bulk

Chicken is likely the most common prepped protein, yet the one that gives the most grief.  Besides overcooking, people always complain about the lack of variety.  They prep everything the same.  But you don’t have to.

 

The quick process:

First, cut up the chicken breasts into tiny nickel-sized pieces.  This will allow for faster cooking and easier consumption.

One of the most important steps that people forget when cooking chicken is to pat it dry.  This is especially true if you’re using frozen chicken breasts.

 

Take a paper towel and pat it dry.  If you’re using frozen chicken breasts, then I recommend letting it sit on a paper towel for at least 20 minutes to get rid of excess water and enhancing solution.  Once dry, then add it to a bowl on a scale.

Add base seasoning – the seasoning that ALL your chicken will have such as garlic and onion.

Next, divide the chicken by the number of types of variety you’d like. That will give you the equal amounts for each portion of seasoned chicken.  In my example, I use 3.

Once the chicken is equally in separate bowls, add the various seasonings.

Get a baking sheet and aluminum foil.

Spread the foil over the pan and create equally sized rectangles by pinching parts of the foil together.  This creates a ridge/barrier so that juices will not flow into the chicken adjacent to it.

Now, add the chicken to the individual spaces.  Spread it out and make sure the chicken has breathing room.  This will help cut down on cooking time and ensure all pieces are properly cooked, and not cooked together.