Man Up and Eat Your Vegetables

Recently, I pointed out that many individuals of the testosterone-fueled persuasion balk at the thought of eating a salad as a meal. This phenomenon, which I call “spinach resistance”, is so deeply ingrained in certain individuals that trying to argue otherwise is just an exercise in time wasting.

That being said, I’m loathe to accept that someone just “doesn’t eat vegetables”. Let’s be clear: you might not like all vegetables, you may not like vegetables prepared a certain way or paired with certain foods, but 100% vegetable avoidance? Even the most ardent vegetable-phobe has no problem consuming the diced peppers and olives found atop a mountain of nachos. Clearly the issue is not with the vegetables per se but rather with the delivery vehicle.

Thankfully, there seems to be at least one meal that works equally well for both the pro- and anti-veggie crowd: chili. Whether you prefer a vegetarian version or a chili loaded with ground beef, sausage and extra habanero; chili is a dish that appeals to the masses. For some reason, pairing vegetables with ground meat, beans and pasta sauce just works; go figure.


Now with 2x more Machismo…

The real beauty of chili is that it is super convenient. You can prepare a huge batch and have meals for the week if necessary. Chili also freezes remarkably well, meaning a 30 minute investment of food prep time will easily yield 6 meals over the course of the week. Now that’s math everyone understands!

Remember, meals need to satisfy two criteria if they are going to be used to help someone establish improved eating habits. The meal must:

  1. Taste great
  2. Be convenient to prepare

Chili comes up aces on both counts so without any further ado, here is my favourite homemade chili recipe:

Old Fashioned Chili (Downloadable version)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs ground beef, pork or turkey
1.5 cup onion, chopped
2 stalk celery chopped
1 medium green pepper
2 cloves garlic
6 oz can tomato paste
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp mustard seed (optional)
1 cup mushroom, chopped
2 cup tomato sauce (canned or homemade)
2 cup kidney beans (rinse well)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. Drain fat, then place meat in slow cooker.
  3. Sautée onion, mushrooms and garlic in skillet, then transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Add kidney beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, and mustard powder to slow cooker; mix well.
  5. Feel free to add oregano, basil, cumin, and black pepper as desired.
  6. Cover; slow cook on LOW 4 to 6 hours or on stove 1 to 1 1/2 hours (stirring occasionally)
  7. Add green peppers and celery 30 minutes prior to removing from heat.

Although this recipe can be prepared on the stove top, I strongly recommend investing in a slow cooker. For a minimal one-time investment (a solid slow cooker will run you $40), you get a “must have” meal preparation tool.

I can’t remember what terrible informercial reiterates the line, “just set it and forget it” but that’s the gist of cooking with a slow cooker. You just dump all the ingredients into it in the morning, head out the door and when you return 8 hours later, you have a meal waiting for you.

As an added bonus for those on a budget, a slow cooker allows you to purchase tougher (i.e. cheaper) cuts of meat. The longer, low-heat cooking process coupled with acidic liquids (i.e. vinegar, wine) tenderize the meat until it takes on a “fall off the bone type characteristic”.

Simple, cost-effective, delicious.

Slow cooking: it’s the old fashioned solution for the new-fangled problem of being “too busy” to cook. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Till next time, train hard and eat clean!