Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Food for Dudes!

There seems to be a few trains of thought on what is considered food for dudes or dude food. Some say it combines the passion of extreme sports and cooking to produce over-the-top, testosterone-fueled dishes. Many of which, of course, involve bacon wrapping, alcohol soaking, deep frying and artery clogging! Others describe dude food as a movement to educate men about how to cook simple, healthy and delicious meals as part of a healthy lifestyle. Then there are the fans of the movie The Big Lebowski featuring Jeff Bridges as ‘The Dude’ – who created a Facebook page to lobby Ben and Jerry’s to create a Dude Food ice cream flavour made from White Russian flavoured ice cream with chocolate malt (bowling) balls. The only common ground seems to be that dude food involves bold tastes.
My idea of dude food is a fusion of these ideas. It involves creating healthy, full flavoured dishes that appeal to ‘meat and potato’ eating men who want to improve their diets but still enjoy the foods they love!
We all know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada especially among men. Lifestyle choices, such as diet, have a huge impact on prevention of heart disease. However, sometimes it is hard to sacrifice our favourite foods and make good choices.  The trick is not to necessarily give up these foods but to make smart choices, such as:
·      Choosing leaner cuts of meat
·      Watching your portion sizes
·      Choosing healthy fats
·      Reducing salt intake
·      Eating more fruits and veggies
·      Eating more whole grains and legumes
I know that sounds easy – joking – but really it is all about small changes and focusing on maximizing the flavours you love.  One easy change is to use a little of an ingredient to flavour a dish rather then eating a pile of that maybe-not-so-health-in-bulk ingredient.  For example, rather then wrapping everything in bacon just use a little bacon to flavour the dish! Another idea is low sodium or baked rather then fried tortilla chips.  The flavour comes from the salsa you are dipping the chip into, which is most likely heart healthy, so why add salt or added fat to something you hardly taste. You could also bake your own using fresh tortillas. One more idea comes from the dude in my life - my husband, who, like other meat and potato eaters is not a big vegetable eater. However, he does like them grilled or roasted so that is how we most often prepare them.
Whether you cook for a dude or are a dude yourself these recipes are aimed at keeping your heart healthy without sacrificing flavour or too much protein!  All of the following recipes meet the Heart and Stroke Association guidelines for heart healthy eating.  They all have less then 10 grams of fat and 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. Enjoy these heart healthy dude approved recipes!
Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic-Coffee Sauce
This full flavored entree is guaranteed to satisfy your appetite!
3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 4 mL
1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 mL
1/2 tsp onion powder 2 mL
1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
4 beef tenderloin steaks (5 oz/140 g each), about 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
6 oz/170 g sliced portabella mushrooms
3/4 cup strong coffee 175 mL
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 60 mL
1.    Preheat oven to 200 °F (400 C).
2.    In small bowl, combine black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Sprinkle both sides of steaks with spice mixture, pressing down with fingertips to adhere. Set aside. Let stand for 15 minutes.
3.    Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steaks 4 minutes, turn and cook 2-4 minutes longer or until desired doneness. Place steaks on separate plate and place in oven to keep warm.
4.    Heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil to pan residue in skillet, cook shallots 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently, using two utensils as you would with stir-fry. Spoon equal amounts over beef and return to oven to keep warm.
5.    To skillet, add coffee, vinegar and remaining 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, continue to boil 4 or so minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup (60 mL). Spoon over all and top with additional coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 3½ oz/105 g beef, 1/3 cup (75 mL)  mushroom mixture and 1 Tbsp (60 mL) sauce.

Deep, Dark and Stout Chili
Heart healthy chili made with dark stout beer!
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 1/2 lb/750 g extra lean ground beef (or 1 lb/500 g extra lean ground beef and 15-oz/426 mL can kidney beans, rinsed and drained)
2 cups diced green bell peppers 500 mL
1 cup diced red onion 250 mL
3 cans (14.5 oz/412 mL each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
1 bottle (12 oz/341 mL) dark stout beer
3 Tbsp chili powder 45 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin 20 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika (optional) 20 mL
1 Tbsp sodium-free beef bouillon granules 15 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 125 mL
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 125 mL
1 medium lime, cut into 6 wedges
1.    Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown beef, about 3-4 minutes per batch, stirring frequently.
2.    Meanwhile, in a sauté pan heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil and cook bell peppers and onions 4 minutes or until onions are soft, stirring frequently. Stir into cooked beef. Add stewed tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and bouillon. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in salt.
3.    Serve chili with choice of toppings placed in three small bowls.
Yield: 8 servings. Serving size: 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) chili.
Cook’s note: Like most chili recipes, the flavours are more blended if the chili is served the next day. This dish freezes well, too.

Herbed Pork Chops on Mustard Sauce
Kick your pork chops up a notch with this tasty mustard sauce!
3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves 4 mL
1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 mL
1/4 tsp dried pepper flakes  1 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
6 boneless pork chops (4 oz/125 g each), trimmed of fat
1 Tbsp canola oil 15 mL
Mustard Sauce:
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream 75 mL
1/4 cup Dijon mustard 60 mL
3 Tbsp skim milk 45 mL
1 Tbsp canola oil 15 mL
3/4 tsp dried tarragon leaves 4 mL
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 5 mL
1.    In small bowl, combine thyme, garlic powder, pepper flakes and salt. Brush both sides of pork chops with canola oil. Sprinkle thyme mixture evenly over both sides and press down with fingertips to adhere.
2.    Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops 4 minutes on each side or until barely pink in center.
3.    Meanwhile, in small saucepan, whisk together sour cream, mustard, milk, canola oil, and tarragon. Place over low heat until warmed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do NOT bring to a boil. Spoon equal amounts of mustard sauce on each of 6 dinner plates. Place pork chops on top of sauce and sprinkle with black pepper.
Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 1 pork chop and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) mustard sauce.

Fall-Apart Beer Brisket
A hearty, comfort food meal with rich flavour.
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 1/2 lb trimmed beef brisket 750 g
canola oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion) 375 mL
2 tsp minced garlic 10 mL
1 bottle (12 oz/341 mL) dark stout beer
2 Tbsp cider vinegar 30 mL
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves 7 mL
1 tsp dried thyme leaves 5 mL
3 Tbsp steak sauce 45 mL
3 Tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste 45 mL
1/2 tsp salt 2 mL
6 multigrain bread slices
1.    Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of canola oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef 3 minutes on each side. Place beef in slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil, cook onions 4 minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook 15 seconds.
2.    Remove skillet from heat and stir in garlic, beer, vinegar, oregano, thyme, steak sauce, and tomato paste. Stir until well blended and pour over beef in slow cooker, making sure that beef is covered completely with liquid.
3.    Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours. Remove beef and place on cutting board. Stir salt into slow cooker mixture. Thinly slice beef (it will shred automatically as you slice). Return beef to slow cooker and stir. Cover and let stand 15 minutes to absorb flavours.
4.    To serve, place strainer in large bowl, strain beef mixture, shaking off excess liquid and place in serving bowl. Serve juices alongside. Place equal amounts of shredded beef on warmed multigrain bread slices (2 oz/60 g per serving) as open-faced sandwiches. Spoon desired amount of liquid over each.
Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 1/2 cup (125 mL) beef, 1/3 cup (75 mL) sauce.
Cook’s notes: Buy beef brisket that weighs almost 2 pounds before trimming as there is quite a bit of fat to discard. If a “sliced” brisket is preferred over the shredded variety, cook about 30 minutes less than recommended above.

Black Bean-Avocado Salsa with Home-Baked Tortilla Chips
Heart healthy snack for your next celebration!
6 soft (6 inches/15 cm) corn tortillas
1 Tbsp canola oil 15 mL
1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 mL
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 2 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
1/2 ripe medium avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1 medium tomatillo, papery skin removed, rinsed and diced
1 large jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped (seeded, if desired)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 75 mL
1/4 cup diced red onion 60 mL
1/2 can (15 oz/426 mL) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 20 mL
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar 20 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
1.    Preheat oven to 350 °F  (180 °C).
2.    Stack tortillas and cut into eight equal triangles (48 wedges total). Put triangles in single layer on two baking sheets. Drizzle triangles with canola oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until chips are light brown and beginning to crisp. Remove from oven, place baking sheets on cooling racks, sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt and cool completely (about 10 minutes). As chips cool, they will become crisper. Store in airtight container up to 24 hours for peak flavor and texture.  
3.    Meanwhile, combine avocado, tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, black beans, canola oil, lime juice, vinegar and salt in medium bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.
Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 1/3 cup (75 mL) salsa, 8 chips.
Cook’s note: The leftover black beans may be stored in an airtight container in the freezer up to one month for later use.
Hoisin-Whiskey Glazed Meatballs
Hoisin sauce, also called Chinese barbecue sauce, adds a lot of flavour and helps to thicken this Asian-inspired glaze.
8 oz ground turkey 250 g
1/3 cup quick cooking oats 75 mL
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion (green and white parts) 75 mL
1 medium jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped (with seeds)
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1 mL
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce 30 mL
2 Tbsp Canadian whiskey 30 mL
2 tsp packed brown sugar substitute blend 10 mL
1.    In medium bowl, combine turkey, oats, green onion, chili pepper, egg whites, pepper and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of canola oil and shape into 24 small meatballs (about 1 Tbsp/15 mL each).
2.    Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook meatballs 6 minutes or until no longer pink in center, turning frequently.
3.    Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together hoisin sauce, bourbon and sugar substitute.
4.    Pour hoisin mixture over meatballs in skillet and cook 15 seconds, stirring gently until well coated. Serve with wooden picks.
Yield: 6 servings. Serving size: 4 meatballs.
Cook’s note: For better control, use two utensils, such as a fork and a spoon, to turn the meatballs easily.

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