How to Cook Steve’s Go-To Healthy Meal

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I’m about as useless in a kitchen as a chef is with a lightsaber.

Actually, that sounds awesome, so I’m way more useless than that.

I’m a picky eater, I don’t know how to cook anything, and I’m an impatient S.O.B.  Honestly, I’d much rather play video games than spend an hour in the kitchen making some delicious creation.  I imagine I’m not the only nerd who feels this way, right?

Now, as a 25 year-old living with college buddies, my options for dining are severely limited – go out and pick up something, eat in at a restaurant, or find a way to eat something at home.  Because eating out is expensive and usually unhealthy, I learned how to make a few meals that are quick, cheap, and easy.  [Insert immature joke here about “quick, cheap, and easy”].

teeheehee.

Steve’s Go-To Meal

Chicken, brown rice, and asparagus.

Win.

Protein, veggies, and a pretty dang good carbohydrate.  I went ahead and tried to film myself preparing the meal.  This might be a waste of time for most of you, but hopefully there are a few other clueless nerds out there who will get some use out of this.  Just a heads up, it’s kind of long – about 6 and a half minutes, but it’s worth a watch if you’re a complete n00b in the kitchen.

Yeah, I know there are ways to make this healthier, more complex, etc.  I wanted to keep it RIDICULOUSLY simple to start, and then you can start messing around with other options after that once you’re used to actually cooking yourself a meal.  Here we go:


Steve Cooks…Seriously

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s what I cover:

What to Buy

  • Tyson Frozen chicken tenderloins – Yeah, I know it’s not organic free-range, blah blah blah.  If you’re strapped for cash and need protein, a bag of these tenderloins is a perfect source and only like 8 bucks at any store.
  • 10 minute Boil-In-A-Bag brown rice – doesn’t get much easier than this.  Yeah you can go with a rice steamer, buy organic brown rice, etc.  However, if you’re new to this whole cooking thing this is a good way to get started.  Remember, brown rice – good. White rice – bad.
  • Asparagus – buy it in a bundle/bushel? at your supermarket.
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray – you can go with regular olive oil, but the spray just makes things so much easier.
  • Garlic powder – hit up the spices aisle in your supermarket, and look for one of these
  • Ground pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil

How to Cook It

Once you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to get started.  Here ya go:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and wait for it to get to the right temp.
  2. Wash your asparagus and dry off with a paper towel.
  3. Put down a piece of tinfoil on a cookie sheet, and lay out the tenderloins on the foil.  Spray both sides of each piece with the olive oil spray.  Sprinkle the garlic poder, ground pepper, and sea salt on the chicken, then stick it in the oven for 33 minutes.
  4. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  5. Pull the chicken out of the oven and stop the timer when there are 13 minutes still left.
  6. Take your asparagus, and break off the bottom of each ‘stem’ – if you grab towards the bottom, you’ll feel where it’s supposed to break.
  7. Put them on the cookie sheet next to the chicken, and spray again with olive oil spray.  Use your hands to roll the asparagus so they’re well coated with the stuff.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
  8. Put the chicken and asparagus back in the oven, and restart the timer.  Drop your bag of brown rice right into the boiling water on the stove.
  9. With 3 minutes left on the oven timer, your rice is done.  Carefully empty the pot in your sink, then open the bag, and empty onto a plate.
  10. When the chicken and asparagus is done, put it on the plate with your rice, and EAT.

Thoughts?

Photo on 2010-04-07 at 21.21 #3I honestly have no clue how this is going to be received, but I figure we’re all friends here right?  I think it’d be good to have half a dozen meals on here so everybody knows how to make at least a few meals that are healthy.  In the future I should have some camera help so it’s not as awkward…can’t promise I’ll be any less of a tool though (exhibit A is pictured to the right).

I need your help though.  As I said in the video, I don’t know how to cook much, and because I’m a picky eater I don’t vary my meals that much.  I bet there are a few of you out there who LOVE to cook though, and probably know how to make some great healthy dishes.

If you’re one of those people, I’d really appreciate it if you posted your healthy recipe over on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards under the recipes section.  The Rebel Army is counting on you – proper nutrition is a key component of world domination (or so I’ve been told).  Maybe some day we can put out a NF cookbook.

A boy can dream…

Alright, let’s hear it. More food? No more food? Got some food ideas you want to share with the rest of the rebel army?  Hook a brother up!

-Steve

###

photo: Arbon

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53 thoughts on “How to Cook Steve’s Go-To Healthy Meal

  1. Please make more video. They crack me up. The bushel of green asparagus. LOL. Priceless.

    I love cooking but for me, it's therapeutic. Nothing relieves anger better than taking a knife and dicing the crap out of chicken.

    What are your 5 favorite veggies? And do you like garlic?

    Awesome video. It makes me want to have my own cooking show. Keep cooking, Nerd Chef!

  2. I'm totally down for chicken, brown rice, and asparagus. It's a dinner I've made on more than a few occasions.

    I guess I kinda like to cook, I just have to be in the right frame of mind for it (which isn't often). I'm not a very good HEALTHY cook though, but I'm working on it.

    I can make a pretty awesome crab dip, and I tend to be able to throw all sorts of shit together and end up with a pretty good casserole.

  3. For me, time in the kitchen is usually a nice release and gives me a chance to get creative. A few bits of personal “wisdom” to take with a grain of salt (zing!): 1) garlic is your friend, 2) cooking with olive oil is healthy, cooking with butter (not margarine) is delicious, 3) spices can completely transform a meal, 4) don't underestimate the power of marinating, 5) be creative and experiment, 6) find a few “favorite spices” and get to know them well (mine are paprika, basil, and garlic powder).

  4. Steve-
    I'm the same way, 24 single guy living by myself. Cooking is fun.. if there is a girl there and y'all are cooking together. Cooking for yourself only is just depressing/boring and PS3 is sitting right there. I'm presented with the same dilemma as you. Plus the last thing I want to do after busting my ass at the gym for an hour is spent a whole bunch of time preparing something.

    I cheat I guess. I buy the grilled salmon in a box.. it's easy, just put it on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 min. I like to eat asparagus too prepared similarly to how you do it (although I find a little lemon juice adds some welcome zing), or I make a hamburger from a half pound of 94% lean beef. I put it on that same cookie sheet- bachelor only has one, right?- add kosher salt and pepper, broil each side like 5:30 and rest a minute then toast an orowheat whole wheat bun and eat it just like that. Could add veggies but… that's more work. Honestly, I eat one of these two things every night and it doesn't bother me. I get my variety during lunch time.

  5. For some reason, my lovey Firefox browser has decided that it doesn't want to play youtube videos. I will have to restart everything and try to watch it. I need a good LOL 😛

    You definitely cannot go wrong with brown rice and chicken. I dislike asparagus though so I just throw in some veggies instead. I find that the Tysons frozen chicken has a lot of fat on them that needs to be cut off. If anyone has a Super Target around them, they sell their own version of the tenderloins that are much easier to cut and less fat and are about $2 cheaper than the Tysons.

    I'll have to put up some of our foods that we eat in the forums. The Man-Half is a really good cook.

  6. Hahahaha, yeah as you can tell I have no clue what I'm doing. I can make a mean batch of green asparagus though 🙂

    I'm cool with garlic – not a vampire, which is nice.

    Hmmm, asparagus is my favorite, then probably green beans, broccoli, spinach is okay, cucumbers are alright, and I freaking love caesar salads if they have just a little bit of dressing. if it's doused in the stuff it's gross.

    Even having that many vegetables on a list is a big step for me – four years ago you wouldn't find a single veggie on any of my plates. I'm getting better 🙂

    Your photos on the message boards are amazing – very well done.

    -Steve

  7. Yeah, I find that getting in that right frame of mind is tough for me too. with the job, working out, and nerd fitness, my time for cooking is severely limited.

    -S

  8. Well put sir.

    I'll try mixing up the seasoning on the chicken and go from there. I'm not much of a fish guy, but steak and chicken make me and my stomach happy.

    -S

  9. Thanks Josh!

    I'll try adding some lemon juice and see how that tastes. I used to eat red meat like every day (when I would make a giant vat of pasta sauce), but I cut out pasta mostly now that I'm trying to go paleo, so my red meat consumption has dropped way off. Now that it's summer though, going to add back in some burgers on whole wheat buns when I can.

    I'm with ya, i eat the same 4 things pretty much.

    -S

  10. Thanks for the suggestion moe!

    I'll have to check out the super target chicken. And please do put up some recipes on the forums!

    -S

  11. Thanks for the video Steve, it def is a big help to the readers! I was going to suggest if anyone is vegetarian ( like myself) you can add Boca or Morning star Meatless products, which have a similar texture to meat, or tempeh or tofu.

    I usually do a half cup of kidney beans and chick peas, some corn and throw it in brown rice and add some mexican seasoning. pair it with cottage cheese- super filling and protein packed!

  12. I just discovered I have an oven! All this time, I thought it was storage space. In any case, I removed the pots and pans from it and attempt to “cook.”

  13. Actually, one “food” related thing i'd like to see are shake ideas. I know you have your bigass shake but that is more oriented towards weight gain. A lot of us, (myself included) are looking for weight loss. I drink two protein shakes a day as 'snacks' but they're just the powder with water- I'd like to see if anyone else has any ideas. I might shift it around and have a big shake for breakfast and actual food for snacks.

  14. 0_0 “bushel of asparagus”. SO CUTE. XD If I said that around my roomies, they wouldn't let me forget for a week.

    I LIKE this idea of sharing recipes. Very smart. And I have to say – your earlier post about not liking any vegetables, and now liking some is very encouraging to me. Especially since my “twin” is introducing me to asparagus tonight. Thanks for sharing this!

  15. I had to watch the video because the You Tube “still” that is on your page looked like you were cooking human fingers in that pan. I am glad to see that that was not the case.

  16. Thank you curvygirly!

    great call, I'm useless in the kitchen, but I'm even worse when it comes to being a vegetarian. I was convinced i was a carnivore for years because I never ate veggies. I'm finally coming around.

    -Steve

  17. Stop laughing at me! lol

    But seriously – as long as somebody is laughing for some reason, either with me or at me, I'll take it. So what the hell do you call a group of asparagus anyway? Asparagi? Asparagusses? A group? Bundle? bushel? plethora?

    You just gotta pick a few that you can tolerate and within a few weeks you'll start to love them. That was me with asparagus.

    -S

  18. I'll try make a point of watching the you tube vid when I get home, we are blocked at work. I could use a good laugh! 🙂 I will post my chicken satay stir fry on the message boards and you will have a new BFF meal. It was the first meal I ever cooked my boyfriend and thats what hooked him and even he cooks it now!

  19. Keep the garlic, but add a some cayenne, basil, or curry. or any combination! those are just what I'm thinking of off the top of my head to give it some kick.

    I'm a nerd about “flavor profiles”…

  20. Also: Pasta-less Bowl.

    Double the meat, add a can of sauce, add some olives if you want… make a good meaty, chunky spaghetti sauce, and just chomp down on that. easy and delish!

  21. I posted a couple that are specifically super easy. 15-min Meals, and 15min is on the outside for prep time. Cook time varies, but who cares about that part, you can play video games while it's cooking!
    After you clean up of course. I prefer to clean up from prep while cooking, cuz I hate having to do it once I'm done. By then I'm in the middle of tv, movie, or game, and do not want to stop and clean…

  22. Hey Steve,

    You should try using a pepper mill for black pepper once you run out of the pre-ground stuff, makes all the difference in the world. You can get em for cheap at costco in one of the plastic containers.

  23. Here's some stuff if you don't like standing in front of a stove/dishwasher/sink/fridge for hours.
    If you like rice, buy a rice cooker. SIMPLE! add water and rice. push the “cook” button. That's how the one I have works.
    Get a sandwich maker. It makes EXCELLENT grilled cheese with bacon, tomato, whatever else gets you going…make omlettes in it, waffles…lots of stuff. Here's another idea.
    Don't cook stuff. eat it raw and whole. Veggies, fruit, cheese, whatever you “need” to cut up, don't. Who says it needs to be a salad?
    Wash your veggies, but don't peel them. That's a time saver, and quite healthy. I eat unpeeled mango, kiwi, carrot, potato…I'm still alive and NOT sick.
    Use spices. This way you don't have to do fancy things, but it still tastes like a million bucks.

  24. Great video! A very simple yet healthy meal. Some suggestions:

    1) Rice cooker is definitely a great idea. It's safer than boiling a pot of water (less chance of burns), and you can make more and eat it throughout the week. Unfortunately, making brown rice in a rice cooker can take about an hour, so…

    2) Try quinoa. Great source of fiber and other nutrients, plus a good amount of protein (more than rice). Best of all, it's a complete protein, with all the essential amino acids your body needs (very uncommon for plant foods). Not to mention it cooks in half the time as brown rice (for a rice cooker, you can use the “white rice” setting for quinoa, generally 30 minutes).

    3) Get a slow cooker/crockpot. Prep all your ingredients the night before (like Sunday night). Put em in the next day before work and start the cooker. Slow cookers generally cook for 6-8 hours, so you can come home to a delicious meal. Plus, if you get a bigger cooker (they go from 2 qts to 7), you can make enough food to last you several meals. Or feed your roommates.

  25. Oh yeah, and there is actually such a thing as white asparagus. White asparagus is regular asparagus that has been deprived of light, so it doesn't produce chlorophyll (hence no green). So it's pretty much the nerd version of asparagus.

  26. Last point: If you have a family history of gout or kidney stones, watch out with the asparagus. Asparagus is rich in purines, which are compounds that break down into uric acid in your body. High levels of uric acid are linked with gout and kidney stones. Gout is an extremely painful arthritic condition: your joints swell with crystallized uric acid (not fun).

    Just eating bushels of asparagus probably won't cause gout, but if you have the genetic predisposition for it, be careful.

  27. Thanks Nuvouno!

    I'll definitely check out a rice cooker and quinoa, any recommendations on brands or where to buy from? Not afraid to pay for it, but want good value for my money 🙂

    -Steve

  28. Rice cookers: It depends on how big you want it. Rice/quinoa lasts a few days in the refrigerator, so you can make a bunch and eat it later. It also depends on how many extras you want (timer, ability to cook different kinds of rice, etc.) I've had good experiences with Sanyo and Zojirushi cookers. You can buy them online, a store like Sears or Best Buy, or at an Asian supermarket.

    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/How-To-Se

    Quinoa you can buy at Costco. If you have a natural foods market or Whole Foods nearby, you can find it sold in bulk. Your local supermarket might have it in the “ethnic foods” section.

  29. Chicken Fajitas/Burritos

    -Whole Wheat or Flour Tortillas in the Refrigerated section by the butter and cheeses (usually on bottom shelf)
    -Boneless Chicken Breast
    -Bottle of Lime juice
    -Olive Oil
    -onion and green bell pepper (optional)
    -shredded Mexican cheese (I don’t buy taco-seasoned)

    Trim the fat off of the chicken breast if any and cut in to strips in similar sizes as they will cook more evenly. Place the chicken, some olive oil and lime juice in a zipper plastic bag and throw in fridge for awhile or overnight or all day.
    Spray Pam or add more olive oil to frying pan., just eyeball the amounts-nothing exact. (I’d say 1 cup oil to ½ cup lime juice). Slice onion and green bell pepper (optional) and cook with the chicken strips over medium-high heat. You can just pour all of the contents of the bag into frying pan.

    Stir/flip and cook till browned and done.

    Heat tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds per two.

    Wrap up the chicken and sprinkle with cheese and onions. I will mail you some Amazing Taste Fajita packets. I made the other night and they were delicious!!!! Great the next day in cold tortilla for a sandwich on the road. I didn’t follow directions, I just put chicken in a bag with a cup Olive Oil and packet contents and threw in fridge. Then I cooked with onions, etc…….

  30. Chicken Fajitas/Burritos

    -Whole Wheat or Flour Tortillas in the Refrigerated section by the butter and cheeses (usually on bottom shelf)
    -Boneless Chicken Breast
    -Bottle of Lime juice
    -Olive Oil
    -onion and green bell pepper (optional)
    -shredded Mexican cheese (I don’t buy taco-seasoned)

    Trim the fat off of the chicken breast if any and cut in to strips in similar sizes as they will cook more evenly. Place the chicken, some olive oil and lime juice in a zipper plastic bag and throw in fridge for awhile or overnight or all day.
    Spray Pam or add more olive oil to frying pan., just eyeball the amounts-nothing exact. (I’d say 1 cup oil to ½ cup lime juice). Slice onion and green bell pepper (optional) and cook with the chicken strips over medium-high heat. You can just pour all of the contents of the bag into frying pan.

    Stir/flip and cook till browned and done.

    Heat tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds per two.

    Wrap up the chicken and sprinkle with cheese and onions. I will mail you some Amazing Taste Fajita packets. I made the other night and they were delicious!!!! Great the next day in cold tortilla for a sandwich on the road. I didn’t follow directions, I just put chicken in a bag with a cup Olive Oil and packet contents and threw in fridge. Then I cooked with onions, etc…….

  31. Hey, nice video, especially the less serious ones really tend to add spice to the total, so it's quite nice to have them. 🙂 Also the creative ones are my favorites too (especially the table-workout)…

    Considering cooking, I see things like rice cookers and electric can openers etc pretty much waste of money, and admitting to oneself, that can't really do stuff (No offence, I've had great rice done by rice-cooker, and don't want to say anything too bad about them.) Cheap and pretty much the same thing as rice cooker is a system, where you boil water in a pot, and hold the rice in a sieve (hope the translator got this right 🙂 so the rice aren't hanging in the water, and the steam cooks them up. takes a little longer, than conventional boiling, but the risk of burning anything is quite small, and the pot stays pretty clean, so hard dishing isn't a problem.

    As an quite easy and tasty option, with nicely protein I like to have the following with some heavier meal, just to accompany it with taste. Has eggs, so not vegan, but optional for forms of vegetarian diets. Here it goes:

    3 Tomatoes
    3 Eggs

    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1 foodspoon of sugar (not necessary, but original recipe has it, works with less also)
    8 foodspoons of oil (preferably olive, don't worry, all of this is not eaten)

    Cut the tomatoes to 6 blocks (segments, what are they ?)
    Boil 4 spoons of oil in a frying pan, add eggs, fry for a minute(yeah just one), mixing it all the time
    lift eggs from the oil to a plate.
    Add the rest of the oil to pan, fry the tomatoes for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, salt and sugar, continue frying for 2 more minutes, mixing it all the time. And lift everything from the oil to a plate.

    aaaand were done… you can add a litte onions, if you like…

    Sorry for the bad english in there, it's not my native language, so some mishaps can occur…

    I also would like to know more nice recipes, good work people 🙂

  32. Quick seasoning tip, although not for people who have to avoid salt: Use Goya Adobo (with the red cap) instead of the black pepper/garlic combo.  Adobo adds salt, oregano, and turmeric to the black pepper/garlic mixture.  It makes any meat (roasted veggies too) taste good, no need for any other spices!

  33. I’m looking for some recipes to try since I’m new to all of this.  Please send me your favorites!  I would greatly appreciate it.  I am interested in foods for all throughout the day.  

  34. Allright here’s a recipe I got from the best cook out there (mom :P). Believe it or not this is for an absolutely amazing tomato sauce. Sorry but this actually serves about 8 people.

    Ingredients:

    2 larger cans of Hine’s Tomato sauce
    2 cans of Italian Herb Tomato Paste
    1lb Sweet Italian Sausage (that’s right not ground beef)
    2 table spoons of Minced Garlic (gotta get a few cloves no dried garlic here)
    Basil – to taste
    Parsley – to taste
    Oregino – to taste
    Sugar – 1 pinch

    Instructions:

    Crumble 1lb of Sweet Italian Sausage (by cutting the casings and pulling the meat out) into a large pan (roughly 2inches deep) and brown (covered) with 1 table spoon of garlic (no need for dry herbs yet as the meat allready has them in it) over medium-high heat.

    Once all the meat has been browned pour in the Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste and then add your seasonings to taste. *IMPORTANT* Do not forget the sugar!!!!! The purpose of the sugar is not just to sweeten (which actually adds to the taste) but it’s there to cut down the acidity of the sauce (victims of heartburn rejoice!). Reduce heat to low and let it sit until the sauce is nice and warm and then serve.

    This is a very utilitary sauce because in my house it’s used in soooo many recipes such as Spaghetti, Lazagnia, and so on (makes a great marinara sauce for breadsticks too :P)

  35. Jambalaya:
    1 lb of ground beef
    As much rice as you want
    Sliced sausage
    How to cook:
    boil rice and water until cooked
    put in a bag of jambalaya mix and tonys seasoning
    put in meat
    you can add onions or other spices this is just basic. its not health murder and is really good

  36. I didn’t personally find this *that* useful, BUT I do hope you post more, I loved the squash spaghetti recipe!

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