By Ryan Henrici
There is a key difference between fast food and food fast. Both are prepared quickly, but the latter can be healthful and filling. No, I’m not talking about Hungry Man meals that you can throw in the microwave and eat in less than 5 minutes because, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot of nutritional value there(see below). And no guys, I’m not suggesting throwing together some greens and calling it our meal—we need more than that.
Men’s Health Magazine has 6 protein-packed recipes that can be easily adapted for college guys looking to eat cheap, healthful, and fast—not to mention while applying minimal effort. Boasting the tagline “If you have 15 minutes, you have time to make a healthful dinner,” it is definitely a resource to take advantage of. Don’t let the word recipe dissuade you from giving these dishes a try: they are designed for the culinarily challenged among us. “Dump all the ingredients into a large ziplock plastic bag [and shake].” It really doesn’t get much easier than that.
The first recipe, Korean-style Pepper Steak, takes only 5 minutes to prepare and has over 30 grams of protein and almost 75% less sodium than the Hungry Man. This recipe could be easily adapted to be more economically centered by replacing the sirloin with chicken breast. Not only will this lower the cost of your meal, but it will also increase the total protein value. Additionally, you could make some extra and save it for a hearty chicken sandwich the next day.
Korean-Style Peppered Chicken
1 8 oz chicken breast
1 c bite-size bits of red or green bell pepper (or split between the two)
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Plus: 1 tsp sugar; 1 1/2 tsp olive oil; 1 tsp red-pepper flakes
Steps to a Satisfying Meal:
1. Grill or microwave (warning: microwaving chicken will make it tougher) the chicken breast to about three-quarters cooked (still raw throughout the middle)
2. Cut the chicken up into bite-sized strips
3. Combine the chicken and all the other ingredients into a large ziplock bag. Shake vigorously to mix to ensure the flavors have permeated the meat.
4. Pour everything in the bag into a medium-hot skillet, stir frequently to prevent burning and sticking.
5. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the vegetables begin to lose their water (2-3 minutes), serve over rice and enjoy!
Total Cost: ~ $8
Recipe adapted from Men’s Health Magazine