1 Pot, 1 Pan, 5 Ingredients: 5 Minimalist Meals

by Matt Moore on May 25, 2011 · 55 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Several years ago, I decided to attempt my first marathon. Certainly not the most original idea, as it seems these days running a marathon is on the bucket list for just about every man. Nevertheless, after following a brutal 16-week training schedule, I was confident in my ability to survive the 26.2 mile challenge. That was of course, until I arrived at the starting line. Surveying the crowd, I felt quite out of place in my throwback Saucony shoes, mesh shorts from my high school football glory days, and a T-shirt I purchased on a college spring break trip to the Bahamas. As it was, the rest of my running cohorts were outfitted in the latest and greatest in sports technology. From the all-weather, breathable clothing, to the sports gels and energy bars, to the belts, hats, shoes, and personal hydration systems–I suddenly felt ill-equipped for such an undertaking.

However, after the starting gun fired and as the miles slipped away, I found myself nearing the front of the pack, passing by all those who looked like they just stepped out of an issue of Runner’s World magazine. In the end, it didn’t matter what I wore or how I looked. Sure, some better clothing or shoes might have kept me cooler or made me more comfortable during my race, but I doubt they would have drastically improved my time. Instead, my success was the result of my own training, preparation, and persistence–no other gimmicks included.

In truth, the marathon runners are just a metaphor for what we all encounter in our own lives. Don’t believe me? What about the impeccably dressed, luxury car driving, see-and-be-seen coworker that seems to always be one step ahead? Or perhaps it’s the neighbors next door that appear to have it all–the perfect family, house, car, social life, etc. As it turns out, some of these folks are just like the overzealous runners–they look legit on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you might find some cracks. The coworker may be up to his eyeballs in credit card debt, or the family next door might be on the verge of divorce. In other words, perception is not always reality.

In the cooking world, I encounter the Patrick Bateman or Joneses type each and every day.

The rise of food related programming, celebrity chefs, haute-cuisine, molecular gastronomy, food bloggers, and ‘foodies’ has created a culture that thrives on culinary excess. For example, in some circles it’s no longer acceptable to enjoy a simple Deviled Egg unless it’s been transformed into a BLT Deviled Egg topped with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Just as that craze catches on someone else ups the ante with a revised version featuring even more exotic ingredients: prosciutto, arugula, and heirloom tomatoes. Of course, both of these creations are delightful, but sometimes it makes me want to say, “Enough is enough!” Just give me a plain ole Deviled Egg, sans the attitude.

At the risk of sounding cynical, I’m in complete support of culinary progress and innovation–I’ll go so far to say that I even take pride in enjoying delicacies, but never to the exclusion of appreciating a minimalist meal. For me, there is something sensible and right about subscribing to a less is more approach in the kitchen–not to mention life in general. Yet, how can I indulge in the delicacies while still asserting that I am a minimalist? Put it this way; when it comes to enjoying a meal, I’m thrilled to eat a Grilled Cowboy Ribeye with Henry Baine Sauce and Pommes Frites. Just don’t take offense if I react to a Bologna Sandwich, Potato Chips, a Moonpie, and a cold PBR with the same satisfaction.

So, what’s my point?

Times are tough these days. The rising cost of fuel and food prices are forcing everyone to cut back — ‘foodies’ included. With that in mind, I’ve decided to provide 5 minimalist meals that can be put together using just 1 pot, 1 pan, and 5 ingredients. I’m sure some might balk at my simple approach, but that’s okay. Remember, just like my running, I don’t write recipes based on the latest and greatest food trends. Rather, I focus my efforts on providing simple, affordable, and realistic recipes for the everyday reader. Besides, at the end of the day, creating a great meal does not depend upon the number of gadgets or list of ingredients used in preparation–rather, there’s only one thing that really matters . . . taste.

Live simply!

MM

A note about 5 ingredient cooking: Don’t be fooled! Most “5 ingredient” recipes are for just one single dish or side, rather than an entire meal. I’ve taken great care to put together complete, balanced meals that are truly made up of just five ingredients. You’ll also find that others write “5 ingredient” recipes that allow “freebies” such as salt, pepper, oils, and vinegars that are not included as part of the full recipe. Not me–with the exception of water, my ingredient list contains all that you will need. Of course, I’ve had to rely on some store-bought shortcuts (seasoned rice, frozen veggies, tomato sauce, stock, etc.) to help accomplish this task. Just keep in mind that the sodium content in most of these ingredients is already so high that your meal should not require any extra seasoning. Get to work!

Pan Seared Tilapia over Black Beans

A healthy and simple meal that can be put together quickly. I’ve utilized a store-bought “Fresh Cut” salsa that you can find in the produce section at your local grocery store. This is a great condiment to always keep on hand, and it’s also a great base for a veggie omelet in the morning. (Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cook Time: 15 minutes. Serves 2)

1 Can Black Beans in Seasoned Sauce
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 6-8 oz Tilapia Filets
Cajun Seasoning
Fresh Salsa

Add entire can of black beans into a pot over medium heat. Bring beans to a slow simmer, lower heat and leave uncovered to reduce and thicken. Meanwhile, heat a 10 inch non-stick pan over medium high heat; add oil. Season fish filets liberally on each side with Cajun seasoning and add to pan. Pan sauté for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, turning once. Begin plating by placing a generous portion of black beans on one half of the plate. Carefully rest the fish filet on top of the beans, and top the filet with fresh salsa. Serve.

Vegetarian Stir-Fry

Save time and money by purchasing a package of frozen vegetables. These vegetables are typically picked at their peak and frozen quickly to lock in their natural nutrients while also maintaining flavor. The seasoning from the rice, oil, and sauce will provide plenty of flavors to keep this meal from being anything but bland. For the true vegan, skip the egg and garnish the dish with either bean sprouts or sliced chives. (Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cook Time: 25 minutes. Serves 2 – 4)

1 Package Uncle Bens Original Recipe Long Grain and Wild Rice
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 16 oz Package Frozen Stir Fry Blend Vegetables
2 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
2 Eggs, beaten

Prepare rice according to box instructions; remove from heat and allow to cool. Add oil to a large pan over medium high heat. Tilting the pan away from you, add the vegetables and sauté over high heat until just tender and browned. Add the teriyaki sauce and a few cups of rice into the pan and mix thoroughly until heated through. Finally, add the eggs, and scramble with the ingredients until cooked to your preference. Serve.

Quick Braised Chicken over Stewed Tomatoes and Yellow Rice

There’s plenty of salty and savory flavors going on in these ingredients that will allow you to forgo any extra seasoning. Feel free to substitute a thick cut of fish such as halibut or grouper for the chicken. (Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cook Time: 30 minutes. Serves 2)

1 10 oz Package Mahatma Yellow Rice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 6–8 oz Bone-In Chicken Breasts with Skin
1 28 oz Can Stewed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sliced Green Olives

In a pot, prepare rice according to package instructions, substituting olive oil for margarine. Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and sear skin side down for 3 – 4 minutes. Next, add stewed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium-low. Flip chicken breasts and slowly simmer/braise in the sauce for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Begin plating with a layer of rice, followed by the tomato sauce, and top with chicken. Garnish with sliced olives. Serve.

Weeknight Spaghetti

A simplified version of an American family favorite. By utilizing Italian sausage, you get the flavor you love from say, a meatball, without the extra ingredients or workload. Also, the fresh basil added to the store-bought sauce just might trick your guests into believing you’ve spent several hours working in the kitchen. No worries, your secret is safe with me. (Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cook Time: 20 minutes. Serves 2 – 4)

1 lb Dry Spaghetti Pasta, whole grain if desired
1 lb Hot or Mild Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 28 oz Jar High Quality Pasta Sauce
1 Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
Parmesan Cheese, grated

Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add pasta and cook just short of al dente, about 8 – 10 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, brown sausage for 6 – 8 minutes, or until completely cooked through. Use a wooden spoon to break apart sausage into smaller pieces. Drain excess fat from the pan. Add the sauce and heat until it begins to simmer. Next, add the pasta back into the sauce to finish cooking, tossing to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Toss in a few basil leaves, stir and begin plating. Finish with grated cheese to taste. Serve.

Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin Filets with Smashed Potatoes

Honestly, what man doesn’t like a supper of meat and potatoes? Even better, how about a steakhouse quality meal using just five ingredients? Enjoy the pleasure of fine dining without the financial hangover. Cheers. (Prep Time: 10 minutes. Cook Time: 25 minutes. Serves 2)

2 lbs Red Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch dice
1 ¼ Sticks Salted Butter
Chicken Stock
2 6–8 oz Beef Tenderloin Filets
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F. Next, heat a large pot of water to boiling over high heat; add potatoes. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 12 – 14 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to the same pot, allowing the steam to evaporate. Add 1 stick of salted butter and about a cup of chicken stock to the potatoes. Using a potato smasher, whisk, or fork, smash potatoes until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and reach your desired preference. (More stock can be added for a thinner consistency). Keep potatoes covered and warm until ready to serve. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a pan over medium high heat. Season steaks with Montreal seasoning and add to pan. Cook on one side, undisturbed for 3 – 4 minutes. Flip steaks and insert pan into the oven until the steaks are cooked to your preference, about 8 – 10 minutes for medium rare depending on the thickness of the cut. Remove steaks from pan and allow to rest before serving. Plate potatoes and serve the filet on the side. Serve.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I guess we are supposed to purchase the salsa rather than make it to keep it under 5 ingredients…

2 GMTurner May 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm

An alternative to the smashed potatoes would be oven-roasted rosemary potatoes. Rinse and quarter the red potatoes. Place the potatoes in a zip-lock bag along with approximately 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary and a 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Seal and shake the bag to evenly coat the potatoes. (This can be done in a bowl as well, but I prefer having one less dish to wash at the end.) Spread the potatoes into a single layer on non-stick baking sheet and place in the oven (preheated to 425 degrees). Flip the potatoes after about 10-12 minutes and put them back in for another 10-15 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown. If you start the steaks after the potatoes have been in for about 8-9 minutes, you should have things timed about right to flip the potatoes and put both the potatoes and the pan with the steaks back in for the remaining time. Depending on how you like your steak, you might take it out to rest a couple of minutes before the potatoes are done.

Depending on your taste you can add a little salt and/or pepper to taste when mixing the potatoes in the bag, however this isn’t always necessary… plus I left them out to keep to the 5 ingredient theme even though I had to replace the pot with a baking sheet…

PS- Amounts are estimates since I tend to guess based on what looks right rather than be exact. Cooking times are also approximately since I go more on appearance (the browning of the edges). So, do a trial run of this to find out what works best for you before trying to impress someone with it…

3 Jon May 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I demand a new Art of Manliness book focused on cooking.

Make it happen.

4 Mike Hostetler May 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I agree with Joe — and Art of Manliness cookbook, with focus on technique.

5 phil May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I like these kinds of recipes, not because I’m a minimalist, but because it gives a simple base recipe that is budget friendly and easy to modify or expound on.

also, I second Jon’s demand/motion.

6 Matt Moore May 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

@David – Correct, as mentioned in the recipe header, you can purchase the Fresh Cuts Brand salsa in the produce section at your local grocery store. Enjoy!

7 cr33sto May 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Well if a cookbook DOES come together, I would love to contribute!

8 Samuel Kirschner May 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Manly + minimalist = Manlymalist!

9 Jacob May 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I agree with the requests for an AoM cookbook! In the mean time, you guys can try to find copies of the “I Hate to Cook Book” and the two “Campus Survival Cookbook” editions.

http://www.amazon.com/Compleat-Hate-Cook-Book/dp/055327130X

http://www.amazon.com/Campus-Survival-Cookbook-1/dp/0688050301/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306354806&sr=1-1

10 Mitch May 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Nice to see my standard college dinner recipe made the list…hot italian sausage spaghetti. I’d brown the sausage, lower the heat, dump the jar(s) of sauce into the pan to simmer with the sausage juices while the pasta boiled. At the end, I’d combine the sauce with the pasta and eat the whole thing straight out of the pot. When the wife is out of town, it’s still my go-to meal.

11 Michael May 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I challenge the notion that these are five-ingredient meals. While it’s true that you’re only bringing five things together, many of the ingredients are, themselves, made up of many ingredients. The worst offender of this is the package of frozen stir fry veggies, but the pasta sauce, salsa, cajun seasoning, and steak seasoning can all be better and taste more fresh if you make them yourself.
The chicken dish, on the other hand, is truly minimalist.

12 Shoeless Joe May 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Just bookmarked it for a future meal when me and my boy are bachelors for the weekend. My wife will be impressed.

13 Tony May 25, 2011 at 9:58 pm

One more vote for the cookbook!

14 Eric May 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I usually get recipes from onlline sites but would definitely buy an Art of Manliness cookbook or one that is affiliated with this site and get copies for all my college and bachelor buddies.

15 Maureen May 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

Simple recipes that serve 2-4? THANK YOU. I love leftovers, but after a while, cooking enough for six gets old and depressing.

Also, I don’t have enough cabinet/refrigerator/freezer/counter space for a bunch ingredients. I can so handle this.

16 Mark Petersen May 26, 2011 at 2:49 am

As an unmarried man, 2 serving recipes are a must in my life.

Thank you Matt Moore for all the awesome you do.

17 Stewart May 26, 2011 at 6:05 am

Talapia should really be called sewer bass. It is farm raised as part of other aquaculture farming e.g striped bass. The talapia are used to “clean” the effluent water of waste. For a while very few people knew this so talapia became popular for its cheap price and that the meat will absorb sauces. Otherwise it is pretty flavorless. Now that people are aware many restaurants call talapia “long fin.” At least farm raised catfish are fed corn. Farm raised salmon for all its contravery is a much better filet or steak.

18 Torc Binns May 26, 2011 at 7:08 am

Thought I would offer a few additions to this great article.

Witches Brew

Ingredients

1 pound uncooked bacon
1 pound hamburger
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes, undrained
2 cans red kidney beans, undrained
1 can mushrooms, undrained
1 cup egg noodles, uncooked

Method

Fry bacon and hamburger in Dutch oven or large skillet. Drain off fat. Add celery, onion, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, and noodles.
Bake 45 minutes in Dutch oven, or 1 hour in 350°F conventional oven.

Option: Replace egg noodles with vegetable pasta for an added flavor.
——————————————————
Old Fashioned Dutch Oven Potatoes

Ingredients

6 slices bacon cut into bite size pieces
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 medium onions sliced
1 can cream mushroom soup
5 lbs. Potatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (any combination of cheese can be used)

Method

Warm dutch oven and cook bacon until almost done. Add onions and cook till lightly brown, dump in potato and stir together. Cover and cook till potatoes are almost done, about 20 to 25 minutes in 350 degrees. Add mushrooms cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add soup and cook for 5 minutes more heating all the way through. Remove from heat, spread cheese over the top, cover and let stand till cheese melts.

19 Rich May 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

My wife write a food blog that might be of interest to the readers.

http://www.asimplehomecook.com/

The recipes may be basic. The food may be fundamental. The techniques will not be those of a trained chef. A simple home cook who tends to be frugal, trying to share what I enjoy while having fun.

20 actionjksn May 26, 2011 at 9:34 am

Ugh, you really drink PBR?

21 keith May 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

Your blog is excellent! I would love to repost a few of your post to my blog http://Stuff4betterliving.com . I would give you full credit and links as well…. let me know. Keep up the good work.

22 Scott "Badchef" May 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

Here’s one I have done for my family several times.

Ingredients
2 Links Kielbasa
5-6 Baby Redskin Potatoes
1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups coarse chopped Kale
1 lb. Bacon

Take the potatoes and place them in the bottom of a large stock pot.
Add Onion
Add water to the top of the potatoes
Add Kale
Place Sausage on top of Kale and cover.
Bring water to boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are done,(can easily be pierced with a knife)

While this is cooking, brown the bacon in a separate pan.

Remove the sausage.
Drain the stockpot and add the bacon, grease included.
Rough mash everything in the stockpot and serve alongside the sausage.

Enjoy.

23 Kyle Reed May 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I needed something like this. Great

24 Chris May 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Beans and Rice

1 Can Red Beans, drained
1 small onion, diced
1/2 Green Pepper, diced
8 oz Smoked Sausage
1 tsp thyme

In a small pot, brown the sausage. Add the onion and pepper and cook until clear. Add the beans, thyme, and a little bit of water. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

You can add hot sauce, salt, and pepper to your own taste.

25 Colin May 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I was going to second the AoM cookbook, until I looked up Matt’s book he did called Have Her Over For Dinner, and realized that it is pretty much the same thing–www.haveheroverfordinner.com.

26 Evan May 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Yeah, an Art of Manly Cooking book would be awesome! I would buy it if it had simple Meals/Main Dishes that were 2-7 ingredients and 5-20 minute cook times. (5 minutes could be reasonable for cold dishes and quick-cookers like Ramen.) Lots of people cover up the already excellent flavor of a good steak with A1, (why???) and oftentimes you only need one or two spices to really bring out a dishes flavor…

Besides minimalist cooking, some good recipes would be beans-and-rice, and meat-and-potatoes, and maybe a few complex but awesome cooking methods, like campfire/hobo cooking, or smoke-curing meat…

Canning and Curing could be another article maybe? Another take on produce more, consume less?

27 Brendan May 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

great article Matt, simple, well-cooked, easily made food should be the bread and butter of everyone’s gastronomic repertoire. Living in LA I have to agree about the recent foodie-boom, it seems anyone who has a mouth and camera is now a food-blogger. In my opinion if you can ramble on for 300 words about the amazing fish/steak/taco/hamburger you had but would be completely lost if called on to make one on the spot, you are not a foodie. You are an eat-ie.

To all those calling for an AoM cookbook, while that would be an awesome direction for AoM to focus some of its energy, you may want to check out what’s already out there. For me personally there are only two cookbooks I have ever needed, both by Jacques Pepin: La Technique and La Methode. Both books are indescribably detailed and will teach you everything from how to hold a knife and how to chop vegetables, to how to make duck L’Orange starting at how to pull the feathers.

28 Steve M May 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I’ve got to second Stewart. Talapia is far from healthy. Not that corn-fed is any better. What an animal eats is what you are eating. Corn oil has an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 83:1. Talk about a recipe for increased PGE-2 which contributes to inflammation, pain, vascular disease, degenerative joint disease, etc. If you corn-fed a deer, its meat would lose its favorable fatty acid ratio, too. This is the reason grass-fed beef (free-range chicken, wild salmon) has gained health-conscious people’s attention. The reason omega-3 fish oils come from high latitudes is because those fish eat zoplankton that have high concentrations of omega-3 oils that they use as anti-freeze in the cold waters.

29 Josh Knowles May 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for this. These recipes are simple, yet definitely a cut above heating up some chicken nuggets or cooking some KD (not that I don’t crave even those periodically).

The whole foodie thing bugs me. Sure, have food that’s wonderful and artistic. But I find that often people become such snobs that NOTHING is good enough any more. Or they only like things that cost nine times more than they should or are hopelessly weird and obscure. If you can’t enjoy a cup of good quality coffee, a plain fresh tomato, or a slice of meat grilled on the BBQ then you need to lighten up.

30 Ryan Cooper May 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Count me in as another vote for the Art of Manliness Cookbook!! Must have a Grill Section! Thanks again for the great site!

31 Ken Zieger May 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Quick and Meaty Red Beans and Rice
Serves 4.
Ingredients:
1 pound kielbasa or smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch disks.
2 packages Mahatma Red Beans And Rice Mix or similar.
Procedure:
Brown sausage disks in bottom or five quart pot. Add water per package instructions and bring to boil. Add packages of Bean and Rice mix and cook per instruction.
When finished, garnish with grated cheese, if desired.

32 P.M.Lawrence May 27, 2011 at 2:15 am

English cooked breakfast. This has many variants, so in this version choose from any of the following that use only five ingredients as long as you include bacon, egg, and either bread or potatoes (not both). No pot is needed if not using potatoes, just a frying pan (and fork, spatula, or whatever).

Ingredients:-

- Egg(s).

- Rasher(s) of bacon.

- Slice(s) of bread, also cut diagonally (can be a little stale). I omit this.

- Potatoes, peeled, parboiled (not fully boiled) in a pot, and then sliced thinly after cooling. These may be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight, say.

- Thin sausage(s). I omit this.

- Black pudding. I omit this.

- Mushroom(s). I omit this.

- Thick sliced tomato(es). I sometimes omit this.

Start by frying the bacon in its own fat, then progressively add your other ingredients to the frying apart from the tomato(es) and perhaps the mushroom(s); grill those separately – you can even skip that for the tomato(es). Prick the sausage(s) with a fork before frying them. Serve, eat.

Croque monsieur (I may have got the name wrong). Cook French Onion Soup in a pot (use tinned, to get just one ingredient). Part fill a small, preheated bowl with this, then add a slice of baguette bread, cut side up, cover that with a slice of ham and then a slice of cheese. Place under grill long enough to melt the cheese downward while the soup soaks upward. Serve, eat.

Aussie Pie Floater. Somewhat like the above, in broad terms. To a bowl of pea or ham and pea soup, add a hot meat pie and top it with tomato sauce. Serve, eat.

33 Todd Baldwin May 27, 2011 at 7:55 am

Another good source is the “Cooking With Four Ingredients” cookbook. Most recipes only take a few minutes to prepare. It saved my kids from a life of hot dogs, Hamburger Helper, and Tuna Casserole.

34 Kaplan May 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

oh pasta my favorite, plus lots of cheese surely will complete my day

35 Shane May 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

@Stewart

I don’t know where you got your information, but your statements about Tilapia are WAY off! It is not raised only as an addition to other fishes such as Striped Bass. There are many farms that raise only tilapia. Why? Because it tastes great, is easy to produce, and their genetics can be manipulated so that only male offspring are produced (which grow larger, faster). As far as flavourlessness, that does depend on what you feed it, and that depends on who’s farming it. Your statement about it being something that removes waste from the water is confussing at best. Tilapia feed on the same things as other fish, so they’re not “garbage feeders” (Neither are catfish by the way). As far as catfish being fed corn, that again, depends on who’s raising it. Catfish pellets are just as popular.

36 Brian May 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

Extra virgin olive oil is not for cooking because of its low smoke point. When heated it turns into trans fat. Stick to regular olive oil for these recipes. Extra virgin should be left to salad dressings or soaked up in Italian bread.

37 Darrin May 27, 2011 at 11:08 am

Great meals here! I’d add pot roast into the mix as my personal fave. It only uses one pot and no pan, but all the better! I think the thing that turns most guys off to cooking is seeing these complex recipes with obscure ingredients. Much better to focus on tasty, healthy peasant food.

38 Bernard Brandt May 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Okay, guyz, if you want a really bitchin’ five ingredient breakfast, may I recommend:

Eggs Benedict

Wait a few seconds: Three. Two. One.

Now that all of the pussies have run screaming into the night, I’ll show the real men among us how even trogs like us can fix a tasty and elegant breakfast. I mean, what’s not to like about english muffins, meat, eggs and hollandaise sauce?

The five ingredients (for a breakfast for two) are:

-2 English Muffins, split;
-enough pieces of canadian bacon, black forest ham, or steak, etc. to cover and fit those english muffins;
-7 eggs (4 for the poached eggs, three for the hollandaise sauce);
-1 stick butter
-1 teaspoon lemon or orange juice

Utensils:
-double boiler
-whisk
-bowl of lukewarm water

Order of Battle:
There are four steps to making Eggs Benedict: 1) toasting the english muffins; 2) heating the ham (or whatever) and putting it on the muffin; 3) putting a poached egg on each half of the muffin; and 4) pouring hollandaise sauce over it. That’s all.

I’m assuming that youze guyz know how to use a toaster, a microwave or a griddle, so you’ve already got steps 1 and 2 down. I also assume that you can boil water, so here’s what you do to make poached eggs:

3) Poaching an eggPut all seven whole eggs in the large bowl of lukewarm water. Don’t break them. Give the eggs five or so minutes to get up to room temperature. While you’re waiting, fill the lower part of the double-boiler with water to the point where the water kisses the bottom of the top part when you nest the two parts of the double boiler together. Put the bottom part of the double boiler on the oven and bring the water to a simmer. The water will be at the perfect temperature when a few bubbles happen every few seconds.

Remove all the eggs from the lukewarm water and put them in a place where they won’t roll away and break. Break an egg into a cup. Gently pour the egg into the simmering water and let it poach for exactly four minutes: no more, no less. At the end of that time, use a ladle or large slotted spoon gently to fish out the poached egg and to put it into the bowl of lukewarm water. Step repeat until the eggs are poached. Once you have the technique down, you can do two or more eggs at a time. The poached eggs should keep in the lukewarm water for hours, and in refrigerated water for a day. You warm them up before eating by putting them for 30 or so seconds in the simmering water, then fishing them out and allowing them a second or two to drain.

4 making hollandaise sauce This is the trickiest part, but if one understands the technique, and the reasons for it, it should be a snap, and done in ten or so minutes. What you want here is an emulsion of egg yolk and butter in a thick yellow cream. You don’t want the sauce to ‘break’, meaning that the butter separates from the rest of the sauce. You also don’t want the eggs yolks to granulate or scramble.

Here are the steps:

a) break the three remaining eggs and separate out the yolks. Put the yolks in the top part of the (very clean) double boiler. Put the stick of butter in a cup and microwave for 20-30 seconds until the butter is melted but not hot. Put the teaspoon of lemon or orange juice in another cup.

b) whisk the yolks quickly for 60 seconds;

c) pour the lemon or orange juice into the yolks. If the butter is unsalted, you may want to add a pinch or so of salt. Then whisk quickly for another 60 seconds;

d) then put the top part of the double boiler on the bottom part (which should still have simmering water in it) and gently whisk for a minute or two (or more, if needed) until the yolks start to become a thick cream. If the yolks get too hot, they will start to granulate. If that happens, remove the top of the double boiler from the water. If necessary, allow the top part to kiss the bowl of lukewarm water to help cool it down, and alternate hot and cold until you have a thick yellow cream.

e) when you have that thick yellow cream, pour a tablespoon of melted butter into the cream and beat it into the cream with the whisk. If the cream accepts the butter, you’re all set. Keep pouring the butter in by the tablespoon, beating with the whisk, until the hollandaise sauce is complete. If you’ve done it right, the sauce should be able to keep for several hours at room temperature. All you will need is to heat it briefly on the double boiler before pouring.

That’s all it takes.

39 Bernard Brandt May 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Sorry for all the bolding for part 3 of the recipe. If there’s any chance that could be removed by the editors, I would appreciate it.

40 David May 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm

These are great ideas, here’s another I use all the time:

Put broccoli, carrots, red pepper, onion – any vegetables you like – in the top of a double boiler/steamer, along with some pre-cooked seasoned meat. I usually use pre-made frozen meatballs but you can use sausage or whatever. In the bottom of the double boiler you can put in eggs to boil. In about 15 minutes or less you have dinner, plus 8 – 12 hard boiled eggs for future meals/snacks. Prep time under 5 minutes.

41 Brucifer May 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Roger that, Bernard. *REAL Men* aren’t afraid to cook .. and cook well. Fact is chaps, cooking and serving a manly but elegant meal to a woman can get you laid more reliably than taking her out to a fancy restaurant. Don’t forget the napkins … CLOTH napkins!

42 Stranger May 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm

The funny thing is, this is still WAY more fancy than the stuff I usually make, which tends to boil down to throwing some ground beef into a pan, add whatever other stuff in my fridge that isnt spoiled, then drench it in ketchup. I dont like cooking much. Especially not sauces and crap.

43 Owen May 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Like the idea of 5 ingredient cooking – although I wouldn’t get dogmatic. Six would be OK too.

But I wanted to comment on the total nonsense being spouted int he comments about fish sourcing (or meat sourcing for that matter) and what they get fed.

The fact is that ecological and environmental systems are complex and many animals are meant to recycle waste. What matters is the health of the animal and whether it is getting what is a a healthy diet for it, not whether that diet is ‘waste’ or not. If it is meant to be waste then that is fine. If it isn’t then it isn’t. Feeding a catfish on corn might sound clean but since catfish aren’t meant to eat corn it is unlikely to be a good idea.

Research was done in the UK on chickens – chickens fed on a factory farm diet of processed pellets from sources that included ground up waste and animal parts and nothing fresh were not only the unhealthiest but also provided the lowest nutrient value to people who ate the chickens or their eggs. Chickens fed a clean corn and supplement diet – even if ‘organic’ were actually not much better. It turned out that what mattered was being free range and the ability to eat insects and fresh grasses. Chickens healthier and eggs higher in omega-3 than even chickens fed an omega-3 diet.

44 Jennifer May 29, 2011 at 1:39 am

Just to say from a woman’s perspective… If you can’t be bothers to make these simple recipes for your friends or sweety, you’re selfish. And to comment on the eggs benadict recipe, it is much easier to make this recipe than it sounds. I didn’t even have this good of an explanation when I tried it the first time and aced it so you guys can do this and it really impreses us girls! I’m going to have to print these up for my hubby and let him take a crack at trying to cook. No one ever taught him and he literally burns pans but I think even he can do these simple recipes.

45 Will May 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Please do more 5 ingredient recipes!!!

46 C W Hutchins June 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

What kind of man are you if you need a cook book?

47 Joe @ Not Your Average Joe June 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Guys, when you do the spaghetti with sausage or meatballs, please don’t use store bought sauce. It is so easy to make your own, and the taste and quality will be fantastic. I have a great, simple to do recipe for anyone that wants it, contact me via the link to my blog.

48 Brent B. June 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Props for the PBR ref. I’m glad that you have as much taste as I.

49 Ken June 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

On Tilapia, first of all it is not a good idea to eat any fish that is farm raised. Farm raised fish are fed a heavily corn based diet which changes their saturated fat structure from a wild fish and are therefore not as healthy for us. This could also include catfish and even salmon. Tilapia also contain higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids that are believed to lead to increased blood clotting and are found in a lot of unhealthy snack foods. So if you are going to cook a fish meal, do it with a wild fish of some type.

50 Javier June 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for the tips. Good stuff. I like the Dutch Oven recipes in the comments. Thanks guys.

51 2buttonswag June 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Dear god this all sounds amazing. I need to whipe the drool from the side of my mouth and tears from my eyes and go grab this off the printer.

52 mark gill June 9, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’ve always found frying some prawns with chilli, garlic and tomato, linguine plus a dash of cream to be one of the simplest meal to throw together.

I am now officially starving. What is it about reading about food?

Hemingway was a bugger for this as well. He writes about cooking in a way that has your running to the kitchen. Just check out ‘Big Two Hearted River’ II when Nick Adams prepares a simple breakfast.

53 Ross June 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Had this one for dinner tonight! Pretty simple and delicous.

3 Chicken Breast
1 8Oz package of Cream Chease
6 pieces of thick sliced bacon
Green Pepper
Onion

Pound the chicken breasts out so they are about 1/4-1/2 inch think. Dice the green peppers and the onion, mix with the cream cheese. Put 1/3 of mixture onto each chicken breast. Fold the chicken breast over top of itself and wrap in the bacon. Bake on 350 for 50 minutes or until the bacon is browned and enjoy.

54 Charley June 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

Re: Spaghetti

First off, I’d just like to point out that you can use Italian sausage instead of ground beef in just about any recipe to give a little extra zing!

Also, this reminds me of one of my favorite things about Italian food in general: most of it is really, really simple! Most traditional Italian food relies on a few, but good and fresh, ingredients. One of my favorites uses only 3!:

Pasta al cacio e pepe:
-Pasta of your choice (spaghetti works fine)
-a big pile of grated pecorino romano cheese (a typical Roman sheep milk cheese)
-Fresh black pepper (to taste, but a lot)

Make your pasta, but before you drain it save out a cup or so of the water it’s boiling in. Put it back into the original pot while still nice and hot. Add cheese & pepper and a little bit of the water (not too much, you can always add more) until the cheese has melted a bit. Serve.

It can be a bit tricky to get the consistency just right, but that doesn’t change the taste too much. And you still have 2 ingredients left over, so have a little salad or desert if you want!

55 Brandi October 21, 2012 at 12:40 am

Growing up my mom use to make a soup called hodgepodge. Its still a favorite.
Cook a pound of hamburger meat & season with s&p.
Dump in a can of rotel, can of corn, ranch style beans, & 4 cans minestrone soup.
Let simmer and top with shredded cheese. It ends up being thick like chilli and freezes great!

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