I was stuck in traffic on I-494 last night, headlights playing the part of red and white Christmas lights against the inky blackness that is 5:00 these days, when I realized: I have no idea what to have for dinner.

I spent the day driving to and from the Tiny Town where we used to live; one of my best friends there turned 40 yesterday, so I loaded up the kids and showed up at her birthday brunch. Surprises are fun. The whole day was delightful. Tiny Town drove me crazy in so many ways, but the friendships I forged there will last a lifetime, of that I am sure.

But even on days filled with surprises and delight, someone has to cook dinner. That someone is me.

I called Corey from my cell, to gauge which of the meals remaining on my current menu sounded the most appealing.

“I have some ham to heat up with baked sweet potatoes.”


“Or I could throw together that sausage and potato casserole the kids love. It’s fairly quick.”


“The only other option is meatloaf, and that would take too long. Do ANY of those things sound appealing to you?”

Corey finally spoke. “I’m hungry. Really hungry. I haven’t had a good, hearty meal for a few days now. And I’m tired. And cranky. And hungry.”

OK then. So the man is hungry. He needs some real food.

For the record, Corey is a big guy. He’s very active, and he has an incredible metabolism. When we first got married, I cooked dishes that said “Feeds 4-6.” I ate my serving. He ate the rest.

But Corey is also an incredibly healthy eater; he’s very non-male that way. He never – and I mean never – eats fast food. He doesn’t like sweets. He loves vegetables and fruit and whole grains. (You should see his face light up when I make quinoa.) He loves ethic food (except Indian), fresh seafood and -- his favorite, lately -- streamed broccoli and lemon juice.

So he can be a bit of a challenge. A hungry challenge.

Thankfully, I remembered I had some leftover barbecue beef brisket in the freezer. So I ended up serving that last night with some risotto, which is my favorite comfort food right now.

But I’m still thinking about what makes a big, hearty meal for a healthy man – which is good timing, since I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

Stew would top the list. So would many of my soups. And lasagna, homemade lasagna with lots of sausage and cheese.

What about you? What do you feed a hungry man?


  1. My husband loves spaghetti - with the homemade sauce complete with meatballs and sausage. Not that healthy, but - you know. Another favorite is my pot roast. It's quick and easy to make, even though it does take a few hours in the oven.

  2. Ahhh...494...used to take me from our apartment in St. Louis Park to the Mall of America...good times :)

    I order pizza...I'm a great cook like that.

  3. My husband's favorites include a really awesome BBQ pork rib recipe, which is served on top of cornbread pancakes. He saw it on an episode of "Feasting on Asphalt" once. Alton. Again.

    He also likes to make REAL chili, which isn't what 99% of the world believes chili to be. I didn't realize the error of my ways until we were dating.

    His family has lived in CO and NM for generations and are waaaayyy into cooking old school style. "Chili" is pinto beans cooked all day, scooped in a bowl, with hot red chili sauce ladled over the top like a sauce with huge chunks of pork. So simple, so filling, so delicious, so dangerous.

  4. I think those serving sizes are for people that are very disciplined about eating six small meals a day. When I sit down to a family dinner, I eat more than one serving size myself. So, I always double or triple the serving size too :)

  5. I rarely play in the comments, but this is too good.

    I love the idea of spaghetti. I found a really good (and easy) meatball recipe lately, so that's definitely one of my favorite meals. I'll have to ask Corey if it's filling enough for him.

    I wrote Sarah to say that pizza -- when done right -- is acceptable to Corey. We just don't have a good delivery place near our house.

    Gretchen's suggestion of chili is inspired. I have a chili recipe Corey loves; we call it Man Chili, since it has three different kinds of meat -- and very little beans or tomatoes.

    And Julie is a girl after my own heart. :-) When it comes to comfort food, I'm not a "I'll have a little bit, please" kind of girl.

  6. I wonder if he'd like some tagines? They are quick to throw together although they do need a bit of time to simmer.

  7. My husband loves spaghetti and pizza, too. But I think when he asks for a hearty meal he's looking for something like country fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and biscuits....okay maybe not biscuits...I threw them in for myself. But he's not the healthiest eater on the block.

  8. Anything and everything. Thankfully, there is not much that my husband won't eat. He loves any kind of mexican casserole type of thing. Mexican lasagna is probably his favorite. For sure hearty soups. Meatloaf is always a hit. He loves this cranberry bbq pork roast thing that I make into bbq sandwiches. Did I mention he eats anything?

  9. I ponder this question frequently myself...but I'm really just commenting because I want some of that lasagna you were just talking about. When can we get together? :)

  10. Well, I can't really tell you what I feed a hungry man because honestly my man is a picky eater! Most of the time (unless it's pizza or hot wings) I eat more than he does!

    My favorite (pretty hearty) meals include:
    Pot Roast (made in the crock pot) w/ veggies
    Beef Stroganoff served over noodles with a side of veggies
    Breakfast- Omelets (a favorite of the Hubs), bacon/sausage and toast. Smoked pork chops are good with breakfasty foods too! I also make pancakes & scrambled eggs for supper a lot. Maybe we're weird though?
    Chicken Quesadillas/Fajitas, beans and rice (sometimes I throw in a salad too)
    Spaghetti (I have an awesome recipe for sausage tomato sauce), garlic bread and salad
    Spinach Noodle Casserole (Yummy!)

    Ok, that's all that comes to mind! :)

  11. For me it's pizza all the way. My man craves only food that his mother makes, so I don't even try. I gave up on homemade tortillas, smoked brisket, and enchiladas long ago.

  12. Husband really likes sloppy joes, stir-fry, healthy hot dishes (like barley with mushrooms and spinach), and anything slathered with BBQ sauce.

    Me--I'm a big fan of The Baked Goods, unfortunately. But we do try to eat healthfully most of the time.

  13. We like spinach & cheese stuffed shells here.

  14. We had a group of guys working over at our new place tonight, and one of the wives brought a black bean chowder that she apparently got from Pioneer Woman. It was GOOD! And very filling.

  15. My man sounds just like yours in the Hungry Man department. :)

    When we lived in Texas, we experienced chili with all the usual stuff but it also had diced potatoes cooked in. It is SO HEARTY and makes the chili stretch so much further. This is Kyle's all-time favorite Hungry Man meal, especially in the winter.

    Email me if ya want the recipe.

  16. I'd love to play along but my four year old frequently out eats my man.
    Which isn't a horrid thing, on a busy evening he's happy with a sandwich.
    But reading all your comments has made me hungry, we don't eat red meat (also married to Mr. Healthy) but who doesn't love a good slab of beef every now and then?

  17. My man has been working outside in the cold lately . . . we all like a baked chicken, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Anything warm and hearty - and there's always veggies in there too :) but it can be a challenge - for sure :)

  18. Luke is impossible to feed.

    He really doesn't like meat. He doesn't like fried. He hates sandwiches unless they are some sort of $30 worth of produce concoctions. (think lots and lots of peppers)

    He's sick of spaghetti and pizza and taco soup. Not really a fan of the casserole.

    A couple things I know he loves: pinto beans and relish. Macaroni and Cheese (with plenty of Velveeta thank you), smashed potatoes (red potatoes mashed with skin on), slaw with vinegar dressing.

    And something tells me none of this helps you one bit. :))

  19. We do a lot of pastas here, and for a heartier version you could make a ragout and top the noodles with it. Chili, black bean soup (with rice and the toppings) or risotto is good.

  20. Let me think - a hungry man? A roast chicken with lemon and olive oil, mounds of good mashed potatoes, a bowl of his favorite spinach salad, cooked carrots and an apple pie cooling on the counter....

  21. For apps: he likes sliced potatoes seasoned and baked and then topped with chez, bacon bits and a bit of BBQ sauce (back in the oven for a minute to melt chez). Served with sour cream to dip them in.

    Dinner: He loves BBQ and any meat with real mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade bread (thanks Pioneer Woman for the rolls recipe, yummy) and for veggies we both like them a little bit crunchy with lemon and Mrs. Dash.

    And he's a sucker for fudge.

  22. My hubby is the SAME way. He has an incredible metabolism. He doesn't like fast food (unless it's healthy, like Subway), and he likes to eat healthy. So yeah, it's hard to cook for him. And he freaks out if I use butter or shortening in anything. Sometimes I just don't tell him.

  23. After reading this post I am hungry. IT all sounds great.

  24. I think everyone loves spaghetti. At my house, we make the meat sauce with half jimmy dean maple sausage and half ground turkey (or ground beef) and it is AMAZING! And really filling.

    I LOVE the idea of adding potatoes to chili to make it even heartier!

    My husband also loves black bean soup over yellow rice and cornbread, which is another really filling option that's meat-free.

    And we often have pork tenderloin with veggies and rice or potatoes. It's a great option because it's easy to fix without having to watch a pot and stand there to taste and season. Lord knows you have your hands full already.

  25. Reading the comments is making me hungry...

    A quick meal for us is tacos or pizza.

    I want some of your soup recipes. I'm looking for some good ones that don't involve getting the can of Campbells out of the pantry, opening and dumping into a pot.

  26. I love homemade chicken dumplings, but it is not necessarily healthy