While there’s nothing wrong with the predictable hunger killers – peanuts, pretzels, a piece of fruit — these go-to mini-meals are distinctly uninspired. Our weekly Man Snacks series will help you fight the scourge of boring snacks.
When you’re super-hungry, wimpy snacks just won’t do. To cure a rumbling stomach and avoid loading up on empty calories, reach for a meaty snack that will fill you up fast. This list of seven tasty snacks with meat as a key ingredient is sure to help you feed your inner caveman.
1. Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are a simple, protein-filled snack, but the fast food versions leave something to be desired. This healthier homemade alternative from 100 Days of Real Food uses whole pieces of chicken and whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Plus, you can freeze the cooked leftovers to eat later. Just layer the nuggets between sheets of wax paper and store in a freezer-friendly container. When ready to eat, pop them in the oven to reheat.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking oil
Directions: Chop the chicken into small chunks and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese, paprika, and garlic powder.
Dip chicken chunks in the egg mixture until they are coated on all sides. Then dip chicken in the breadcrumb mixture until the pieces are fully coated. Place coated pieces of chicken on a plate.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook the chicken nuggets for several minutes on each side until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Transfer the nuggets to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
2. Meat Lover’s Snack Mix
Tasty, salty snack mix gets some extra oomph with the addition of pepperoni-flavored snack sticks and beef jerky. This recipe from Taste of Home yields six cups and can be stored in an airtight container to eat later.
- 1¼ cups wasabi-coated green peas
- ¾ cup salted peanuts
- 3 pepperoni-flavored meat sticks (about 1½ ounces each), cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 ounces beef jerky, cut into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup corn nuts
- ½ cup Rice Chex
- ½ cup multi-grain Cheerios
- ½ cup crunch cheese puff snacks
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine first nine ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk oil, chili powder, onion powder, pepper sauce, soy sauce, and seasoned salt. Drizzle over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
Spread mixture into a greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Bake 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
3. Steak Bites
Turn steak into finger food with this recipe for steak bites from The Pioneer Woman. Paying close attention during the cooking process is key to successfully preparing this simple snack. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a plate full of overcooked bits of meat.
- 1 pound sirloin steak (without much gristle) or pre-cut beef tips
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
Directions: If using sirloin steak, trim off the large piece of fat that runs along the side of the meat. Cut the meat into strips less than 1-inch wide, then cut the strips in to bite-size pieces. Trim any remaining large chunks of fat, gristle, or long silvery membrane.
Sprinkle meat generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to thoroughly coat with the seasonings.
Turn on your stove’s ventilation fan. Heat the skillet over medium-high to high heat. As the pan heats, add about 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to melt and then brown before adding the meat.
Place some of the meat in the pan in a single layer. Let the meat cook undisturbed for 30 to 45 seconds. Once the meat is brown on one side, scoop as many steak bites as you can with your spatula and flip them over. Repeat until all the meat is turned. Cook for an additional 30 to 45 seconds. The goal is to sear the outside of the meat but not cook the inside.
Remove the meat to a clean plate. Add a little more butter to the pan and repeat the cooking process with the remaining meat. When all the meat cooked and plated, pour butter and drippings in the pan over the steak bites.
4. Bacon-Wrapped Dates
These bacon-wrapped dates are paleo-diet friendly, but anyone looking for a slightly sweet snack will enjoy them. This recipe from Our Savory Life is designed to feed a crowd, but you can easily adjust the quantities to make a smaller serving for one.
- 12 slices of uncooked bacon
- 24 whole, pitted dates
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay a single layer of bacon strips on a plate and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat until all the bacon is cooked.
Cut strips of bacon in half width-wise. Wrap individual dates in half-strips of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place bacon-wrapped dates on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.
5. Dad’s English Muffin Pizza Recipe
English muffin pizza is a hallowed after-school snack tradition. This grown-up version of the childhood classic from Simply Recipes includes fresh tomato and sliced ham.
- 6 English muffin halves
- 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese, packed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- ¾ cup diced ham
- A pinch of chopped fresh sage
- ¼ teaspoon stone-ground mustard
- Several slices of fresh tomato (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced ham and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the sage and mustard. Remove from heat.
Place muffin halves open side up on a baking pan. Sprinkle the cheese over the muffins. If using tomato slices, layer them on top of the cheese. Then, spoon the onion and ham mixture on top of the muffins.
Place pan in oven and bake until the muffins and toppings are browned, about 8 to 9 minutes.
6. Argentinian-Style Beef Empanadas
Savory, meat-stuffed pastries make a perfect filling snack. This recipe for beef empanadas comes from Goya and uses the company’s pre-made puff pastry dough to simplify the prep. Unbaked empanadas can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. When ready to cook, just heat in the oven until warmed through – no need to defrost.
For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- Adobo seasoning, to taste
- 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)
- 12 pimiento-stuffed manzanilla olives, chopped (about ¼ cup)
For the dough:
- 2 packages frozen Goya-brand puff pastry dough for turnovers, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Directions: Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
Add ground beef to onion mixture. Cook, stirring and breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Season meat mixture with adobo. Gently mix in chopped eggs, raisins, and chopped olives. Set beef mixture aside to cool.
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place dough round on work surface. Using heaping tablespoon measure, spoon meat mixture onto center of dough round. Using pastry brush, paint edges of dough with egg wash. Fold dough into half-moon shape; gently press down edges and twist down to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Divide empanadas among baking sheets, leaving 1½-inches between each empanada. Brush tops of empanadas with remaining egg wash. Cook until pastries puff, turn golden brown and filling is hot, about 20 minutes.
7. Creamy Turkey Wraps
These creamy turkey wraps combine ultra-healthy kale with lean turkey and some cheese for a delicious, easy-to-prepare snack. Recipe from The Laughing Cow.
- 2 wedges of creamy Swiss cheese
- 4 large kale leaves
- 4 slices thin, hickory-smoked turkey
Directions: Spread the cheese onto the kale leaves. Top with hickory-smoked turkey and roll up. Secure with a toothpick, or wrap with foil if you’re packing them to eat later.
Follow Megan on Twitter @MeganE_CS