How to Cook a Healthy Meal Between Periods of a Hockey Game

This recipe from my husband isn’t about the ingredients so much as the time. He doesn’t enjoy cooking but loves to help me out by preparing dinner when I’m working late. Still, he wants to spend as little time as possible on the meal. What follows is his signature dish when he’s cooking on the clock.

From Mike:

Cooking is not my thing, and if I have to do it, I want to do it fast. So I’ve developed a go-to meal that wins me partner points but doesn’t cause me to miss the game.

The goal here is maximum speed and efficiency—and you don’t have to tell your partner how long it took you to cook this. In fact, your shouldn’t. I’ve included “work time” in the preparation so you can see how easy this is. The actual work time is so minimal that I usually do dishes while I cook so I don’t have to deal with them later.

This recipe is specifically designed to be cooked during an NHL hockey game that starts at 7 p.m., with a wife arriving home at 8:30. Adjust as needed for your sport of choice and serving time.

A medium-rare striploin steak sitting on a white dinner plate.

Tip: Remove steaks from barbecue and place on dinner plates. Do not make extra dishes.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

– As much broccoli as you can fit in a stove-top steamer (about 2-3 crowns)

– 1 cup instant rice

– 2 strip steaks (or any meat that cooks in the range of 10-15 minutes)

Preparation

1. Before the hockey game starts, chuck the steaks in a bowl and douse them with Worcestershire sauce and a light coating of Montreal steak spice. Refrigerate. You can do this earlier in the day, too, and the steaks will taste better if you do. (Work time: 1 minute)

2. At the commercial break closest to the 10-minute mark of the second period, start the barbecue. ( Work time: 30 seconds)

3. At the next commercial break, fill a pot with hot water. Wash your broccoli, hack off and discard the stem, and chop the crown into smaller pieces. Chuck the pieces in the steamer, but don’t put it on the pot yet. (Work time: 1 minute)

4. During that same commercial break, put another pot on the stove. Measure 1 cup of instant rice and 2 cups of water. Throw in some salt, too, and cover the pot. (Work time: 1 minute).

5. When the period ends, immediately turn the elements underneath both pots to high. It should take about 5 minutes for the water to boil in both. As the water is heating up, throw the steak on the barbecue.  It’s going to cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how you want your steaks. We cook 1-inch steaks for 10 minutes total for medium rare, and 1.5-inch steaks about 14 minutes. Know your grill and set a timer on your phone before you check the other NHL scores! (Work time: 1 minute)

6. Go inside and check stuff on your phone until the water boils in either pot. If it’s the rice, stir it, cover, turn the heat way down, and set another timer for 10 minutes. If it’s the other pot, put the steamer on top and cover. Leave it on high. You can set a timer here, but I don’t.  I just take the broccoli off when the rice timer goes, and it’s usually slightly overcooked, but I prefer that to undercooked broccoli. (Work time: 1 minute)

7. Flip steaks at their halfway point—about 5-7 minutes. (Work time: 20 seconds)

8. Check stuff on your phone and watch between-period analysis and interviews until the rice or steak timer goes off. The steak timer is usually first unless your barbecue sucks or you cook to well done. Put steaks on plates. (Work time: 20 seconds)

9. Take the broccoli out of the pot just before the rice timer goes and pile it on the plates.  (Work time: 30 seconds)

10. When the rice timer goes, disturb the rice with a fork. Some call this “fluffing.” I don’t. Divide the rice between the plates. Bonus: put warm water in the empty pot right away to ensure you don’t have to scrub and scrape later. (Work time: 30 seconds)

11. Serve. If you’ve timed this correctly, the second intermission should be drawing to a close, and your partner should be in the driveway. Pretend you slaved away and didn’t spend most of your time on Instagram.

Total work time: 7 minutes 10 seconds

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A healthy meal on a white plate, including steak, rice and broccoli.

No one needs to know how easy it was.

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