One of my favourite, go-to meals is a sort of charcuterie-style plate of goodness. It’s not technically charcuterie, but it’s close enough.

**Editor’s Note: immediately upon writing this sentence I Googled “charcuterie”, and to my shock, discovered charcuterie is in fact quite different from what I’ll be detailing here, and does not in fact, traditionally include peanut butter**

My charcuterie food board generally includes a mix of meat, nuts, cheese, fruit, and veg, but with an emphasis in favour of protein. Other than that, anything goes.

Really, it’s just an assortment of finger foods thrown together. It’s like those random plates of healthy snacks you see parent’s try and feed their kids.

Is that a recipe?

Salty, savoury, crunchy…. protein-y?

This meal is flexible, easy to make, healthy, and delicious. You can whip it together on the cheap, or go all out on quality cold cuts at a nice Italian deli. It’s a perfect meal to prepare on a Friday night with your significant other. Sometimes my wife and I will make a whole event of the thing and take a drive to the nice grocery store (*wink, *wink, Farm Boy!). Part of the fun is picking out the random foods we want to munch on that night. Other times, we opt for whatever we have on hand already at home. Quick and dirty.

Quick and dirty.

The Goods

Below is a list of items I typically include in my mix. Basically it’s every food, ever.

Of course you’re not limited to this list. Should you decide to throw a charcouterie boad together yourself, get creative. Venture into the unknown. And let me know if you do. I’m always open to new suggestions for the mix.

Leftover grilled chicken, cucumber, red pepper, cashews.
Finish with olive oil, lemon, and salt, as needed.

meat

  • Salami
  • Chorizo, or any Sausage, thinly sliced, cooked well done *chef’s kiss*
  • Pepperettes
  • Chicken (grocery store BBQ chickens torn up are great for this meal)
  • Steak
  • Bacon
  • Meatballs

fruit & veg

  • Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Sliced apple (thinly slice Granny Smith is great with cheddar cheese or peanut butter and salt)
  • Cucumbers
  • Red, yellow, green peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Grapes

cheese

  • Cheddar.
  • Cream cheese (like Boursin)
  • Brie
  • Grilled Halloumi

nuts

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts

other

  • Sliced hard-boiled eggs
  • Hot pickled peppers
  • Pickles
  • Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
Chicken, grilled halloumi, strawberries, sausage.

I’m sure I’ve missed some other foods I typically include, so I’ll add those in the future as I remember them. In the meantime, here’s some more pics.

More of the same… Almost.
Apple with Peanut Butter and Sea Salt, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cashews, Cheddar Cheese, Chicken.
That’s not weird, is it?

Here’s an easy dinner I threw together this evening with a beef tenderloin and an Instant Pot. It was the ‘chain’ section off a larger tenderloin I previously cut into filets (just like this). Feel free to sub a different type of meat in place of beef.

I enjoyed the shredded beef over a bed of rice, with a rough chop of cucumber and red pepper, doused in olive oil, lemon, and salt. You can skip the rice and salad, and go a completely different route altogether. This is really a recipe about the beef, specifically.

Tacos perhaps?

It looks so much better once it’s cooked, I swear…

Ingredients

  • Beef Tenderloin – feel free to substitute for pork shoulder, chicken, etc. To be honest, I have no idea what size my tenderloin actually was. It was part of a larger cut. Probably around 3 lbs or so (~1.4 kg), and yielded roughly four solid servings.
  • Taco Seasoning – I had one of those taco packets in the cupboard, but you can just as easily get creative with individual spices: cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.
  • Stock – I only had chicken broth on hand, but recommend beef bone broth if given the choice. About 1/2 a cup of stock will be needed for the beef in the Instant Pot.
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Place the beef in the Instant Pot along with the stock and taco seasoning.
  2. Cover the pot and set the lid’s valve to ‘Sealing’.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to ‘Beef/Stew’ for 25 minutes (or simply ‘High’ for 25 minutes).
  4. Once cooking complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for at least 10 minutes (i.e. do NOT set to ‘Venting’ for that time). If the Instant Pot is not depressurized after 10 minutes, at that point, go ahead and set the valve to ‘Venting’.
  5. Optional: Remove some of the excess liquid, if required. You can use a ladle to remove a few scoops, or alternatively, set the Instant Pot to ‘saute’ with the lid open, and allow some of the excess liquid to evaporate and reduce.
  6. Shred the beef with two forks.
  7. Salt generously to taste.
  8. Enjoy with rice, salad, or straight up carnivore style, on its own.
Now we’re talking.

One Last Note

I left out the recipe for rice… Since it’s not much of a recipe. And everyone seems to have a preferred method for making rice, anyway. So what’s the point?

That said, if you do opt to make rice, I highly recommend that you use bone broth to cook it (in place of water), and finish the rice with a healthy dollop of butter. It’ll make your rice taste delicious, and most importantly, you’re giving yourself a nice added serving of protein.

Who doesn’t want protein rice? Nobody. That’s who. Absolutely nobody doesn’t want protein rice.

Is it even worth photographing without a lemon wedge?

Whenever I can, I obtain my protein through real, unprocessed food sources (usually beef or chicken). Occasionally, however, I’ll supplement with a protein shake. And nine times out ten (probably more), I’ll choose to make this delicious milkshake-like impostor.

This isn’t a light shake. It’s not a great option if calories are a concern. But if you’re looking for a satiating, protein-packed shake, you’ve found it.

“It’s just so damn good” – I was quoted as saying this afternoon after taking a sip.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Servings of Chocolate Protein Powder: I personally use 2 scoops (70 grams of protein total) of Kaizen Whey Isolate Chocolate Protein from Costco. It contains artificial sweeteners, whose taste I’m generally not a huge fan of, but in this shake it works out well. Plus, some random dudes on the internet said this is preemo protein powder.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Natural Peanut Butter: I recently discovered Kraft makes a natural peanut butter with added sea salt. Tastes great in this shake, plus gives you a little extra sodium.
  • Half a Frozen Banana: The secret ingredient to help mirror the consistency of a milkshake.
  • 2 Cups of 2% Milk: I have used almond milk in the past, but like… Why?
  • 3-4 Ice Cubes (optional).

Directions

Ummm…. Blend?

Hot off the grill. Simple and satisfying BBQ chicken wings.

Some dishes make their way into our life more frequently than others. For me, this is one such dish. I think pound for pound, this might be one of my favourite meals based on how high it scores on the following:

  • Cost: for quality animal protein, chicken wings offer great value.
  • Time: they can be cooked reasonably quickly.
  • Difficulty: they are dead simple to prepare.
  • Health: animal fats and loads of protein make this a great choice.
  • Taste: they’re delicious. “But they have bones in them!”. Get over it.

This is so easy, I can barely call it a recipe. In reality, this post is just a reminder of how awesome chicken wings are. And no, not the the dumb, sauce-drenched, ranch-dipped, second cousins of real chicken wings. Those are just bastardized versions of what could have been scrumptious and healthy wings. No, I’m talking about simple, crispy, dry spiced, delightful drumsticks.

Ingredients:

  • Split chicken wings
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Lay wings, skin side down, on low-medium heat BBQ.
  2. Cook wings thoroughly, turning every few minutes. Roughly 20 minutes on the grill should be enough for most folks. I happen to like my wings cooked really well, with the fat rendered sufficiently, so I’ll keep them on for up to 30 minutes.
  3. Take the wings off the grill, spread them out on a plate or chopping board, squeeze half a lemon over them, and finish with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges (optional).

Like I said, these are quick and easy. I wasn’t lying.

Of course you can take these wings to the next level if desired. Sometimes I like to add a little heat by smothering the wings with some finely chopped peppers from our garden. You could even add some fresh herbs , or branch out and include some interesting spices (i.e. cayenne, paprika, onion powder, whatever). Avoid sauces, and stick with dry ingredients if you want to limit your sugar intake.

Don’t overthink these. Just grab a pack of split wings next time you’re at the store. When you’re ready, take ’em out of the fridge and toss them on the warmed up grill. Season afterwards. No need to prepare in advance. Tweak the flavouring however you want, but aim to keep it simple if you want these to become a staple in your diet. And trust me, you do.