Meals and gifts for men

June is for grilling, chilling and celebrating Father’s Day. Having raised two boys and spending most of my professional career working with male athletes, I think about what would appeal to my dudes when it comes to food.

I always try to focus on foods that connote strength, zest, spiciness and substance. So protein on the plate, the chew factor, volume and heat are my recipe for a happy he.

7 drinks and dishes for dads and other important men

Here are some of my favs that get raves from my family and my players:

Watermelon-strawberry slushie.

— Marinated tomatoes, olives and feta.

— Spicy peel-and-eat shrimp.

— Flank steak.

— Grilled broccoli.

— BBQ potatoes.

— Brownies or cheesecake — or both together with a little bourbon.

[See: Drinks That Give You a Buzz and No Hangover.]

Watermelon-strawberry slushie

This beverage is so refreshing and versatile. Can be served with or without alcohol. I love the contrast of sweet, tart and salt.

In a blender combine:

— 1 cup frozen watermelon.

— ½ cup frozen strawberries.

— ¼ cup orange.

— A squeeze of lime juice.

Pour into a tall glass that has been rimmed with Kosher salt. If desired, add in a shot of vodka, tequila or gin.

Marinated tomatoes, olives and feta

Beefsteak tomatoes, diced, and tossed with spicy Sicilian olives and cubes of feta with olive oil and balsamic vinegar deliver plenty of flavor to savor. Plus, this makes a great side to any of these dishes.

Spicy peel-and-eat shrimp

Serving a food that is hands-on is messy but fun. Think ribs, crab, lobster and peel-and-eat shrimp. Shrimp with shells, sauteed in olive oil and butter with garlic, paprika, ancho chili powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and a splash of Tabasco fits the bill.

Flank steak

For the main course, it’s hard to go wrong with meat, but why not keep it lean? Flank steak, tri-tip, flat-iron steak or hangar steak grill up beautifully. I marinate it a few hours ahead in either a balsamic or red wine vinaigrette and then grill or broil about seven minutes on each side.

[See: Ways to Lower the Cancer Risk of Grilling.]

Grilled broccoli

To accompany the steak, how about grilled broccoli? A simple brush of olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon works beautifully and brings the crunch and flavor punch.

BBQ potatoes

My players are big spud lovers, and one of their favs is mini roasted potatoes. I toss the potatoes in a little olive oil and then coat with either a ranch seasoning or BBQ seasoning. Then I roast them at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Chocolate cheesecake cups

And for a sweet treat, nothing says love like chocolate and cheesecake combined. This is a favorite of our family.


— Chocolate cake mix: Make according to directions but pour batter in muffin tins to half full.

— In a separate bowl, mix together 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 egg, ¼-cup sugar and 2 tablespoons bourbon.

— Top each half-filled muffin cup with a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle chopped caramelized walnuts or pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, but check at 10 minutes.

[SEE: Healthy Desserts With 3 Ingredients or Less.]

Great food gifts for your man

If he loves to grill, why not get him:

— Grilling rubs.

— Marinades.

— Hot sauces and spices, such as jalapeno pepper and blackened seasoning.

— BBQ sauces. For my players, BBQ sauce is used on meats, veggies, even potatoes.

If he loves to snack:

— Savory nut mixes — such as BBQ flavor, chili lime, salt and pepper.

— An assortment of jerky — beef, turkey, salmon.

If he’s a fitness enthusiast:

— An assortment of his favorite energy bars.

— Individually packaged trail mix.

— Favorite sports drink.

— A fit kit that could include a bottle, sports drink and/or electrolyte powders and sports bars/trail mix.

So let’s celebrate the men in our lives with the gift of great food.

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