“For me it’s not necessarily about the cocktail, it’s about the community spirit,” says Ross Mathews. “Happy hour is about looking people in the eye and catching up.”
Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life serves up a heap of table talk with people who are passionate about what’s on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.
Ross Mathews is a self-proclaimed “soup-a-holic”.
“What I love about soups is that you really have to taste them as they go, and they’re always different,” the Drew Barrymore Show co-host tells Yahoo Life. “A lot of times when you’re baking you have to be precise about measuring – I’m not able to do that, it’s all about ‘taste and set, taste and set’ until it’s perfect for me, and I think soups allow for that.”
“Plus, my mom used to make soup, so I feel connected to her,” he adds. “I’m always downstairs with soup.”
The 42-year-old television personality also loves chili, calling it “soup close.”
“I always make it for my friends: I call it ‘chili with my homies,'” he says, “I make red chili, veggie chili, chicken chili with white beans, it’s amazing — I just think no matter what.” bad your day is, if you have a bowl of chili with a little dollop of sour cream and some fresh onions and chives, the day can’t be that bad.”
Mathews spoke to Yahoo Life as part of his partnership with WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers). He credits WW and its mobile app with being a “nutritionist in [his] bag at any time.”
“After my mother died, I realized I wanted to stay here as long as possible, so I knew I had to find out,” he says. “I started researching and decided I wanted to cook for myself and didn’t want to skimp on any flavor.”
Before using the WW program to develop a sustainable healthy eating plan, Mathews said he tried many fad diets. “Every single one of them was crazy,” he says. “I would try those diets where I was like, ‘I’m going to eat cereal with apples and bran.’ That worked for a day or so. We did the boiled cabbage diet. We did the ‘eat only from noon to four’ diet. Everything was so weird and it never worked.”
“I call myself a weight detective because I used to find it again when I lost it,” he admits. “It was because I didn’t understand food. I grew up in poverty so it wasn’t about how you eat but what you eat and when you eat and can we eat?”
The story goes on
Now, Mathew’s life is all about balance. In May, he married education administrator Wellinthon García in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where his newfound eating habits even found their way onto the decadent menu.
“We had salad for the first course. For the second course we had sashimi,” he says. “For starters we had beef, fish, veggie – the fish was this lovely white fish, freshly caught, over a bean and pancetta mix. Beans are my secret ingredient for feeling full – they’re zero on my schedule at WW so they’re a must have for me.”
Best thing Mathews ate during his wedding in Mexico? soup of course.
“My favorite meal I ate the entire trip was at Casa Kimberly — they have this black bean poblano soup that they pour into the bowl and one side is the black bean and one side is the poblano, with that it stays separate,” he says. “It’s black on one side and green on the other, and it’s so delicious — I get it every time I’m in Puerto Vallarta.”
When he’s home in Palm Springs, California, Mathews says his favorite food looks a little different. “I feel like Palm Springs is the happy hour capital of the world,” he says. “Every hour is happy hour here. I’m not kidding – every day I meet up with friends and we go somewhere for a quick cocktail and a quick bite.”
“I would say my ideal happy hour would be what I’m going to have today, or what I had yesterday, or what I’m going to have tomorrow,” he continues. “I think it’s a great opportunity to break up the day and meet up with people you love or friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s my favorite meal of the day.”
Still, Mathews makes it clear that his love of happy hour is less about the booze and more about the company.
“For me it’s not necessarily about the cocktail, but about the community character,” he says. “Sometimes you can communicate while you’re eating, but you always pause to eat that big meal. Happy hour is about looking people in the eye and catching up.”
Mathews has also built a following on Instagram, where people check in to see his “rossipes” — recipe videos showing meals he cooks at home. He shares a rossipe with Yahoo Life made in collaboration with WW: Chicken Prosciutt-OMG. “This is one of my favorites,” he says of the stuffed chicken breast dish. “Chicken is a lean, lean protein and for me chicken has zero WW points on my plan, but it doesn’t have that much flavor either.”
“How can we make this full chicken breast delicious?” he asks. “I cut it in half and fill it with things. I put what I have in the fridge in there.”
Chicken Prosciutt OMG
Courtesy of Ross Mathews and WW
“For this one, I made spinach, basil, and tomatoes,” says Mathews. “I used goat cheese which I think is the GOAT cheese (greatest ever) and I put everything inside and sealed. It needed something to give it texture, so I put a piece of ham on top and baked — I tell you, the crispy top and then you slice in and you get that creamy goat cheese and that tomato blast and those yummy veggies. It’s a full meal stuffed into a chicken and you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.”
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into small pieces
2 pinches of kosher salt, divided
2 pinches black pepper, divided
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 a medium sized lemon
1/2 pound (2 4-ounce pieces) undercooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium plum tomato, ends removed, cut into 4 rings
1 ounce semi-soft goat cheese, from a log, cut into 4 rounds
2 slices of ham
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.
Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, basil, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper; Drizzle lemon juice over it.
Cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, about 1 to 2 minutes; put aside.
Place chicken on a cutting board. Working one breast at a time, cut each breast horizontally almost completely, but not all the way through. Open breasts so they lie flat like an open book and place 2 tomato slices on one side of each breast; Sprinkle tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the spinach mixture on the tomatoes and top each with 2 slices of goat cheese; Close the breasts and carefully wrap a slice of ham around each one.
Place chicken on prepared skillet. Bake until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F and the prosciutto is nicely crisped, about 35 to 40 minutes.
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