The Dude Diet: BOOK COVER REVEAL! (and a Chicken Meatball Fajita Skillet)
Happy cover reveal day, dudes!
Today is a big fucking day for The Dude Diet, and I could not be more pumped to finally unveil the book’s cover. I know it’s been an unforgivably long time since the last official Dude Diet post, but I plan to make it up to you with 352 pages of my finest dude-friendly recipes, cooking tips, nutritional knowledge bombs, and Logan stories very, very soon.
The fact that I’m able to share the cover means that The Dude Diet prelaunch has officially begun!! The book’s release date is October 25 (please mark your calendar), so we’ve still got about 2.5 months until what shall henceforth be known as DD-Day, but preparations/celebrations start NOW. Given that this is my first book, I’m still not 100% sure what “prelaunch” means, but based on what I’ve gleaned from my PR and marketing team, it’s essentially a fluffing period for the book. So, prepare yourselves, friends. I am going to fluff the shit out you for the next 76 days.
For those that are interested, there’s a three-part “Behind The Scenes” Dude Diet series coming your way in September that chronicles the making of this book from sweating and crying in my kitchen recipe testing through design. And I’ll be sharing sneak peaks, photo outtakes, giveaways, pre-order bonuses, and all sorts of book-related details over the coming months. But for now, I thought I’d let you ogle the cover and address the most common #DudeDietBook queries.
The Dude Diet FAQs:
So, like, how does the book work? Is it breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert?
Mmmm, sort of. All of those things are present and accounted for, but it’s organized a little bit differently than most cookbooks. The Dude Diet contains the following chapters:
- Introduction. This is where I discuss the Dude Diet’s birth story and overshare about Logan’s “health journey,” the blog, and my NFL playas.
- The Dude Diet 101: The Keys to Success. The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with the tools you need to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle and warn you about potential Dude Diet pitfalls (i.e. refined carbohydrate withdrawal, overzealous Gatorade consumption, and hubris).
- The Dude Diet Kitchen: Get Your Shit Together. From pantry and equipment essentials to idiot-proof cooking tips, I’m helping you build a Dude Diet-friendly kitchen from the ground up.
- Badass Breakfasts. Includes both everyday and “special occasion” options for your A.M. feeding.
- The Classics. Slimmed down versions of classic comfort foods. Think Dude Diet Lasagna, Killer Cuban Sandwiches, Epic Meatloaf, Trashed Up Turkey Burgers, etc.
- Game Day Eats. Recipes to help you keep your football season physique in check. There’s a shitload of dank finger food involved.
- On The Grill. Aimed at expanding your grill master repertoire beyond burgers and sausages.
- Serious Salads. A smorgasbord of salad options that embody Logan’s very specific preferences: more good shit, less lettuce.
- Take-Out Favorites. Helping you to responsibly indulge your more exotic cravings at home.
- Sexy Sides. Self-explanatory.
- Back-Pocket Recipes. The easy ones!
- Chronic Cocktails. For those days when a light beer or vodka-soda simply won’t cut it.
- Sweetness. From sweet breakfast-y items to more traditional desserts, this chapter is packed with healthier ways to treat yo’ self.
Are all of the recipes new?
There are a handful of blog favorites that made it into the book (i.e. Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Dude Diet Mac and Cheese with Chicken Sausage, Buffalo Chicken Tenders, etc.), but 80% of the recipes are brand spanking new.
What is Logan’s status???
Not gonna lie, the dude looks sexy AF these days. There was a rough patch this winter as per usual, but with the exception of some batshit wedding behavior, Logan’s been working The Dude Diet like a champ for the past few months. He took up boxing (I hope you enjoy that visual as much as I do), and he’s been eating a truly shocking amount of lean protein, vegetables and salad without complaint. In fact, Logan is now at his lowest weight since the infamous 2013 bet!! Not even a hint of moob in a golf shirt, people, and God knows those things are unforgiving. (So clingy.)
Why isn’t he on the cover?
Logan is simply too good looking to put on a book cover. It’s intimidating to the average reader. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Why aren’t you on the cover?
See above. Duh.
Did you take the photos?
I did not, which is a very good thing. The insanely fabulous Matt Armendariz shot the book, and it was styled by the equally talented Marian Cooper Cairns. I feel so lucky to have worked with this cookbook dream team because they took my recipes and made them look like this…
Is there going to be a “Sex and the City” book party?
This is actually the most frequent question I get, and the answer is yes. Sort of. Publishing ain’t what it used to be, and Carrie’s over-the-top launch isn’t exactly the norm these days, but there will definitely be a Dude Diet extravaganza. I imagine it will involve more beer and chicken fingies than champagne and caviar…
Can I come?
Maybe! I’m working on putting aside invites for Domesticate ME!/Dude Diet loyalists in the NYC area. I promise to update you once the fiesta details are hammered out.
Are you going on a book tour?
YASSSS. I will be hitting select cities for smaller events and book signings, but the itinerary is still very much TBD. (Right now LA, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston are on my list, but I’m happy to add stops if there’s interest in your city/town!!) Needless to say, I want to talk about meat sweats, finger food, and quinoa bakes with as many of you as humanly possible. And sign all of your chests books.
Are you going to be on TV?
FINGIES CROSSED. I shall keep you abreast of any on-air appearances as soon as I have more info.
When can I preorder?
NOW!!! The Dude Diet is currently available for pre-order on:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / iBOOKs
Can I get a signed copy?
I’m so flattered that you want one. I feel like Beyoncé! There will be giveaways of signed copies fo’ sho, and hopefully signings at various stores, but I’m also exploring ways to get signed book plates/stickers that I can mail to you if necessary. (I can’t imagine you want my autograph that badly, but if you do, I will find a way. I love me some fangirls/fanboys.)
How are you feeling about everything?
Freakishly excited. Overwhelmed. Mildly nauseous. A little bit sweaty. (I’m basically Logan at BBQ Fest.)
Okay, I think I’ve covered the major stuff, but if you have any other questions, fire away in the comments. And I just want to say THANK YOU so much for supporting this crazy blog lady throughout the book process. I’m incredibly grateful, and I can’t wait for you to hold The Dude Diet in your hands, and laugh, and read it aloud, and cook the recipes, and spill shit on it, and email me questions, and share pictures of your food and your wonderland bod. (Literally started sweating as I typed that last sentence. I’m Birthday Princess-level amped right now and it’s crazy hot in NYC today.)
One last thing! As you can see, I made you a Chicken Meatball Fajita Skillet to kick off prelaunch season in style.
This post is already long enough, so I’ll limit myself to the quick sell. Loaded with nutrient-packed fajita veggies, black beans, tender chicken meatballs, and just enough cheddar to satisfy your melted cheese fetish, this skillet is a lean, mean, disease-fighting machine. Grated zucchini is the secret ingredient that keeps the meatballs extra moist, and chia seeds act as a superfood binder (you’ve seen this magic before), holding the balls together without diluting their chipotle-spiced awesomeness. Serious win.
The skillet is a chronic meal as is, but feel free to serve it over brown rice or quinoa for a whole grain boost, or over some chopped romaine for crunch and extra greenery. You could also wrap things up in a whole grain tortilla for a more portable meal option. And don’t be afraid to get weird with some Dude Diet-friendly toppings—diced avocado, pickled jalapeños, and nonfat Greek yogurt would all be excellent additions.
Get after it, dudes. Then tell everyone you know to do the same. Virtual butt slap.
Chicken Meatball Fajita Skillet: (Serves 4)
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken breast
1¾ cups grated zucchini (roughly 1 7- to 8-inch zucchini grated on the large holes of a box grater)
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the chipotle can
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons white chia seeds (I like white chia seeds for aesthetic purposes, but black will also work!)
For the skillet:
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced fire toasted tomatoes, drained
1¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly chopped cilantro for serving (optional)
Preparing your Chicken Meatball Fajita Skillet:
-Starting with the meatballs! Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a mixing bowl.
-Mix with your hands (or a fork) until everything well combined. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds to work their gelling magic. (Use this time to prep your vegetables.)
-Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet. (If you don’t have a wire rack, don’t panic. You can bake your meatballs directly on the foil-lined baking sheet. They may ooze a little bit of liquid as they cook, but it’s not a big deal.)
-With damp hands, form the meatball mixture into balls roughly 2-inches in diameter. You should have about 18 meatballs, dudes.
-Bake for 22 minutes until cooked through.
-While the meatballs are in the oven, get going on the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large (12- to 14-inch) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the bell peppers and onion and cook for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are softened (but not mushy!). It’s totally cool if the veggies get lightly browned in spots.
-Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne (if using), and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 1 minute until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Stir in the beans and fire roasted tomatoes. Taste and season with a little extra salt and cayenne if necessary.
-Turn off the heat and nestle the meatballs in the vegetable mixture.
-Top with the cheddar cheese in an even layer. Pre-heat the broiler on high.
-Place the skillet under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Shower the skillet with freshly chopped cilantro if you’re feeling fancy and serve with your favorite hot sauce.
GET IN THERE.
Chicken Meatball Fajita SkilletAuthor -
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken breast
- 1¾ cups grated zucchini roughly 1 7- to 8-inch zucchini grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 garlic cloves grated or finely minced
- 1 chipotle pepper canned in adobo
- 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the chipotle can
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons white chia seeds
For the skillet:
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch cayenne pepper optional
- Kosher salt
- 1 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 28- ounce can diced fire toasted tomatoes drained
- 1¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Freshly chopped cilantro for serving optional
- Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a mixing bowl. Mix with your hands (or a fork) until everything well combined. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds to work their gelling magic. (Use this time to prep your vegetables.)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet. (If you don’t have a wire rack, don’t panic. You can bake your meatballs directly on the foil-lined baking sheet. They may ooze a little bit of liquid as they cook, but it’s not a big deal.)
- With damp hands, form the meatball mixture into balls roughly 2-inches in diameter. You should have about 18 meatballs, dudes.
- Bake for 22 minutes until cooked through.
- While the meatballs are in the oven, get going on the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a large (12- to 14-inch) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the bell peppers and onion and cook for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are softened (but not mushy!) and lightly browned in spots.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne (if using), and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 1 minute until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Stir in the beans and fire roasted tomatoes. Taste and season with a little extra salt and cayenne if necessary.
- Turn off the heat and nestle the meatballs in the vegetable mixture.
- Top with the cheddar cheese in an even layer. Pre-heat the broiler on high.
- Place the skillet under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes.
- Shower the skillet with freshly chopped cilantro if you’re feeling fancy and serve piping hot with your finest hot sauce.
Want More Easy Meatball Recipes?
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Make a stop in DC!
It’s at the top of my list!! xo
All things yes! So into an NYC launch party!!!
Yesssss. I promise to keep you posted on the NYC fiesta!!
Drop everything you have planned for the day and make this dish instead. It’s that good. I have an egg intolerance so meatballs can be tricky – the zucchini chia seed combo are a revelation.
I can’t’ wait for my book to arrive! Soooo excited for you! Congratulations!
Ahhh! Thank you so much, Bonita!! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
YASSS. So exciting. Glad you’re feeling all the feelings and can’t wait to celebrate and fluff you!
Thanks, lady!!! Just living in a vortex of emotionssss these days.
Bah!! I’m SO excited! …and you should probably come to Portland so I can meet you and get a signed copy! The photos look fab btw….and I believe I recognize that cover recipe! ❤️
AHHH! I’m adding Portland to the tour wishlist so that we can finally meet in person and I can thank you properly for all of your help with this book!! (Know that your name is front and center in the acknowledgments though. You tested SO many recipes, and I’m forever in your debt.) Hope you’re having a fabulous summer! xoxo
Your blog is the best. Also literally the only food blog I actually read. Just pre-ordered!
Thank you, thank you!!! So grateful for the support.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am for you! I’ve been following you and reading your blog for what seems like forever. I am ridiculous in my sharing of your recipes where I’m afraid you’ll think I’m a stalker. And I Must admit I am. You bring tremendous joy to my cooking world! Thanks for making people think I’m am excellent hostess! I am in South Jersey and would love to come to your party so don’t be shy with the invite! I’ll bring my boo…k for you to sign!
Thank you, Pamela!! I consider stalking the highest form of flattery, so please continue to stalk away. I’m thrilled that I can play a part in your regular cooking/hosting magic, and you better believe I’ll be setting aside an invite for the October partay. xox
Serena!!!! This is SO exciting. So many congrats!!
THANK YOU!! And huge congrats on the Saveur nomination–so well deserved, and I already voted!!! (duh) xox
Thank you, Mimi!
I am a fairly new-ish fangirl, but a fangirl non the less. (I eat your PB Oats every morning btw and one of your recipes almost always graces my sassy desk for lunch). I am SOOOOOO excited for your book (since I also have a dude that needs a diet) and I just love your sense of humor (and unashamed obsession with Netflix binges). If you ever find yourself in Houston on a book tour….know you will have at least one dedicated fan there!
Thank you, Kelli!! I’m so grateful that you found the blog and have been breakfasting/sassy desk lunching so well–nothing makes me happier. (Needless to say, I’m also thrilled that someone appreciates my binge watching accomplishments!) I will keep you posted if I can work in a Houston stop. Logan is really into Texas BBQ, so you never know…
Serena, so pumped you are coming to Boston! I can’t wait to go awkwardly fan girl on you and meet you!
YESSS. I’ve been waiting for someone to awkwardly fangirl over me my entire life!! xo
You should definitely add DC to the list! There are many dudes here who could benefit from reading the gospel of The Dude Diet (Think NYC finance guys but for public policy).
Definitely adding DC to the list…DUDE CENTRAL. xx
Woohoo! I pre-ordered the book a few months ago and it is legitimately one of things I am most looking forward to about this fall. Also, this meatball fajita skillet is genius!
You are the best, Mara!! And thank you so much for your expert recipe testing skillz.
Congratulations! It’s about time you crossed mediums! You’re going to rock the literary world!
AHHH, thank you, thank you! I’m very nervous for this crossover, so I appreciate your support!!
So excited!! Go ahead and add Charleston, SC to that list!
Done and done. I’ll take any excuse to spend a few days in Charleston. And thank you for all your recipe testing help/enthusiasm!! Your name is all up in the acknowledgments. xo
congratulations ladyyyyyyyyy! im so excited for dd cookbook 🙂 tell me you will be visiting Dallas/Fort Worth maybe?
Thank you, lady!! I’m so grateful for your constant support. I’m def hoping to get Dallas on the itinerary if I can swing it! xox
I am so excited about this cookbook! Please come to the DC/NoVA area…okay, make that the NoVA area, because going into the city is really too much work. Also, is there a difference between white and dark chia seeds? And also is there a good sub for the adobe sauce/chipotle pepper?
Thank youuu!! I shall add NoVA (/DC in case my publisher insists on cities) to my request list so I can finally hug you in person. White and black chia seeds are exactly the same, I just prefer white in meatballs for aesthetic purposes. If you’re looking for a sub for adobo because you don’t have chipotles on hand a teaspoon or two of your favorite hot sauce will do you, but if you’re looking to avoid spice you can add a teaspoon of ground chili powder or 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika into the meatball mix to give them flavor without the heat.
do your loyal taste testers get a book promo code? 😉
Girrrrl, you best believe I’m working on it!! Also working on some sort of special tester thank you…
I am so pumped! The cover and photos are beautiful…and now I anxiously wait
Excited to read this!