Why Ross Mathews says happy hour is his 'favorite meal of the day'

·Senior Lifestyle Editor
·6-min read
"It's not necessarily about the cocktail for me, it's about the communal nature of it," Ross Mathews says. "Happy hour is all about looking people in the eye and catching up."
"It's not necessarily about the cocktail for me, it's about the communal nature of it," Ross Mathews says. "Happy hour is all about looking people in the eye and catching up."

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful 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 you really have to taste as you go and they're always different," the Drew Barrymore Show co-host tells Yahoo Life. "A lot of times in baking you have to measure precisely — I am incapable of doing that, it's all about 'taste and fix, taste and fix' until it's perfection for me and I think soups allow you to do that."

"Plus my mom always cooked soups and it makes me feel connected to her," he adds. "I am down with soup always."

The 42-year-old television personality also loves chili, calling it "soup-adjacent."

"I always make it for my friends: I call it 'chili with my homies,'" he says, "I make red chili, vegetarian chili, a white bean chicken chili that's amazing — I just think no matter how 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 with 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] pocket at all times."

"After my mom passed away I realized I wanted to stick around here as long as humanly possible so I knew I had to figure it out," he says. "I started researching and decided I wanted to cook for myself and didn't want to give up any flavor."

Before using the WW program to develop a sustainable plan for eating healthy, Mathews says he tried plenty of fad diets. "Every single one of them was crazy," he says. "I would try these diets where I was like, 'I'm gonna eat apples and bran cereal.' That worked for a day or something. We did the boiled cabbage diet. We did the, 'only eat from like noon to four' diet. Everything was so weird and it never worked."

"I call myself a weight detective because in the past, whenever I lost it, I would always find it again," he admits. "It was because I didn't understand food. I grew up poor, so it wasn't how to eat, it was what to eat and when to eat and can we eat?"

Now, Mathews' life is all about balance. In May, he married educational administrator Wellinthon García in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where his newfound eating habits even found their way into the decadent menu.

"We had salad as the first course. We had sashimi as the second course," he says. "For entrees we had beef, fish, vegetarian — the fish was this beautiful white fish freshly-caught, over a bean and pancetta mixture. Beans are my secret ingredient for getting full — they're zero points on my plan at WW so they're a go-to for me."

The best thing Mathews ate while in Mexico for his nuptials? Soup, of course.

"My favorite thing I ate through the entire trip was at Casa Kimberly — they have this black bean and poblano soup that they pour into the bowl and one side is the black bean and one side is the poblano so it stays separate," he says. "It's black on one side and green on the other and it's so delicious — I get it any time I'm in Puerto Vallarta."

When he's home in Palm Springs, Calif., Mathews says his favorite meal looks a bit 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 you — every day I meet up with friends and we go somewhere for a quick cocktail and a little bite."

"I would say my ideal happy hour would be the one that I'm going to have today, or the one I had yesterday or the one I'm going to have tomorrow," he continues. "I think it's such an opportunity to pause your day and catch up with people you love or friends you haven't seen for a while. It's my favorite meal of the day."

Still, Mathews makes it clear his love of happy hour is less about the alcohol and more about the company.

"It's not necessarily about the cocktail for me, it's about the communal nature of it," he says. "Sometimes during meals you can communicate, but you're always pausing to eat this big meal. Happy hour is all 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 created in partnership with WW: Chicken Prosciutt-OMG. "It's one of my favorites," he says of the stuffed chicken breast dish. "Chicken is a lean lean protein and for me on my plan, chicken is zero WW points, but it also doesn't have that much flavor."

"How can we make this full chicken breast delicious?" he asks. "I slice it in half and I stuff it with things. I put in there whatever I have in the fridge."

Chicken Prosciutt-OMG

Courtesy of Ross Mathews and WW

(Photo: WW)
(Photo: WW)

"For this one I did spinach, basil and tomatoes," says Mathews. "I used goat cheese, which I think is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) and I put it all in there and closed it. It needed something to give it texture so I laid a piece of prosciutto on top of it and baked it — I'm telling you, the crunchy top and then you cut into it and get that creamy goat cheese and that burst of the tomato and those yummy greens. It is a full meal stuffed inside a chicken and you don't feel like you're missing anything."

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into small pieces

  • 2 pinches kosher salt, divided

  • 2 pinches black pepper, divided

  • 1 pinch garlic powder

  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 a medium lemon

  • 1/2 pound (2 4-ounce pieces) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast

  • 1 medium plum tomato, ends removed, cut into 4 rounds

  • 1 ounce semi-soft goat cheese, from a log, cut into 4 rounds

  • 2 slices prosciutto

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.

  2. Set a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach, basil and 1 pinch each salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper; squeeze lemon juice over top.

  3. Cook, stirring until spinach wilts, about 1 to 2 minutes; set aside.

  4. Place chicken on a cutting board. Working with one breast at a time, slice horizontally almost all the way, but not through, each breast. Open breasts so they lay flat like an open book and place 2 tomato slices on one side of each breast; sprinkle tomatoes with a pinch each salt and pepper. Divide spinach mixture over tomatoes and top each with 2 slices goat cheese; close breasts and carefully wrap a prosciutto slice around each one.

  5. Place chicken on prepared pan. Bake until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F and prosciutto is nice and crispy, about 35 to 40 minutes.

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