I am going to start off with getting you prepared to cook the foods I cook, and then I am going to provide detailed recipes and cooking instructions. This will be an ongoing thread.
These are not diet foods for eating to lose weight. It should be understood that these foods are designed to be eaten in combination with weighlifting, specifically to the point where your muscles are getting sore, and not just light cardio. These are "bodybuilder" meals.
As such, I use salt, but in moderation. I use butter, also in moderation, but I use light butter. I suggest everyone change to it, because it honestly doesn't taste any different and it has half the fat. Anything that requires milk I use 2% milk. I almost never use light cheese, but generally use lighter dressings. I am a huge believer in that if you make healthy food properly, you won't feel like you're eating "diet food". This isn't some Lean Cuisine **** from the grocers freezer - this is delicious, home made, tailored to your tastes awesome food.
Everything I cook in oil, I use olive oil for. It is better for you than vegetable oil. That is my personal opinion, and I don't provide any facts to back it up. I use it in place of greasing pans with butter most of the time. The reason for this is you don't HAVE to use the "swill" in the bottom of the pan for anything - you can just dump it out, so I don't obsess over the fat content of Olive Oil.
I eyeball most things in cooking, so feel free to adjust according to taste or what "looks good" to you.
Make sure you have a nice set of chef knives, a good cutting board or three, some decent pans, a reasonable array of spices, and the like.
Don't feel guilty buying good pots and pans and knives - every time you use them, its one time you get a gourmet meal without having to go to a $50 a plate restaurant. More expensive pans and knives really are better. Go to TJ Maxx and Marshalls and look for these:
Those are my favorite brands of pots. I like anything that is nonstick on the inside, and "grey" on the outside. Stainless steel is good too, cuz you can use metal utensils, but its a little tougher to clean. For knives:
OXO (any product by them kicks ass)
Get yourself some silicon utensils so you don't scratch up your nice cookware. Plus it will be easier to clean.
Go through your cabinets and throw out:
* Anything that is old/expired/something you will never TRULY eat
* Anything with more than 10 ingredients
* Anything that has ingredients you can't pronounce
* Anything with ingredients that are more than 3 syllables or won't fit on one line. (you get the idea - anything that sounds like chemical ****)
* Potato chips - replace with Tortilla chips
* Anything Entenmanns that isn't light or fat free
* Pork rinds/garbage food
Do the same with your fridge. Look at all the expiration dates. Clean your fridge with bleach and water, or some sort of bleach containing cleaner - this will kill bacteria and mold inducing spores, and make your fridge not only smell and look better, but your food will last longer.
Clean your kitchen. I just came up with an arbitrary determination of what a clean kitchen is recently, since I have moved to my new place... Basically, if my kitchen is "clean", and I am cutting up chicken, and a piece falls off the cutting board on to the counter, if I would still eat that chicken, the counter is clean. If I'm like "hmm... looks kinda filthy..." then I toss the chicken to the animals, and its time to clean the counters (after cooking is fine ... but it should stay clean.)
Really clean your kitchen... dust on top of the fridge, throw out things you don't use. Cut yourself down to a reasonable number of plates, mugs, utensils, appliances, etc. and put away whatever appliances besides coffee pots and things you won't use every day. Break out the antibacterial **** (my personal favorite is bleach + water because it smells like clean, and its also retarded cheap - like $2 a gallon for bleach and water is free essentially) and clean the **** out of everything. Fridge, handles, knobs, floors, whatever.
Not only will it be a better healthier place to cook, but you will get excited about it because its like a whole new activity to get you "in the zone" and excited... you're changing part of your life for the better.
Yay for shopping! Now that you have all this room in the fridge, you are going to need some FOOD to put in it! Something I always heard was to stay to the "sidelines" of the grocery store, and stay out of the center part as much.
Things you should get:
Veggies like broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and whatever fruits "look good" to you. You really can't go wrong here. Some have various benefits over others, but bottom line, I don't care what you eat out of produce, its gonna be better for you than the same quality of Lay's potato chips, guaranteed.
Bread - I like whole grain breads. Some people are big on one type of bread versus another, but to be honest, for the average person that doesn't matter as much as that you are eating bread and not cheesecake with your meals.
Meats - 90% lean or better if its ground beef, boneless skinless chicken, lean cuts of steak like sirloin, whatever takes your fancy. Plan on eating meat for 1-2 meals per day. If you are a vegetarian - sorry buddy, this diet ain't for you. Go to the Llama farm and pick yourself up a bale of hay.
Dairy - 2% milk, Yogurt with real fruit and active cultures like Dannon, etc. Cheese - don't get the prepackaged cheese. It's loaded with preservatives. Go to the deli counter. EGGS - 2 dozen of em at least. You're going to learn to like eggs. LIGHT better - both sticks, as well as spreadable kind. F#$( margarine, I've known it was bad for me since way before any studies proved it. And yes, I CAN believe its not butter, because it tastes like butter flavored turds.
Deli Counter - Turkey, Cheese. Some of both. Forget the ham, baloney (the AMERICAN way to spell it), salami, basically anything that contains pig, salt, or anything that I like to call "Particle Board Meat".
Lots of pasta. Pasta sauce also - look for just plain old pasta sauce, not meat sauce. You want something that has like 4 or 5 ingredients in it only. This way you can add your own fresh spices and deliciousness.
Speaking of spices:
IODIZED SEA SALT
Fresh pepper, and a pepper mill
Mrs. Dash - whatever kind you like
Basil / Oregano / Rosemary / Parsley - "Italian" spices
Olive Oil - pick up some of that. I like extra virgin, but its up to you.
Skip the chips and soda, and get yourself some Orange Juice, CranRaspberry, and the like... whatever you can find that doesn't have added sugar. Ocean Spray lite is pretty good too. And get yourself some 20oz bottles of water - Costco and Walmart are your friend. Get a flip cap instead of a screw cap. (personal preference).