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Novice cook seeks general cooking advice (pretty long post)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ok, so let me explain my situation. I’m an adult looking to learn some cooking some cooking skills.

No, don’t get me wrong. I have cooked before. It’s just that I’ve never done it on a consistent regular daily basis. I’ve been going out to restaurants way too much, and while I like doing so (no dishes to clean up, no cooking required J ), and I will continue to do so (just less often) I’m seeing that it’s really draining my cash funds and now I must start cooking at home. This time regularly every day, for myself.

So, what I need is some advice here. I wasn’t exactly trained by my parents how to do it. Sometimes my parents cooked. Actually, during my childhood mostly they cooked some things. But, this only lasted a few years, after which they were haphazard. A lot of the time we would go out to eat too much, Burger King, McDonalds and restaurants too much. It wasn’t as if family home cooking was the norm and going to eat was occasional. So, I didn’t exactly get the culinary home education that I’m guessing most of you had. Everyone knows how to cook something in the microwave or a pop-tart in the toaster. But, not cooking whole meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day

I know that some people say I should take a class/classes and if you know some that I’m looking you can certainly suggest them. But, the problem I’ve had with classes is that they are too specialized. They tell you how to cook a few different things, but really don’t get into the whole nuts and bolts of. Maybe they’ll show you how to cook a few different dishes. In our home ecomonics classes in middle school and high school, we cooked things like chocolate chip cookies, pizza, pancakes, quiche, stir fry vegetables, spaghetti (home made in high school) that’s kind of fine to teach you how to cook certain things. I’m not cooking to do this for a profession, just cook for myself.

But, as you know cooking is more than just cooking. What about planning what you will buy and making a budget for yourself? A budget in which you will spend a practical amount of money on food, not an excessive, but a reasonable amount that will keep your finances in balance, and perhaps combined with your other expenses will leave you, ideally with a few left over dollars each month after other things you pay for. This is really the problem with me. Right now I’m living with my parents, but I had just lived in an apartment for over a year and ate out way too much. To summarize, here are my three goals with cooking.

  • To plan a regular, consistent budget that will be hopefully a lot lower than what I have been spending. I live in Massachusetts and for those of you who may be in my area. The grocery stores around here are Hannaford, Market Basket, Shaws, Donelans, Roche Brothers and at the Wal-Mart supercenters (I live near the New Hampshire Border) which also have grocery stores. I plan to make a food budget, an excel spreadsheet and or use quicken to track my expenses. It seems Wal-Mart has the lowest prices. Though, there are some other concerns such as what they carry. I don’t plan to totally sacrifice everything for cost. It would help to get some advice from people who go to these stores.

  • One of my biggest health concerns is my triglyceride levels/fats in my blood. My doctor has been telling me that they have been too high. I visit him twice a year. And last time they were rising again from what they had been the time before that (in which I they had greatly improved. What I’d like to do is a plan a menu plan which leaves out the foods which he says to avoid. He says to eat mainly foods in their natural state such as fruits, nuts, meat, milk and vegetables and to avoid processed foods such as spaghetti, rice and other simple carbs like sugars (I don’t quite understand this though, fruits have sugar in them too) and breads, But, he says potatoes are other complex carbohydrates are ok. Though, I’m not sure why. They are a complex carbohydrate which becomes a simple carbohydrate. I wonder what the difference is.

  • I am also overweight and want to lose some weight. I plan to get a an elliptical machine that my old gym used to have and use that to exercise, as well as eating foods that are healthier and have less calories. Sound good? I can really burn them on this machine for sure. I can do a 600 calorie workout in a hour without much exertion at all. Though, ideally I’d like to do it twice a day burning 1200 calories. This definitely should be more than what I take in.

So, here’s the kind of meal plan I’d like to make for myself. I have the weekdays planned out. I’m not sure about the weekends, however.

For lunches at work, I plan to have some kind of salad with good seasons cruet dressing, which I can put in a Tupperware/plasticware container, and probably a turkey sandwich with it (problem is the bread) and a bottle of Aquafina flavorsplash wild berry. For dinner, I have this sort of plan.

  • Monday- Steak with Marinade with mashed potatoes, broccoli and turnip with either Diet Pepsi (no calories or Aquafina wild berry (also no calories)

  • Tuesday- Fried chicken with Marinade. Au Gautin potates baked in the over, brussel sprouts, corn on the cob.

  • Baked Haddock breaded with a good amount of lemon juice on it, broccoli, mashed potatoes

  • Turkey Breast with mashed potatoes (avoiding stuffing because it is a bread) broccoli/mashed potatoes.

  • Friday- Pork chops, broccoli, mashed potatoes, corn.

Not sure about the corn though, as that has sugar in it too. Could anyone suggest any other vegetables. And, preferably something to “spice them up,” If you would. It seems whatever I eat must have something to make it tasty. Sauce with spaghetti, ketchup with French fries. Oil and Vinegar or some kind of dressing on my salad, marinade or some kind of sauce on my meats. But, I’m also looking to stay healthy, too. I’ve found a few things, like I’ve mentioned that are good and tasty, such as that aquafina water, and has no calories. And, if you could suggest some other vegetables I might like.

I’m planning to use a pan to cook the meats in. Right now ,I’m living my with parents and we do have a gas grill, but I’m not going to use because I want to practice using a frying pan as when I move into my next place by myself, I probably won’t have a yard or porch to put a grill on (even though I love flame cooked meats. So, I did have a few questions, however. I’ve had some problems trying to cook at my previous apartment and wondered if someone could help me out.

  • What can I do to stop the chicken from burning when I’m cooking it in the pan? I buy boneless/skinless chicken which I would marinade since the night before in a plastic bag but when I tried to cook it, it would start burning and filling the kitchen with smoke before it was fully cooked. I’ve heard you should use cooking oil, but is this ok to use if your also using marinade?

  • When cooking hamburger in the frying pan what can do with the grease? I know you can’t dump it down the drain because it can really screw up the pipes. How do you get rid of it?

  • When making a salad, how do you know much to make just for yourself? I figure if I cut up the whole head of lettuce and put it into the bowl with the other vegetables, I probably wouldn’t be able to the eat the whole thing, and probably wouldn’t want to. I’d want that before the dinner, not as the main course.

  • Something useful for me to have wood be a “food-vise” if it exists. It would come in handy if I was cutting some kind of vegetable like an onion, which gets harder to cut the smaller it gets, if you were cutting it lengthwise so you had concentric rings inside each other.

So, that’s it. I realize this a very long post and has a lot of information. I suppose you don’t have to answer it all, if you don’t want to. But, if there’s a book I can read, or course you know of that will help me meet my culinary goals I’d appreciate it if you could tell me. Now, that you know my level of culinary expertise an experienced chef or home cook can probably help me now.
post #2 of 24
Hello, and welcome to the forums. There's a lot of helpful people here, so hopefully we may collectively answer all your questions as well as provide some helpful advice as well.

With your diet requirements and needing budget restraints, I would consult with a dietician for recommendations. A dietician can help with portion size, as well as the most beneficial meats and veggies for you. Your local library is also probably a good resource for getting started on eating healthy. There should be numerous cookbooks for beginners, as well as lots of information on healthy eating.

I see that your menu proposes meat in some form for every dinner meal through the week. You might consider at least one meatless meal during the week, with an emphasis on eating lean. There are plenty of protein alternatives that can help with your cholesterol situations without sacrificing flavor or nutrition. The fish is healthy, so keep that and change out something else. You might also consider brown rice, whole wheat pasta or a baked sweet potato instead of the mashed potato with every meal. Simple carbohydrates are quickly converted into sugars in the blood, while the complex carbs take longer to digest, and are metabolized more slowly, so they keep your blood sugar levels consistent, providing good quality energy over a longer period. Be careful of alternatives to potatoes that also are simple(r) carbs... white rice and regular pasta are two such offenders, and that is why I recommended the brown rice and ww pasta. You mentioned avoiding the stuffing because it's bread, but if made with whole grained bread and/or wild rice, it would actually be better for you than the mashed potato. Always choose the correct seasonings for the foods, and this will take you a long way toward enjoying a nutritious meal.

Your lunch of a salad and sandwich sounds good, but you might consider a hearty soup as an alternate to the sandwich a couple of times a week. Budget-minded cooks know that soups are inexpensive to make, freeze well, and are power-packed nutritionally but not over the top with calories or fats. I use a pressure cooker to make big batches, then freeze in portions, saving time as well as money. You mentioned a concern with the sandwich having bread. How about putting the meat into the salad, and not have bread at all? or just a half a sandwich? I purchase Romaine lettuce instead of the iceburg. I enjoy the "earthier" taste, I can easily use only what I need without distubing the rest, plus it seems to keep longer. You might also consider a hard-cooked egg in the salad instead of the meat.

I like oatmeal from scratch for breakfast. I use quick oats. Hearty, cheap and easy. If I know my morning is going to be hectic, I put the ingredients together in the evening in a microwaveable container, then just zap it in the morning. Cover it, 1 min on High, 3 on 50%, and it's done. Jazz it up with some nuts, raisins, chopped apple pieces, dried cranberries or whatever else you like. Sweeten with molasses or honey for a change. Hint: sit the microwave container on a plate so if there's a boilover, you don't have a big mess to clean up.

Meats typically don't burn unless the heat is kept too long on high. I don't usually heat the pan more than medium, even for browning. Once the meat is browned, I reduce the heat to finish cooking. If marinading the meat, be sure to dry it with paper towel before putting it into the hot pan. Here, though, I would suggest grilling, broiling or baking the meat instead.

With preparing your foods for cooking, practice and patience makes perfect. The repition of such tasks as cutting an onion will result in skill and ease, so that you will not need any gimmicks for help. If you watch any of the cooking programs, remember that those cooks were not always "flash & dash"..... they each had to dice their first onion sometime in their past. Just be sure to have a comfortable knife and proper cutting board.

I hope I've helped in some way. Surely others will also have suggestions. Let us know how your're doing and don't hesitate to ask more questions.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #3 of 24
The library is your friend.....check out low fat cookbooks...many have lots of pictures all the way through that show you what something looks like at each stage.
Cheftalk is a wealth of info.....just come ask.

AmazingGrace had great info....

A scale can be your best friend....it gives you a sense of how much 3oz or 5oz or 8 oz actually is.....if you go to a store with butchers they can cut your meat into 3-4oz portions, or just look at the weight and divide pieces.

Meats with skin or fat as well as fats.....oils, butter, cream, cheese should be watched carefully, measure them out so you know what you are using....spray Pam or a like spray is a lower fat alternative.

Premade dressings and marinades can be loaded with fat....

The Biggest Loser on television or hulu has Great info on food choices, exercise, inspiration.

Basics on eating healthy on a budget.
plan menus that use lots of many colors of veg....lots of dark leafy greens.

For example, buy lots of vegetables and prepare them so they'll be in the fridge ready to use. it'll take time to peel, blanch, chop....
If you wash and cut your lettuce, put in paper towels and plastic bags
cucumbers
carrots can be peeled and put in water
ditto celery
Broccoli, either blanched or raw
cauliflower, ditto
tomatoes
peppers

Cans of different beans, chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans....most are inexpensive and loads of protein. They can be drained and used on salads, or put into soups & chilis, or made into dips/spreads.

Citrus is your friend, lemon, limes, grapefruit, etc all brighten a dish both with their zest and juice....no fat, big flavor.

Making enough to use throughout the week.....ie, if you make brown rice make enough for several servings.

Say for example you roast a chicken or buy a roasted chicken.....peel off the skin and portion the meat.

Dinner:
Chicken Breast, brown rice, salad, carrots/green beans/broccoli whatever veg.....

Next day lunch, brown rice, chopped chicken, celery, green onions or red onions, peppers, vegetables....your choice, low-fat dressing.

Dinner #2
Chicken and Rice Soup with carrots, celery, green beans, peas, onions, herbs....dillweed, tarragon, parsley or thyme.

make enough to freeze single serving containers....

Oatmeal is low fat and heart healthy....easy to make, easy to put in addins.

Your menu:
flank steak is low fat, most beef has higher caloric per oz than other meats. what kind of marinade, salt/pepper work, mashed potatoes usually have butter and 1/2 and 1/2 obviously not low fat...there's not a lot of nutritional value for the calories. broccoli and turnips cooked how?Monday- Steak with Marinade with mashed potatoes, broccoli and turnip with either Diet Pepsi (no calories or Aquafina wild berry (also no calories)


Tuesday- Fried chicken with Marinade. Au Gautin potates baked in the over, brussel sprouts, corn on the cob.

Anything fried is a no no. au gratin potatoes have cream and cheese....a small potato with no fat sour cream is a better option. brussel sprouts and corn are both good veg....the point is to have lots of colors on your plate.
Baked Haddock breaded with a good amount of lemon juice on it, broccoli, mashed potatoes

no need to bread the fish, just bake with lemon/herbs....brown rice better option to mashed potatoes
Turkey Breast with mashed potatoes (avoiding stuffing because it is a bread) broccoli/mashed potatoes.
watch ground turkey, many times it's got fat from ground up skin....

Ask your doctor for a RD recommend, or a website that will address your health needs.
Pre-made waters and sodas cost $$$$.....tap water with a lemon slice or fresh juice or skim milk are better for you.

Friday- Pork chops, broccoli, mashed potatoes, corn.

Pork chops have higher fat than tenderloin.....

Having some basic equipment may make prepping easier....let's see if we can pull up a basic equipment list.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 24
Don't stress too much about the breads, but learn to use multi-grain breads. And find a low fat & low salt spread, if you must use one.

As Grace said, soups are fantastic for budgeters and can be very healthy. But use greek yoghurt and NOT cream to dress it up :).

Portion sizes:
- for meat - nothing bigger than the palm of your hand. Trim most fat.
- rice and pasta - a handful when dry(try to use wholemeal pasta and quick brown rice)
Follow the packet instructions to cook

Don't stress too much about the appearance of your food. That will come with practice. Fresh is best, but keep it simple to start. A good mix of colours always works well - a balance between red, green, orange,white, etc. For example: bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, onions. Done in a little olive oil, fairly hot pan, stir fry, add salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic powder and ground ginger. Very tasty and even better for you, as regards health and weight loss. If you can't have salt, use a little squeeze of lemon juice, or to spice it up more, some cayenne.

Taste the food as you go, you can add seasonings if it's too little but can't take it out if it's too much.

As for how much lettuce, a couple of big leaves of iceberg or a handful of mixed leaves is plenty, with some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers tossed in. if you leave the tomatoes and cucumbers together a few minutes they make their own juice, then toss it all together just before you eat. You can pretty much as much of this type of veg as you please without any impact. (Celery, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc) Just no creamy/cheesy/oily dressings :) Fruit too like apples, oranges, orange mandarins, watermelon, canteloupe, berries. Limit avocadoes. Good for you but packed with calories.

If diabetes is an issue, there are many good sites and recipes on the web - Google it and I'm sure you'll find lots to assist you. i'm thinking that the net could be a really good tool for you, for example, there's a lot of cooking video clips to show you how to prepare and cook meals.

Budget wise - know how much you can spend - realistically. It tends to be frightening and intimidating at first. Making a weekly menu is a good idea so you can just buy what you need, no extras :) Get to know your local shops, when they may discount the near use by date products, and you can freeze them for another day if the price is good. My shop marks the meats down about 11am each day, so I don't go until then. They're used to seeing me lurking, I'm sure :D

But good luck and we're always here to help :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've been to one before. I should go again. I'll call my doctor.

Yeah, the meat is for emphasis in a low triglyceride diet.

All those sound good except the sweet potatoes, which I don't like.

I just found out to my delight that corn IS a complex carbohydate, and I love corn, just I'll have to use I can't believe it's not butter or some alternative to butter. I'm getting some conflicting information as to what carbs are complex. Some sites I've googled in the last half hour have been saying breads (not just whole grain ones) and spaghetti are complex carbs. I don't think they are.

I like soups. What about clam chowder (or actually, I may make it without the clams) stone/vegetable and minestrone soups? Except, I'd want mine loaded with beans, and other vegetables I like. The chunky brands clam chowder soups I have bought seem to be loaded with vegetables, not so with some others.



I suppose turkey or chicken wouldn't be harmful. You know, until I learned otherwise I always thought iceberg lettuce was "normal" "regular" lettuce. It's kind of easier to eat the way it scrunches together and you get big pieces. It's just what I prefer anyway.

Good advice. What about using a non stick Teflon (or some other non-stick material) pan?

I thought about grilling it, but I'd need some kind of indoor flame grill which (like candles) may not be allowed in my lease if I get another apartment. I'm curious as to how the grill would catch the grease that will fall when cooking steaks, or any other kind of meat. I'm not sure how they work.

Or, if they exist, maybe I could use some kind of thing that would let me convert/use a gas stove to a flame grill.

I'm guessing here you mean cooking it in the broiler under the oven. I could do that. I'm just not sure when to know when it's done. Do you have to experiment, try different things until you get it right?

I also tried cooking haddock once in my frying pan. Big, big mistake. I made a frothy white foamy mess. I'll definitely need to bake or broil next time

Someone taught me a technique once once of bending back your fingers to the knuckles while holding an onion to avoid cutting them. Though, it makes it hard to hold the onion.

Yes, you have. Though I still have a lot to learn. I even considered once putting an ad on craigslist to see if anyone could help me cook. I could work with someone who cooks everyday, preferably a wide variety of foods. Doesn't need to be a professional chef, just a regular everyday meal cooker.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just a suggestion Shroomgirl. You may want to quote everything I have with the quote tag. It's on the bottom right toolbar above the place where you input text when you type a message. It was a little difficult discerning what you typed and I typed.
post #7 of 24
[QUOTE=the snare;287429]

I like soups. What about clam chowder (or actually, I may make it without the clams) stone/vegetable and minestrone soups? Except, I'd want mine loaded with beans, and other vegetables I like. The chunky brands clam chowder soups I have bought seem to be loaded with vegetables, not so with some others.

If you aren't into making soups from scratch, you can still take the basic canned soup and "soup it up", adding in more of the veggies or other ingredients you enjoy.

What about using a non stick Teflon (or some other non-stick material) pan?

Some may disagree, but non-stick is fine in my book. Just remember not to rev the heat up high enough to gas your parrot. (Alton Brown humor :look:)

I thought about grilling it, but I'd need some kind of indoor flame grill which (like candles) may not be allowed in my lease if I get another apartment. I'm curious as to how the grill would catch the grease that will fall when cooking steaks, or any other kind of meat. I'm not sure how they work.

Or, if they exist, maybe I could use some kind of thing that would let me convert/use a gas stove to a flame grill.

There are some grills designed to work with gas stoves. I've never used one, so don't know how they work. An alternative would be one of those George Forman-type electric grills ... I think I heard a groan or two, but never mind them ... you want to cook lean, without breaking the bank on equipment.

I'm guessing here you mean cooking it in the broiler under the oven. I could do that. I'm just not sure when to know when it's done. Do you have to experiment, try different things until you get it right?

I've had my electric stove for 15+ years, and have never used the broiler yet, as my household prefers outdoor grilling instead. I mentioned broiling, though, because it is an alternative to frying foods. Someone else will need to step in an coach you on how to do it successfully.

I also tried cooking haddock once in my frying pan. Big, big mistake. I made a frothy white foamy mess. I'll definitely need to bake or broil next time

You might enjoy poached fish too. Recipes abound online for this method, using a variety of flavorful liquids. Another lovely method is "en papiot" (spelling?), in which you make a pouch using parchment paper, and the fish (or chicken breast) is steamed. You can also put your veggies in with the meat.

Someone taught me a technique once once of bending back your fingers to the knuckles while holding an onion to avoid cutting them. Though, it makes it hard to hold the onion.

Holding the onion or other vegetables in this manner helps to ensure you will still have your fingertips when the chopping is done. Keep practicing, and you'll get the hang of it.

Keep us posted on your progress.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #8 of 24
There are far better minds here to teach you about the cooking side of it, but let me help out a bit here.

An elliptical is great for getting back into cardiovascular shape, but don't think of it as a calorie burner. Month after month I see the same fat people working their butts off on various cardio machines at the gym. The thin people on the other hand go to the weight room as well.

Muscle not only looks better, but its a calorie sink. If your resting metabolism uses more calories, just while you sit around to maintain your muscle, you will come out ahead a lot sooner.
post #9 of 24
Re: frying meats
You can use a non-stick pan low-cal fashion, spray lightly with healthy oil spray, heat pan to medium high.

Also, spray the meat to be used with the spray, season with S&P and other herbs/spices you like, let it sit while the pan heats (get the meat to room temp. first by removing from fridge 20 mins beforehand, before you heat the pan). Sear it either side, then lower the heat until done to how you like it. One rare steak for me please :)

Don't miss the aerobic side of exercising too, a good stroll 20 mins each day does wonders, especially while you are starting. Relaxes the mind as well. If you have a dog-you can go together - or offer to walk a neighbour's dog (may get paid even!)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
There are a few things I'm wondered about muscles and weight training in general. If you wanted 6 pack abs and you had a fat stomach wouldn't you need to really to burn off that fat first? Lifting weights wouldn't do it alone, would it?

I know that muscle tissue metabolizes at twice the rate of fat correct? But, is there a risk that a weightlifter who gets lazy can turn into "blob of fat." This is what I've heard, but it doesn't make sense to me. Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue, one can't "transform" into the other, can it? (though stem cells can transform into any tissue :) ) Basically if there any way your body can lose muscle tissue? And I don't mean through an accident or physical injury, just a natural process like getting fat.

Suppose Mr Universe got lazy and decided to sit at home all day eating ice cream and junk food and watching tv, he would get fat yes, but would his muscles disappear?
post #11 of 24
Yes, muscle tends to shrink and become soft if they aren't maintained. Back in the late 70s and early 80s I was really into climbing and skiing. Hardly a trace of excess fat on me. And if I didn't run for at least a few miles every day I felt out of sorts.

For various reasons I became less and less active. Now, fat is less dense than muscle. A 12" sphere of fat would weigh less than a 12" sphere of muscle. Or more to my point, a 12" sphere of muscle might weigh the same as a bigger 14" sphere of fat. I can't remember the approximate ratio.

In the earlier years as my activity tapered off my clothes started getting tighter, my waist growing a bit. But my weight was NOT growing. As I "lost" muscle I gained the same amount of weight in fat, but the fat took up more room. Then I started gaining maybe 2 - 3 pounds a year. Mostly fat, I imagine. Add that up over 20 some years and well, it isn't a pretty picture. I'm working on it, though, at least a bit.

As for food suggestions, look into various Asian style cuisines. They tend to be heavier on veggies of various types, light on fats and meats. I tend to make a fair amount of chicken, beef and pork stock, have some chicken going on the stove as I type this. One thing I enjoy is a light soup. I bring about a cup or so of broth to a simmer, throw in some thinly sliced mushroom and a few splashes of soy sauce or ponzu if on hand. Maybe some slices of fresh jalapeno or bits of bell pepper. Let it simmer 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add a chopped green onion and a splash of chili oil. Yum. Light, low in fat and quite tasty.


Do you live near well stocked libraries? Check out some cookbooks that strike your fancy. Buy an occasional copy of Bon Appetit or Food & Wine or such to give you some ideas.

If you like them, onions, garlic, leeks and shallots are all in the same family and have beneficial health effects. Cook with them often. I made some sweet onion soup last night that I really like, and oddly enough so does my wife, who is not fond of most forms of onion.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 24
Another general comment on improving your diet. Start reading the labels of food you buy. The healthiest stuff, like fresh produce, has no labels, but it is well worth reading labels on processed and packaged foods. See how close to the beginning 'high fructose corn syrup' might be. The further down the list that is, the better off you are. Some stuff like catsup and some sauces, dips and dressings it might be 2nd or 3rd.


mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #13 of 24
Just be careful to read the instructions that came with your cookware before using the aerosol oils! The only thing I have in my kitchen that recommends using those directly on the surface is the George Foreman grill and contact roaster. Everything else says to spray the meat and then put it in the pan. The spray can build up on your cookware.

I do agree that combining cardio and weight training is best. I have lost about 50 lbs since January, 2009 and for a long time was combining. Now that cooler and rainy weather is here, I have to get back on track. Summer really threw me because I was doing so many outdoor activities and I can really tell a difference. I started to maintain instead of losing and my activities were mostly cardio.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
I had the George Foreman grill. I was really a pain in the behind to clean.
post #15 of 24
Your menu is a little meat heavy. I would suggest looking at some vegetarian choices for meals as well. They can be really tasty and also quite healthy. Don't worry so much about having bread with your sandwich. If you want to have bread, make sure you use whole grain or multigrain bread.. it is much healthier than white bread is. Also, you can subsitute brown rice for the potato dishes to add more fibre to your diet. The sugars found in fruits and vegetables are naturally occuring and are much better for you than refined sugar is.

There is a recipe section on here where people have posted recipes... take a look at them and see if there is something that pops out at you that you'd like to try. Also there are tons of recipe sites on the internet... if you just google recipes you'll get alot from that.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #16 of 24
Re: grocery stores. I live in NH and am familiar with several you mentioned. WalMart is a little cheaper than MarketBasket, which is a little cheaper than Shaw's. Get a store discount card wherever you plan to shop and you can save some money.

Re: cookbooks. You have a pretty basic menu planned, so I would stick with a general cookbook. I personally would recommend The Best Recipe by America's Test Kitchen. It has recipes for basic as well as complicated dishes but also explains the hows and whys...things like the best uses of different cuts of meats, type of pan to use for a certain recipe, techniques for cutting, beating, chopping, etc. If you're looking for a specific recipe for a more advanced dish, Epicurious.com: Recipes, Menus, Cooking Articles & Food Guides is a good resource.

I would see if a community college in your area has a class suited to your needs. I think you'd have a blast.
post #17 of 24
Re equipment questions you raised:

Not a "food vise" but an onion holder really works well.
Grip-EZ Onion Holder : Target

A salad dressing cruet with recipes printed down the sides lets you avoid those packaged things which are loaded with salt and chemicals.
Can't get the link to work, but go to amazon.com and search for Norpro Salad Dressing Genie.
post #18 of 24
Based on the items you want to cook, I would recommend you get a George Foreman grill. It cooks fast because it cooks on both sides at the same time and is fool proof as far as not burning things. Any fat runs off into the drip tray. You can also use it like a panini grill. Whenever someone tells me they don't know much about cooking but would like to learn, I tell them to get a Betty Crocker cookbook. The reason is the instructions are clear, the recipes are good and there are a lot of illustrations. I once knew a girl who couldn't boil water but who wanted to make a cheesecake. I gave her a recipe out of Betty Crocker and she made a perfect cheesecake on the first try. There is also a Healthy New Choices version with recipes geard for restricted diets. I am a type 2 diabetic and don't understand your doctor's restriction on bread. Bread is a complex carbohydrate, white less so than whole grain. You should be able to eat whole grain bread, which would be better than a potato. Complex carbohydrates break down slower than simple sugars. Most type 2 diabetics are insulin resistant, which means their bodies can't process sugar as they should. Their pancreas produces insulin, but their cells resist it. A type 1 diabetic doesn't produce any insulin and must take pills or shots. Some type 2 diabetics don't produce enough insulin and also need to have pills or shots. What happens when an insulin resistant person eats say, a candy bar, is the body senses the sugar and sends and "Incoming!" message to the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin which unlocks the cells so the body can use the sugar for energy. In an insulin resistant person, the insulin can't unlock the cell. It struggles with the lock while the body's yelling "C'mon, hurry up!" so the pancreas releases more insulin. Over time, this scenario will wear the pancreas out, and sugar levels go dangerously high while the insulin is trying to unlock the cells. A complex carbohydrate, while still a sugar, breaks down slower and gives the body more time to deal with it. Sort of like a Sunday drive compared to rush hour traffic. A person who wants to eat a food that contains simple sugars like candy, cookies or cake can slow the sugar breakdown process by adding fiber, which is why dieticians tell you if you are going to eat something like that, have it with a meal. If you eat something with a lot of fiber like a salad or broccoli, that will slow the sugar breakdown of the pie you might have at the end of the meal.
post #19 of 24
Your menu sounds good. For many meats or poultry I like doing a braise. Keeps it moist and makes it very tender. I lived up in Mass at one point during my Ricky Rescue days.
"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
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"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
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post #20 of 24
Your planned menues are all starches. A Diet Pepsi does not rectify the mashed potatoes at evry meal or breaded foods or fried foods .
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Also, what about with regards to cleaning, how should you do it? My home economics teacher told us never to use a sponge to clean dishes. I'm not sure why, couldn't a dish towel contain harmful microrganisms too? Maybe a sponge can hold more perhaps.

But, I heard in order to avoid this you can rinse out the sponge well and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to sterilize it, which I have been doing. But, I worry sometimes too. Once I clean a single dirty dish with the sponge won't the sponge be dirty again. So, I'd have to clean it every time after I cleaned a single dish.

Suppose I want to cook some chicken breasts, some broccoli, some turnip and some brown rice. This would require a frying pan, and 3 other pans for the three sides. After I'm done eating I can put the remains of anything in the garbage disposal. Why do they call it a garbage disposal?It doesn't vaporize the food you put down it. It just cuts it up. This wouldn't get rid of it. It would just change it's shape. I assume where it goes where all sewage ends up, a water treatment plant/septic tank it must be removed from the water supply somehow. How I don't know, digestive enzymes that break it down maybe perhaps? I'd just think it's harder to remove than waste water and human waste products.

Anyway, For those of you who cook almost every night. What do you do with your pans. Wouldn't it be impractical to wash them in the dishwasher every night. Yes, the dishwasher is for cleaning dishes, but it doesn't have to be done by the machine. You can hand-wash dishes. But, the dishwasher does something that hand washing doesn't. It sanitizes the dishes. You'd go through quite a bit of water and dishwashing detergent if you washed them every night. So, do most people just wash them and put them on a rack. This may be ok to do, but it might take up the whole rack if you have a small one. It may not be a problem for me, but for those of you with large families where you end up with 5 plates, and multiple dishes, it would be hard to store them all on the rack.

Or, if you live alone you can just put the cleaned pans back on the burners to cook again next night.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE]There's a shaws less than 10 minutes from where I live and I sometimes go there for convenience. But, yes it's more expensive. I don't know about Wal-mart in Amherst, NH. If I go there I'd pretty much have to make sure I'd be getting all the food I'd want for at least 2 weeks. As I live near Littleton, Ma and it would be about a 45 minute trek up there. But, actually I think they deliver their food too. Does Wal-mart have a discount card? I'm guessing if they do it applies to all Wal-Mart stuff, not just their food.

I'd be open to videos too. If you know any I could download/buy on DVD/watch on some free service like youtube. Some things I've wanted to know if how to bread fish before baking it. How to carve a turkey (so you can cut around the bones) etc.
post #23 of 24
When I clean dishes I use a dishcloth and I do them under running water, so they get the final rinse before going in the rack to air dry. Pots and pans get the same treatment but now and then I get a scuzzy pot that has to soak so I soak it with dishsoap and a bit of vinegar overnight and it is usually pretty easy to clean up the next day. If I'm cleaning up after a dinner party I fill the sink, wash the dishes and then rinse them under clean running water before I let them air dry. I have only a single sink in my kitchen and it is a pain to do that but I can make it work.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #24 of 24
If you have a microwave it's a super way to cook veg.....
Green veg in water typically takes 7 minutes
Spaghetti squash 15 minutes
wilting spinach, 2 minutes

One of the skills to learn is how to cook (or prep) multiple portions at one time. In the long run it saves you time& money.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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