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  • Help! I don't know how to cook!

    Ok the title of this post is not entirely true. I do know how to cook the basics. I know how to cook pasta and chicken breasts. The problem is, I don't know how to get enough variety in my meals to stick to primal eating and always revert back to what I know...Pasta. It's quick and simple. You just boil water, add pasta, cook some veggies and voila, ten minutes later you have a meal.

    I have the Primal Blueprint cookbook, the reader-created cookbooks, and the newest cookbook, but I don't know enough about cooking (nor do I have the time) to cook the meals every night. I can give you a thousand excuses why I don't have the time, but the reality is that I am really good at making excuses.

    So my questions!

    How do you prepare your primal meals? Do you cook them all at once? Do you cook every night? Is it feasible to cook a meal in 10 minutes?

    How do you get variety? I like meat, but are there other things you can eat besides meat that will leave you satisfied? How do you cook your meat? Crock pot? Oven?

    How do you eat on the go? I work full-time, my husband is deployed and I have 3 kids (youngest one being 9 months!). Are there tricks to getting your primal nutrition without spending ANY time doing it?

    I am really at a loss here. Even with all of the cookbooks, my cooking skills are so basic that I just don't even know where to go sometimes. And time is definitely not on my side, but I am not giving up on this lifestyle. I guess I just need advice from anyone that is willing to offer it.

  • #2
    I do most of the cooking in my hood.

    I cook breakfast and dinner all meals usually under 10 minutes or less- even with my son strapped to me in his carrier he loves. Usually take left overs for lunch.

    Food on the go is a non-issue as I use that as a time to fast. If I do want something quick I go to Chipotle or something like that and get a fajita bowl with no rice and beans.

    It doesn't take long to throw in some meat, eggs, veggie of choice and some salsa for breakfast.
    Nor does it take too long to cut a spaghetti squash in half place in microwave for 10min. (cut side down), while you cook up some chicken or beef and use a good marinara sauce.

    There are a TON of recipes that are quick and really easy to prepare. Just Google primal recipes. Good luck
    Self-realization. I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    • #3
      Have you seen this? http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/up...FoodMatrix.pdf

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      • #4
        I live alone and hve about 4 hours a day to myself.
        here is what i do. It is demanding hwoever i have given myself NO CHOICE in the matter. At 500 pounds having had no CW results in reducing when something started working i grabbed on with both hands. Never give up never surrender

        6am - Get my but out of bed and pack my lunch. IF i am hungry upon waking , which happens from time to time, I start the cast iron skiller to rocket hot and shape a couple of quick burgers. ( salt pepper, i can deal ) Cook burgers while ironing shirt and eat just before i get dressed. Yup i am a multitasker
        7:10 get in the car drive to work.
        5:00 Get out of the car and unpack my lunch box.Start the oven to 350. Always need an oven at 350. change clothes clean kitchen if i didnt get it completed yetsterday while meat comes to room temp ( lets eat steak today ) Cast iron was in the oven ( Of Course ) Bump the oven to 500 ( it IS steak after all)
        Start crock pot with chicken and veg and broth ( of course i made broth on the weekend) that will be ready for the fridge in the morning ( or by bedtime if i use high heat) season and grill steaks. timer ... oven ( 4 min per side) sute onions and mushrooms.
        Make Cupcake batter ( egs cocoa coconut flour ) turn oven down to 350. Make icecream and freeze. clean kitchen
        8:00 Sprint, pushups yadda yadda yadda
        915: Crock pot in fridge. shut down house shower
        9:30 go to bed.
        Loop
        Optimum Health powered by Actualized Self-Knowledge.

        Predator not Prey
        Paleo Ketogenic Lifestyle

        CW 315 | SW 506
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        Contact me: quelsen@gmail.com

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        • #5
          I do a couple of big items a week to cut down on the cooking. On Sunday, I cooked a big pork roast in the pressure cooker and shredded it up. I eat that for lunch on a salad with salsa and guacamole. I got the idea from the Chipotle bowl Elco mentioned. I also used up my CSA veg by cooking it up with a bunch of ground beef. For breakfast, I reheat it in a skillet and add a couple eggs. Super quick and nutritious. I keep my meals pretty simple. Meat and veg. I just have a full spice cabinet.

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          • #6
            Don't want to get into a pissing contest here... but...

            My wife is functionally a non-verbal quadriplegic (think steven hawkings level of disability). We have a five year old son together. I work a full time job, with a two hour daily commute, and am the primary steak winner. We own a home, with a yard, and it seems that there is always something going on that needs to be fixed (car, wheelchairs, assistive technology devices, roofs, yards... argggg).

            The dietary needs of my wife, and our son are different than mine. I sometimes find myself having to prepare three meals for dinner. And, I will not fail to meet their needs so that I can take extra time to prepare my primal meals. This means that some times, I do not have time to prepare myself a meal.

            So, you know what?... I do not eat.

            That's right... if I do not have time to prepare myself a healthy meal... I just skip that meal. I do not use it as an excuse to scarf down a quarter pounder from McDonalds.

            For me, it's a good way to control an IF schedule. If I am really hungry, and I need a meal... I will find the time to prepare it, even if it means I am staying up until midnight to get everything done that I need to get done.... (Poor me... I don't get to watch American Idol, or whatever that night).

            If I am not motivated enough to put forth the effort, then I guess I didn't really need or want that meal bad enough.

            Now, for me... this works... I am overweight, so skipping an occasional meal is not going to hurt me... Just make me a little uncomfortable. Once I hit my target weight, I may need to rethink my philosophy a bit.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Waskydiver View Post
              Don't want to get into a pissing contest here... but...

              My wife is functionally a non-verbal quadriplegic (think steven hawkings level of disability). We have a five year old son together. I work a full time job, with a two hour daily commute, and am the primary steak winner. We own a home, with a yard, and it seems that there is always something going on that needs to be fixed (car, wheelchairs, assistive technology devices, roofs, yards... argggg).

              The dietary needs of my wife, and our son are different than mine. I sometimes find myself having to prepare three meals for dinner. And, I will not fail to meet their needs so that I can take extra time to prepare my primal meals. This means that some times, I do not have time to prepare myself a meal.

              So, you know what?... I do not eat.

              That's right... if I do not have time to prepare myself a healthy meal... I just skip that meal. I do not use it as an excuse to scarf down a quarter pounder from McDonalds.

              For me, it's a good way to control an IF schedule. If I am really hungry, and I need a meal... I will find the time to prepare it, even if it means I am staying up until midnight to get everything done that I need to get done.... (Poor me... I don't get to watch American Idol, or whatever that night).

              If I am not motivated enough to put forth the effort, then I guess I didn't really need or want that meal bad enough.

              Now, for me... this works... I am overweight, so skipping an occasional meal is not going to hurt me... Just make me a little uncomfortable. Once I hit my target weight, I may need to rethink my philosophy a bit.

              I pretty much do that too(the unplanned IF). Not nearly as demanding a schedule as yours, but my schedule is weird and changes constantly, as i work when i'm hired. I look after ALL the house stuff while hubby is at work, work from home, take care of two animals (one a severely disabled cat).
              You sound like an awesome person and a great parent, good on you Many people would not have that sort of patience.

              Anyway to OP's question. There are many places you can learn cooking basics, start here:

              Cooking Techniques for Beginner and Intermediate Cooks
              After you learn that, Google <insert method here> <insert veggie/protein here> to get started on recipes.
              I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

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              • #8
                Eating lots of big ass salads is a great way to avoid too much cooking. If you can roast a chicken or beefroast you'll have plenty of meat all week for them.
                I blog :http://raisinggodzillas.blogspot.com/
                Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/...17134571662261
                "We have all the food groups- meat and chocolate".

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                • #9
                  I find the best way to conserve time is to cook up VERY large portions that I know will be impossible to finish. That way I have some leftovers to reheat when I am short on time. I probably make scrambled eggs once a day as well, which take about 5 minutes including clean up.

                  Here is one of my favorite primal dinners that takes almost no time to cook:

                  Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Add a package of pre-sliced button mushrooms, lots of garlic, and a few generous splashes of worcestershire sauce. Let this simmer. Grab a frying pan, and add some cooking oil (lard, coconut oil, EVOO, etc.). Heat the oil up and throw in a steak. I like my steak rare, so I generally cook each side until it has just browned, maybe 2-3 min per side. I then place the steak on a plate, and pour the mushrooms over the top. Easy, quick, and delicious! If you want to add some more veggies, grab a bag of frozen mixed veggies, put some in a bowl with some butter, and pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes...

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                  • #10
                    awesome advice folks!

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                    • #11
                      Couple of things. First and foremost, think progress not perfection. Wholesale diet changes become too difficult and don't last. Make small changes. Second, I have become convinced that food variety is overrated. Unless you love to cook, find a few things you like and eat them repeatedly. Third, cook in bulk. I have the same basic two egg omelett every single morning. One or two nights each week I prepare enough onions, mushrooms, spinach, and animal protein, to last for 3-4 days. Takes me 10 minutes to prepare the omelette, smothered with guac. Getting hungry just writing about it. My wife cooks dinner during the week and I usually grill 2 nights week. We always prepare plenty of extra for lunches and snacks. I always pack my lunch and snack the night before. And currently I am addicted to coconut butter, so am eating quite of bit of that straight from the jar. Sometimes the teenagers complain but screw em they are going to complain about something, or most things, anyway and what option do they have but to eat what is presented to them?
                      Grass Fed Beef Restaurants

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scotty View Post
                        ...snip...Second, I have become convinced that food variety is overrated. Unless you love to cook, find a few things you like and eat them repeatedly....snip...We always prepare plenty of extra for lunches and snacks. I always pack my lunch and snack the night before.
                        I eat pretty much the same thing for lunch every day and I'm fine with it. It's tasty! We have a big fridge at work that hardly anyone uses so I just bring the week's worth of stuff on Monday and leave it in there. I reheat the meat in the microwave and assemble my salad. One less thing for me to think about in the evening when I get home from work.

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                        • #13
                          Okay, I know the answer to this one. I do my breakfast and lunch cooking on Sunday nights.

                          I make a breakfast quiche, which is very simple. Just fry up some sausage in an ovenproof skillet. Drain it if it's too greasy. Beat a dozen eggs and throw in your favorite spices--I like cayenne pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage. If you're eating dairy, sprinkle cheese on top of the egg mixture. Cook in the oven at 350 for about 35-40 minutes or until it's well set. Let it cool and then cut it into individual pieces. You can easily add veggies to the sausage mix and/or use other meats as well.

                          At the same time I make breakfast, I'm cooking up meat for my salads. This week, it's chicken. After the chicken is cooked, I let it cool and then cut it up. I take a box of organic salad mix, a bag of shredded carrots, raw almonds, and homemade salad dressing (just olive oil, red vinegar, and spices all shook up together in a glass container) with me to work. For lunch, I assemble the salad. I'll often have a piece of fruit with the salad or throw in some grapes. Very easy and this idea would work for dinner,too.

                          Dinners are always easy during the week, and then I experiment with recipes on the weekends. Put some lemon pepper on salmon and bake it in the oven. Cut up some veggies, shake them in a bag with olive oil, add spices, and roast them in the oven with the salmon. Pan fry a steak and serve it with steamed broccoli drizzled with butter and lemon juice and a little bit of garlic powder.

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                          • #14
                            One of the most important skills is deglazing a pan. Seriously -- Americans do not know how to do this, and it is the easiest and fastest way to make a delicious sauce for your meats. The variations are endless. Here is one website's description:

                            "Restaurants chefs use this technique all the time. They cook something, usually a protein like meat or fish, in a sauté pan over pretty high heat until it's done and leaves a bunch of brown caramelized bits of 'stuff' in the pan. The 'stuff' has a name. It's called 'fond' and you want that 'fond' stuck to your saute pan because it is packed with incredible flavors. It's also easy to remove by adding a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called deglazing."

                            So, here's how it works:
                            A) Cook your meat and anything that goes with your meat (onions, whatever)
                            B) Don't "clean" the pan. In fact, don't use one of those non-stick pans at all, if possible. Use cast iron.
                            C) Pour your deglazing liquid in the pan at high heat (or moderately high heat -- you don't want it to burn). This can be red wine, white wine, beer (esp. dark beer), chicken stock, beef stock, veal stock, apple cider -- just as long as it is tasty. The alcohol in wine, etc. will evaporate under the heat. You do want to raise the temperature at this stage (you'd never cook a steak at high heat except perhaps to sear it for a few seconds, but you want to deglaze at a considerably higher temperature).
                            D) Scrape all the stuff in the pan together with the liquid. Add more liquid if it starts to dry out. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the pan. Let the wine or other liquid bubble and concentrate as it dissolves the fond.
                            E) You can also add various spices here, including Italian herbs or French herbs, pepper, salt, etc. "to taste." You might want to add them about a minute earlier, just to give them a chance to cook and build flavor. It's up to you. Real chefs are very picky about the order and amounts, but I like to experiment, and by doing it at the end, you can always alter the flavor a bit. But the herbs and spices do benefit from cooking a bit. The major spice companies' herb combinations such as "Italian herbs" or "fines herbes" are really quite good, typically.
                            F) You want a sauce that is neither liquid nor solid. So just as it jells a bit, you can either pour it on to your meat or (most chefs would say) add some butter or cream. Add the butter or cream at the last minute and lift the pan or reduce the gas some so that it doesn't burn. Melt the butter or stir the cream, give it one more swirl, and pour every bit on to the meat.

                            This is really incredibly easy to do, and I think you will be very pleased with the results.

                            One more thing: most pasta recipes are fine on their own or poured over vegetables. So, instead of spaghetti and meatballs, just have meatballs with marinara or pour the meatballs over squash, zucchini, etc.

                            Oh, and the best general cookbook is probably the Joy of Cooking. Try a recipe that appeals to you, but instead of getting worried about whether you have all the ingredients, just make do with whatever you have on hand. Obviously, you need the main ingredient, but if you are missing a spice or two, don't worry. Just make it up without that ingredient. Add some butter to make up for whatever is missing. Most good solid recipes simply result in good variations if altered. Think of recipes as general suggestions. If you have a good cut of meat and don't overcook it, you'll probably get good to great results just by playing around.
                            Last edited by bookstorecowboy; 06-01-2011, 02:17 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the steps on how to deglaze a pan! I'm going to try it this weekend!

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