Need lots of help with cooking.


Jason Hoffman

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My name is Jason, and I am trying to start the whole30 diet. However, I am having some problems and would appreicate some help.

Here's what I would like help with. I am trying to get a strong and simple start, so I can maintain the diet indifenatly. Here's what I'd like, a simple forumla to cook this right.

Crockpot+meat+veggies+season = a few descent simple meals.

I have a couple of cook books, and I have expiermented and failed. Seasoning is a big problem too, I haven't gotten close to doing it right. Food still taste bland, and sometimes horrible. I got cooking meat, but not how to get veggies to come out right. I'd like the meat and veggies to go together.

Most of the stuff I have found (websites and books) is kind of worthless for me at this point. I have a real simple kitchen. I shop at a walmart and normal grocery store. I don't have access to any speical stuff yet like coconut milk,aminons,flakes,oil or ghee. I'd like to start with what I have and can get ahold of right now. Then I plan to bulid on the foundation I am setting.

Thanks,

-Jason

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Hey, Jason! They usually have coconut milk in cans at Wal-Mart, and you can clarify butter easily at home.

If you're into grilling, grilling meats and veggies together is pretty easy. We usually grill a ton of burgers once a week, and use those as our deafult protein for whenever we're not up for cooking.

I'm not much help with slow cooking, because I almost never use ours. If you want things that are kind of "all in one" meals, look for stews, curries, and things like that. I can recommend one recipe, though, which is this pork chili verde: http://everydaypaleo.com/everyday-paleo-chili-verde/

Depending on where you are, you can probably find tomatillos at a standard grocery store, or even at Wal-Mart.

This thread has a lot of really good vegetable ideas: http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/5792-what-are-your-favorite-veggie-sides-i-am-struggling-to-expand-beyond-salad-and-sweet-potatoes-help/page__fromsearch__1

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I love crock pot cooking. To make a pot roast: 1) put your cut veggies on the bottom Don't cut them too small, quarter your onions, cut carrots into 2-3" pieces, I cut small purple-top turnips into quarters or eighths--if you cut too small they cook too quickly and turn to mush before the meat is done. 2)put the meat on top of the veggies (many cookbooks say to brown in a pan first, but I don't think this is necessary, and I know people who put a whole chicken in frozen with no problem) 3) add 1/2 cup water and seasonings--salt, pepper, a little garlic and onion powder. Keep it simple, you can always add some more herbs and spices once it is done if it needs it.

The biggest thing is don't crowd the crock. If you pack in too much stuff, there's no way to get an even distribution of heat. You can start it on high for an hour if you want, then turn it down, I just find it easier to cook it on low for about 10 hours.

DO NOT take the lid off to check on it. Every time you do, you disrupt the steady temperature it needs, and you let out important moisture (steam) to cook it.

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Jason,

You'll find coconut milk near the Asian foods at any normal grocery store. You want the canned stuff, not the boxed.

If your food is coming out bland, then next time, add more seasoning. Add more salt and pepper when you warm it up the next day. Just keep testing til you find your sweet spot.

If you want to cook your veggies in the crockpot, be sure to cut them into LARGE pieces as Maryann stated above. The downside to doing this is that your veggies will be done far earlier than the meat will at a low temperature/long time cooking that crock pots do.

I'd suggest that you try out roasting your veggies in the oven as a way to start expanding your cooking. Just salt, pepper and whatever type of oil you are using (olive, coconut, clarified butter). Things like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower will be done around 15-20 min at 400. More sturdy veggies, like root vegetables (rutabega, turnip, sweet potato). I cut those into about 1/2 inch pieces and they'll be done around 35-45 min. The nice thing about roasting is that the vegetables all have a bit of natural sweetness that will carmelize and make them taste really great.

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I'm not a great cook either but I was really surprised at how much easier and better my cooking has gotten with just a little practice. My favorite source for help is the message boards. For slow cooking, I purchased Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen. The recipes are easy and taste great. They do require some advance cooking such as sauteing veggies or browning meat but the end result is worth it. It's easy to substitute any unwanted ingredients like wine or flour. There are many websites that suggest substitutions.

We can't have an outdoor grill so I rely heavily on my Foreman electric grill. It's really fast and almost impossible to mess up. One of my favorite cook ahead meals is to season boneless skinless chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, then throw them on the grill for a while. They taste great when reheated! Just add a bunch of frozen veggies cooked in the microwave or sauteed in a pan.

You can shred a couple of sweet potatoes using a box grater and keep them in the fridge for hash or fritters - there are tons of compliant recipes on the web but you could just add frozen diced onions, salt, pepper, and maybe some clarified butter.

Hard boiled eggs are easy too. There are tons of different cooking methods, but the way I do it is to put the eggs in a pot with just enough water to cover them and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and leave sit for 20 minutes. Perfect, uncracked eggs every time.

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Hey, Jason! They usually have coconut milk in cans at Wal-Mart, and you can clarify butter easily at home.

If you're into grilling, grilling meats and veggies together is pretty easy. We usually grill a ton of burgers once a week, and use those as our deafult protein for whenever we're not up for cooking.

I'm not much help with slow cooking, because I almost never use ours. If you want things that are kind of "all in one" meals, look for stews, curries, and things like that. I can recommend one recipe, though, which is this pork chili verde: http://everydaypaleo...eo-chili-verde/

Depending on where you are, you can probably find tomatillos at a standard grocery store, or even at Wal-Mart.

This thread has a lot of really good vegetable ideas: http://forum.whole9l...__fromsearch__1

Let me understand, you are just doing the patties right?

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Yeah, just the patties! We eat them like chopped steaks (which I guess they kind of are). They're easy to make, they pack well for lunches, they reheat well. You could also wrap them in lettuce if you wanted to put some toppings/condiments and make them more burger-like.

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NomNomPaleo and Stuff I Make My Husband have a lot of great Whole30 recipes (NNP has a lot of recipes with coconut aminos though - I don't have them either) which are fairly simple. NomNomPaleo often has good explanations on things like mayo, boiled eggs and roasting a whole chicken.

Both also tend to reply to questions about recipes if they're not clear to readers. SIMMH also has Cook For A Month plans, but you might want to work up to those later once you have more recipes under your belt (you'll also need plenty of freezer space).

Ditto on the oven cooking. There's lots of low-prep oven things, and it's just as easy to roast two chickens as one in the oven (if you have room). Cooking extra in the oven is one of my big learnings on Whole30, I used to be silly and only cook for one meal when I have loads of room for several baking trays.

What kinds of ingredients do you like? What fat/s do you add? Any dislikes?

If you find anything bland that you've cooked, try some Franks Original Hot Sauce or Louisiana Hot Sauce. They'll cover a number of cooking failures or near-misses :)

I love pulled pork in the slow cooker. Pork shoulder (make sure it'll fit in your slow cooker - take your pot to the store if that helps) on a bed of raw onions, spice rub on the meat, slow cook overnight. If it's not soft enough in the morning, cook it again overnight (my slow cooker's low is quite low) and put it in the fridge while you're at work during the day.

Other non-slow cooker recipes I think you'd like are thai curries. Meat + thin cut veggies + thai curry paste (red curry, green curry - once you find a compliant brand, buy at least 3 for variety) + coconut milk and/or cream. They're quick to cook due to the thin veggies and thin strips of meat (or seafood). The fat in them makes them very satisfying and they're good cold as well as hot and you can make them "wet" style with a soupy sauce (coconut milk is good for this) or with a clingy sauce (coconut cream).

Once you'd made a batch, it keeps fairly well and the flavour usually improves over time. Red curry and massaman are my favourites.

Keep a bag of grated sweet potato in the fridge and you can make quick hash any time, for breakfast, lunch or dinner :)

There's a great recipe somewhere in the forums for shrimp coated in shredded coconut, this one would be great for company and isn't too hard. if you hate shrimp, just do it with chicken breast.

Ask questions if you need help reviewing the ones that turned out funny, sometimes there's small tricks to save them.

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Hey Jason! Welcome~

I have found coconut oil in the oil section at walmart. Don't use the Lou Ann as it is hydrogenated, get the Spectrum instead. It is refined so it doesn't have the flavor of coconut. Also, as mentioned above, ghee (clarified butter) is very easy to do at home, just takes a small amount of time, and there are plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how. Also, make your own mayo.

Everyday Paleo has an awesome crockpot chicken recipe which is pretty much just putting a whole chicken in your crockpot, a 5 lb chicken, NOT 5 pounds of chicken parts (my MIL did this, thinking it was the same) and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Turn it on low and let it go for 6-8 hours. Sooo good! Lots of yummy meat and broth. I would also look at soups and stews- www.foodee.com has a ton of yummy Whole30 and Paleo recipes, and I have gotten a lot of good meals off that site.

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