Didn't I say a while ago that I was gonna help a brotha out with some food stuff? Yes. Yes I did.
First I have to tell you that I am in no way, shape or form an expert on food, food preparation or taste. I only know what works for me and my busy schedule and that's what I'm going to share with you. Here are 10 tips to start you out on a quick journey to dinner.
1) Lean meat. No-brainer really. Turkey, chicken, pork tenderloin and the elk you just bought (score!). They tend to be bland on thier own, but please refer to #3 below for further instruction:)
2) Salt. Salt is your friend. It enhances the natural flavors of food and makes everything taste better. I use kosher salt, have it in a little remekin next to the stove for easy access to sprinkle over whatever I'm cooking. Since you're an endurance athlete, a little extra salt is not going to kill you anyway. You're working your electrolytes daily, so replenishing is a good idea:)
3) Marinate. When I come home from the grocery store, I immediately marinate whatever I have bought to cook for the week. Usually a pork tenderloin and some chicken breasts. The greatest marinades (IMO) consist of soy sauce, citrus, citrus zest, honey and spicy chile sauce. I have a recipe on my site that works wonders for meat and poultry.
4) Pound. In order to speed up the cooking process you must pound your meat thin....(not that meat you sicko!) Do this by layering, say, a chicken breast in between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a heavy pan to flatten it out to about 1/4-1/2 inch. Then you marinate it:) Thicker cuts of meat like a roast or pork tenderloin get seared quickly in the pan on high heat and finished off in the oven. I like the brown crust it gives and it also keeps it moist this way since you've basically made a juice barrier by searing it.
5) Roast. I roast everything. All of my veggies get showered in a bit of olive oil, salted and then thrown in the oven at high heat (400 degrees) for 15-20 mins. They are nice and carmelized, sweet and still crunchy. I like to actually taste my food.
6) Grill. While the veggies are roasting, I'm grilling the pre-marinated protein. And since I've pounded it flat, it takes very little time to cook on each side.
7) NO CROCKPOTTING! For feck's sake man, I can't believe that Nytro actually wants to join the ranks of folks that cook like this. It's an abominiation to food to throw it all together and make every mushy thing taste like the previous bite. Gross. And crockpotters...no need to be hatin'..it's my blog and I can say what I want! I can only think of one good thing to make in a crockpot and that's chili. Everything else....you're just being lazy. Good food doesn't take that long to make. Get fresh!
8) Starch. It's really just an afterthought at dinner for us. I don't like eating pasta or potatoes at dinner because we eat late and it just sits in my belly all night. But when I do, it's usually brown rice (I take a shortcut here and choose instant - you don't lose any of the good nutrients, but you do lose the time it takes to cook it!) seasoned with LOTS of fresh garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil.
9) Stir Fry. Ingenius really....veggies and meat cut small and cooked on very high heat so it all cooks at the same time. Yes! Make your own sauce or throw some bottled sauce on it for flavor...or just salt it:)
10) Magazines. Fine Cooking and Cooking Light magazines offer up very well-written recipes that are full of flavor and don't take very long to make. You usually have all ingredients on hand you just have to make the effort to follow a recipe.
When it comes time for me to make dinner, I usually just open the fridge and let my imagination take over. I rarely plan my meals out, but here are examples of what we have for dinner:
*Pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies
*Chicken enchiladas (soooo easy! ask me for the recipe if you want it) with whole wheat tortillas and roasted veggies
*Boboli pizza with ham, pineapple, veggies and low-fat cheese
*Grilled chicken breasts, creamy polenta and spinach salad
*Turkey burgers with oven-roasted fries and salad
*Chile Verde (bite sized pork cooked in a bottled salsa verde) with whole wheat tortillas, vegetarian refried beans and spanish rice
*Stuffed pork chops, green beans and brown rice
*Wasabi Pea Tuna, cucumber and tomato salad
*Broiled salmon, stuffed portobello mushrooms and spinach salad
*Whole wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs and ceasar salad
*Turkey sloppy joes with whole wheat buns and salad
*Potato and Leek soup with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Those are all I can think of right now. It's all a sad reminder that I've got to go shopping.
Stay to the outside of the grocery store aisles unless you're shopping for bread and pasta. You'll find everything you need on the outside. Although I have been guilty of caving in and buying a box of Kraft Mac'N Cheese...it's not a steady diet of it. I stay away from most things processed and dehydrated and opt for fresh always.
I hope that helps....if not...you can always fall back on the crockpot!