5 Lessons in Hardcore Cookin

Categorized under Diet & Fat LossEating

Iron/Chef

You train hard. You log every set and every rep. You analyze and
agonize over every exercise choice and set/rep scheme.

You also research your supplement usage. You read the labels,
look up the studies, and ask questions about maximizing the
benefits of your tablets, capsules, and powders.

In short, you really think about this
stuff…

…then you go home and shovel just about any halfway edible crap into your mouth.

Maybe it comes out of your freezer and goes straight into the
microwave. Maybe it comes from a drive-thru or is delivered to your
table from a restaurant kitchen you’ve never seen. Or maybe someone
else makes it for you using ingredients you’re clueless about.

In short, you’re a wuss. A kinesiologist in the gym, a
research scientist when it comes to your supplementation, and a big
ol’ limp-wristed wiener when it comes to solid foods. What’s
up with that?

It’s time we got hardcore about food preparation. After all, we
have to eat. And we have to eat several times per day. Shouldn’t we
learn how to make healthy, muscle-building, abs-uncovering food – the very fuel for our anabolic machines?

And if diet is 50% (or 70% or 90%) of our battle to build muscle
or get lean, then wouldn’t it be easier if all that food tasted
really, really good?

I propose to you that we sack up. We sack up in the
kitchen and start cookin’. We take responsibility for what we put
into our bodies and we learn just as much about food prep as we
know about muscle fiber types. That’s what I’ve been doing the last
couple of years, and it’s time you start.

So Testosterone Nation, with an open heart and an empty
stomach, I say unto you in the words of my uncle: Allez
Cuisine
!

Anabolic Eggs

Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs,
omelets… you’ve tried them all, right? Of course you have,
because eggs are a great bodybuilder food (yes, even the yolks!).
So let’s figure out a new way to make this staple protein source
exciting again.

How about we make something the French call oeufs en
cocotte
, only we won’t call it that because we’re Americ-uns,
dammit, and the French can kiss our red, white and blue butts.
We’ll call them baked eggs… because, well, that’s
what they are.

Anabolic Eggs

Software:

4 eggs (omega-3 enriched*)

1 avocado

Handful of sun-dried tomatoes

1 tablespoon half & half or heavy whipping cream (a favorite
of old-school bodybuilders)

Less than a teaspoon of butter or Fleischman’s made with olive
oil

Optional: Handful of shredded fat-free cheese

* Take a hen, feed it flax seeds and fish oil. You get eggs with
more omega-3. How cool is that?

Hardware:

2 ramekins or custard cups

Pan for water bath

How to Make Anabolic Eggs

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Get a couple of ramekins, those little heatproof dishes. (Ask
your granny.)

Bowls

With your hopefully-clean finger, thinly coat the bottom and
sides with a smidge of butter.

3) Now toss some sun-dried tomatoes in there along with some
diced avocado. (Mushrooms and roasted red peppers work well
too.)

Stuff in bowls

4) Crack a couple of eggs into each one. (Always crack eggs on a
flat surface, never on the side of a pan or counter edge which
causes shards and therefore crunchy eggs. Not good.) Give the
ramekins a little shake to cover the avocado and tomato.

Eggs in bowls

5) Add more avocado and tomato, then a tablespoon of whipping
cream or half ‘n half.

More stuff in bowls

6) Now place the ramekins in a water bath: a pan filled with an
inch or two of water. I use my lasagna dish. This ensures even
cooking, no scorching, and moisture.

Baking bowls

7) Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on if you like
your yolks soft or hard.

8) Top with a little shredded fat-free cheese and serve. Just
eat them right out of the baking dish with a spoon. Top with turkey
sausage if that fits your diet plan!

Anabolic Eggs

The only drawback to this dish is the long cooking time, so make
it a nice Sunday morning breakfast. Or do what I do since I prefer
low carbs at night: make it for dinner!

Or do what TC does: make me cook him eggs in the office
kitchen while he cracks his commemorative edition Indiana Jones
bullwhip at me and screams, “Oeufs en cocotte, peon! Now!”

It’s kinda scary.

Full Frontal Frittata

Imagine, if you will, a pie.

Not a sweet pie, but a savory pie, a pie you could have for
breakfast or dinner, a pie that’s low in carbs, high in protein,
and full of healthy vegetables.

Oh, you say, surely no such wondrous pie exists!

And I’d say, yes, yes it does exist, and it hails from
Italy and is the granddaddy of the hearty omelet, only…
tastier. It’s called a frittata, and it’s like slow wet sex
on a thunderous Texas night.

Frittata

Well, okay, maybe not that good. But it’s mighty tasty.
Let’s make us one!

Ingredients:

4 omega-3 enriched whole eggs or 8 egg whites (3/4 cup of
whites)

1 small yellow squash, sliced

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

4 ounces (1 cup) shredded fat-free mozzarella
cheese

1/4 cup low-fat Feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup skim milk or Calorie Countdown milk

Reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon basil

1 garlic clove (minced) or dash of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pam cooking
spray

Instructions:

1. Find your oven. It’s probably near the microwave. Preheat
that sucker to 375 degrees.

2. Toss your sliced squash and zucchini into the microwave for 6
or 7 minutes until tender. Spray a 9-inch pie plate or baking dish
with Pam and line it with the nuked veggies.

3. On top of the veggies, toss in the mozzarella, tomato, and
feta.

4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, garlic, basil,
salt, and pepper. Pour this into your pie pan over the cheese and
tomato layer. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.

5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes uncovered. Let cool for at least 10
minutes before wolfing down.

Frittata

Options:

Lots. This works great with whole eggs or egg whites. And pretty
much any vegetable goes. I’ve used mushrooms, peppers of every
kind, avocado, eggplant, spinach, and sun dried tomato to name a
few. Basically, just toss whatever veggies you have in the fridge.
Frittata” is in fact Italian for “leftover user-upper.”
(That’s a true fact I just made up.)

Frittata

I’ve also made it with lean turkey sausage for a true “breakfast
pie” experience. Just brown the sausage a little in a pan first and
toss it on top of your veggie layer.

Get creative with this one!

Metabolic Pie

Everybody loves pie. But until now, you’ve only had three
choices when it came to pie:

1) Eat pie often and be embarrassed to take your shirt off at
the pool this summer.

2) Eat pie rarely and justify it as a cheat meal.

3) Don’t eat pie.

Now you’re going to have a new choice: Eat a more
physique-friendly pie.

Even with a “treat” recipe like this, I try to cut the calories
in half (at the very least) and add protein. No, this isn’t
something a person would eat when they’re two weeks out from a
bodybuilding or Figure show, but it is something you can eat
that allows you to enjoy dessert without becoming a doughboy or
muffin-topper.

So, let’s make some pie!

Metabolic Pie

Chris’s 5-Minute Metabolic Pie

Ingredients:

2 boxes of sugar-free fat-free instant Jell-O pudding
mix

2 cups Calorie Countdown milk or skim milk

1 Metabolic Drive chocolate chunk bar

1 tub fat-free, sugar-free, or lite Cool Whip

2 scoops chocolate Low-Carb Metabolic Drive

1 reduced-fat graham cracker pie crust

Metabolic Pie ingredients

Chop up the Metabolic Drive bar. In a big bowl, whisk the milk
with half of the Cool Whip. Now whisk in the pudding mix and
Metabolic Drive protein powder. Pour into the crust, spoon other
half of Cool Whip over the top, and add the chopped protein bar.

Refrigerate for five minutes or so and enjoy. You’ll get around
20 grams of protein per slice if you eat a big honkin’ slice like
me.

Ideas and Options

Truly endless options here once you get the base recipe down.
Here’s a few:

• You have two ways to make this into a totally different pie:
Change the Metabolic Drive flavor and change the pudding mix
flavor.

Try white chocolate pudding mix and vanilla Metabolic Drive.

Metabolic Pie 2

The vanilla protein works with any pudding powder really:
pistachio, butterscotch, lemon, etc. You can also use banana cream
or strawberry Metabolic Drive with vanilla pudding. Top it with
walnuts and fresh sliced banana or strawberry. Top a vanilla pie
with a cookie dough Metabolic Drive bar for even more variety.

• Use two scoops of Metabolic Drive for a thicker,
cheesecake-like texture. Use one scoop for a lighter, fluffier
texture.

• Want to add some fiber? Toss in a serving of Benefiber or
Fibersure, both gritless fiber supplements.

• Want to maximize the chocolaty goodness? Pour some Smuckers
sugar-free hot fudge topping into a squeeze bottle and drizzle over
the top.

Metabolic Pie 3

• Want to lower the calories even more? Skip the Cool Whip on
top. Use only the half-tub in the filling.

• Really like those Metabolic Drive bar chunks? Then along with
the one you add on the top, go ahead and mix another in when you’re
whisking the filling.

Metabolic Drive Bar

• Okay, the reduced-fat graham cracker crust ain’t exactly a
health food; it’s just cutting the calories a little compared to a
regular crust. It’s a “better bad” food. Not great, but better. If
you’re on a stricter diet plan, just ditch the crust. Pour the
filling into a bowl or glass and top with a shot of fat-free
whipped cream (only 5 calories) and a sprinkle of walnuts.

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Metabolic Pie Shakes

There, a sweet dessert that won’t turn you into a wheezing land
whale. How ’bout that?

Refined Beer-Can Chicken

We’ve shared this little trick with you before – simply
shove a half a can of beer up a chicken’s body cavity and pop him
in the oven or on the grill. The beer steams the chicken from the
inside and the oven browns and crisps the skin beautifully (if your
diet allows for a little skin eating).

Here’s a refined version and some cool new
options:

Red Wine Chicken

Software:

Whole chicken, neck or giblets removed

Low-calorie herb/spice rub of choice, or just kosher salt and
pepper

1 small avocado

About 8 oz of red wine

Hardware:

A beer or soda can with the top cut off. (A manual can opener
works well for this.)

A Chick-Can rack

Pan or pie tin to catch drippings

Beer-Can Chicken

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Rinse chicken inside and out. Pat dry with paper
towel.

3. Cover the chicken inside and out with a low-calorie or
no-calorie rub. Pull back the skin a little and add rub (or just
salt and pepper) in there as well.

4. Fill the can halfway up with red wine and place inside
Chick-Can rack. You can of course do this without the rack, which
runs about 6 or 7 bucks, and just balance it, but once you’ve had a
chicken fall over in your oven and make a mess, you’ll probably
want to invest in the rack.

5. Plug the neck of the chicken with the avocado to trap the
steam. (My dinner guests tend to fight over the wine-steamed
avocado when the chicken is done. It’s tasty!) An onion will work
here too if you’re a filthy onion-eater, as will a small sweet
potato.

6. You’ll want to place the chicken and rack on some kind of pan
to catch the drippings. A pie tin works in a pinch, too. Then slap
that bird in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.

7. After cooking, let it cool for a good 10 to 15 minutes and
enjoy the juiciest chicken you’ve ever slapped your tongue against.

Beer-Can Chicken

Options: Any dry spice rub will do. I also like a lemon pepper
seasoning blend steamed with a diet lemon-lime cola like Sprite.

Note: If you find that the top cooks too fast, just cover it for
half the cooking time with a bit of foil.

Seared Ahi Tuna

I was faced with an interesting dilemma recently: making dinner
for a figure competitor several weeks into her contest diet. For
her that meant super low carbs, some healthy fats, and high
protein. The answer was seared ahi tuna.

Seared Ahi Tuna

This is so simple it’s not even a “recipe” really, just a couple
of steps:

1) Get some sushi-grade ahi tuna. Salt and pepper it.

2) Add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to a pan or
spray it with Pam organic olive oil. Once the pan is smokin’ hot,
drop the tuna onto it. Press it down with a spatula and sear it for
just 30 seconds or so on each side.

3) Slice and serve with a spot of wasabi sandwich sauce (found
in deli section).

4) Watch figure competitor swoon and make little sex noises as
she eats it. Priceless.

Wrap-Up

Your assignment is to simply try one of these recipes per week.
Much like building your foundation in the gym with good compound
exercises, these recipes will build your foundation of culinary
skills. No more dry chicken breasts. Ever.

Now go cook something, tough guy.