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Moving Beyond Heat'n'Eat

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Old 01-09-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Moving Beyond Heat'n'Eat

I lived on microwave dinners for years. Uh... OK. *Decades*! Even making something like buttered toast, or mac and cheese, was more bother than I'd usually feel like dealing with.

But upon realizing that I had to cut out the processed food, I've been accumulating more kitchen items. A grater, a spatula, a proper knife set and cutting board, a crockpot. I have a George Foreman grill that I received for Christmas a few years ago, that I may finally unbox and plug in. Today I had to move some things off the top pantry shelf, because it's getting crowded from all the spices I've accumulated there.

Anyone else "started from zero?" What did you decide that you needed? How went your transition, from lazy bum to cook?
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
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For me, it was actually the George Foreman grill. I'd take some protein out of the freezer the night before to thaw and throw it on the grill for dinner. While the grill was heating, I'd throw spices on the meat and a bunch of frozen veggies in a bowl with a bit of salt. Then, while the meat was cooking, I'd throw the veggies in the microwave with a bit of clear wrap on top. I like my veggies hot and crisp, so both the meat/poultry and veggies were done within 5 minutes...and that was my standard non-frozen meal dinner for about 6 months. It was hot, tasty, and had a lot less salt than the frozen meals. Sometimes, I'd buy small potatoes and bake a week's worth all at once (if I wasn't watching carbs) to round it out. Varying the type of meat and the type of veggies gives variety -

hope no one minds me posting here - saw this on "new posts" and typed my response before I realized which forum it was in

Also good...crock pot. I know it may seem like a chick appliance, but throwing in a roast with an envelope of dried onion soup and a can or two of low fat cream of mushroom soup along with some onions, carrots, and potatoes gives a great dinner with minimal effort (and plenty of hearty leftovers). You can also throw in a bunch of ingredients and come home to a long simmered pot of chili or stew...good over those previously mentioned "prebaked" potatoes. Watching the amount of oils, using lower fat proteins, and keeping portion sizes reasonable makes them all friendly for people trying to eat healthy -
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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Yeah the crock pot was actually the first thing I learned to use. A can of gravy, some meat, and mixed frozen vegetables. Dump it in and come back a few hours later.

Ya gotta start off non-cooks with very easy training wheels!
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:17 PM   #4
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lol another general cooking tool that is pretty easy is a vegetable steamer pot. put water in the pan. i let the water start boiling and then put the vegetables in the steamer part and cover. for me, i steam things like broccolli only about 3 minutes. it's a matter of how done or crisp you want to eat them. steaming helps to save the nutrients. and the water in the bottom of the pan will have nutrients if you want to make something with it too. the crockpot and george foreman are two other great ones. i grill outdoors alot too.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:35 AM   #5
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Yea,I've used the CrockPot,the foreman Grill or Hamilton Beach one,and the oven "350 for 45-1 hour for most meats.
But this cooking ALL THE TIME between work and children is killing me!!
I think I am going to try and use 1 of my days off to cook everything and put 7 Tupperware meal things in the fridge or freezer!!Anybody try that yet
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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This is a pretty important topic. The processed heat up meals are very bad for you. And it will make weight loss and certainly getting healthier that much harder.

Cooking is easy for some basic tasty stuff. I can make a steak and burger and chicken better than most restaurants with very little trouble. If you go to Amazon and search for 12 inch frying pans the most popular one is a T-fal for about $30. It got awesome reviews from Cooks Illustrated. I bought that and it is a snap to cook with. I would get that.

Veggies, steaming is easy, and you can also bake, and grill them for variety. All pretty simple. Get a good frying pan. Cooking in is way cheaper than going out. And way better than processed food at home. Cheaper to the point I can have an organic grass fed burger for a fraction of a horrible fast food burger. No bun of course at home.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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So I just PRE cooked 7 days of dinners and put them in the freezer in Tupperware containers,now all i have to do is eat a small Brkfst,lunch and 2 snacks,but at least my dinners are about 700 calories
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Old 12-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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I know no one has posted here for awhile, and yeah, I'm a gal. *swoon*

Kitchen gadgets!

Of course a good cutting board and knife set.
Crock pot, George Foreman, a good dish that will steam in the micro, I got a great one from Pampered Chef.

But the simplest, especially when cooking for one is Zip Loc Steam bags. Toss everything in the bag, microwave, eat!

For a good fry pan, while it's a bit of a learning curve, Cast Iron! Properly cared for, you'll never need to buy another fry pan. And they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including dutch ovens and griddles with ridges to drain the fat off of food while cooking. You can use them on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, campfire, if you've got heat, you can cook!

If you haven't done so, join Pinterest. Tons of recipes. YOu can search for anything and find all kinds of tips and tricks. Another great place is Instructibles. They have an awesome phone app. It's also more a manly place.

I do have to say my most beloved kitchen gadget is the crock pot. I've invented recipes, adapted recipes, it's kind of like having someone cooking at home while you're gone. I have one large, on medium, some days have both going, and am going to find a small, ( for 1 to 3 servings) one.

In the summer the outdoor grill. Scored some sweet veggie racks/holders that will hold 4 skewers of food, etc. at Wal mart for doing veggies, shrimp, fruit etc. I do bacon on the top rack, on low, on my grill in the summer.

When cooking bacon, the broiler rack that comes with your stove, is your friend. Do bacon on it, in the over at 350. It does take awhile, and you have to turn it about halfway through, keep an eye on it the first few times you do this, because it can seem like it's taking forever, it does take a bit, but towards the end, it becomes easy to burn it. But the best part is the grease all drains off into the bottom of the broiler pan.

A beer can chicken holder and big a$$ pot. You can season it with anything! Empty pop or beer can, fill it with whatever you're in the mood for. Slap the chicken on, add some water in the bottom of the pot, set burner on low and later, enjoy!

I also have a food dehydrator, for doing my own fruit and jerky. And a pressure canner so I can preserve the wonders from my garden. Along with an ancient, but tough meat grinder, great for processing our deer, making goose/duck sausage and salami, etc.

I think I'll stop with the pressure canner, probably more than you wanted to know.
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