T Nation

How to Cook - High School Edition

Hey everyone. Im trying to eat well and have a better diet. I’m not trying to follow any certain diet but I am trying to learn how to eat better in general. I’m currently following the Starting Strength program. Near the end of february I will start lacrosse again. I’m also recovering from a torn acl so I’ve been putting on a lot of weight and strength that I lost since my surgery. (I had surgery about 5 months ago)

Because of this scenario, I have to eat a lot, and eat well. The problem is I am terrible at cooking. I can make eggs and protein shakes so I’m asking everyone on this forum who is willing to help to tell me ways to prepare good food quickly. Anything would be appreciated like good ways to prepare vegetable, ways to cook a steak, easy recipes and snacks you like,etc.

Of course I am also using the search function and have found some good recipes I need to try

Steaming vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and carrots is easy and simple. Isn’t the fanciest or most flavourful method of cooking, but it’s always a good standby. Rather foolproof as well, if the water’s not steaming then you evidently need to turn up the heat, and because it’s steam you can’t really get too high a temperature. I prefer to steam it until it’s soft (easily poke a skewer through it), but that’s just personal preference.


There are a plethora of books on the market for people who don’t know how boil water, let alone cook tasty food. I bet if you searched Google or Amazon you could even find one aimed at your specific demographic.

Learn to grill. I can honestly cook up steak/chicken and rice/veggies in 15 minutes tops now with minimal clean up.

I like to cover a cookie sheet with foil, then spread a ton of cut-up veggies on the foil – broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, eggplant, most anything will work, just try to cut everything to a more-or less uniform size. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and put it in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until everything is starting to brown but not burnt.

Easy way to make a TON of veggies fast with better texture and flavor than steaming. If you have leftovers they’re perfect for throwing into scrambled eggs.

HOW TO COOK THE ESSENTIALS ON THE STOVETOP:
All you need to cook these recipes is a pot, a pan (skillet), your parent’s spice cabinet, and a spatula (to handle the meats while cooking).

How to steam vegetables:
Get a pot that has a lid. Put about an inch or so of water in it and throw your vegetables in (I tend to use a whole broccoli stalk), and cover with a lid. Turn the heat up to high until the water begins to boil. After the water in the bottom has been boiling (this shouldn’t take long) for about a minute, turn down the heat to low and give the vegetables about 5-10 more minutes (depending on how soft you want your vegetables). Pour out the excess water in the pot and eat the vegetables.

How to cook chicken breasts:
Thaw chicken if it is frozen. To do this you can either put it on a microwave-safe plate and use the microwave’s defrost option, or put the chicken in a plastic baggie and run room temperature water over it until it is no longer frozen throughout.

Next, get a pan (not a pot this time), and put some sort of oil in the bottom, not a lot, just enough so that you can tilt the pan and get some oil over the entire surface of the pan. This is to prevent sticking. Next, grab your chicken and throw it in the pan. Add some seasoning (this is a fun time to experiment with your parent’s spice cabinet and figure out how each individual spice tastes, just don’t go crazy or you could make some funky tasting chicken). If you don’t feel that confident in self-seasoning your chicken, you can use one of the many chicken seasonings out there (Montreal Grilled chicken seasoning is pretty good). Cook the chicken on medium high until it is cooked all the way through, flipping occasionally to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.

Learning when the chicken is done is a learning process, so in the beginning you are going to need to cut into the center to tell if it is white all the way through, YOU DO NOT WANT ANY PINK IN CHICKEN. After doing this several times you will start to get a feel for it.

How to cook hamburgers:
This is going to be very similar to the chicken. First, get your ground beef and put it in a big bowl. Next, add some seasoning (I prefer a dash of onion powder, dash of garlic powder, and some ground cayenne pepper to add some kick). Crack an egg into the bowl and add in some breadcrumbs (if you don’t have store bought breadcrumbs, you can just toast a piece of bread and crumble it over top). These two ingredients will help the burger keep its shape. Now, hand mold your burgers into patties.

Next, get a pan and put some oil in it (this step will happen whenever you cook any meat on the stovetop). Turn the heat on medium high and throw your hand molded patty into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes then flip to the other side. For hamburgers you don’t want any red, some pink is fine in the center but you want to avoid red. Do the same as the chicken, cut into the center to check how cooked it is. You will eventually get a feel for when it is done but this only comes with experience. Next, throw your cooked patty onto your bread and top with whatever cheese you want and put the other side of the bun on top. Since the patty just came off of the stove, it will be nice and hot and will melt your cheese. Congrats, you just made a burger.

How to make rice:

Throw a 2:1 ratio of water:rice into the pan. So for this example, we will go with a cup. Throw 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice into a pan. You can add some salt or a pat of butter to flavor the rice, although these are not needed. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on high until the water begins to boil. After the water has been boiling for about a minute, turn the heat down to low and cook for another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes is up, the rice should be tender, and it is ready to serve.

There are the essentials. Now get to cookin young one. Learning to cook at your age is great, and you will be very happy when you move out and already know how to cook for yourself. Cooking is a skill that very few young men in this day in age acquire, and most have to rely on microwave dinners and EZ-mac.

  1. get a George Foreman grill. Those things are damn useful. Perfect for quick meals with easy cleanup.

  2. Buy meats in bulk, grill them on the GF grill and have them available throughout the week. Do you cooking Sunday evening for example.

  3. Check out a local butcher shop. Do your homework, you get friendly with them you can get some great deals on fresh, quality fish and meat.

  4. steam veggies

  5. microwave potatoes for a quick baked potato.

  6. microwave packets of those Rice-a-Roni rice. Those things are like a buck and are ready in like 2 minutes. Very, very easy.

I don’t know how much you pay for your own food or not, but these options are cost effective for either you or your parents. But if your parents do alot of cooking, try to convince them to make extra portions so you can have leftovers. ESPECIALLY if it’s a protein-rich meal (like chili for example).

Check out Antoine Vaillant’s super awesome kitchen stuff serie

I just ate this, taste pretty good. I used horse meat

Here’s kinda what I do:

Structure. I’m making a hamburger right now. I’ll keep you posted so you can feel proud haha. We have plenty of spices-about 4 types of garlic. We don’t have buns but I’ll improvise. I’m using bison. After I flipped it, it fell apart a little. I got distracted and I had to scrape it from the bottom of the pan. It wasn’t too burnt but I had to give up on keeping it together so I threw in some cheese, avocado, and other condiments. It was actually really good. I have leftover meat so I know something I’m eating tomorrow. Thanks for the help. I might make some vegetable because I’m a bottomless pit

Glad I could help.

And being a bottomless pit is good at your age. Eat lots, and eat healthy.

[quote]Chronicle wrote:
Structure. I’m making a hamburger right now. I’ll keep you posted so you can feel proud haha. We have plenty of spices-about 4 types of garlic. We don’t have buns but I’ll improvise. I’m using bison. After I flipped it, it fell apart a little. I got distracted and I had to scrape it from the bottom of the pan. It wasn’t too burnt but I had to give up on keeping it together so I threw in some cheese, avocado, and other condiments. It was actually really good. I have leftover meat so I know something I’m eating tomorrow. Thanks for the help. I might make some vegetable because I’m a bottomless pit[/quote]

Scramble one egg up and mix it in with the bison next time. It will help it stick together.

A croc pot is gold. You can find recipes online, but the cooking is all the same; put the ingredients in it, turn it on, leave it for a while, usually overnight. It is the simplest way to make roasts and stews, but you can just about anything in it.

Check out your local store for microwaveable rice packets (brown rice). Takes 90 seconds. Filled with carbs to build on and calories as well. I carry them around throughout the day.