T Nation

TomRocco's Summer Home (Cooking)


Hey guys,

I'm in college and home for the summer. Though my parents cook (and are great at it) I love cooking as well so I pretty much buy my own food and cook for myself a couple times a week. I'm going to post pictures here of what I'm cooking on my summer break. I work full time with a 1.5 hour commute there and back, so I am living a hectic week balancing the gym with my cooking. I therefore, tend to cook in bulk and for a few days in advance.

My diet consists only of meats, some fish, rice/potatoes (pre/post workout), broccoli, and spinach for the most part. If you guys have any questions or want some cooking suggestions then feel free to post. I know I don't have much experience but I'll do my best to help out you non-cookers.

Also, if there is one thing you get out of this thread, its the shake I make for breakfast. Great for a meal if you're cutting, and tastes great. Everyone in my family has tried it and agrees (even my sister who lives on Mcdonalds says she enjoyed it). I mix in 1 scoop chocolate MD or Grow!, 1 scoop strawberry MD, 2 cups water, 1 head broccoli (minus the stem), 6 oz. greek yogurt, 2-3 ice cubes and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt-free almond butter in a blender, blend until smooth. Definitely give it a try and I'm sure you'll be surprised.


Homemade Sushi with fresh ginger and soy sauce


Porterhouse Steak grilled to perfection


Chicken Burgers- Cinnabons not included


8 Egg omelette made with pasture butter and canadian bacon


Fresh salmon grilled with Steamed brussels sprouts


Food for 2 days


Looks great, dude. I've never done home-made sushi, how was it?


The chicken burger,I want.


SO MUCH easier than I thought it was going to be. I love sushi, I just hate spending so much money on food that doesn't fill me, not to mention I never feel there's enough fish in the roll. So instead of complaining, I decided to make my own.

My process:

-Bought 2 pieces fresh fish from local market (not sushi grade)- about 1.5 lbs fish in total, maybe a little less (did 1 piece tuna and 1 piece salmon)
-covered both pieces in salt, and wrapped them in clear plastic wrap (you need a TON of salt), let them sit in fridge for 2-3 hours
-took pieces out and rinsed salt off, then soaked fish for about 1 hour in a few cups of ice water and about .5-.75 cups rice vinegar
-took pieces out and froze for 2 days (you only need to do 1 day, but I was busy the next day)

i defrosted the fish in the fridge before I left for work. When I came home, I looked at a youtube video for how to make sushi, and it was WAY easier to roll then I ever though. The guy recommended putting clear wrap over the wooden sushi rollers- this made the sushi roll easily and not stick. I used 2 cups of rice (dry)- and it came to about 7 rolls. All in all, extremely happy with process.


Super easy- dice some onion and garlic and mix it into the chicken meat. Then I threw some spices on top (I think I used Mcormicks chicken seasoning). BBQ on ~medium until cooked all the way through.


Fuck yeah, sushi is the tits.

I'll definately give that method of yours a go, thanks!


One more thing Tom, would you mind including a brief breakdown of the recipe/prep for these dishes, they look uber tasty.


I eat VERY bland. Most the veggies you see are raw, or steamed, MAYBE with a touch of salt at the end on the broccoli.

For plain spinach, I love doing balsamic vinegar with olive oil (it tastes best with ~1:1 ratio, or a little more oil than vinegar, but if your looking to lower calories then you're gonna have to sacrifice) and then I throw in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Sometimes red pepper flakes if I want to give it a kick.

Generally, I season my steaks with the same spices I use in my dressing above. The other thing I found which is delicious is soy sauce. Usually I just let the steak marinate a day in soy sauce, then throw it right on the BBQ. It tastes best if you dice fresh garlic and onion into the marinade too, just usually I'm too lazy for that, and getting the garlic smell off your hands is a pain.

For seafood, I have been using a spice mix that I don't even know what it is. I got it from an asian market and it literally came in a ziploc bag. It tastes good, just a little salty for my liking. I'll try to decipher what in it in the future.

I love to grill on the BBQ (I use propane as its quicker and easier) so 2 tid-bits EVERY man should know about grilling. If you make the 1st error, it is the equivalent of wearing stripes and plaid to a fashion show. The 2nd is less commonly know, but made the world of difference in my grilling.

Grilling Rule #1: NEVER press a burger down with the spatula (as to make it "cook faster") This does NOT speed up the cooking process, and instead presses out the natural juices, leaving a dry burger. Put the burger on a medium grill, when it starts to get oily on the top, flip it- then let it sit. NEVER press it or flatten it.

Grilling Recommendation #1: To me there are 2 different classifications of steak- thick cuts, and thin cuts. If you hand me a THICK piece of steak (think- the porterhouse in my picture- about 1.5+ inches- one that doesn't flop like paper because it is too thick to bend like that) the way I bbq it (regardless of the cut- filet mignon, rib-eye, sirloin, porterhouse) is to put all the burners on HIGH and let it heat up until the little thermometer is literally ALL THE WAY turned to the highest temperature. I then spray on some grilling spray, then throw the steak onto the SUPER HOT griddles, close the cover of the grill, and count to 20-30 depending on how thick the steak is. I do a slow count, so it may be more like 25-40, but in the vicinity. I then open the cover and then flip the steak. If its sticking, you didn't count enough. It should very easily come off the grill. Then, close the cover, and count to 30 again. After you do this, lower all your burners to medium/low (if possible, move the steak off direct heat, and turn all the other burners on medium). Then, let it sit for ~4 minutes, flip the steak, and let it sit for another 4. That's about how long I did mine, and you see how rare it came (I like my steaks rare). It will take a couple practice tries, but eventually, you will get it, and learn to love the grill.

Style points- if you want grill marks like mine (the perfect criss cross)- do exactly as I said for the high temperature part. I recommend putting the steak "vertical" or "horizontal" on the grill, to make the next part easier). When you flip it, keep it the same orientation. Then, when you go to lower the burners, turn the steak 90 degrees so the griddle marks are parallel to the ones your previously just made. Then,when you flip it, keep the same perpendicular orientation.

The 2nd type of steak is thin cut steak (1/2 an inch- like skirt, sirloin, etc). Theoretically, you would use process number 1 for both kinds of steak. Practically, you burn your steak and you cry about wasting a great piece of meat. I also find that with thin steak the middle is TOO rare, while the outer rim is burnt. Experience tells me to use a separate method for thin cuts of meat.

What I recommend is to just cook it 3-5 minutes each side with all the burners on medium. Unless your steak is paper thin, you will be able to gauge how long you should cook the "top side" when you flip the steak. For example, lets say you but the steak on for 5 minutes, and note that the top isn't too cooked, but the bottom is already too well for you. In this case, I recommend just flipping the steak, and leaving it on for only 1-3 minutes, just to cook the outside of the steak. This way, you can still keep the "bottom portion" of your steak at your preferred level.

I'll try to take pictures if possible. Also, most importantly, all grills are different. I'm using a pretty old grill, and I cook a lot of my food "on instinct"- just because i've been doing it for a while. It makes things easy for me. I know "damn I just wasted my dinner" or "this isn't cooked enough" That isn't something I can teach you guys. Give these methods a try and see what you think about them.

More pictures coming later on. Decided to make it a fish weekend.


10 soft boiled eggs for breakfast


For flavor, made a mix of black pepper, paprika, salt, garlic and onion powders. I steamed these soft boiled eggs for 6-7 minutes. They came out perfect.


Some more grilled salmon. Made it a fish weekend.


Whole red snapper- Cooked it on bbq with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, and some parsley. First time I cooked a whole fish like that. It's a little too boney for my liking- I prefer the salmon and tuna filets.


Tuna steak grilled with some of that fish seasoning I previously mentioned. I also made a piece of mako, I just forgot to capture a picture of it. I will take a picture when I eat it.


Loving the meals! Getting some great ideas off this website! (Before I came here all I knew how to cook ((and my family)) was steak, chicken, and always with beans, potatoes, and sometimes corn :stuck_out_tongue:

All these ideas I'm bound to keep a healthy eating habit! Please keep your summer meals coming! :smiley: