Basic cooking for bachelor alpha geeks

Just caught up with a good friend of mine who’s a tech geek and bachelor and needed some cooking advice. I’ve watched bachelor friends give themselves scurvy by getting home and ordering pizza every night. Being a tech geek makes it worse.

Your $badnessOfDiet += $levelOfAlphaGeek**3

So my wife put together the list of recipes below for him this evening. They are incredibly basic but are staples that you can make in big batches at the beginning of a week and eat the whole week. You can make a big batch on sunday, freeze half of it and keep the other half in the fridge and thaw it out halfway through the week as you run out.

The foods below are Low GI so will help you lose weight and you can eat as much as you’d like. They also contain much of what you need in your diet. If you’re a geek looking to lose some weight, this list is definitely for you. I lost 25 pounds (200 down to 175) last year eating mostly this. I’d throw in some fruit here and there (organic apples, banannas, grapefruit, oranges, etc..) The fruit is not as low on the GI scale, so don’t go nuts.

Also, try to drink your geek dose of caffeine AFTER you’ve eaten. You’ll notice your skin suddenly stops being so dry.

Lentils                                    Cooking Time:  30-45 min

Lentils are the easiest bean to cook as they don’t require presoaking.  Sort through the lentils to pick out any rocks.  Rinse them to remove dust.

Add 2 cups water and 1 cup lentils in a pot.  Bring to a boil then set to simmer.  Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the type of lentil.  Start checking at 30 minutes. They should be soft.  Not chewy (undercooked) or mushy (overcooked).  Add water if you need to during the cooking time.  You can drain off any excess water if they are done cooking.

You can eat them plain or add some salt and pepper (such as ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper) or other spices.  You can add spices during the cooking except salt.  Only add salt at the end or the lentils won’t soften.  You can triple/quadruple, etc the recipe to make a big batch at the beginning of the week.

Dried Beans:                  Black Beans / Lima Beans / Kidney Beans / Pinto Beans

Soak Time:  8 hours                  Crockpot Cooking Time:  8-12 hours

Dried beans are also easy to make but need some planning.  You also sort through the bag of beans for rocks and give a quick rinse.  Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

The easiest way to cook is in a Crockpot while you are at work or overnight because you don’t have to worry about the water level getting too low.  Put the soaked beans into the Crockpot and cover with about an inch of water.  Add spices, set the Crockpot on LOW then let the beans cook for 8-12 hours.  Start checking at 8 hours or when you get home/ wake up.  Beans should be soft.  Take one out and sample it to see if it’s done.   If you get home and they aren’t quite done, you can put them on high and they cook much faster but keep an eye on them.  They can get low on water and burn.

Some spices to add are garlic powder, onion powder, cumin seeds or cumin powder and pepper.  Again, no salt while cooking, it will prevent the beans from softening but the other spices are great to add while cooking.  You can start off adding 1 teaspoon of each spice per 2 cups of soaked beans and modify to suit your taste.

Vegetables:                  Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

Go for variety when eating vegetables.  Steaming is the easiest way to cook.  Get a little metal steamer you put into the bottom of any pot.  Be sure to rinse the vegetables before cooking.  Good vegetables for steaming are broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms and carrots.  Put in the steamer, add water until it just touches the bottom of the steamer, put in the veggies, cover, put on high until it starts steaming then set temperature on medium.   Most vegetables are done in 5-10 minutes.  Start checking them at 5 minutes until they are the texture you like.

You can eat them plain or drizzle with some olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice or even try balsamic vinegar.

Herbed Baked Chicken:                                    Cooking 50-60 minutes

This recipe works great with boneless breasts or thighs.  Rinse the chicken and put into a baking dish.  Over 8 pieces, drizzle a mixture of  1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1-2 minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon each of dried (or 1 tablespoon fresh) of your favorite herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, etc.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Take them out and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  This is important.  The best way to not overcook or undercook is to check the internal temperature.  The chicken is done at 165.  If the chicken is already at that temperature, it’s done.  If isn’t not quite there, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Take it out and check the temperature again.  Repeat until it’s at 165.