Caponata is a classic Italian dish from the South.
It is sort of the Italian version of the French Ratatouille. Though Italians would definitely think that the Ratatouille is the French version of the Caponata.
The original recipe is truly amazing but it has two caveats for us, looking to get lean and strong: it has a disproportionate amount of calories and basically no protein whatsoever.
“Such a pity!” — I said to myself.
So I did something that is sort of illegal in Italy: I changed the traditional recipe.
I know, many grandmas are most likely turning in their graves as I cooked this.
But, if you can forgive me the biggest Italian sin, then this recipe should really be in your high-protein staples.
Mind you, it still has a lot of calories, but waaaaay less than the original. Which makes this a great recipe for a clean and healthy bulk.
Let’s talk about the mind-blowing taste. Bittersweet, flavorful, rich, and truly mouth watering. Each bite will call for the next.
You say that you can’t gain weight because you seem not to eat enough? Try this recipe and try to tell me that again! 😉
Given the relatively high amount of fiber, this dish is pretty satiating too!
This recipe is also low carb high fat (LCHF) so, if you happen to be on this diet, you’re good to go!
Another chicken recipe because people who want to get big and strong only eat chicken, am I right?!
The truth is that it was on sale and I stocked on chicken hahaha #frugalaf
This recipe smells of Mediterranean.
I don’t know why it happens but once cooked, everything has this fragrance of fennel and the sweetness of the onions. It was then natural to me to add some fennel seeds to boost that aroma even more with some fennel seeds. But if you don’t have them, this recipe tastes delicious as well. The fennel seeds are really the cherry on the top.
This high-protein recipe tastes really succulent and it’s also cheap and easy to make.
This recipe makes a great healthy post-workout not only for people doing IIFYM (flexible diet) but also those on Paleo/Primal.
This recipe is recommended for bodybuilders on a bulking phase since it provides 790kcal. It is great for building muscle mass since it has 50g of protein! Talking about high-protein recipes, eh!?
I used beer to make it. You can replace it with wine (white for a more delicate flavor, red for a more robust one) or with chicken/vegetable broth/bouillon) or vinegar (my bet is that balsamic is great here). If you don’t have any of this, feel free to use water.
Building muscle mass and becoming strong can be done in a healthy way and this recipe is an example. Healthy bodybuilding is possible! 🙂
I am definitely going to make this again because I loved it and it’s sort of set it and forget it since the oven is doing most of the work.
Ah, some sour cream/crème fraîche is great here, for those of you looking to add more calories, just saying 😉
Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Potatoes…who doesn’t love them, am I right?!
All those calories though!
What if I told you that there is a vegetable that tastes and “behaves” 90% like a potato but with half of the calories?
Let me introduce you to a new staple in your diet which makes for a great food hack.
Yeah, bizarre name. But you might also know it as neep or swede.
I stumbled upon it almost by chance, really.
I live in the Netherlands and my Dutch is very bad. I asked for “Kohlrabi” and the fruit seller packed me a rutabaga. Which I discovered only when getting home and finding this HUGE and weird looking vegetable in my bag.
It actually took me some time even to understand what it was hahaha
I found a lot of delicious recipes on the internet but I didn’t have much time to do fancy stuff so I decided to treat it like I would normally treat a potato and use it to make this chicken stew you can see here.
I am pretty sure that if you would serve this to anyone who didn’t see you cooking, they might never tell that it’s not made with actual potatoes. The more sophisticated foodies might spot the difference and tell you “what kind of potatoes did you use for this dish?”
The difference is incredibly subtle.
The rutabaga/neep/swede has ONLY 36 kcal/100g!! It also provides a mere 8g of carbohydrates of which 3g are fibers. If you are on a ketogenic diet and miss potatoes, this can be for you!
From the nutrition point of view, unfortunately, as with regular potatoes, this is nothing spectacular as it doesn’t provide that high amount of nutrients. Though it has more vitamin C than regular potatoes providing 42% of the Vitamin C RDA in 100g. But to be honest, you need to have a very crappy diet not to consume enough vitamin C 😀
Also for those of you cutting and missing potatoes, try to have some rutabaga! I am going to show you more recipes in the future that are great for cutting!
I decided to make a very quick chicken stew using “kipkluifjes”. I have no idea what’s the English word for that and the closest approximation is chicken thighs though they are very small.
Of course, you can use bigger chicken thighs, drumsticks, and even chicken breast.
This high-protein recipe is a healthy bodybuilding meal great for dinner or post-workout.
At 850 kcal this recipe can be a bulking one for those looking to increase muscle mass. If you are cutting, use chicken breast or remove the skin from the chicken.
This recipe is also high in protein since it provides 54g per serving.
With 32g of net carbs, this can a good post-workout recipe for people on the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD).
If you don’t want to use beer, use wine, vinegar, or chicken broth to make this recipe paleo/primal.
I used to HATE Brussels sprouts.
Like any cheap plot you can think of, I am now in love with them, of course.
It all started when I wanted to pair some veggies with my beloved sardines.
I was experimenting with different things and I decided to give Brussels sprouts a try. And boy I was hooked!
I don’t know what happened but I actually really like them now. Go figure!
Brussels sprouts are a nutrient powerhouse!
100g of Brussels sprouts provide:
This recipe is a great way to pack some vitamins together with some great flavor (and a lot of protein!).
In the recipe I used beer. Feel free to substitute it with wine or vinegar (apple cider goes great here!).
If you don’t want to use sweetener, you can use applesauce for a more natural and whole ingredient (I didn’t have it at hand). Apple goes very well with pork, you should really try.
This is a full meal great for clean bulking. I would recommend this as dinner or post-workout. You get protein, fat, and healthy carbs all in one meal!
You don’t need to eat junk food to gain muscle mass. You can have perfectly healthy bodybuilding meals to gain mass and this recipe is an example.
This is a one-pot recipe which means that you won’t have to spend much time for cleaning up since you do everything in one pan.
This is a very easy and quick bodybuilding recipe which is also good for people on the paleo, primal, lchf, iifym diet.
I never cooked pork belly before but I was intrigued to try it since it was on discount at the supermarket.
It’s not the big chunk pork belly usually comes in but it was in slices.
Anyway, I decided to try to cook it very simply with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.
Literally, it took me 10 min total to make this and it tasted so freaking great.
On top of that, it packs 900 kcal and almost 40g of protein.
I really cannot understand how people struggle to eat enough to gain muscle mass. It’s not difficult if you choose calorie dense food.
Being so low carb and high fat, this is a great keto bulking recipe.
If you are looking to make some keto gains, you should try this recipe out.
On a bulking phase, you increase your calories. On a ketogenic diet, if you are not tracking your caloric intake, it can be hard to gain weight since this diet is very satiating. With some tricks such as adding heavy cream, butter, or olive oil, this can be overcome.
Too many calories for you? Really easy! Just drop the heavy cream! It will still taste great and it will have 132 kcal less.
Still too many carbs for you? Skip the cherry tomatoes or replace the shallot with garlic. The taste will be different but still delicious since garlic goes great with both pork and mushrooms.
This dish not only is super easy and delicious but it’s also incredibly cheap! No excuses for not building muscle mass here!
Once, I found out Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube channel and I ended up spending the entire Sunday morning watching is cooking videos.
I was drooling over my keyboard.
The guy is a whizz and he’s incredibly passionate about cooking. You can see his heart is in there when he seasons the meat, chops up the onions, or sears a steak.
Given that pork chops is relatively high in protein and I’m bulking, I decided to give Gordon Ramsay’s pork chops recipe a try.
The recipe itself is rather simple though I never basted meat before so that was sort of tricky for me though I managed at the end. It’s a nice technique to bring more flavors and speed up the cooking so that the meat doesn’t dry up and you can give it a try with this recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend this recipe to someone who never cooked before. There are easier recipes that can provide you great taste as well.
The taste was great: rich, full of aromas from the herbs and butter, sweet and sour from the vinegar and the peppers. Some sour cream or crème fraîche would make a great topping for this one or even just some quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Despite being high in fat, it doesn’t have a high amount of calories: only 590kcal/serving. Since I am bulking, I ate 2 😄
Olive oil and pork meat are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which can increase anabolic hormone levels.
Pork and butter are also a source of saturated fatty acids which, as well, can increase levels of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormones.
This will contribute to gaining muscle mass faster by increasing your testosterone levels in the long term.
Be sure to include polyunsaturated fatty acids in your diet as well such as omega-3s which you get from eating fatty fishes or by taking fish oil supplements for a proper balance.
Each serving will also provide 35g of protein which is a good high amount for people who want to build muscle and strength (you still need to train though 😜 ).
I had never tried a sweet&sour recipe before and if they all taste as good as this one I’m completely sold on the idea.
Quite frankly I wasn’t expecting the taste to turn out SO good.
You have the sweetness of the mango that is counterbalanced by the savoriness and umami of the soy sauce and chicken, ending with the crunchiness and aroma of the almonds.
This recipe is a true melting pot of flavors at each bite.
It was so good that I made it again a couple of days later.
As a sweetener I used erythritol but you can use whatever you want. Its purpose is to help to develop a glaze and add extra sweetness. It’s not mandatory but a very nice addition.
Feel free to omit the almonds if you are cutting. You can also replace almonds with sesame seeds.
This is a high-protein recipe. With 62g of protein per serving, this chicken recipe it’s great for bodybuilding,(especially during a bulking phase) or for those looking to put on muscle mass in general.
You can serve it with a salad on the side or with some mashed potatoes or oven baked fries.
This recipe is recommended for the following diets: primal, paleo, iifym.
You know when you open your fridge and you can find just a couple of ingredients and get discouraged?
That’s what happened to me before making this recipe.
I opened my fridge and I just had chicken and cherry tomatoes.
On top of that, I wanted to make something quickly.
That inspired me to create this one-pot very simple and easy recipe which also takes 10-15 min to make.
This recipe is great for a meal-prep too since you can make it in advance, store in the fridge, and reheat before eating.
It’s very high in protein and so low-carb that even people on the ketogenic diet can make it.
The taste is completely unexpected: sweet from the cherry tomatoes, sour from the wine and garlic, and great savoriness from the chicken blend together to give you a unique mouth-watering experience.
This makes a great post-workout or dinner when you are looking to pack some muscle mass with an high-protein meal.
Besides being Keto, this recipe is also Paleo, Primal, LCHF, and ofc IIFYM.
If you want to add more carbs, pair this with some rice or (oven baked) potatoes fries.
About the wine: it doesn’t to be the expensive stuff. I truly buy the cheapest there is and, once opened, it can last in the fridge basically forever. You can use wine for a lot of recipes to make them even more delicious so it’s not a waste!
Pork sausage was on discount, therefore I bought 1.5 kg.
What to do with it?
Pork sausage is one of those foods that you can put together with anything and it will taste superb.
This does indeed in this amazing recipe I am presenting to you today.
It’s pretty low in carbs so perfect for a ketogenic diet or low-carb high-fat (LCHF).
If you don’t care about your carbs intake, this goes perfectly with pasta. I had it with some gnocchi and, boy, was this foodgasmic!
Trust me, it tastes way better than it looks 🙂
My grandma (and mom) used to make this all the time: a big tradition in southern Italian cuisine.
The flavors are incredible and the way they combine makes you feel in Italy after a first mouthful.
Little that I realized, how high-protein and low-carb high-fat this dish can be!
Therefore, whenever I have some time and can find cheap eggplants, this dish is a must do for my post-workouts.
This is very filling too so if you are cutting you can make it as well.
So, there you have it, the authentic south Italian stuffed eggplants recipe adapted for muscle mass gains!
(I’m sure my grandma would kill me if she knew I posted her recipe hahah)