First what's the best/easiest way to track calories in home cooked meals?
Best and easy are usually opposites when it comes to this stuff.
But the basic answer is screw online recipes, unless you're following said recipe to the T (or find the difference between the two and calc accordingly). Just do a lot of math. For example, my omelette muffins
All the ingredients come with a nutritional label. The cottage cheese is (ass-pulled numbers here) four 4oz servings at 90 calories a pop. Therefore, the entire tub is 360 calories. One egg is 80 calories, so 6 eggs is 480 calories. Repeat this for all ingredients and then you have a summation. Divide your summation by total number of servings. In the case of muffins this sort of thing is easy -- all the ingredients are 2200 net, and I make 14 muffins, so ~160). Soups and such are a little bit harder, but you should be able to eyeball "one quarter of the pot" or similar increment.
For stuff without direct labels, like meat -- again, wolfram alpha as above. The meat at least comes with a total weight attached. So... if your package of 5 chicken breasts is 3 pounds, each chicken breast is therefore 0.6 lbs, or 272 grams. Given that 84g skinless chicken breast is 140 cals
, this means your chicken breast is 450 calories.
In the odd chance that eyeballing stuff out of the box is difficult, getting a kitchen scale
will help out if you do a lot of home cooking (which I recommend. The home cooking, I mean. And therefore the scale. So... both, really? :p)
The good news is once you've done the math once you never need to do it again. Once my bank of foods was established, it was able to autopilot pretty well.
Also what should I have for a calorie distribution?
I don't know what the "should" level is, but from experience it's "whatever works." You know when you get hungry, you know what your schedule allows. Personally when I was doing weight loss (1 lb a week for a whole year, ~1800 calories a day on average), my plan was 250 calorie breakfast, 600 calorie lunch, 350 calories post work (5 pm ish), 400 calories post workout (9pm ish), and two 100 calorie snacks for whenever I felt like it. I'm rarely hungry in the mornings. Smaller meals throughout the day instead of a front loaded dinner tends to increase satiety. Feeling hungry sucks*.
There's a lot of... broscience out there that talks about "keeping your metabolism up with 6 small meals" and stuff, but afaik it's all bunk.
And as an aside, look into eating more protein.
You're very carb-heavy right now. The figure that gets thrown around a lot is 1g protein per lb LBM. Not only does it increase satiety, but it spares LBM loss and accelerates fat loss (see bottom of page, also see the note that Protein requirements increase when calories are insufficient). Try and introduce things like eggs, cottage cheese (any cheese, really), greek yogurt, almonds, and more meat into your diet.
What I did when I first started was not to restrict myself -- just log everything I ate, and then hop into the review booth after a week. From there I was able to see what could be cut, what I wanted to keep, and where I could substitute in something a little more protein-filled. This kept me with more than 75% of what I was eating, quality wise -- I just reduced some portions and substituted in some other stuff. This sort of change is a lot easier to stick to than a complete 180 with whole wheat everything and no cookies ever and blah blah blah. Additionally, I also permitted myself one cheat meal a week. This was pre-planned (ie, not a binge). It was usually friday lunch, and usually to the tune of about 1000 calories. It's easier to vent off steam than to bottle it in and cause an explosion, ya know? In the long run this meant I lost one less pound per 3 months, but it was worth it.
*To this end, I recommend stocking up on low-calorie veggies/fruits like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and such to eat as well.