This Tofu is to Die For!

This tofu is to die for!  Really?  I’ve never heard anyone say that before.  Has anyone ever heard that in all the history of tofu-dom?  I’ve heard of dishes with tofu in them that were to die for…. good pad thai comes to mind, but tofu in and of itself?  It certainly caught my attention when a new friend told me that her sister’s recipe for baked tofu was to die for.  When I told her I admired but was a bit dubious of this description of tofu, we decided that a great way to cement the friendship and get to know each other better was to have a cook-off to share and make some favorite recipes together.

Bearing the ingredients to make vegan parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese-y ball (also vegan), roasted (no stank) broccoli and some pre-made nut butter bliss balls, Mr. Bigg Sis, My favorite Son and I set off for our friend’s house where they would try to kill us with tofu.  What can I say, we like to live life on the edge…. (Don’t say you aren’t impressed ’cause I can feel it from here!)

Little did we know that our friends were not only treating us to baked tofu but oysters (clearly not vegan, but oh so fabulous).  Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got to work – with My Favorite Son making spiral potatoes, Mr. Bigg Sis shucking oysters with Mr. Host and me baking deadly tofu with Ms. Host.  Luckily for all of us the soy-based suspense was limited as Ms. Host already had a batch of baked tofu in the oven so we didn’t have to wait long to try the dangerous dish.  It was in fact delicious!  Everyone in my family agreed and we happily munched slabs of tofu while preparing all of the other delicacies I mentioned above.

What a lovely way to get to know people better.  We had a great meal, lots of laughs and learned some new favorites.  Ms. Host and I concluded that the generous amount of onion powder in the recipe is very important to the success of the baked tofu, or as she stated in her love for this tofu, “I think it’s the onion powder that makes this stuff like crack to me.”  Another tofu statement for the books…. or the blog!

I give you, straight from Ms. Host’s sister Nancy:

To Die For Baked Tofu!

3, 16 ounce packages of Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
1 cup flour (we used GF)
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
2 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp wheat bran (we left this out to be GF)
1 stick vegan margarine or butter (1/2 cup) melted (we used Earth’s Balance Vegan margarine)

Mix dry ingredients together with fork. Have melted margarine / butter in saucepan on stove over low heat.

Drain tofu on a cotton cloth, & slice each block into 1/4 inch thick slices. Dip each piece of tofu in melted margarine/butter and remove it from saucepan with spatula.

Place into breading mixture. Coat thoroughly in breading mixture.

You can use a fork to scoop breading over the tofu, and then place on cookie sheet that has been greased with olive oil. When cookie sheet is full, pour any leftover melted margarine/butter over tofu pieces. Bake at 375 on the lowest shelf of the oven for 1 hour, turning after 1/2 hour. (If breading has not quite adhered to tofu, after 1/2 hour, just cook about 10 minutes longer before turning.)

Watch it towards the end of the hour as it is much tastier when still just a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Don’t overcook! Baked tofu keeps well in fridge, can be frozen and makes great sandwiches.

Enjoy!  Preferably with new friends 🙂

Quick Quinoa, Beans and Salsa

Biggest Bro created a long running dinner favorite in my household which consisted of brown rice, black beans, salsa & cottage cheese.  (This is incredibly fast and easy if you use leftover rice and canned beans.)  Both my fellas always liked this but when that dang doctor told Mr. Bigg Sis not to eat dairy anymore, this one fell off the radar.  (Actually we are very grateful to that doc because Mr. Bigg Sis is much healthier since we ditched the dairy…, but it DID get in the way of some of our fast favorite dishes!)

Now the Sis Sisters usually just replace, substitute, re-vamp and redundify ;-), but none of the vegan cheeses we have tried with this concoction brought the same level of enthusiasm… until now that is.  So I’m going to share one of those annoying recipes that gives you ingredients, but no amounts.  I am usually not irritating…. Okay, Little Sis reads this and I could be very irritating when we were children…. Okay, maybe not just then…. can we just move on from the irritating thing now?

I am giving you only ingredients because this is a “put out the ingredients and let each family member put together their own perfect combo” recipe.  I know my 15 year old loves this concept, and only requires a reminder that there does need to be a reasonable amount of veggies in his bowl.  I love it because it is a little easier for both clean up and preparation.

At any rate, Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook once the water boils, and in that time the rest of the ingredients were prepared and then – oh yum!

Ingredients:

1) Cook quinoa according to package directions

2) Kale sauteed in olive oil, garlic and cumin seed
Get your clean kale greens ready (I used about 3 big handfulls)
Heat about 2 tsp of oil
Add a minced or pressed clove of garlic and 1/2 – 1 tsp cumin seed
Once garlic and cumin seeds are fragrant, add kale and stir
After kale looks darker green and shiny, add about 1/4 cup water and place cover on pan
to steam
Turn off heat

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3) Offer vegan parmesan
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
Blitz these ingredients in the blender – don’t go too long or you will create seed butter!

4) Drain and rinse can of black beans (or kidney beans – or whatever beans you have)
Heat the beans up a little so they don’t cool everything else down.

5) Open containers of salsa 😉

Mix!

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We will be having this again… So easy and perfect on a busy night when you don’t want to spend much time cooking.

Weekly Meal Plan 2/1-2/7

Well… I’m sorry I didn’t post last week. I suppose I could have come up with some fabulous “Here’s What to Cook When You Can’t Leave Your Neighborhood Post,” but honestly I just wasn’t up to being that positive about it. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I live in Mid-Maryland about 5 minutes from the “eye” of where Winter Storm Jonas landed just over a week ago. What this meant for my little town is that we got 3 feet of snow in in about 36 hours. That’s about 32 inches more than a “usual” snow dump for this area. Needless to say, systems pretty much came to a complete halt. If you didn’t have a snow mobile or snow shoes, you were pretty much confined to the house or your yard to play in the snow. There are a lot of good things about that kind of confinement, and I think there’s a wellness post coming on that… but logistically it’s not so great.

The other part of it that wasn’t so great for me personally is that the storm made it impossible for Mr. Little Sis to return from a class he was attending in Chicago. So, there I was. Stuck in my house, with my twins, and my very large dog, with 3 feet of snow all around all around, 3 feet of snow all around.

Now mind you, I have no objection to physical work. I actually kind of dig physical work (get it, dig, har har) – gardening, landscaping, even snow removal… for awhile. The kids and I figure that when it was all said and done I probably spent about 8-10 hours moving snow, mostly by myself, despite well intended efforts of Little Man. I took breaks, I didn’t venture down heart attack way… but it was coming down so fast and there was SO much that it was really hard to manage. My hands are just now recovering and everyone I’ve spoken to has some twitch, twinge, ouch from snow removal. All of that would still have been difficult, but what was really the kicker, was coming inside from that scene and realizing I would still have to make a meal for the kids.

I’ll be honest. I don’t even remember what we ate, except that I know we had some lentil casserole using the lentils Bigg Sis kindly supplied when I couldn’t bear to go the store with the crazed pre-storm panic filled people just for lentils.

So now the big snow induced drama is over. All said and done, it really was kind of a nice week (even though we missed Mr. Little Sis terribly). Aside from the dreadful amount of physical labor, there is something awfully restful about NOT being able to go anywhere. Now we can, and we have plenty of places to go… and not quite so much delicious reading and tea drinking to do. But we’ll still eat. Here’s what we’re having.

Monday: Creamy Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale (slightly modified from this), whole grain bread, green salad

Tuesday: Nutshroom Burgers, cut and pickled veggies, spinach salad

Wednesday: Vegan Scalloped Potatoes with Chickpea Cheese Sauce, sautéed greens, green smoothies

Thursday: Vegan Picadillo, corn bread, green salad

Friday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday: Mulligatawny Soup, brown rice, curried sauerkraut salad

Sunday: Homemade pasta, winter pesto, spinach salad

Adult Lunches: leftovers, salad

Lunchbox Treats: Nut Butter Bliss Balls

  

 

So there it is folks, a whole lot of eating amidst the melting piles of snow… Hope it’s sunny where you are!