Thursday, October 2, 2008

TVP helper...makes a great meal!

I am notorious for not thawing out the meat I planned to use for dinner. Tonight was no exception. To my defense I had actually planned on making these Lentil burgers that sounded really good. BUT I had used up all my onions in my pot roast and my eggs for breakfast. (I didn't plan ahead...I need to really work on weekly meal planning). SO...coming in on stage left...TVP!!! TVP is a wonderful product. What is TVP you ask? Texturized vegetable protein. It is a soy product. You buy it near the natural grains area in the market. It is a dry good and stores well for extended periods of time. In my effort to cook 2 meatless meals a week TVP helps a lot. I actually forgot all about it. I used to use it alot when I was single and making an effort to decrease my meat consumption. Guy is much more of a carnivore than I. Now in the midst of a financial crunch and trying to save money on groceries I "rediscovered" TVP. What brought it back to my attention is the book I am "reading" called, "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. It is packed with great ideas. I do with she would have edited her book a little more and kept it a little more simple. Either way, her book has lots of great vegetarian recipes, one of which for TVP skillet dinner. Now, those of you who know me I can't stick to a recipe ever. (I wasn't one of those kids who liked coloring books either, I didn't like to color inside of the lines...I liked to draw my own pictures.) I have to tweak it here and there. I used Ruth's recipes as the skeleton on which I made my version of "TVP Helper".

TVP Helper
(this is a great way to stretch your meat. Any ground meat, turkey, beef, pork.)
I happened to have 4 meat balls in the freezer. What do you do with just 4 tiny meat balls? Stretch them to feed two people with TVP!!! Here is how I did it.

2 cans of crushed tomatoes (juice and all)
2 cups of filtered water
Bring to a boil
Add 1 cup of noodles (I used whole wheat elbow noodles)
1 cup TVP
1 can navy beans (drained)
1 TBSP Italian seasoning (you can use what ever you have on hand)
dash of onion powder (I ran out of onions remember)
dash of garlic powder (too lazy to mince a clove...honest but true)
dash of caiane pepper
dash of red pepper flakes
dash of Lawry's seasoning (I normally don't use this BUT I was trying to trick Guy into thinking this was all REAL meat)
Couple twists of the pepper mill.
1/4 c of shredded cheddar cheese stir this in.
Optional 1tsp of ground flax seed (I have a designated coffee griner for spices and bread crumbs I use to grind up seeds etc...I would HIGHLY recommend having a designated grinder. I can't tell you how many dollars I have saved in making my own bread crumbs with it and by using up those dried up older bread butts and heels that would normally go to waste.)

I sprinkled a little more cheese on top for "garnish" again to sell it to my husband.
He took a couple bites and was like, "WOW babe this is what is in this. Is this all meat?

The great thing about TVP is it has the texture of ground meat and takes on the flavors of the dish you are making and doesn't lend a weird flavor like tofu sometimes can if it is cooked wrong. If you really like a beef flavor you can soak the TVP in beef stock. I warn you it can become really salty if you do this, so use a low sodium stock.

I have been really proud of Guy lately trying new foods and expanding his palate!

Sorry no pictures...think of hamburger helper...that is what it looked like.


midge said...

Wow! Be encouraged - you are doing better than most of us with your healthy and innovative cooking.

It sounds like you have a wonderful life with Guy and Amelia. I'm so happy for you. It's fun to check in with each other now and then!

The Mattson Family said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment Midge. So nice to see you and your little ones are doing well from time to time also! God Bless

Jennifer said...

You are I are so alike. It makes me laugh.