Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A rainy night in---what's there to cook?

Preface: Many people, even vegetarians, dismiss tofu because of its appearance. Meat-eaters don't believe that it has any benefits, and typically assume that tofu's just for vegetarians and vegans. Americans don't have many opportunities to try tofu, which is curdled soybean milk, especially because mainstream restaurants rarely use it.  Truthfully, I didn't think tofu looked good at all when I was a kid, but it's something you have to try. Beyond its squishy exterior, tofu is a great source of iron and vitamin B! With that said, I decided to work with an easy recipe and replace the meat with tofu. Keep reading!

This was the forecast for yesterday evening! Cody, my fiance, wanted me to go grocery shopping before the storm hit land, but it was too late--we were stuck inside and weren't malicious enough to order a pizza.With a tornado warning effective until 9 p.m., it was clear we weren't going anywhere. Although we were prisoners of our apartment, Cody and I decided to make the best with the food we had. We had one goal, one recipe, one box of tofu. Angel hair with tofu, anyone?

difficulty: 3/10
time: <20 minutes

Since we couldn't go out, we had to evaluate our rations. We possessed a few of the essentials--mashed potatoes, English breakfast tea and Hershey's kisses---but nothing to make anything complicated. We decided to use a simple recipe to show how easy is it to make something easy and vegetarian.

WARNING! This recipe uses tofu, which many people dislike (as stated in the preface). I agree, it can look really gross sometimes, but when you cook tofu it firms up and tastes great with almost anything.

This recipe could be left without the tofu bits, but tofu is full of calcium, iron and B vitamins, which are all important to stay healthy. Tofu absorbs the flavors of what it accompanies, so it tastes good no matter what it's with. Again, it's also full of vitamins that many vegetarians need more of, like iron. So, let's go. We had a package of extra firm tofu, as well as a box of angel hair pasta in our pantry, and there was a recipe on the back of the Pasta Roni box for chicken and pasta. We substituted tofu instead, just to try it.

One of the things I've learned with tofu is to watch out for the juice. It's easiest to drain all the liquids before you remove the tofu block from its packaging.

After removing the tofu, we cut it into eight pieces which we chopped into smaller cubes. Some people prefer larger pieces of tofu than others, but for this recipe we wanted the tofu to blend with the pasta--so smaller is better.

We put the cubes in a pan, added a little butter, and started to cook them until they were golden brown. The angel hair pasta came with a packet of herbs, so we sprinkled the herbs on the tofu before adding the pasta.

When the tofu started to look done, we put in the pasta and did exactly what the box told us. We added some milk, water, and let it cook.

As we cooked, Lucky evaluated the weather situation.
Lucky: weatherman and guard dog
Here was the final product once we finished our quick cooking:


The tofu worked out well! It looks a little overwhelming in these pictures, but there was a ton of pasta beneath the tofu pile.
I enjoyed this recipe--and it was just as easy as substituting tofu for the chicken recipe already on the box. This recipe was definitely easy and required practically no preparation. I would definitely recommend this recipe if you're ever in a crunch!

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