Friday, January 18, 2008
If my dinner's cloned, does that mean automatic second helpings?
So GruppieGirl was talking over on her blog about the whole cloned meat thing. Understandably, this brings up some concerns for her about what she's feeding to the Gruppie Clan.
While I can get into a whole rant on the subject, between cloned meats and genetically altered meats and produce, I think I've done enough ranting for one week.
Let me say, simply, that I think cutting out meat entirely is never a bad idea.
To help Gruppie out, I'm going to post a couple of quick and yummy recipes that involve no meat whatsoever.
The first thing you really need to do is get some TVP. Especially because I use that a lot.
The first thing is just a quick & easy substitution. In the Verbose World, we call these "Sloppy Jimbos" after that Simpson's Halloween episode where they started serving the bad kids in the cafeteria. You know. "Served" as in "as lunch"?
Anyway, regular Manwich sauce doesn't have meat in it. If you're buying generic, check the label. A good rule of thumb is to start with one cup of dry TVP (remember to reconstitute it per instructions before using in the recipe) to one regular size can of Manwich. You can adjust this to your preference and serving size needs.
After you reconstitute the TVP, cook the Sloppy Jimbos per the instructions on the Manwich can (sans browned beef, of course). Serve out onto hamburger buns and enjoy!
Another easy substitution is using TVP instead of ground beef in spaghetti sauce. When I reconstitute the TVP, I add in a heft scoop of garlic (because we love garlic). When the spaghetti is done in the pot and draining in the sink (in a strainer), I pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the hot pan, and then toss in some more garlic (yum!). Let the garlic brown up a bit, and then toss in your TVP. After a bit more browning, add your spaghetti sauce, stir well to incorporate all the TVP/garlicy goodness, and then toss in the noodles.
This dish became a particular obsession for awhile in the Verbose World and I literally had to stop asking anyone what they wanted for dinner if I had any hope at all of eating anything other than spaghetti.
Word to the wise: roast some garlic and smear it on thick bread, pop it under the broiler just until you can smell it, and serve along side the spaghetti. So good you will not wonder how SweetPea and the Monkeys could eat it every day for a month and still demand more!
This last dish was something I whipped up on the fly that became an instant hit. The Monkeys love this and it is so quick and easy.
Add some taco seasoning to TVP and then reconstitute. Drain a can of black beans. Drain a can of corn. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, drain a can of chickpeas (not garbanzo beans, because SweetPea won't eat garbanzo beans. She will sometimes deign to eat chickpeas, though). Toss it all into a pot or a microwave and heat thoroughly. Add to warm tortillas, along with cheese or salsa to your preference. Wrap like a burrito and enjoy.
So there you go. Three quick and easy things to make for dinner that kids will enjoy. I like serving these up with steamed veggies, salad, or fresh fruit.
My kids love it. But don't take their word for it - try it for yourself.
(do I sound like a bad commercial, yet?)