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?)


Anonymous said...

LOL!! Well, yanno... there is a difference between garbanzos and chickpeas. *whispers: although I have no clue on earth what it might be, lol*

Thank you for the recipes! I think I will check our supermarket for TVP; haven't used it in ages, but I love Mexican food and I think it will work really well for that!

Cath (Bit)

Gruppie Girl said...

Dolphyn~You are the best! I need all of the help that I can get. Tonight's dinner consisted of day-old cheese pizza, instant oatmeal and apples.

Can you tell me what TVP is and how you "reconstatute" it?

I'm printing out your recicpe now.

Keep them coming!

dolphyngyrl said...


There actually is no difference between chickpeas and garbanzos. I looked it up.

However, sweet potatoes and yams are actually two different things, even though most people use the names interchangably.


Just so you know, I have totally made my kids dinner just like that before! Only we didn't have pizza, so I served popcorn.

TVP is texturized vegetable protein. You can get it from health food stores, or even some regular groceries in either the "health food" aisle, or the cooking stuff aisle. The grocery that was by our house sold it from Bob's Red Mill in small bags that were with the flour & stuff over in the baking aisle.

Specific directions on how to reconstitute it will be with the specific type you buy, but, basically, you take a certain amount of the TVP, and a certain amount of boiling water, add them together, and then let it set for a bit.

I was trying to find the specifics for it over on our , and discovered that the Co-op considers TVP to be "highly processed". You can find out more information about that here. Also, while you're on the Co-op's website, check out their consumer guides & recipes. They've been doing the natural, organic thing for 35 years now.