In a tofu-nk and in need of ideas!

I realized I really haven’t had much meat in quite a while. I might order it when I am out to eat, and I am happy to eat it if someone cooks it for me; however, I am not going out of my way to buy and prepare meat myself. I am not mostly vegetarian for moral or ethical reasons, or even really for ‘diet’ purposes. A lot of vegetarian dishes can have just as many calories as meat-filled dishes, depending on how they are prepared. While I didn’t make a conscious decision to phase it out of my diet, it kind of happened naturally. Wanna know why?

My #1 reason for being mostly vegetarian is because I am cheap. Have you seen how much one pound of ground beef is lately? Not to mention I don’t like touching raw meat (specifically, chicken). A block of tofu is $1.99 at Trader Joe’s. Eggs are cheap too. I am going for the most bang for my buck here.

Eggs and Morningstar sausage. Tofu. Super versatile. Yum.

I have made or tried tofu prepared in a few different ways now (see recipes page for some of these recipes if you are interested!): tofu noodles, tofu pigs in a blanket, baked sesame tofu, tempeh in pasta sauce, tofu in soup, and I recently made up a delicious tofu marinade. My favorite way to eat it is sliced thin, marinated, and pan seared in my new cast iron skillet (one of my favorite purchases as of late). I will eat this tofu plain, and I have put it on a sandwich and used it as ‘lunch meat.’ A grilled cheese with mayo and tofu hits the spot, and provides a little more protein than just a regular old grilled cheese.

To make the marinade, I mix dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and a bit of canola oil. Then I pour it over the sliced tofu and let it sit at least overnight.

I feel like I am now comfortable cooking and working with tofu. Now I need to expand my library of recipes! Please help! Also, if anyone has any good vegetarian frozen meals or snacks. I am stuck on Morningstar, (sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits!) but I know there have to be other good vegetarian options out there. I need ideas, please!

Leek and Potato Soup

While reading some blogs today, I was inspired to make some Leek and Potato soup! It has been a while since I blogged a new recipe. I wasn’t sure how this one was going to turn out, but I took some pictures anyway. Lucky for all of us, it is a winner!! Low in calories and very filling. Try this for dinner tomorrow night.

Leek and Potato Soup

1/2 large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts chopped and rinsed
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
3 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 c. skim milk
Season to your taste: I used salt, pepper, celery salt, 
cayenne pepper, and some Zehnders all purpose seasoning

In a large soup pot, take onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add diced and rinsed leeks and saute for another 5 minutes. Once all of these veggies are soft, add in the potatoes and broth. Make sure that there is enough broth in the pot to cover all of the vegetables. 3 cups should do it!

Add any additional seasonings that you desire. Bring the pot to a boil and cook until the potatoes are done – 15-ish minutes? I forgot to time it…

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat and blend with the immersion blender right in the pot! Or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend it up that way. I left some ‘texture’ in the soup by not blending all the way. 
This recipe makes 5 hearty portions (about 2 cups each) and is a really good fall/winter comfort food recipe. Enjoy!!
Serves 5
Calories – 123, Carbs – 26, Fat – 0, Protein – 5, Fiber – 2, Sodium – 380 

Sweet and Spicy Chex Mix

I went on a Chex Mix-a-thon this weekend… I bought two boxes of Chex, pretzels, and Cheez-its in preparation for our big trip to Las Vegas this week! Homemade Chex mix always reminds me of the holidays.

I made Sweet and Spicy Chex Mix and Original. Since boxes of Chex are gigantic, with the leftover cereal, I made Muddy Buddies.

For the Original and Muddy Buddies, I got the recipes straight off the Chex boxes. I just used a little less butter in the original, and added some cayenne pepper for a kick. I used reduced-fat peanut butter for the Muddy Buddies because that is what I had on hand.

For the sweet and spicy, I made up my own recipe! It is oh-so-good and can be altered based on your tastes.

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (I used light butter)

1.5 tablespoons dark brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar, it was pretty sweet so if you like it less sweet, then I would use less – adjust to your liking!)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 teaspoons of coarse or kosher salt
2-ish teaspoons of garlic – more or less to taste
2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce 
10 cups of stuff (chex, cheezits, pretzels, nuts, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium pot/pan, melt butter and add in brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt.
Drizzle over chex mix and stir until everything is coated – use extra butter if you want more topping!

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and return to the oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring the mixture twice. Keep an eye on it… it may need more time to fully ‘dry out’

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in a large baggie or Rubbermaid Food Storage container.