Seven Secrets to Crispy Tofu

tofu-page-0

One of my goals for 2014 is to experiment with new food without killing my waistline.  I found Tofu in bulk at a great price at Costco and decided to give it a try. With less than 94 calories and zero fat per 1/2 cup, tofu was the perfect answer! Although, I’ve cooked with tofu many times, I’ve never enjoyed the slippery texture.  Even after cooking it in a stir fry, it can still taste uncooked and flavorless.  So, this week I tried making tofu edible by adding flavor and crunch! Here are seven easy tips (four for fried tofu and three for baked tofu) I learned that will keep you asking for more without crashing your diet!  Plus, a delicious chopped salad recipe to eat with your tofu.

Image

4 Secrets for Crispy Tofu:

1. Cut 12 oz. of extra firm tofu into 1/2 patties

2. Season with salt and pepper or the seasoning of your choice

3. Cook in heated oil for 3 minutes per side

4. Cool on a bed of four paper towels

Image

3 Secrets to Crispy Baked Tofu:

1. Cut in 1/2 inch patties from 12 oz. of extra firm tofu

2. Marinate in desired sauce/dressing for at least 30 minutes

3. Cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes per side on a cookie sheet (cover sheet with tin foil for less mess)

Both the baked and fried tofu was delicious!  However, I liked the fried tofu best. It was a better crunch!

Use these for salads or as snacks to dip in barbecue sauce or other dressings.

Image

Image

Asian Chopped Tofu Salad

Serves 6

1 whole zucchini, chopped

2 pickled or canned beets, chopped

2 cups  frozen shelled edamame steamed

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

12 oz. extra firm tofu

1 cup Canola oil

salt and pepper

2 cups cooked bow tie pasta

1 cup (plus more to taste) Soy Vay Very Very Teriyaki sauce (found at Trader Joe’s and other grocer’s)

Directions:

Tofu:

Heat Canola oil in a wok or skillet.  Cut tofu into ½ inch patties and season with salt and pepper on one side.  When oil is heated, place tofu in oil, seasoned side down.  Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Remove and cool on a prepared plate with four paper towels.

Pasta:

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse and place in a separate bowl. Pour Soy Vay’s Very Very Teriyaki sauce on noodles and marinate about 5 minutes.  (Time saving tip: toss the frozen edamame into the pasta pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking, drain together)

Salad:

While tofu and pasta are cooking, chop zucchini, beets, and lettuce.  When tofu is cool, chop and add to separate bowl.  Mix all ingredients together in a large salad bowl.  Add more teriyaki sauce to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Crispy Tofu:

Cost for Tofu: $12 for a four pack at Costco

Time: 1 hour

Love it or leave it? Love it!  Adding flavor and texture to the tofu gave it the right taste to keep coming back for more.  Even the fried tofu is still a lower fat option over high fat and high calorie meats. I will definitely do this again.

Ick Factor: Medium. A little bit time consuming to cook the tofu but definitely worth the wait. In the future, I will double the recipe for leftovers.

My Favorite Comfort Food

Image

This is my FAVORITE comfort food. While growing up, I remember my mom making this for me on those cold wintery California days… so what if it was only 60 degrees outside. Now that I am in Utah I love it even more. I also like to make this when anyone in my family comes down with a cold. Not only is this dish yummy, it’s good for you! This isn’t your average chili. I should let you know I am not a big fan of chili in general, but this one is worth it. Sooo delish.

Image

Here is how I made it:

1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, add the turkey and begin to brown it. After a few minutes add in the chopped onion.

2. Once the turkey is cooked through and the onions translucent, add in the chopped green bell pepper. Let it cook with the turkey and onion for a few minutes, and then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Give it a good stir.

3.  Bring the chili to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Scoop a good amount of chili into a bowl, top with a generous scoop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, lime wedge, cilantro and Fritos. Enjoy!! I know you will.

Time: About one hour in total. 

Money: $15.00 (Serves 6, $2.50 per serving) Makes for great leftovers too. 

Ick Factor: Low.

Love it or leave it?: Love it. This is my favorite dish to make on a cold day. This isn’t your average chili, it’s better described as a yummy vegetable, bean and turkey soup. The flavors are spot on (with added toppings), and it’s super quick and easy to make. Enjoy!

Posted by Sara J.

The Best Salsa Ever

Image

Last week I was looking for a new salsa recipe to try for a little party I was having. I found this recipe by Ree Drummond, a.k.a The Pioneer Woman– IT IS THE BOMB. It’s so simple to make and the flavors are just right. Here’s how I made it:

What you need:

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
  • 1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. I was able to make all of it using my Kitchen Aid blender. If you have a smaller blender I would recommend blending it in two batches. Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno (with seeds), garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Money: $5.34 for everything but spices I had on hand. 

TIme: 15 minutes

Ick Factor: LOW. 

Worth it? Yes. This salsa is so easy to make. It makes 3 1/2 jars worth which is a huge savings!! Chips and salsa are a staple at our house and this recipe fits the bill. This is my new go to salsa recipe and I think it will be for a long time. Enjoy!

Posted by Sara J. 

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

In college a friend brought me a plate of large, slightly crunchy, gooey in the middle, snickerdoodle cookies during finals week. I still think about them. He even gave me the recipe. I made them over and over until the recipe disappeared and I haven’t been able to recreate the perfect combination of cream of tartar and vanilla. So, I got excited when I came across these Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars… the same taste without all the dough rolling and inevitable, “What do I do with the extra sugar and cinnamon?” right? Wrong. I wish I could say I will make these again, but alas another disappointment in my quest for that long lost recipe.

I doubled the recipe, which I should not have done. It makes plenty in an 8×8 pan.

That dough looks good…

DSC_0582

I tried one pan with a tin foil liner as the recipe calls and one without, to see if it was really necessary. Foil liner wins, although it wasn’t difficult to get the non-lined square out.

DSC_0588

Mmmmmm…. pink frosting.

DSC_0596

Cheerfully pink and Valentine… They just didn’t have the taste I was expecting. Too sweet.

DSC_0599 DSC_0600

Time: 17 min of prep plus 20 min of baking plus 60 min for cooling

Price: > $5 vs. $24 to buy the equivalent in cookies at the store

ick factor: low – not too hard or stressful

Worth it: NO. Look better than they taste. Wish I could say differently. However, I will qualify this by saying that everyone who tried them really liked them.

Ingredients:

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour

Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 to 4 1/2+ cups powdered sugar

splash of milk or water, if needed

(pink) food coloring, optional

Directions:

Bars – Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan by lining it with foil and then spraying it with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. The batter will be very thick and sticky, like cookie dough. Use your hands if necessary to spread it evenly. Bake at 375F for 19 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. While the bars are baking, prepare the frosting.

Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese until combined and it begins to fluff. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar (one-half cup at a time after 3 cups) and mix until desired frosting consistency is reached. I like very thick frosting and used 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar with a splash of half and half. Carefully add the food coloring, one drop at a time, until desired color is reached. After the bars have cooled, frost them. Optionally, garnish with sprinkles, candy bits, sanding sugar, or any optional garnish of your choice. Consider storing the bars in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese and butter in the frosting; the bars freeze well and will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Posted by Lindsay M.

Follow on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: