Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Grilled" Tofu

Since starting the migraine diet, meals at my house have drastically changed. Before the migraines, we would eat a meat and two meal almost every night consisting of chicken or fish with a veggie and rice or potatoes. We would have soup or spaghetti every once in a while as well.

Now, we eat more one pot meals: lots of casserole dishes, lasagna type dishes, soups, or stews. We'd been completely without the "meat and 2" meals until we discovered tofu. In our pre migraine diet days, I had always been afraid of preparing tofu. I just never knew what to do with it.

After some experimenting, I have found several ways to make tasty tofu. My favorite way to prepare tofu is to fry it. This way is VERY yummy, but unfortunately not very healthy. I've recently started experimenting with grilled tofu. Since the temperature outside is just too cold for me to heat the grill up, I've been using indoor methods. Tonight I tried to pan "grill" the tofu. Pan grilling tofu is pretty much the same as pan grilling chicken or fish, but there are several steps to take to prepare your tofu for grilling.

Grilled Tofu with Veggies and Rice
-1 block firm or extra firm tofu ($1.20) The blocks can come in different sizes. For 2 people, we can eat a 12 oz block by ourselves. Buy as many blocks as you need for your family.
-marinade of choice ($.40) We used a garlic herb dressing. Barbecue sauce works very well.
-Green Giant Sugar Snap Peas (Free! On sale for $1.00, used $.50 coupon that was doubled)
-1/2 cup brown rice ($.20)
-1 cup water
-sprinkle of garlic powder and salt
Preparing Your Tofu to Grill
1. The night before you are going to grill your tofu, put it into the freezer. This will change the texture and make it easier to work with.
2. In the morning, take your tofu out and put it in the refrigerator.
3. When tofu is completely thawed, remove from package and drain. You can defrost your tofu in
the microwave, but this will change the texture even more. You may like it more, you may not.
4. Press your tofu to get much of the excess liquid out. To press the tofu, wrap it in paper towels or a clean dish towel and place between two kitchen plates.

Next, place a weight on top of the plate. I use 2 cans of tomatoes because they are heavy, but not heavy enough to crush the tofu. Let the tofu set for at leat 15 minutes.

5. Next, slice tofu in half so you have two pieces that are half the thickness. This makes it easier cook the tofu all the way through.

Grilling Tofu

1. Place tofu in marinade of choice. Make sure each side is covered. I place my tofu in a plastic baggie because I find I use less marinade this way. The longer you marinade the tofu, the better it will taste. Tofu is like a sponge and will soak up lots of flavor from the marinade.

2. While your tofu is marinading, combine 1 cup water with 1/2 cup brown rice. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until rice is done. When rice is done, add garlic powder and salt to taste.

3. Preheat a large frying pan. If you have a grill pan, this will work even better. Spray your pan with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.

4. Place your tofu in the pan, and cook on medium heat for 4-6 minutes. Don't flip your tofu around or check on it too often. You want it to set so it won't crumble apart when you flip it.

5. Flip your tofu, and cook for another 4-6 minutes.

6. Remove from pan and enjoy! Serve with garlic rice and steamed sugar snap peas

Total Cost: $1.80! This meal left us with no leftovers, but you can't get much cheaper than that!

Overall, this meal was pretty good. I thought the texture of the tofu was good; it reminded me of fish. However, I was not a big fan of the marinade I used. It would have been much better with barbecue sauce or italian dressing. I still prefer fried tofu, but who doesn't like fried things over healthy grilled food? Hubbie really enjoyed it, so I'll be making it again. Tofu can be tricky, so if it doesn't come out for you the first time, try again! Once you learn how to prepare it, tofu is a healthy, tasty, affordable alternative to meat.

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