Money Saving Monday: Tofu–Why You Need to Stop Freaking Out About It

How was your weekend, readers? Did you have a nice Holiday? We had a lovely series of events here. Saturday, Mike and I celebrated two years of happiness. We celebrated with ice cream! Then Sunday came and it was Easter! We celebrated with candy! Unfortunately, Easter candy is my favorite genre of candy (and understandably so!) and ice cream is my favorite dessert so I may have…overindulged…a little bit…I never want to look at candy again. Candy, you and I (and my tummy) are enemies! Boo candy!

(I was just kidding baby, I still love you, don’t be like that.)

Anyway, I’m not in the mood AT ALL for sweets, so today, and likely for the week, my blog leans towards savory. Today, I’m going to talk about one of the cheapest dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or–dare I say it–dessert) options available–tofu. Oh my LORD you guys HATE that stuff, don’t you? I mean, I hear about it all the time. The second you tell someone you’re a vegetarian you get a “Oh wow, I’d totally do that but I HATE tofu!”

Some of you may have noticed the lack of tofu recipes on my blog. A few of you have even asked why there are no tofu recipes when I feature weird things like tempeh. Truth be told, we just don’t eat a whole lot of it in our house. It’s not because it’s expensive (four to five servings is only $2 at most stores), nor is it that I don’t like the taste. The reason we never have it is because it expires, and if I don’t know for CERTAIN that I’m not going to eat something THIS WEEK then I just tend to forget it’s around.

Tofu is so versatile, cheap, and yummy though (when cooked properly) that I’m beginning to rethink my soy policy. I’m beginning to think I could actively plan a tofu meal a week. Maybe I’ll even share a few with you?

So, here are some facts about tofu.

1. There are different types: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. Silken works really well blended into smoothies, soups, desserts, dips, and sauces. Soft tofu makes the tastiest and easiest tofu scramble in the universe. Firm and extra firm are often what you run into at a Chinese restaurant and want homestyle bean curd (drooooooool). Typically, if you want to stir fry or bake it and serve it with dinner, you’ll be using firm or extra firm. Both are tasty.
2. Firm and extra firm tofu usually have to be pressed. Why? Because they’re packed in water and in order for your tofu to absorb the flavor of whatever sauce or marinade you’re using, you’re going to want to press it to get the water out first. Some people have a fancy device called a “tofu press.” Me? I go old school. Really, really, really old school.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Thank you, Ancient Greek book, for finally becoming useful.

Take a plate, throw your tofu on it, throw another plate on top and find the biggest, heaviest, most pretentious book in your house (we used to use the complete Chronicles of Narnia) to put on top. You can let it sit anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour, but I always prefer to go the hour route to get every last bit of juice gone. Then I drain it off and marinade it.
3. You should probably marinade it. You don’t have to, but it will taste a lot like a sponge if you don’t. I’m not kidding. It will be GROSS. (You could also bread, batter, or deep fry it, but those aren’t really the most healthful options.) So, chop up your pressed tofu to it’s desired size, and throw one of these marinades over it and let it soak in.
Awesome marinades:
Barbeque Sauce (not kidding. It’s amazing)
Taco Sauce (I’m serious!)
Teriyaki Sauce (no brainer!)
Soy Sauce
And more!
Let those marinades soak into your tofu for AT LEAST an hour, or overnight for best results.
4. Bake it! I love baking my tofu. I hardly ever fry it if I can help it, baking it is so easy and healthy. Just pop those little cutlets (or dice, or blobs, or whatever) on a lightly greased baking sheet (they WILL stick) at 350 for about 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Tada! You have baked tofu. Yum, yum, yum.
5. Rice Schmice. You don’t need rice for tofu. You could just as easily…
…eat it in a taco.
…have it as a sandwich.
…eat it with some pita.
…gnaw on it by itself for a snack.
…throw it in a wrap.
…or have it over noodles.
Tofu should NOT be relegated to stir fry!

Seriously, fifty cents a person feeds at least four people a serving of protein and nutrients, as well as whatever fortifications are added, and it is as easy as pressing, picking a marinade, and baking. Give it a try! It’s really not nearly as icky as you think and it keeps great (after you cook it).

Have a good week guys. Expect yummy recipes, soon!

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7 responses »

  1. Can you tell my mom how to make bacon-flavored tofu for moi? Seriously, I think you’ve inspired her to try it this week in a taco/burrito. That is, if she can buy tofu within a 50 mile radius.

    • I’ll have you know I saw it in your grocery store last time I was there! (Which surprised the heck out of me, but I guess a lot of non veggie people eat it, too). And actually, a couple of dashes of liquid smoke will give it a bacony flavor. Just make sure you taste the marinade first, because if the marinade tastes funky, the tofu will taste funky!

  2. I feel sad that you don’t like your Hansen and Quinn!!! I am scared I have forgotten all the Greek I ever knew (although I keep telling myself I’m going to read something easy, like the New Testament to stay in shape) but I found Hansen and Quinn WAY better than Wheelock (*puke*). I also have to let you know that should I find myself pressing tofu my big Liddell and Scott, Oxford Classical Dictionary, and French Dictionary would be fighting for the job. None of those are the most pretentious books I own (my library is like a dream for pretentious asses) but they are the biggest!!!!! Sadly, when we combined libraries, we chose to keep Anthony’s box set chronicles of narnia and get rid of my ginormous collection.

    • Unfortunately, Wheelock wasn’t heavy enough to press tofu. I actually used to use a chemistry book, but I guess we must have finally donated it because it’s nowhere to be found. It was monstrous, practically dwarfing the Greek book. A few times I’ve used a combo of one of Mike’s theory books, and piano workbooks. You can tell academics and hoarders live in this house. 🙂

      Let me know how reading the Bible goes. My Greek is awful and my Latin was never much better!

  3. Pingback: Money Saving Monday–Stay AWAY From the McDonalds Breakfast Menu!!! « Crunchy, Hip, and Painfully Broke

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