"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheap Delicious Dinner (Girly Food)

In a recent post (There's Nothing to Eat (Pantry Management)!) I was casting about randomly for combinations of proteins and starches for dinner, and one of the duos I came up with was quinoa and tofu. As a matter of fact, although I have cooked each of these separately, I hadn't ever combined them into one meal before. Tonight, as 7:oo rolled around and everyone was still whining for dinner, I seized upon this combo as a quick fix.

It wouldn't have worked, by the way, if my husband were expected for dinner. He doesn't mind the occasional vegetarian meal, as long as it is based on traditional Latin staples such as rice, beans, and corn. But quinoa and tofu do NOT fit his idea of a satisfying meal. He would have rather eaten some Top Ramen. That's traditional Mexican all right - traditional wetback solo male post- 12-hour shift physical labor cuisine. Along with 3 for $10 frozen pizzas and maybe hot dogs cooked over the gas burner on a fork.

Anyway. Here's what I did tonight, and it all three of my kids ate it up with relish:

1.5 cups quinoa, placed in a stockpot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, cover, and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Meanwhile: Heat 2 tablespoons (or so) neutral oil in a large skillet over medium high heat

dice 1 package extra-firm tofu into 1/2" cubes, and fry, turning occasionally while you:

chop one stick celery, one carrot, 1/4 small head red cabbage, 2-3 cloves garlic, 2 jalapenos: add veggies to skillet and keep turning

add: 1 tsp (give or take) mashed fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fermented red pepper paste (yeah, sorry, don't know where to get it. I got mine at Uwajimaya like 10 years ago. If you ever find it, know it will keep literally forever in your fridge), a teaspoon vinegar and a teaspoon sugar. If you have any cilantro, chop and toss with the rest.

Turn off veggies. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork. Serve everybody about 1/2 cup quinoa topped with generous scoop tofu and veggies. Umma-numma-numma.

I worked out the finances, and this extremely nutritious meal costs about $0.75 per serving. Maybe $1 max. Enjoy.


Gail V said...

umma numma numma.
I think it was so good because of a.) fresh vegetables b.) your hard work and c.) the love you put into it. umma numma. Lucky kids and you.

Dr24Hours said...

Why neutral oil and not olive oil? Also: what's neutral oil? I'm not sure I want to eat anything that comes out of a "neutral" when you squeeze it.

Aimee said...

neutral means flavorless - in my kitchen it means canola oil. Other neutral oils are peanut and corn oil. Not olive oil because the strong flavor doesn't go with this flavor profile. In my opinion.

The Idiot said...

That is verging on child abuse! Sadly, I have to say I am in total agreement with your other half on this.