Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tofu with Steak Sauce and Onions(Vegan); Three-Cheese Pasta with Spinach

Hi, there, it's sure been a while since I last posted, and I didn't realize just how long until I got here. For a while, I just didn't feel much at all like cooking, as I've been pretty depressed, very tired, and probably you can understand, right?

A couple weeks ago, I had my second appointment with my rheumatologist, and he gave me two shots of cortisone in my lower back, on either side of my spine. It took a couple weeks to take effect, but boy howdy, I can sure tell the difference at work now. As to how long they will last, I of course have no idea , but I'm enjoying it for now. The results of the lab work and x-rays showed that my problem is "a touch" of arthritis, some degenerative discs, caused by the arthritis, and from the questions he asked me and the places he poked and prodded, he determined I also have fibromyalgia. No surprise there. Y'know, I think I've already told you this, tho. Anyway.

The flexeril and the lyrica together have helped me sleep...too well, in fact, so I've cut the flexeril in half. My insurance, however, has run out for the BC/BS fiscal year, and this time, it included my prescription plan!!! Some of my meds are extremely high, over $100, so I don't quite know yet what I'm going to do. But, in the meantime, I sure don't hurt as bad as I did. Even tho I'm not going to stop working, I will start receiving the early Social Security retirement checks, starting towards the end of this month, so that will help some, I'm sure.

Ok, let's get to the important stuff, right? The food, lol. This recipe came from about.com's vegetarian pages, and it's really good. I made it last night and loved it, and will make it again.

.......................................Tofu with Steak Sauce and Onions........................................

1pkg.firm or extra firm tofu, well pressed
2Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. steak sauce
1/3C water
1Tbs. flour

Slice tofu into 5 or 6 strips, about 1/2 inch thick.

Saute onions in oil until they turn brown and begin to carmelize, then add tofu and allow to cook until lightly golden brown. Add balsamic vinegar and steak sauce and stir to combine. Add next the water and flour and whisk to combine . Allow to cook until the sauce thickens.

Serve over rice, or hamburger buns.

First of all, I used a vacuum-packed firm tofu, and I think that I should've used a water-packed extra firm, pressed. The flavour most likely wasn't affected, but the tofu simply crumbled, so the strips didn't happen. Actually that was ok with me, as I was able to cut it into cubes. The steak sauce is your own choice, of course. Mine was the Kroger brand knock-off of A-1, which I really like. Instead of rice, I used toasted hamburger buns, and really enjoyed this a lot. My sides were plain boiled potatoes, and green beans with bacos sprinkled over.


This next recipe isn't really a recipe at all, it's just a general idea of the ingredients and sort of guessing at the amounts. You can adjust this to fit your own likes, and what your family likes. Basically, it's failproof, and quite easy. It came about because I needed to use up about three ounces of garlic and herb goat cheese before it went bad.

...............................................Three-Cheese Pasta with Spinach.................................

Set a large pot of water to boil, well salted. While the water heats, melt about three tablespoonsful of butter in a medium-sized skillet, or a sauce pan if you prefer, over fairly low heat. I like my skillet. When the butter melts, stir in a couple tablespoonsful of flour with a whisk, and let it heat for a few minutes, to take out the raw flavour of the flour. Then add about a cup of cold water(use milk or soy milk if you prefer, I just didn't have any milk), stirring constantly with that whisk. Once this is all stirred in, add another cup of water, and turn up the heat to a little less than medium. Stir often. When the sauce starts to simmer, it may thicken up more, so you can add more water or milk if you prefer.
When it reaches the consistency YOU like, start adding your cheeses. I used the three ounces of garlic and herb goat cheese, one slice of smoked provolone, and a few good shakes of Parmesan. Keep stirring, because this has a tendency to scorch, and stirring helps the cheeses to melt. If you want to...and I did...you can season the sauce with black pepper, thyme, and just a dash of nutmeg. Your water should be boiling by now, so turn the heat down on the cheese sauce, and add as much spaghetti as YOU want to the pot. Try not to add too much at a time, as the water should stay boiling, or at least at a simmer, as you add it. Stir the spaghetti around and around until it's all under water, and let it justkeep boiling until it's done as much as YOU want. I like my spaghetti really soft, you may prefer al dente. Your choice. Ok, while the s'getti boils, take some frozen chopped spinach from the freezer, and add a couple good-sized handsful to the cheese sauce, and stir it well, to make sure the spinach isn't in large clumps, and that all of it is coated with cheese. It won't take but about five minutes for it to thaw, get hot, and be tender enough to eat. Drain the s'getti thoroughly, and put it back into the empty pot you cooked it in, pour the sauce over it, mix it all together, and that's it. It's done. Your sides can be whatever YOU want...I don't think I bothered with a side, just ate the pasta. After all, it had spinach in it, so there was my veggie, right? I really thought this stuff was great, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Ok, I was going to post a couple soup recipes, but I'm tired and hungry, to they'll just have to wait. Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

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