Cabinet Cooks

Cabinet Cooks: Tofu!

Okay, let’s clear the air enough for me to admit I’m not a vegan. I had gumbo for lunch today.

After the move this weekend, I didn’t have the time or money to go out and get everything I’d planned on buying. While a vegan diet shouldn’t be expensive (beans and broccoli, right?), I needed to replenish my entire kitchen, and all of the oils and sauces and different treats I wanted to add to that shopping list pushed me way over budget.

Though I have chicken in the fridge and shrimp in my belly, I’m not a complete failure. Mark and I went shopping on Sunday and purchased a lot of vegan friendly foods, including Almond Milk, veggie burgers and tofu. I also have gluten free pasta, an entire fridge filled with veggies, cabinets stocked with legumes and a plan. While I am not totally meatless (Mark has ground buffalo in the freezer that I cannot wait to bite), I am still sticking to a mostly dairy, GMO and gluten free diet, with a little meat sprinkled throughout.

With that said, I attempted my first tofu recipe yesterday. It’s a favorite of mine; a really simple mushroom wine sauce. I usually cook it with chicken, so why not tofu? (Spoiler: Because never tofu).

Ché’s Famous Tofu with Mushroom Wine Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  1. At least 6 mushrooms, sliced, I used Baby Bella;
  2. One onion half, or less or more, diced;
  3. Garlic, diced, as much as you can handle;
  4. Red wine, 1/2 cup;
  5. 2 pads of butter, or non-dairy butter;
  6. 3 ounces of firm tofu;
  7. Lots of pepper;
  8. A little bit of low sodium salt;
  9. Some type of gluten free flour, or regular flour, if needed.

Step One: Press Your Tofu

I don’t have any pictures of pressing tofu, but I followed these steps. In case you don’t know, tofu is fucking gross. It comes in a package filled with water, which spills all over you. Then you have to press your tofu between two plates, and squeeze all of that soy water out. It takes about 15 minutes for the tofu juices to excrete, so I used that time to prep the rest of the meal and started cooking the sauce.

“Food”

 

Step Two: Make Your Sauce

The sauce is easy. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Then, add the garlic and cook for about a minute, or until fragrant. Then add onions, and sauté until translucent, also about a minute or so depending on the amount. Then, add the wine and the mushrooms at the same time. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add lots of black pepper and a bit of salt. The mushroom flavor will then release into the wine and butter, and it will taste delicious. If you want to thicken it, use your favorite thickener, or just use a teaspoon or so of flour. This is the only part of this recipe that you should replicate.

A bad picture of a good thing.

 

Step Three: Begin to Ruin Your Meal

A serving of tofu is 3 oz., but the package contained 12 oz. So, I stored my tofu in two ways: First I froze a portion of it. This changes the consistency of the tofu but also helps in removing the moisture (soy juice). I stored the second portion in the fridge. To store tofu in the fridge, place it in tupperwear with water and seal it. The shelf life is maybe 3 days. Or really 0 days, because it’s disgusting either way.

I cut my remaining 3 oz. (4 oz. if you’ve been doing the math) into blocks. This is where I begin to screw everything up. These blocks are too thick. Tofu should be cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces.

Poor preparation.

 

Step Four: Finish Ruining Your Meal

Tofu is never technically “uncooked”, so how you prepare it is entirely up to the recipe. Some recipes call for baking, some call for blending, some call for sautéing, etc. None call for throwing the tofu into a bath of hot red wine for 5 minutes.

Don’t do this.

 

Note: In a proper dish, you would spray non-stick oil onto a pan and heat the tofu for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Once cooked, you would place onto a plate, dish the mushrooms and onions on top and then spoon the sauce over as desired.

Step Five: Garnish and Serve!

Once I felt the tofu was adequately soaked, I cut it up into bite sized pieces and flopped the contents of the pan onto a plate. Beautiful! Then, for flair, I threw some parsley on top.

Mmm, flair!

 

I poured myself a glass of Pinot and took a bite. Hmm… it didn’t taste like much. Then I took another bite, and and started gagging. This was disgusting. I can’t adequately describe just how vile this dinner was, because I can’t even comprehend what those tastes were, but just take my word for it. Do not ever prepare tofu like this, or at all.

Step Six: Drink Wine for Dinner

I ate the mushrooms, because they were delicious, before tossing the rest. Because I was still hungry, but also disgusted and unnerved, I had three glasses of wine and went to sleep.

There you have it! Ché’s Famous Tofu with Mushroom Wine Sauce Recipe. Skip the tofu, add more mushrooms, and enjoy.

Cabinet Cooks

Cabinet Cooks: Bread-Free Chicken Parm

carb free chicken parmesean

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

All Together: 35 Minutes

I am supposed to go on vacation in 4 weeks to an island, with a beach, wearing a bathing suit. I am not (nor have I ever been) in bikini shape, so the least I can do is cut back on the carbs. This might not be as mouth watering as Mom’s dish but it’s still delicious.

Things You Definitely Need

  • Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breast (1 per person)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Oil (Preferably olive)
  • Cheese (Preferably mozz)

Things That Would Be Nice to Have

  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 cup
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Pureed Tomatoes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste

Prep

Cut your chicken breast into strips, or bite size pieces. You can leave it whole, but I personally don’t want to waste time by cutting into my food before eating it.

Dice your onions and garlic. How much garlic and onion depends on you. I personally like more garlic and will use 2 cloves.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and saute your garlic and onions until the onions turn clear.

Add your tomato sauce. Now, this is tricky. If you only have canned tomato sauce, pour that in. If you have crushed tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, and tomato paste, you’re in better standing than me. Just remember, the more paste, the thicker the sauce.

Once you have poured in your tomatoes, add in all your seasonings (all to taste).

Cook

Let the sauce simmer for as long as you can. The longer the better.

While the sauce is simmering, saute your chicken until the juices run clear in a separate skillet.

Place your cooked chicken in the skillet with the tomato sauce, and lay thin slices of mozzarella over your chicken breast. If you cut the chicken before hand, like I did, then place the mozzarella over several pieces of chicken.

Once the cheese has melted move the meal into a bowl (if the chicken is cut up) or a plate (if the breast is whole) with the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, then the chicken, and then more spooned tomato sauce on top.

Garnish with shredded Parmesan and enjoy.

 

Cabinet Cooks

Cabinet Cooks: Baked Zucchini

zucchini, healthy, easy, fast, parmesan, recipe

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

All Together: 35 Minutes

This baked zucchini recipe can be used as a fancy side dish or as an entrée itself if your cabinet is bare enough. I’m not above eating zucchini for dinner, but I’m not above a lot of things.

Things You Definitely Need

  • Zucchini (think 1/2 per person)
  • Bread Crumbs (Preferably panko)
  • Oil (Preferably olive)

Things That Would Be Nice to Have

  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 cup
  • Fresh Basil

Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a teaspoon of olive oil. Slice zucchini into quarter-inch pieces. Set aside. Mix panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix together until crumbs are coated.

Cook

Overlap zucchini slices in baking dish. Thoroughly cover with the breadcrumb mixture. Cook for 30 minutes. Once finished, zucchini will be tender and the breadcrumbs will be golden and crispy. Add some fresh basil on top and serve.

Cabinet Cooks · Ché's Guide

Che’s Guide To Domesticity: Cooking!

Hey ladies! Ready to take that plunge and become a woman? Well, don’t worry. I did that already. I have bright red lipstick on, curlers and a silky negligee draped over my soft shoulders because a real woman always looks good. I’m also drinking a Cosmo! How scandalous! 😉
The first step to being a domesticated woman is to get a house. Either marry the first man you kiss or be “independent”, stop shaving your legs and get a place of your own. Have you done that? Great! Now let’s move forward.
Everyone knows that a woman has to cook. Luckily for you, I’ve broken down what you need to know to save face and to make sure you stretch that 5% less you’re making than your male counterpart.

  1. Plan Ahead!

    So before you go shopping, look up what recipes you want to make that week. For instance, decide if you’re going to eat sandwiches. If you’re only eating sandwiches, buy a 1/2 pound of meat and cheese. If you’re only eating sandwiches a few times that week, buy a 1/4 pound! Also, invest in some tuna. That won’t go bad and it’ll keep you skinny. After you think about your sandwich consumption, choose another lunch option. Like a healthy salad. We are so prone to changing our minds, so two options are necessary. What do you want in your salad? Write it down! Now you won’t forget anything when you go to the store. Now, Google some dinner recipes. Lemon chicken? What do you want on the side? Don’t go crazy and buy lots of vegetables. Just choose two or three vegetables and use them in your salad and in your dinner. Wow, now you’re really being smart.

  2. Splurge Where It Counts!

    Are you cooking for one? Wow, you are? You do know you’re only getting uglier, right? Well, while you’re looking for a husband, be smart. Instead of buying potatoes and using one potato to make mashed potatoes every night, just get Country Crock potatoes! Now you have delicious mashed potatoes whenever you want them and you don’t have to feel silly smashing a single one. Plus, that never works. Also, buy the more expensive boneless, skinless chicken breast. You’ll get more and it’ll be tastier. Remember it’s lasting you ALL week.

  3. Portion, Portion, Portion!

    You’re only one person. And you’re probably also lazy. So, while the chicken is still soft, wrap it up in plastic wrap! Now you have the perfect size of frozen chicken to thaw out instead of having to thaw it all out and eat it super-fast. No one likes a lady who eats fast! This goes for veggies as well. You don’t need 2 onions and three cloves of garlic. You only need of each silly!

  4. Practice Makes Perfect!

    If you make a steak and it comes out leathery, you’re going to eat it and be kind of sad and probably call your mom and cry about how lonely you are. But, you can’t do that when you bring a suitor home. So, practice until you perfect it, and then move forward. No one will hang out with you if you’re serving wilted broccoli and overdone chicken. Yuck!

  5. Lastly, Never Stop Cooking!

    Are you frustrated? Just want to run to Taco Bell and eat your feelings away? Well don’t!

    Remember, you’re not making a lot of money as a switch operator and you’re spending the rest of your cash on clothes, probably. So skip the Taco Bell, go home, and cook some more. To make it easier, buy a few luxury items like refried beans and Uncle Ben’s Ready Made Rice. Now you’re hungry AND excited.

There are your rules. If you follow these you’ll be on your way to domesticity and one step closer to having a fulfilling relationship, because everything boils down to starting a family.

Cabinet Cooks

Cabinet Cooks: Veggie Stuffed Bell Pepper

easy recipe, quick recipe, vegetarian recipe, stuffed bell pepper

Prep Time: 5-35 minutes, depending on whether or not you use rice.

Cook Time: 15-25 Minutes

All Together: 20-40 minutes

Stuffed bell peppers are fantastic, but they’re usually filled with some uncommon ingredients that you may not have around the house, the most popular being ground beef. If you do have hamburger meat, definitely throw it in. But this all veggie dish is so delicious that you won’t even notice the lack of freezer burnt filling.

Things You Definitely Need

  • A Bell Pepper
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Bread Crumbs
  • One Additional Vegetable

Things That Would Be Nice to Have

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • More Bell Peppers
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • An Onion
  • Your Favorite Veggies (I like broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, etc)
  • One Tomato
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½-1 Cup of Rice

Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook rice.

Cut off the top(s) of your bell pepper(s). Scoop out the insides and rinse the hallowed pepper out to ensure you’ve cleansed it of any bitter seeds. Finely chop up any of the vegetables you have except for your tomato, if you’re using a tomato. Cut your tomato up into small chunks. Finely chop up the parsley after removing all stems.

Cook

Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a pan with the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté for one minute or until garlic starts to brown.

Throw tomato sauce (at least 2 cups if cooking for two), chopped veggies and chunked tomatoes into the skillet. Let simmer for three minutes. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste. I like to add red crushed pepper too, but my mouth is a masochist.

Add rice. If you do not have rice, slowly add bread crumbs instead, stirring in between pours to ensure they are soaked up by the tomato sauce.

Let simmer for five minutes.

Scoop mixture into bell pepper. Add bell pepper to a lightly oiled baking sheet/pan.

Generously sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Cook for 15-25 minutes, depending on whether you want the cheese to be melted or browned.

Sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve immediately.