Put Away That TV Dinner & Make This Southwestern Tofu Scramble Instead!

Today is National TV Dinner Day, and unlike National Mushroom Day, this is not the kind of food holiday I can get too excited about. Yes, I do keep a few packages of convenience foods in my kitchen. Right now the closest thing I have to that is a package of Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese, but on more normal weeks I might have one frozen dinner and one Healthy Choice microwavable meal in stock. They’re there for the times I get snowed in, rained out, so sick that I can only stand upright long enough to punch some numbers into a microwave, or so unbelievably stressed that dinner becomes one more thing on my to do list.

I prefer to make my own “frozen” or “tv” dinners. Last year, I batch cooked all the time, making enough for 4 people when I was the only one eating, and storing the leftovers in my freezer. I never needed Lean Cuisine to rescue me, because my own preparedness had solved any problems of time crunches, deadlines, or inclement weather. However, this year, a new set of roommates brings a new dynamic to the kitchen, and the freezer just ain’t big enough for the three of us. It’s rare that I batch cook these days, and my supply of homemade easy meals has dwindled to a pitiful one or two items at any given time.

Still, I survive without falling back on conventional tv dinners too often, because it can be just as fast to make a fresh meal from scratch. Seriously! It’s cheaper, too, but I’ll bet you’ve heard that one before. This Southwestern Tofu Scramble is a perfect example of a fast, nutritious and delicious option that can be enjoyed at any time of day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can’t freeze it, but why would you need to, when it can be thrown together in minutes flat? Plus, it’s adaptable to whatever seasonings, vegetables, and other add-ins you may have on hand. Just think up all the possibilities you have! This doesn’t have to be Southwestern at all. It could just as easily be Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, Southern…consider this “recipe” to be more of a technique, and then see where your imagination and kitchen supplies take you. I changed this by swapping in a green pepper for the zucchini, paprika and red pepper flakes for the chili powder, and adding in some broccoli, just for fun. It was filling and delicious without being too spicy or heavy. Definitely a keeper!

Southwestern Tofu Scramble, adapted from Shine on Yahoo
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
14 ounces firm tofu, rinsed and crumbled
1 ¼ teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 green pepper, diced
¾ cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen
¾ cup broccoli florets
½ cup Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
½ cup salsa
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 slices toast, for serving (optional)1

The Method
Place half of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the tofu, paprika, pepper flakes, and cumin. Stir and cook until the tofu begins to brown, 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan, followed by the peppers, corn, and broccoli. Cook the vegetables until they begin to become tender, roughly 3 minutes. Add the tofu back into the pan and stir until the mixture has heated through, 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cheese until melted, and top servings with salsa and cilantro.

1For a low-carb version, eat without toast.


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