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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tofu Parmesan and BBQ Mushroom Quesadillas

It's a twofer!  What unites these recipes is the sauteed onion-and-mushroom component of each...it's a small element of the Tofu Parmesan sauce and a main part of the BBQ Mushroom Quesadilla filling.  If you're slicing, chopping and sauteeing for one dish, you might as well do enough for both.  Both recipes are adapted from the 28 Day Diabetic Meal Plan from diabeticconnect.com.  I apologize for no finished product pictures...I cooked these two meals on two of my busiest nights (and they cooked up FAST!) and consequently forgot to photograph. 

Tofu scares a lot of people, but in this dish it's nothing to be frightened of.  Freezing "toughens" the tofu, usually a problem with other foods, but a bonus here.  It gives the tofu "steaks" a toothier, meatier texture, so making this one into a freezer kit suits the recipe extremely well. 

I will say though that my Dear Husband and I decided we prefer the tofu unfrozen for this recipe, so in future, I will fridge the 'fu rather than freezing it as part of a freezer kit.  If do you freeze the tofu, pat the cutlets dry gently rather than pressing hard...you want moisture to remain in the cutlet to allow the crumb coating to stick.  I think I'd also go for more, thinner cutlets for freezing...6 instead of 4...for a more appealing texture.  Carry on!

Quesadillas are wonderfully fast to put together and cook.  You can assemble the quesadilla in its entirety (as I do) to freeze, or just the filling to thaw and assemble later.  It simply depends on whether you have more time on the front end (in prep) or on the back end (in actual cooking).  If you make the quesadillas up fully, you can bake them off from their frozen state for a super-fast, no-plan dinner.

To make both dinner kits, start with:

1 very large onion, chopped (or 2 small onions, or 1 1/2 medium onions)
1 1/2 lbs. sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp oil

You can fry this mixture in batches, or if you're impatient like me, throw it all in your largest skillet.  Julia Child would have a stroke if she saw how deep I stacked the mushrooms for sauteeing, but they come out fine. 

Heat the oil over medium-high heat, and add veggies as you chop/slice them.  Saute them 10-15 minutes, until all is softened.  Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid that develops in the pan.

Measure out 2 cups for the BBQ Quesadillas and put the rest in a ziptop bag for the Tofu Parm freezer kit.  Skip the parts of the recipes below involving mushrooms and onions.

BBQ Mushroom Quesadillas
Makes 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp chile powder
4 tortillas
3/4 cup shredded Jack cheese

Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Saute mushrooms and onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together bbq sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chile powder.  Stir in mushrooms and onions.  Freeze filling now, if desired.

To make tortillas, thaw filling if necessary.  Spoon 1/2 cup of filling onto one side of each of 4 tortillas.  Top with 3 tbsp cheese on each.  Fold in half.  Freeze now, well wrapped, if desired.

To bake, place tortillas (still frozen, if desired) on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes at 400F.

Tofu Parmesan
Makes 4 servings

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil

1 lb. tofu

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup marinara sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp frozen minced basil

3/4 cup mixed Italian cheeses (parmesan, mozzarella, romano, asiago)

Saute mushrooms and onions in oil over medium heat until lightly browned.  Set aside. 
Lengthwise slices (horizontal in this view)

To make a freezer kit, slice tofu lengthwise into 4 or 6 "steaks" and put in a freezer container (or leave in the fridge until cooking). Combine bread crumbs and seasonings and put in a small ziptop bag. Combine marinara sauce and basil in another freezer container. Freeze cheese in a ziptop bag, and mushrooms and onions in another. Combine all bags in one large bag, include cooking instructions and freeze.

Assembled kit
To cook, thaw thoroughly.  Dredge tofu in breadcrumbs.  Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat, and brown "steaks" 3 minutes on each side, turning carefully.  Spoon onions/mushrooms over top, then marinara sauce.  Sprinkle cheese over top.  Cover the pan and cook until sauce is heated through and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Pin It

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