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Textured vegetable protein can be used either as an addition to meat or by itself as a vegetarian alternative to meat. If you want to use t.v.p. by itself, just add an equal amount of hot water and stir for a few seconds. You can also soften it by cooking and stirring for a minute or so.

Textured vegetable protein also makes an excellent addition to stir fry or salad. Add re-hydrated t.v.p. to your favorite vegetables.

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Money-Saving Fat-Lowering Way to Stretch Hamburger

By Mary Curtis

Textured vegetable protein and ground beef

Add an equal amount of t.v.p. to ground meat doubles it without sacrificing nutrition.

How much do spend on food?

The average family of four (two adults and two children) spends about $600 per month on groceries or about $140 a week (or even more)!

With food prices expected to increase this year, families will feel crunched as their budgets are strained to continue putting nutritious meals on the table.

Adding textured vegetable protein (t.v.p.) to ground beef has the following advantages:

  1. You will be able to double (or even triple) the amount for just a few cents. T.v.p. is relatively inexpensive compared to ground beef. So by adding equal or double the amount of t.v.p., you will extend your food. You can freeze it just like you would hamburger so it will be ready when you're ready to use it.
  2. Unlike oatmeal which has been used as a ground meat supplement, textured vegetable protein is high in body-strengthening protein so you won’t lose any nutrition by using less meat.
  3. T.v.p. is neutral in flavor so you won't lose any flavor from the ground beef.
  4. Textured vegetable protein is lower in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fat. By adding t.v.p. to ground beef, you will therefore reduce calorie and total saturated fat intake for you and your family. You will also reduce cholesterol intake.
  5. You'll realize extra savings because you'll still be able to take advantabe of "bulk" buys - just freeze the mixture in freezer bags until you're ready to use it.

Textured vegetable protein is a soy product made from de-fatted soy flour. It and is very easy to use, taking less than 3 minutes to prepare. T.v.p. should be available in your local supermarket, but you can also buy textured vegetable protein online:

Because t.v.p. comes dehydrated, resembling little nuggets, it will keep in your cupboard until you are ready to use it.

To Double Ground Meat:

Because you will add t.v.p. directly to the meat, you won't have to re-hydrate it as you would if you were using textured vegetable protein as a meat substitute.

T.v.p. mixed with ground beef

Mixing equal parts of t.v.p. and ground beef doubles your yield. "Guestimate" measurements to about 1 cup to 1 cup.

Cup for cup, you’ll be using t.v.p. like you would ground meat, essentially while cutting the ground meat in half.

So, for example, if you normally make burgers using about a cup of ground meat, you can cut back on the meat by about half a cup and, to supplement, you’ll use about a half-cup to t.v.p. Likewise, if you make a meatloaf using about 2 cups of ground meat, cut back by about a cup of meat and supplement with about a cup of t.v.p.

If you buy hamburger, or other ground meat, in bulk (i.e., 3 to 5 pounds, or more), just "guesstimate" the amount of t.v.p. to add to the meat; about 2 cups per pound. After you mix is all together, you can freeze 1 or 2 pound portions in freezer bags, just like you would normally.

To Triple Ground Meat:

To increase ground meat to about three times the original amount, just add 2 parts t.v.p. to 1 part meat. As above, if you buy hamburger or ground meat in bulk, just roughly measure the number of cups. Then separate in the t.v.p.-meat mixture into portions, like you ususally would, and freeze in freezer bags or appropriate containers.

This takes less than 3 minutes.

Caution About Freezing:If you are using ground meat which has been previously frozen, NEVER RE-FREEZE RAW MEAT!You must cook the meat thoroughly if you want to freeze it. This applies to all meat, whether or not you add t.v.p. or any other supplement or ingredient.

T.v.p. and ground beef mixed together

As you can see, you can't tell the difference in appearance from pure ground beef.

By cutting the ground meat you would normally use in half, or even less, you will be able to stretch your money. You will also reduce calories and fat to fit into that favorite outfit!

T.v.p. can also be used by itself, without the ground meat, as a great-tasting meat substitute. Just re-hydrate it as described above, using about 1 cup water to 1 cup dried t.v.p., and use it just like ground meat! Click here for more info.

Mary Curtis is author of The Practical Vegetarian and other books and articles on vegetarian and healthy eating and lifestyle.

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