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Red sauce and tofu advice

14 years ago

DH is currently recovering from his third surgery in 13 months for kidney stones. In one year, he grew 6 kidney stones in one kidney, most over 1 cm in size. He grew an additional 7 mm stone in his third kidney. He has a duplicate system resulting in 2 ureters in the space of one normal ureter, almost all the way down to the bladder. We've talked with the surgeon and we've done research.

Many people are simply "stone formers," and DH is one of those. Diet can contribute to the formation of stones. The list of things to eliminate includes but is not limited to: Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, eggplant, all nuts but especially peanuts and peanut products, all dairy, tomatoes, anything with seeds, all berries, most root veggies, whole bran and whole wheat, meat, soy products, beans, chocolate, tea, and coffee. While citrus fruit is okay, the zest or peel is not. Again, this is a limited list.

So, the surgeon's comment is that obviously it's unreasonable to maintain this restrictive of a diet for any length of time. His suggestions are to completely avoid chocolate, spinach, all berries, all nuts and nut products, tomatoes but very specifically anything in concentrated form such as sauces.

For the rest of the list, we're using moderation rather than elimination.

Here is my question. It has become apparent that I'm rather reliant on tomato-based sauces such as BBQ sauce, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce. Last night I made meatballs. The sauce I typically bake the meatballs in consists of ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, worshestershire (spelling!), a little garlic powder, and water. I did find a sweet and sour sauce to sub, and while it was liked by the kids, it was primarily sugar - something I'm not willing to do often. What could I make that could be mixed up as quickly as that sauce but would not be tomato based?

The same issue goes for spaghetti. I typically make spaghetti once every two weeks or so, sometimes once a week. Just a real basic, slightly more than takeout spaghetti - Noodles with spaghetti sauce. I have often mixed regular spaghetti sauce with an alfredo-type sauce. Keeping in mind that spaghetti nights are "get dinner on the table in the time it takes the water to boil" type of nights, what else could I use?

Tim's first thought was to go with mac & cheese, but our waistlines will not handle that on a regular basis. LOL

As for the tofu, my pseudovegetarian son who will only eat a bit of chicken, discovered "tofu soup" while at Outdoor School last month. I've tried unsuccessfully to find recipes. Would any of you have something I could try? Of note, he does not like cooked veggies. He will eat a nice variety of raw veggies but nothing cooked.

Now if only you could help me with dinners over Christmas accommodating the above and in addition my diabetic father and my "going off of meat" mom! In addition, she's supposed to keep sodium below 1,000 mg daily. Nah, that's got to be another post! Sigh.

Comments (28)

  • annie1992
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ganggreen, you have too many restrictions, I'm sorry.

    First of all, could you do a swedish type sauce for the meatballs? You could use lowfat milk and make it now so hazardous to the arteries and the waistline. Or perhaps just a plain mushroom gravy type sauce would be acceptable to the family?

    I don't like marinara type sauces, so I make pasta and toss the hot pasta with diced fresh tomatoes, a bit of olive oil and some grated parmesan. Surprisingly, everyone in the family likes it.

    I like tofu, but it doesn't really have a flavor of its own, it takes on the flavor of whatever it's cook in. Lpinkmountain has a LOT of tofu recipes. Mine is pretty much restricted to Chinese hot and sour soup and an occasional stir fry.

    Actually, the diabetic father and mother who needs sodium restriction are the easiest to deal with. Diabetics can eat most things in moderation, with the emphasis on things like whole grains and vegetables, lean proteins, but they can usually have a bit of other stuff as a treat. Carbs must be balanced carefully and even some sugar is acceptable, depending on the days "carbohydrate load". As for the sodium, just stop adding salt to everything, let people salt at the table if they must. Stop adding salt to pasta water or potato water when cooking and I don't add salt to many baked goods any more, such as pies, cakes or cookies and quick breads. Yeast breads need it more, for some reason.

    Good luck,and Merry Christmas!


  • annie1992
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, and I do hope your hubs is feeling better soon and that his health issues are successfully resolved. Poor guy, I'll be sending strong, healing thoughts for him.


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    Since some of mine are on Zaar, I will warn you to read my page first before trying them. It is under the name house. There is a disclaimer there on the current database and the recipes located on Zaar. As to easy, look nothing could be easier as long as you know how to do tofu. Since we aren't taught by our parents it isn't easy. First There are two types. One is the Mori Nu type aka silken. It is soft like a cottage cheese or cream cheese. It is best in smoothies and desserts such as pudding Don't try to drain it by pressing unless you plan on crumbling it. The other, waterpacked is firmer. If you freeze it, it is much tougher and more meatlike but will resemble a sponge. Esp if you freeze, drain. Simply put on a slanted board and put a heavy plate or pan on top. Let sit until the water stops running. Now it is ready to marinate. Tofu has taste. However it is so bland everything else overshadows it. Use your favorite 'sauce'. At our house we sometimes just pour sundried tomato dressing or raspberry pecan dressing over it and crumble and serve on a salad. The catch is marination time. The longer it sits, the more it will taste like what you are soaking it in. For a Western Beginner I recommend at least over night. Me? well heck I nibble it as I cut it so... However when we started the wife out on it, I soaked it overnight. Now what to do? Lets see Crumble and put on salad I make a dish that uses the tofu, our favorite bread dressing and veggies mixed in for a casserole. If you are lacto add a vegetarian cheese on top and melt. I make our favorite stir fry sauce, marinate and simply pan fry with no oil [use cooking spray for this]. Bake until golden brown and serve with sides Toss cooked or uncooked in a stir fry Make Chocolate pudding or Vanilla pudding BBQ it Toss in your favorit stew Make Dumplings such as Buddah's Jewels for a fancier meal Mix with Seitan and make a loaf to replace turkey on thanksgiving After you start working with it, the net has oodles of recipes that you can pick up in a hurry. If you follow the link off my Zaar page, it will take you to where I now keep the recipes and I vouch for them as accurate. There is a long page of tofu recipe on the site under Vegetarian/Vegan on this site. Some are for advanced users and some are for beginners. The Orange Lacquered Tofu and Ricker's Tofu Roast are my favorites. The chocolate pudding ain't shabby either. Note Ricker's tofu roast uses Seitan in the mix. That is simple to make. 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten [you can find that in the bakng section usually by Hodgson Mills or Bob's Red Mill] and 1/2 cup water, mix, knead 5 minutes boil in your favorite broth for an hour then use, refrigerate in broth or freeze in broth for future use. And if you run into trouble give a yell. Humm maybe I better thaw the garlic pepper tofu for supper. Psst if you run into any smoked tofu? Give it a try. I love it.
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  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks, Annie.

    Yeah, I hear you on the restrictions. Insane, isn't it? How is a Swedish sauce made? The mushroom gravy would go over well with hubby but not so much with the kids.

    However, your pasta with fresh tomato and olive oil and grated parmesan might work perfectly!

    I'm not so concerned about mom and dad (or DH) for Christmas dinner, it's more about the meals around Christmas. I'm thinking I'll stick with basic soups, chicken with roasted veggies and brown rice and things like that. We'll make it work. The big trick will be to keep dad out of the kids' ice cream!

    Thanks :-)


  • kandm
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Alabama BBQ Chicken

    From the episode: Southern BBQ
    Serves 8.

    White BBQ Sauce
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 whole chickens (3 1/2- to 4-pound), patted dry and split, (see photos)
    2 cups hickory wood chips
    Vegetable oil for grill grate

    1. For the sauce: Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute.
      Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

    2. For the chicken: Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.

    3. Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover, with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.

    4. Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long-handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover (with half-opened lid vents over chicken).

    5. Grill chickens until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chickens skin side up and grill, covered, until breast meat registers 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

    6. Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Carve and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

  • beanthere_dunthat
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What about a pesto sauce for the pasta? Or a white sauce flavored with pureed roasted red peppers or garlic?

    I smiled at your comment about the "psuedovegetarian" son. I had a roommate once who said she was vegetarian, but didn't much like veggies in any form, and was more like a "wheatatarian." It got amusing sometimes, but only because I didn't have to cook for her. :)

    Here is the recipe Ann T posted for Swedish Meatballs some time ago. It's very good, and the gravy comes together quickly. I know you're more intersted in the gravy part, but I'll post the whole thing just in case.

    Swedish Meatballs by AnnT
    c.1998, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved

    2 slices white bread, without the crusts, torn into pieces
    1/4 cup milk
    3/4 pound ground beef
    3/4 pound ground pork
    1 small red onion, grated or very finely chopped
    1 egg
    1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Butter and vegetable oil for frying meatballs

    2 cups beef stock
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Fresh parsley, for garnish

    In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk until soft. In a large
    bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except the butter and oil,
    and add the soaked bread. Mix thoroughly until smooth, it's best to use your hands for this. Shape into small, golf-ball size meatballs (by
    dipping your hands in cold water, the meatballs won't stick to your

    Heat butter and oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add
    the meatballs, about 8 to 10 at a time, and gently brown on all sides,
    about 5 to 7 minutes. Shake the skillet now and then so meatballs stay round and brown evenly. Place them on a heated baking pan in a low oven to keep warm.

    To make gravy:
    deglaze the skillet with 1 cup of the stock, letting it simmer for 5 minutes while scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. Strain the gravy into a clean saucepan and add the remaining 1 cup of stock. In a small bowl, mix the flour with 1/4 cup of cold water until smooth. Whisk flour mixture into warm gravy, and let simmer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, until thickened slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.

    To serve, arrange the meatballs on a serving platter, pour hot gravy
    over them, and garnish with parsley.

  • canarybird01
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here are some popular mojos (sauces) of the Canary Islands.
    You could leave out the hot peppers if not suitable or exchange for a milder red or green pepper.

    Here are some recipes for the

    which are served with so many meals.
    The sauces are delicious spooned over fish and
    the salted wrinkled potatoes typical of the islands.

    3 or 4 hot red peppers
    1 small head garlic

    1. Lightly toast 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and pound in a mortar.

    2. Soften the peppers by soaking for a while in hot water. Remove the seeds and veins. Add to the mortar and pound with the cumin.

    3. Put the garlic and salt into the mortar and crush with the contents, adding a small glass of oil, vinegar to taste and a little cold water. Blend well and serve.

    Another Milder Red Mojo Sauce

    1. Lightly toast 2 or 3 threads of saffron* and pound in a mortar with breadcrumbs soaked in olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika and salt.

    2. Add a little more oil, vinegar to taste and 1/2 a teaspoon of paprika, blending thoroughly.

    * The recipe calls for the milder saffron grown on the Canary Islands so use a little less of the stronger saffron.

    3 or 4 hot green peppers
    1 small head garlic
    flat-leaf parsley

    1. Put the following ingredients into a mortar and pound together:
    1 teasp cumin, the garlic and salt to taste.

    2. Remove the seeds and veins from the peppers and add with some chopped parsley to the mortar. Pound the contents thoroughly.

    3. Finally, combine with some oil, vinegar to taste and water.

    Mojo de Cilantro (Coriander Sauce)

    1 head garlic
    1/2 hot red or green pepper
    1 bunch fresh coriander

    1. Lightly toast a teaspoon of cumin and pound in a mortar. Add the garlic, coriander, seeded pepper and a little salt, blending all these ingredients thoroughly.

    2. Pour in half a cup of oil, vinegar to taste, a little cold water, and mix well.

    Mojo de Queso (Cold Cheese Sauce)

    500 grams (or 1 lb) hard goatsmilk cheese
    4 cloves garlic
    1 green pepper

    1. Remove the seeds and veins from the pepper. Pound the pepper, garlic, salt to taste and cumin in a mortar.

    2. Grate the cheese and mix with the contents of the mortar. Add water and olive oil to form a well-blended liquid.


    And I agree that pesto is great on pasta. Here's my best recipe:

    - from Italian TV Cook Program

    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups basil leaves (4 pkg at Trebol supermarket)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 teasp salt
    1/2 teasp f.g. pepper
    1/2 cup parmesan grated
    1/2 cup pine nuts (2 small jars)
    teasp water

    Process in food processor, adding oil last and slowly, processing until all is blended.
    And if you don't have all the above pesto ingredients, grind a couple of large cloves of garlic together with 1/4 teasp salt and some chopped flat leaf parsley in a mortar.
    When it is a paste, slowly mix in olive oil and stir until you have enough to spoon over pasta. Grind some black pepper in at the end. I have done this often and it's always good.


  • lindac
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow! That's a tall order!
    My father was a "stone former"w ith out the added complication of a 3rd kidney....and the surgeon, or maybe the urologist told him to drink lots of tea....told him to make it a habit of drinking about a quart oft ea every day. Somethning about the tannic acid and the additional liquid....but I think it depends on the make up of the stones that are formed.

    Ask the Dr to give you a list of what he CAN eat! LOL!
    Suggestions might be simple grilled fish with lots of lemon...or a mixed cirtus sauce and eggs.
    Good luck!
    Linda C

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Tofu is very high in calcium.

    Is it OK for people who may tend to get stones?


  • Ideefixe
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't think milk or cheese sauces are going to do your husband any good. (There's two types of stones, aren't there--primarily calcium and primarily oxalic?) Did the Dr. tell you to cut down on calcium intake?

    Why not just try making plainer meals--broiled or sauteed meats, steamed vegetables and salads?

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I eat pasta every week and have a variety of tomato-less sauces, but they include dairy, tofu, eggplant, nuts or beans. If you exclude all of those, I think you're left with garlic, olive oil and lemon, which is kinda tasty. Even basil is a leafy green. I've had butternut squash stuffed ravioli with brown butter sauce that you could make with maybe margarine. Also plain buttered pasta with bacon is OK. I would add peas and top with parmesean but . . . .

    I mostly eat tofu with stir fry, pasta or roasted veggies so I'm not much help. I have some tofu salads but not able to post the recipes until tomorrow, I am up to my eyeballs with work stuff. Some people eat tofu in smoothies, I'm not much into that.

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hard to say what son would like. My "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian" cookbook has a whole page devoted to tofu in the index. Broiled, braised, deep fried, baked, stewed, in enchiladas, tofu parmesean, in quiche, fake scrambled eggs, chili, salads, spreads, filling for egg rolls, other fillings like empanadas or samosas or calzone, barbecued, dips, salad dressing, grilled, marinated, panfried and stir fried. Unfortuantely, not liking to fuss much with my food and being uber busy, I hardly ever would eat any of these kinds of things so none of them is tried and true for me. I eat tofu every week almost the same way--marinated in some type of sauce, and either stir fried or tossed in at the end of a batch of roasted veggies. Obviously that's out for your son, but if any of those ideas above sound good to you I could post a recipe. Of the lot, I have made and loved tofu egg rolls, tofu silk chocolate pie, tofu quiche, and tofu parmigiana. My three "go to" tofu salads are Missing Egg Salad, or Eggless Egg Salad as I have heard it referred to, "TuNO Salad," or "Tofuna Salad" as I sometimes call it, and "Hamless Salad." Also tofu, white bean and olive salad that is modeled after the French tuna and white bean salad. If any of these sound good I could post. I also make a tofu pesto spread which is good on baguettes or crackers.

    Here's one tofu dish that I serve all the time to non-veggies and it is a big hit.

    Tofu Sloppy Joes
    serves 5

    6 TBLSP oil
    1 lg. onion, diced fine
    2 med. green peppers, seeded and diced (can cut down a bit if you don't love peppers)
    2 cans (15 oz) spanish style tomato sauce
    1 1/2 TBLSP chili sauce or mild powder
    2 TBLSP Worsteshire sauce (optional)
    1 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. black pepper
    1/2 tsp. oregano
    1 TBLSP soy sauce
    1 TBLSP prepared mustard
    1 TBLSP brown sugar
    1 1/2 lbs. tofu, drained, water pressed out, frozen, thawed and squeezed dry then crumbled.

    Don't get tofu that comes in the aeseptic cardboard packs, although it will work it is not the best. Get the kind that comes in a plastic container floating in water. Prepare the tofu by draining it, then pressing it between two plates lined with paper towels. Put the tofu in the freezer and freeze overnight or several hours until frozen through. Then thaw the next day. The tofu will get "tougher" and you can squeeze a lot more water out of it, then chop it up for this dish.

    Sautee the onions and peppers in the oil until onions soften and become translucent, and then add tomato sauce, other ingredients and spices and tofu and simmer until the sauce is thick and flavors combine, maybe 20 min.. Serve on whole grain buns. Yum.

    Can also serve this without buns, over rice as a stew.

  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, thank you all for the help! I'm sorry I wasn't back here earlier. I am accompanying our middle school choir for a performance tomorrow, so I took time off work to go to the school but then ended up working much longer when I returned home. Then, and most importantly, I got distracted because it's THE BIG GAME tonight! Winner goes to the Rose Bowl. Go Ducks!

    Canarybird - What does it to the flavor/texture of pesto if it's made without the pine nuts? DH and I both love pesto, but now nuts are out for him. I would suspect that the texture would be different, but can it still be made without the nuts?

    Lindac: Tea is out in a big way. You're right in that it has to do with the types of stones. DH's are the calcium oxylate stones. DH has said it would probably almost be better just to deal with a stone passing every few months. Most of the time they pass in a few days. His, however, don't pass. They just grow until they start obstructing things not meant to be obstructed.

    dcarch: Dairy is out! The tofu would be for DS2 who has decided he loves it. I've resigned myself to occasionally making multiple meals on occasion to accomodate everyone. Happily, DH eats out with his coworkers every Wednesday, so often just the kids and I have dinner together. Tofu would work well for those nights.

    ideefixe: You're right. Dairy is out. The "plain" meals you describe also would not be great for DH as the meat, most veggies, and salads are out. And that's the crux of my woes, because those are the basis of the vast majority of my meals!

    Lpinkmountain: Would you mind sharing some ideas of what to marinate the tofu in? The sloppy joes look like they would be a hit with the kids! Also, the chicken parmigiana recipe would be appreciated. That sounds like something up my alley.

    Thanks so much again! I'm going to finish watching the game and then make a plan for meals for next week :-)


  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mandie as far as your husband, I think it is marvelous that you are willing to try to cook things he can eat. How does he feel about this restricted diet? If he can't eat meat, dairy, beans, nuts or soy products, seeds and root vegetables, that pretty much excludes just about every food that contains protein. Sounds kind of dangerous to me and it seems like he will have to get some kind of supplements, although I can't imagine what kind for protein that wouldn't be derived from one of the above. I think you've gotten some very cursory advice from your doctor and you need to get hooked up with a nutritionist and maybe some Web sites or books on a diet for this kind of syndrome. Hopefully you can get hooked up with some kind of support group and learn from people who have been through the same struggles as your husband. I have a couple of mild diet related problems and I find that actual people who are going through the same kinds of problems are a treasure trove of helpful information. For example, I suffer from very mild Irritable Bowel Syndrome (thankfully with very few symptoms) but my father has colitis and there is a IBS/Colitis organization that puts out a monthly newsletter and it has diet tips in it and their Web site has all kinds of recipes. Same goes with diabetes so hopefully you can find something like that for your hubby.

    As for your son who is a pseudovegetarian, how old is he? I've been a pseudovegetarian for 32 years, I started eating vegetarian when I was 17, and I have always acknowledged that if I was going to adopt a diet dramatically different than my family, it was my responsibility to cook my own special foods. I certainly offer and try to share my food with my family, but actually they mostly dislike anything healthy so it's usually a waste of time. I bring a little cooler with me when I visit and usually just add my own main course and then eat all the sides with the rest of the family. It's often just microwaving a veggie burger or opening a can of lentil soup. You could do the same for your son, keep some instant veggie entrees in the pantry or freezer and then he can heat them up for his portion of the meal. That would take the burden of catering to his food needs off of you, and I think that is the reasonable thing for any chief cook and bottle washer to expect. Yes, it is WONDERFUL for you to cook for him, but don't try and turn yourself into a pretzel. Cook things you think YOU will like, you'll enjoy it more and reap the benefits of the labor too!

    Having said that (I feel like I have to say that because I think there is a tendancy for some of us, me included, to put too much pressure on ourselves to be super moms and super hostesses, and I don't want to enable that, lol!), here are some ideas for tofu that YOU and your son might enjoy.

    First off, you don't HAVE to freeze the tofu for the sloppy joes recipe above. It's an extra step that further dries out the tofu so it isn't so mushy in the final dish, but you can also just cook the tofu a little longer so it dries out in the pan. If that's the case, add the tofu with the onions and peppers and sautee for a while to steam out some of the water, and then maybe simmer the saucy part a little longer to reduce more liquid. But it is going to be somewhat mushy no matter what, it's not meat, lol! My old boyfriend used to complain that "all vegetarian food is mushy!" which is not totally true, but somewhat. My cooking tends to be on the mushy side, as I make mostly soups and stews and casseroles.

    As for marinating tofu, I'm not sure I can give you any gourmet advice. I work 12 hour days so my cooking is quick and dirty. I buy a good brand prepared italian dressing and marinate the tofu in that. You can also buy asian marinades in the international foods section of your grocery, and barbecue sauce, maybe thinned with a smidge apple juice or something like that, would also make a good marinade. Or you can use any marinade you would use for meat, there are lots of recipes out there. Depending on how much tofu you have, you can use a mixture of 3 TBLSP rice wine vinegar, 2 TBLSP peanut or canola oil, 2 TBLSP sesame oil, 1-2 tsp. minced garlic, 1 TBLSP minced fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp. dried, a couple scallions, and some shakes of hot pepper flakes or drops hot sauce IF you like it. Use lemon or lime juice instead of the rice wine vinegar and add 3 TBLSP fresh cilantro if you want it Thai. Marinate a few hours or overnight. You can use this in stir fry, and unlike meat, the marinade can go right into the cooking pan. Your son might like stir fried veggies, they stay crisp more or less. If not, just sautee an onion and some crushed pineapple or a few shakes of orange juice if you want sweet and sour, add the tofu and some pre-cooked brown rice and serve it topped with chopped peanuts or toasted ground sesame seeds (NOT to your hubby, lol!). If you want to serve it with noodles, add some hoisin sauce mixed with peanut butter and thinned with a little water for a sauce, and serve over lo mein noodles. Frankly, I would need at least a smidge stir fried carrot, broccoli or spinach for color in these dishes.

    Another way to handle marinated tofu is to bake it in the marinade. This creates a chewier, more flavorful product that is good with pasta and salads. Bake the tofu at 375-400 degrees (depending on how good you are at watching it so it doesn't burn and depending on what you're marinating it with). Slice the tofu into 1 inch or less slabs, place in a shallow baking pan, pour the marinade over it and bake for 30 min. on one side and then turn over, rebaste with marinade (you may have to add a bit more) and bake 30 more min. It's done when the tofu has dried out to a more chewy texture and is coated with a layer of baked on marinade. The marinade will not penetrate into the tofu like it does with meat, it will just coat mostly the outside. Baking is basically done to dry out the tofu. You can grill or broil tofu but I don't ever do either so I can't advise you on this. Obviously you'll have to use lower temps. and watch closer if the marinade has a lot of sugar in it, which can burn.

    As for "tofu soup" it's probably some kind of asian dish, I know I had a friend from Japan who made tofu soup when she came and visited. It's basically a chicken or vegetable broth, seasoned how ever you like it, with noodles, a few veggies (but not for your son I guess) and sauteed tofu added. The marinade seasonings I mention above would be good staring places with a soup like that, except maybe not a lot of rice wine vinegar. A dash of sherry maybe, but not the vinegar for soup unless you like hot and sour soup.

    Here's the tofu parmigiana recipe. BTW, it is nothing like veal or eggplant parmigiana in texture, but yummy like those dishes in taste.

    Tofu Parmigiana

    1 1/2 lbs tofu
    2 eggs
    1 TBLSP tamari or low salt soy sauce
    3/4 cups wheat germ or bran (I use wheat germ, I hate bran. If you hate wheat germ AND bran, I guess you could use bread crumbs)
    3/4 cup grated parmesean cheese, 1/4 cup for coating tofu and rest for topping the finished dish
    oil for cooking (olive)
    1/2 cups thinly sliced/diced onions
    1 carrot, shredded
    2 cloves garlic, minced, or add more or less to taste
    1 cup fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
    2 cups tomatoes seeded and diced or 1 cup thick canned tomato puree
    1 TBLSP fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    salt to taste
    8 thin sliced mozzarella cheese
    Pre-cooked brown rice (I make a big batch on weekends and freeze in 3 cup portions. Hubby might learn to like brown rice too. Can use regular rice if you absolutely do not like brown rice)

    Make the sauce by combining the onion, carrot, mushrooms and seasonings in a pan with oil and sauteeing until veggies are soft and translucent, then add tomato sauce and simmer 15 or so minutes to meld flavors. If you don't want to fuss with making homeade sauce, it is absolutely OK to use your favorite brand of prepared sauce, or use another italian style tomato sauce recipe you like.

    Combine the wheat germ and 1/4 cup of the parmesean in a shallow pan. Drain the tofu and squeeze out any remaining water by pressing it between two plates lined with paper towels. Slice the tofu into 8 thin slices and dip in the egg and then in the wheat germ/parm mixture to coat. You can refrigerate this while you prepare the sauce. Fry slices of tofu in olive oil until coating is golden brown.

    Sprinkle a shallow baking pan with 1/2 of sauce and 1/4 cup parmesean. Add tofu, arranging in a single layer. Top tofu with mozzarella cheese and the rest of the sauce poured around the tofu. Sprinkle the last of the parm. on top of this. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and the mixture is heated through. Serve over rice, or even with noodles if you like. You can reduce the parmesearn by AT LEAST 1/4 cup and save a lot of calories and probably not even notice. Obviously the more cheese the better/richer the dish but I am used to eating a ligher type of far.

    Mange! Enjoy!

  • Chi
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've been a vegetarian for 10 years, so I've had to work with a lot of meat substitutes. I don't use tofu too often as I believe too much soy can have negative health effects, so I've had to look for alternate protein sources.

    Hands down, my favorite products are Quorn (linked below). They can be a little hard to find but they are definitely the closest thing I've found to tasting like meat, and you can cook it just like regular meat. Meat-eating friends and family enjoy them as well. They come in naked breast patties, "chicken" strips, breaded, nuggets, ground "beef" and I had a very nice faux turkey from them over Thanksgiving. I find all of the products to be FAR superior to Morningstar Farms or Boca or any of the other fake meat providers.

    Whole Foods usually has a nice selection if you have one near you, but I can also find them in my local supermarket.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Quorn

  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great link Chi, I've never seen Quorn in my local stores, but I'll have to look more closely. Seems like it would be great for Mandie's son and hubby!

  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lpink and Chi:

    I'm so sorry I'm only belatedly getting back to you now! The weekend totally got away from me, and we also had cable internet issues, so I'm only now getting online!

    Chi: Thanks so much for the Quorn link. I'm going to have to check that out1

    Lpink: Thank you so much for the tofu parm recipe and the marinating hints for tofu!

    Hubby is unhappy about his new diet. However, the surgeon really has been quite terrific. As I said earlier, he was the one who said eliminating everything was entirely too extreme and quite unhealthy. His suggestion was to completely eliminate the biggies - spinach, chocolate, all nuts and nut products, all berries, and really avoiding anything remotely "bad" in concentrated forms such as tomato-based sauces or condiments or berry-based jams and jellies. He also specifically said soy in very small quantities and no more than 3 ounces of meat (or poultry or fish) per meal.

    I'm motivated to help him out in so much as I can't deal with another surgical recovery again with him! As most of us know, a sick man is never a good thing! LOL And, unfortunately, this one has been a rough one for him.

    As for my son, the meat issue has existed since he was a baby. He has never, ever eaten meat, even ground up or pureed by me or jarred baby food. He simply wouldn't eat it. It really must be a texture thing with him. He will eat chicken, thankfully. I'd be happier if he'd eat beans and/or peanut butter, but he will not, and the doc really isn't concerned. So, I do what I can and hope for the best. I refuse to make my dinner table a battle ground. Eat what I make or don't eat. I don't care, just don't make a big deal about it! However, I do try to include something that he will eat, even if it's just the salad or a plate of cut up raw veggies.

    Thanks so much again for the info. It's going to be an educational few months for us :-)

  • compumom
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    And I thought my eating issues were challenging! To help with boredom, my only suggestion would be to marinate the tofu in Bragg's Amino Acid-- a soy sauce sub w/o wheat that's really tasty. I found it at WF during a sampling of firmer, "grilled" tofu. DGS was with me at the time and he literally gobbled 5 pieces. Not sure if DD has made it since, but he really loved it. I seasoned some stir fry I made for DH with it too. Adds more flavor than tamari w/o wheat.

    Good luck to your hubs, this must be truly miserable.

  • arabellamiller
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sounds like your doctor wants him on a low oxalate diet - except milk and cheese are usually ok, and tofu (or any soy) is usually NOT ok. I know the thinking used to be that calcium helped form the stones, but current research actually reports the opposite effect. Herbal teas are usually OK too. Excess Vitamin C is bad, but Potassium is also thought to help reduce kidney stones.

    By "tofu soup", did your son mean Miso soup? My kids love that too.

    Here's a sample diet from UPMC, maybe you could print it out to ask your doc why dairy is out? I'm curious to know why; maybe there's a complicating dietary issue?

    Also, here's a blurb from the American Dietetics Association website (

    Tip of the Day
    Drinking Milk Doesn't Cause Kidney Stones
    June 6, 2008

    A common myth says you can develop kidney stones by drinking milk. Research does not support this misperception. In fact, drinking milk may help reduce your risk.

    A high-calcium diet may decrease the absorption of oxalate, a substance in some plant-based foods that can form calcium oxalate kidney stones, thus preventing stone deposits.

    A registered dietitian can help you develop an eating plan that includes milk and other calcium-rich foods.
    Produced by ADA's Public Relations Team

    Good Luck!

    Here is a link that might be useful: UPMC - Low Oxalate Diet

  • cotehele
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We are life-long vegetarians. Thank goodness more people are finding that way of eating attractive because restaurants and food companies are realizing there is a market for the offerings. Quorn is one of my favorite products. The Turkey roll can be thawed, shredded or chopped and made into chicken salad. It makes very good sandwiches. Whole Foods carries it, but so does Kroger/PayLess if you have one in your area. They are in the organic section even though I don't think they are organic products. They are 'health foods' to those that arrange the shelves.

    I often use meat recipes and substitute a veggie-meat for the chicken or beef. The biggest problem is that they don't absorb liquid or flavors when meat is marinaded before cooking. Tofu is excellent to absorb flavors.

    Quorn also makes meat crumbles that can be thawed, simmered in seasoned liquid and used in recipes. I simmer in 'beef' broth (G.Washington Rich Brown Broth or Mc Kay's Beef Style Instant Broth & Seasoning), a smoke flavoring, Worcestershire sauce, and add a very small amount of butter when the liquid has reduced.

    Best wishes to you. I really admire your dedication to sticking to your DH's food needs. I wish my step-mom did the same for my diabetic father.

  • annie1992
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Ellen, I've used Bragg's in place of soy sauce for years, when I could no longer get it via the health food store (that pesky divorce settlement, LOL), I got it on line.

    The last time we went to Whole Foods, Elery picked up a bottle and said I was right, it was BETTER than soy sauce.

    And, co-incidentally, we bought some marinated tofu that had been grilled out of the Whole Foods Deli, took it home and warmed it up and although I didn't like it so much by itself, it was great as a sandwich.

    Mandie, I think tofu has little flavor, but it will suck up the flavor of whatever it's cooked in, so lots of marinade ideas are possible for that. You could probably even make a "batch" in advance and keep it for a couple of days, to cover a couple of meals.

    Good luck to your hubs, I hope he's feeling better soon. Better luck to you, the cooking is sure going to be interesting in your house!

    Oh, and Happy, Happy Holidays.


  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oooh, now Bragg's sounds like a viable option. Is it lower in sodium than soy sauce?

    As for the calcium, there is so much conflicting info on that subject. DH has had urine and blood tests every 3 months over the last year. When he started out with testing last fall, both his urine and serum calcium levels were very high. Over the past year, they've fallen and are now in the very high end of normal limits. It was interesting in that his diet has never been terribly high in calcium. As a matter of fact, he really is rather sporadic with it. The vast majority of his calcium is ingested through cheese on our homemade pizza on Friday nights, the occasional bread, cheese, and red wine dinners, and the odd bowl of ice cream. Over the last year, he has really eliminated the above (except for pizza about every two or three weeks), and while the calcium levels are down, they're not really where they should be.

    I'm tempted to ask about the possibility of hyperparathyroidism as that is a condition of excess calcium, and it can cause kidney stones. I can't remember what his levels were when we started out.

    I so appreciate all these ideas. My biggest goal is to provide variety in DH's diet and get a little more protein into DS!

    I don't think necessarily it was miso soup that DS tried, and there is no real way to find out. He had it at Outdoor School, which is a program for sixth graders here in Oregon. Each sixth grade class goes to a camp for 6 days (Sunday through Friday), and they learn plant science, soil science, water science, and animal science. It's a fantastic opportunity.

    Cotehele: I'm more than happy to try and help DH out any way I can, although I have told him that there will be exceptions. While I will keep in mind my diabetic dad and my chronic kidney failure mom on Christmas day and work hard to ensure there are low-sodium and whole grain options available, I'm not catering to every single person's restrictive diet! I need my ham, corn pudding, and mincemeat pie! - Yum!

    Mind you, there is also the niggling thought in the back of my mind that maybe if we make these changes, I'll end up losing weight :-)

    Happy holidays to you!


  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Mandie!
    I once had a work colleague with a kidney stone problem, he was extremely sick so I know what an ordeal you have been through. I thought your husband might be on a low oxalate diet because I have heard about it poisoning some animals when eaten at high levels. Actually I ended up doing some research on oxalic acids this summer because I got ambitious and made sorrel soup out of the wild sorrel weeds growing in my garden. I had read somewhere that it could be toxic but I found out only in large amounts, and also not good for people on a low oxalate diet, which was the first time I had heard of such a thing. Also obviously you would want to avoid a lot of protein and salt, both of which are very reactive substances for the kidneys to deal with. It all makes sense except the tomatoes thing. I found listing the oxalate levels of certain vegetables. Maybe it is just concentrated tomato sauce?

    Anyway, I don't know how your husband feels about hippie food, but I have been eating a diet lower in protein than the average American for almost all my life. We eat excessive amounts of protein, much more than is necessary in the US and it is acutally related to a lot of our health problems. I adore whole grain foods so could happily live on brown rice and whole grain pasta with some oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, wild rice and bulghur wheat thrown in for fun. I put a good stir fry made with brown rice on my list of the 10 best things I have ever put in my mouth. You could add bits of chicken or any other type of meat to it to add flavor. Luckily I see that corriander is low oxalate, so you can make delicious thai fried rice with ginger, cilantro, garlic and lime juice with a dash of hot pepper. Or go mild and make butternut squash lasagne with a white sauce. I think hubs could eat a mild white sauce if it was made with a lower salt cheese which you will have to search out. I have a lot of pasta dish recipes because I eat pasta almost every day. Also a lot of recipes for rice, like risi e bisi (italian for rice and peas).

    And a simple broth with tofu or a few meat pieces and lots of noodles is what the Chinese eat for lunch almost every day, it is good!! Rice stuffed squash is also a favorite of mine, and I eat a lot of roasted vegetables, many of which are on the low oxalate list. Of course if hubby is a meat and potatoes guy, this will be tough. He is just going to have to learn to be a rice or pasta plus a little meat kind of guy!

    Let me know if any of these kinds of foods sound good to you and I will post the recipes. Like I said, I eat some kind of whole grain based main course for every meal, but many folks aren't open to that style of eating because it is so unfamiliar. You can also eat the not whole grain versions too, which I guess are even lower in oxalates, like white rice and semolina pasta. Also, your husband can still eat bread, which for me is the staff of life. I eat bread with tea and jam for breakfast every morning. I love apple or peach jam, which is low oxalate.

    I also make mushroom barley soup which is good, and low oxalate. And due to being a person of very modest means, I eat cabbage almost exclusively as my salad green in the winter, and I see that it is low oxalate. I am the coleslaw queen, lol!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Low oxalate diet PDF from U. Pittsburgh Medical Center

  • annie1992
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    gangreen, the Bragg's is lower in sodium than traditional soy sauce, but it isn't sodium free, so be sure to check the label.

    In fact, if you go to, they give away a free sample, just so you could try it and not be stuck with a whole bottle.


  • lpinkmountain
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well I just read the part about why dairy is out. Now that's a bummer, I love dairy. Oh well, it sounds kind of like a modified macrobiotic diet, although that diet is high in greens and beans. Grains, small amounts of protein, and vegetables and fruits IS a good way to loose weight and maintain health, if you can keep it up. My problem is I like all that food AND cappucino and chocolate chip cookies. Oh well, there's always carob, :(

  • diane_nj 6b/7a
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mandie, my first thought for a pasta sauce was to use roasted red bell peppers instead of tomatoes. I've linked a recipe below. I use a vegetable stock instead of chicken, but your choice.

    I am also a fan of Quorn. The only place you can get it here is at Whole Foods, but it is worth the (short) trip, and they have great varieties.

    Here is a link that might be useful: ED'S SWEET RED PEPPER SAUCE FOR PASTA

  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow! Just so much information!

    Diane - A red pepper sauce as a sub for tomato sauce might be just perfect. Green peppers are on the no list, but other peppers are fine, and DH LOVES everything but green peppers. I think I'll make that up this weekend and try it out.

    Lpink: You are a huge wealth of info. One interesting I came across in my travels was that wheat bran and whole wheat were not good, that people with this issue should choose white over whole wheat. My issue with that is fairly obvious in that whole grains are far better for us. In addition, diabetes runs in his family, and in looking over his preop labs and the labs they ran the day of surgery, his sugars are a little high - not high enough to pursue anything at this point but high enough for us to pay attention.

    As for the tomatoes, the info I came across indicated that the issue with tomatoes is when they are in the concentrated form.

    DH is very much a meat and potatoes man, at least most of the time. However, he does enjoy a variety of things. One of our favorite meals is bulgur chili. The only issue with it is that it's made with tomato sauce. It is, however, wonderful, healthy, and filling!

    I'd love your recipe for mushroom barley soup. That sounds terrific. As for anything that has even come remotely into contact with squash - that's out! He has never liked anything remotely connected to the squash family, although he did inhale pumpkin squares I made at Thanksgiving ;-)

    He's feeling tremendously better today after having the stent removed!

    Thanks :-)

  • annie1992
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mandie, RiverRat's chili doesn't have any tomatoes in it, and it's delicious. I always add beans and I've made quick version using already cooked beef. The pressure cooker would work too, if time is an issue:

    Beef Chili with Ancho, Mole, and Cumin

    8 servings.

    1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    4 bacon slices, chopped
    1 4-pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
    1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
    4 (or more) large garlic cloves, chopped
    3 1/2 cups (or more) beef broth, divided
    1/4 cup pure ancho chili powder
    1/4 cup Texas-style chili powder blend (such as Gebhardt)
    1 tablespoon mole paste
    2 teaspoons (or more) salt
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    1 1/2teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
    1 to 2 tablespoons masa (corn tortilla mix)
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

    Warm, freshly cooked or drained canned black beans
    Chopped white, red, and/or green onions
    Grated cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or queso fresco
    Sliced fresh or pickled jalape chiles
    Sour cream
    Tortilla chips or oyster crackers

    Toast cumin seeds in heavy small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind finely in spice mill or in mortar with pestle.

    Sauté bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to large bowl.

    Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Working in 4 batches, sauté beef in drippings in pot until browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer beef and most drippings to bowl with bacon.

    Add onion and garlic to pot. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth to pot. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Return beef, bacon, and any accumulated juices to pot. Mix in ancho chili powder, Texas-style chili powder, mole paste, 2 teaspoons salt, vinegar, oregano, and cumin seeds. Add 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low and simmer gently uncovered until beef is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth by 1/2 cupfuls if chili is dry, about 2 1/2 hours or more. Mix in masa by teaspoonfuls to thicken chili or add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin. Season chili with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if desired. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool 1 hour. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat.)

    Set out garnishes as desired. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.

     Bon Appétit, February 2009

    Your vegetarian probably won't like it, though, LOL. Actually, you might be able to use those "crumbles" instead of the beef and have it still be pretty darned good.


  • ganggreen980
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Annie: That chili looks right up DH's alley! Would it affect the results greatly if I eliminated the cumin seeds? Seeds and nuts are out. For him, I'd make it with the beef and have DS grab a bagel and yogurt!