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For the Animals, For the Earth, For Ourselves.
MorningStar Crumbles... Help! 
8th-Aug-2010 06:56 pm
I'm hoping to make chili for dinner using the MorningStar Meal Starter Crumbles. I've never used this product before and have no idea how to prepare it. The only instructions are to keep the bag frozen until use.

I tried using fake ground beef once before (it was in a tube, I'm not sure what brand) for tacos. I mashed and heated it in a skillet like I would ground beef and it wasn't pretty. Despite my efforts, most of it ended up at the bottom of the pan. :/ Should I pre-cook the Crumbles in a skillet, then add it to the pot of beans and tomato sauce, or should I add it straight to the pot without pre-cooking it and let it simmer for a while? If I try to add chili seasoning, will it end up funky?

Sorry for all of the questions... my two vegetarian BFFs aren't answering my frantic phone calls and me and my toddler (and the fetus in my belly) are getting hungry!

8th-Aug-2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
It comes out like ground beef. I recommend putting it in a pan with about 2 tsp olive (or some other) oil, occasionally adding a teensy bit of oil as needed, then browning it. Once cooked, add it to the pot of beans and tomato sauce. You can also add chili seasoning or other seasonings to it; I tend to do garlic powder, cumin, and a little salt for tacos. For chili, appropriate seasonings would work nicely. :)

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!

Edited at 2010-08-08 11:12 pm (UTC)
8th-Aug-2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
If you're sweating onions and/or garlic as you build your chili, put the crumbles in just as they start to soften and let them defrost, then add the other chili ingredients as you normally would. If you aren't, then don't bother to pre-fry the crumbles. Just dump it in the chili and let it simmer (and defrost) there. Be sure to break it up as much as you can as you're dumping it in.

I've used Crumbles in tacos, chilis, "meat" spaghetti sauce, and other stove-top dishes. I've never had a problem with them getting funky from whatever spices happen to be using. They're a great go-to ingredient!

Good luck!
8th-Aug-2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
I've found that if you don't want to saute it or anything like that, you can just dump the amount into the hot pasta or chili or whatever and it'll be fine. It's much better than the stuff in the tube, most definitely.
9th-Aug-2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Just dump them in with the rest of your ingredients. Chili is really hard to mess up and they integrate just fine. No need to pre-cook them at all.
9th-Aug-2010 01:06 am (UTC)
I let it defrost on the counter for a bit and put into a pan. Usually we'll do some oil and 1/2 onion first, then add the crumbles. It makes excellent taco's - just add the seasoning packet to the mix (same for chili seasoning). I also end up adding some water so it's not too oily during the end so it doesn't burn or dry out.
9th-Aug-2010 02:22 am (UTC)
i'd just add it into the simmering chili. no need to brown it.

something to consider that we do here -- if you have a whole foods anywhere close, you can get TVP (textured vegetable protein) in the bulk section really cheap. i mix all my stuff and seasoning in a pot, let it simmer for a bit, and then toss in about a half cup of the TVP. the texture is WAY better than the crumbles! :)

here's what we do for chili night:

1 can of black beans
1 can of mixed tri-color beans
1 can of 'zesty' chili tomatoes
1 can of chili beans
a bit of water to top it off
half a packet of chili seasoning (i prefer a brand called carroll shelby's chili kit - sold at walmart in a little brown box)

simmer and then add the TVP (or crumbles, if you prefer)

good stuff on homemade cornbread!!!!! my kids like to add a dollup of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese. :D oh, and oyster crackers!
9th-Aug-2010 02:23 am (UTC)
oops! i also add one can of muir glen tomato sauce (or a couple little cans of whatever brand)

if you live in the south, kroger has all the beans for about a buck a can ORGANIC! :D
10th-Aug-2010 05:38 am (UTC)
If you're elsewhere, check your local Gerbes or Dillon's...they're the same company, your Gerbes(or whatever) customer card works at all of them, and the prices tend to be fairly similar, though the sales are not identical (though often just occur at a different time). They've got a brand called Private Selection there that tends to be super tasty and well-priced!
9th-Aug-2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for mentioning TVP. I recently got some at Whole Foods and wasn't sure how to approach it.
9th-Aug-2010 08:43 pm (UTC) - MorningStar Crumbles... Help!
I preheat some oil in a pan and then stir in the crumbles.i occasionally stir until the crumbles look done and then i taste some to make sure.
10th-Aug-2010 02:19 pm (UTC) - Re: MorningStar Crumbles... Help!
Same here. I've never had a problem with them sticking, but then again I keep stirring them fairly constantly.
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