Category Archives: tip

The Absolute Best Way to Prepare Tofu

Roasted tofu cubes via Chosen Bites

Although I am not a vegetarian, over the last few years we have seriously cut down on the amount of meat we eat to less once a week. Instead, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals using other protein sources like dairy, eggs, beans, and tofu. Now, I realize tofu is an acquired taste and texture, but recently I have transformed a lot of tofu haters into tofu lovers by using this preparation method.

One of the biggest complaints I have heard about tofu is that it has a funny texture, and it tends to break apart if it’s not fried. Personally, I don’t like frying tofu (or much of anything) because it makes it less healthy, and guess what? You can get the EXACT same fried tofu texture with much less effort by baking it in the oven.

It’s simple–cut your tofu into evenly-sized cubes, place them on a greased baking sheet (with plenty of space between the cubes!), and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden on the outside. You can bake them even longer so they are dry on the inside too, but I prefer to leave them somewhat creamy on the inside.

The best part about this preparation? You don’t have to press the tofu to remove excess water! I prefer the texture of extra firm tofu, but I buy firm tofu at Costco because it is ridiculously cheap. In the past I’ve had to press firm tofu to get the texture I like, but baking it in the oven evaporates the extra water so it ends up just how I like it.

Because baking it the oven crisps it up, tofu prepared this way will hold together really well in stir fries, curries, pad Thai, or any other dish you want to add it too, without having the added fat from frying, or the frustration of the tofu crumbling. Because the outside is drier, it also holds sauce much better than wet tofu.

But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

The Absolute Best Way to Prepare Tofu


1 block of firm or extra firm tofu


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large baking sheet or pan (I use a 12x16 jelly roll pan).
  2. Cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces (I usually slice the tofu in half lengthwise, then into strips, then into cubes).
  3. Place the cubes on the baking sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch of space between each cube so none of them are touching (This is critical! The cubes won't crisp up if they are too close together! I use an entire jelly roll pan for a 1 lb block of tofu).
  4. Bake at 375 for 30-50 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes. The cubes will turn golden brown and the edges will be crispy when they are done. Bake shorter or longer depending on your desired texture (I usually do 35-40 minutes--pull one out and taste it after 30 minutes to see if it's crispy enough for you, bake longer if it's not).

Penny Pinching Special: 10% Off Calphalon!

My dear penny pinchers,

I have a wonderful special to offer you, courtesy of Calphalon, one of the sponsors of Eat, Write, Retreat! the food blogger conference I recently attended. 10% off at their online store, now through June 6th!

Visit, and use this coupon code when you check out: C95926

Fine print about the discount: Clearance Items and Gift Certificates do not qualify. Excludes John Boos & Co. Cannot be combined with other special offers or applied to previous purchases. Terms subject to change. Offer valid through June 6th, 2011.

Note about this special: I am not receiving any monetary compensation for offering this special, nor any proceeds of any sales made using this link or this special.

Penny Pinching Tip #12: Edible Holiday Gifts

I’m spending the holidays with AK’s family, and I wanted to bring an inexpensive but unique gift with me as a token of my appreciation. After some thought [fine, about 2 minutes worth :)], I decided to do something edible.

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Penny Pinching Tip #10: Meal Planning

Now that I’ve started a new job that has me working some long hours, I’ve had to get smarter about planning my meals, i.e. I’m too tired to go shopping after work and then make dinner like I used to, so I’m doing a lot more pre-planning and pre-shopping.

The key to meal planning but not spending a lot of money is to buy ingredients that are versatile, and to make dishes that can double as lunch or dinner the next day but don’t feel like you are eating leftovers. [When you plan multiple meals in advance, it also helps to make sure you don’t buy ingredients without an idea of how you are going to use them and they just end up going bad in the fridge.]

For example, if you’re making my dutch oven chicken, throw in an extra thigh, shred it, and eat it over leafy greens, tomatoes, sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and a vinaigrette for lunch the next day. Or, if you’re making my basil & nut crusted salmon, bake an extra portion and eat it over chopped romaine, cucumbers, and avocado–the fish is already so flavorful you won’t need a dressing!

You can also save a lot of money by buying items in bulk, like a family pack of boneless chicken cutlets. You could eat chicken all week but it wouldn’t feel like it if you made sure your recipes were really different–baked with a spice rub or a sesame-soy glaze; stove-top with stewed tomatoes and garlic; stir-fried with onions, mushrooms, sweet peppers and snow peas…the combinations are endless 🙂

Oh–and pack your lunch the night before in case you decide to hit the snooze button, or are running late and don’t have time to put something together so you end up needing to buy lunch.