Yes, when ground, it looks like wet dog food. And yes, I was scared it would turn out to be another of my failed recipes this week. But, hallelujah for seitan!
I was emotionally drained and close to throwing in the towel. I knew it would be difficult to give up favorite foods, but that's not even the hardest part. The hardest part is not being able to throw in a frozen meal at the end of a long day, or grab a quick snack from the pantry, or pack a lunch without spending half an hour cooking the night before. The hardest part (especially for a person who does not like and is not good at cooking) is all of the time spent in the kitchen. But last night, I found my miracle.
Seitan. The pronunciation throws me off a bit, but this food - made from wheat gluten - saved me. I found a recipe that claimed to be quick and easy on the forums of VegWeb.com and it truly was on the table for dinner in 10 minutes. See the recipe here.
Some shredded romaine, taco seasoning, salsa, a can of black beans and some multigrain organic tortilla chips from Garden of Eatin, and I had a taco salad. (I, of course, threw a bit of soy cheese on the top, too.) As a meat replacement, it could have fooled me. Well, maybe not fooled me, but it was definitely a good substitute.
Ground seitan was easy to work with. Right out of the package into the skillet, just long enough to spice it up and heat it through. The one I bought cost $3.19 for 8 oz. at Whole Foods, which was enough for our dinner for two. Now, I'll need to experiment with other forms of seitan as well. Maybe I'll make gyros or fajitas next. I think I can do this after all.