Originally Posted by kaplods
Just type tvp or textured vegetable protein into google. It's made from defatted soy bean. It can be made from corn as well, but I've never run across corn tvp myself.
It's harder to find in some areas than others, but most health food stores sell it, if not in the bulk bins than in packages (usually Bob's Red Mill brand).
Even Walmart carries it (or at least the Walmarts in central Illinois and North Central Wisconsin). The Bob's Red Mill brand tends to run about $4 to $5 for 12 ounces (about $6 per pound which is still cheaper than beef, because it's equivalent to finding ground beef at $1.50 per pound).
I can find it in health food stores at $2.50 to $3.00 per pound
Again these are midwest prices, so you have do do your own comparison to see how it compares to beef prices in your area.
Also, dry tvp comes in different flavors and colors. I always by the unflavored granules or flakes. The granules look like grapenuts cereal or beige aquarium gravel. The flakes are have a more flattened/flake texture, but look more like meat when cooked.
TVP has almost no flavor of it's own, so it picks up the flavor of whatever you cook with it, or season it with.
Hubby doesn't care for it except when it's cooked with meat. At first he would only eat it when I used significantly more beef than tvp. Over time I kept adding more tvp and less beef, though I still use at most 3 cups of tvp per pound of meat, but you can stop wherever your own taste preferences end up.
I don't mind tvp (and no meat) in things like chili, soups, and spaghetti sauces, but for sloppy joes and tacos I want a meatier flavor.
When our budget was super-tight, we ate it almost every day, often at two meals. Some people say that soy shouldn't be eaten that often, and recommendations vary. I've heard everything from "none" for people with metabolic and hormonal issues, to up to one meal per day.
I even use it as a breakfast cereal. Even as a breakfast cereal it's pretty bland so I'll add a bit of Splenda and cinnamon, or some dried fruit. I don't drink fresh dairy (but do eat cheeses and yogurt - especially my homemade yogurt).
Speaking of which, yogurt is SUPER cheap and actually very easy to make at home. I don't like standing at the stove, so I make it in the crockpot. There's almost no work involved, but you do have to stick around while it's heating and cooling until you know how long your crockpot takes to get the milk up to and then down to the right temperature. It's about 5 minutes of total work, but about 11 to 18 hours of waiting. The first 6 hours are the ones you need to be around for. Though I've cut that down to about 3, because I heat the milk in the microwave before putting it in the crockpot.
It probably doesn't pay to make your own yogurt if you only eat a carton or two a week (which I used to), but once I learned how to make yogurt, I eat it almost every day (it's so unlike store yogurt, it's hard to even describe. Much less tart, almost like creme freche or barely sour sour cream). It will get tarter if you incubate it longer, but I like the milder yogurt.