Friday, March 1, 2013

Fake Meat Investigation.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I've had a little blogger project going on.

I decided I was going to try a few different Morningstar brand products to see if any of them were good enough to become regulars at my house.

I thought to do this investigation because I don't enjoy meat usually. I pick through it, discarding any of it that doesn't look 'perfect.' Sometimes if my first bite is weird I won't eat any of the rest of it, I won't even bother picking through it. I don't like fast food meat or frozen dinner meat. I will eat a good steak--either grilled at home or at a restaurant, sirloin or fillet. And I will sometimes eat chicken breast, though not much of it. Most meat usually gets transferred to my husband's plate. He's not complaining.

I EAT NOTHING ON A BONE. Or if it's got veiny looking stuff in it, chewy stuff, fat---anything at all 'wrong' I will not eat it. It makes me nauseous. 

While I'm all for the fair treatment of animals, etc., that is not why I don't like meat. I'm not a hippie who has gone vegan because I don't think animals should be sacrificed for human appetites. (I'm actually not vegan. Or even strictly vegetarian. I just....don't like most meat). I'm from the south, and here we're supposed to like our thick steaks and our fried (Tyson) chicken.

To each their own.

I also don't like fish. The flavor is too strong. I want to like it though. It just hasn't happened yet. Oh and I don't eat shrimp because of the texture....And because of the poop thing.

I simply think meat is gross most of the time. I've been this way since I was a pre-teen ish kid. I didn't cut up my first steak/chicken until I got to college. *laughter/smirks*  Because if my mom didn't cut off pieces for me from her plate I wasn't interested in eating any. I just never have had a desire to chow down on a hunk of meat. If I brown meat for tacos, I usually can't eat those tacos, because of what I just saw. BJ has to cook it. Or trim up the chicken breasts and get the nasty stuff cut off.  It's all just disgusting to me usually.

Oh side note--I'll eat bacon, if it's almost burned.

As you can tell, it's mainly gross to me because of it's appearance/texture (or in the case of fish--flavor). And the ability to make you very sick. And let us keep in mind we don't know if the animal was diseased or kept in clean facilities or hopped up on medication. Ick.

All of that ^^ is why I needed some more options.

Moving onto the experiment--mainly I wanted some new things to give me more of a variety to chose from and to replace the protein I don't get from refusing meat.  I also need something that has normal flavor, and most importantly, CORRECT TEXTURE.

Here is the stuff I tried:

Not pictured--The chicken patties (original)
Pretty sure each of these cost $3.67 per box at my Walmart. Most of the boxes contain 4 servings--that's less than a dollar per serving. Also--the average cooking time is 1 min- 1 min 30 seconds. So quick!

Only one of these products didn't make the cut. We'll get to that.

Lets start out with the box that isn't pictured--the chick patties. I googled an image to include in this mini collage. If you're wondering why it looks strange.


I tried the patties alone and on a sandwich like you see above (wheat 70 calorie bun), and both ways it was good.  Way better than the gross chicken patties my high school cafeteria served at least. I would buy these again.


I love these buffalo wings. For real. 5 nuggets are 200 calories. They're perfectly spicy. I've eaten them with chips for lunch and for dinner when I'm home I've steamed some broccoli to go with them. I dip them in light ranch. The texture is great and there's no weird veggie chunks in them to distract me.

Can't say that for these guys though:
They look innocent enough, don't they? Then I bit into one---

What is up with that (bottom right)? I guess it's just veggie chunks--but these things were dry and didn't have flavor like sausage would and I didn't even finish them. Even if they are 80 calories, it wasn't worth it. 

They MIGHT be better on some type of bread (toast/biscuit) with jelly on it to sort of add a different flavor and some moisture--but I didn't have time fo' dat! Maybe on a weekend I could try that. But after I have a bad experience with something, it doesn't matter if there's still some left in my cabinet/fridge-- I ain't going to do that to myself again. Ha!

Now that we're past the FAIL, lets move on to some burger options.

Grillers original flavor were tasty!

Obviously they don't look like the picture...but what does. I had one Wednesday for lunch with lettuce, fat-free cheese and mustard on a 70 calorie wheat bun. It filled me up! I've also tried this, without any bread. I put some pasta sauce on top of the patty instead of eating it like a burger on bread. As a side I had some roasted zucchini with it. It was sort of a last minute meal thrown together, and it was actually pretty tasty!

I would buy these again for sure. I'm curious about the other flavors though, so I might wait until I've tried a few different flavors to buy more of the original kind.

Last of the fake meat: Spicy Black Bean Burger.

I love these guys. BJ loved them too (he ate one as a regular burger). I tried mine crumbled in a taco salad (minus the chips) and it was really good--recipe here! The picture on the bottom right is where I had it with some pasta salad. I ended up not eating the bread, and just dipping the burger in the salsa. It was really good! It crumbles really easy. I could see using this in an actual taco--instead of having to cook a bunch of raw meat that looks like pink worms. Ha.

So happy to have found this stuff. It's affordable, not complicated to cook and I'm actually getting some protein from something other than a Clif bar. It keeps me full and I'm probably helping my cholesterol/triglycerides too.

I've seen Morningstar versions of crumbled meat, meatballs and bacon. I'll have to try all of that stuff too and see if there are any more awesome meat fake-outs.

If I've successfully grossed you out enough where meat is concerned, don't be afraid to try some of this Morningstar goodness! And just in case you were wondering, Morningstar did NOT pay me to say/try any of this stuff. I'm not that big of a deal. Yet. Jk jk.

Oh and here's a picture of my morning snack I've been having lately. This can is like 70 cents. I put it in the fridge when I get to work and then it's kinda chilled when I get hungry. The entire can is 120 calories, so that's not bad! Plus I love that it's just in 100% juice. A lot of fruit comes in that weird thick stuff, and I am not a fan. Yum!
70 ish cents!
If you've got any awesome meat fake-out suggestions PLEASE let me know by commenting or emailing me at samsmithgriffin (at) gmail (dot) com. So far I am NOT a fan of tofu, FYI.


Shesabigstar said...

I can't do fake meat... it totally creeps me out, I don't know why, but I gag when I try, especially the chicken! There's one exception that I've found though and it's the Morning Star pizza-flavored burgers. Those are good... I have them on a sandwich thin with a little lettuce and tomato and they don't bother me one bit. One of my favorites!

Lauryn Roth said...

I got those and havent ate them yet!

Halie Renee said...

I'm looooving the Morning Star veggie burgers lately! This week, my favorite to eat two for lunch is with one wedge of Laughing Cow Bleu Cheese spread split for both of them. with some carrot slices. Soo yummy! And I also just dress up a patty like I would a regular burger (mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, cheese) and eat it sans the bun. Also so good! I really want to try those buffalo 'wings' now though! I'm obsessed with all-things-buffalo, so I'm sure I'll love these too!