We finally made it – the final week of Reader Month!
When Caker Cooking reader Stephanie suggested I try her tender bits, I was like, “Whoa, this is taking reader relations to a whole new level.” Then I found out tender bits are a food. Or a non-food. They’re made with wheat gluten, oat flour, and soy protein. I don’t even know what those words mean.
I can’t get Tender Bits in Canada, so I went online. A case of 12 cans is selling on Amazon for seventy dollars! What other ingredient is in there – unicorn? Stephanie suggested I substitute grilled chicken pieces. Those were only $3.99 which meant I could make it and still afford to get Mother a Big Turk bar for dessert.
This recipe calls for barbeque chips. And paprika. Talk about being a wallflower. How can paprika compete with a bag of barbeque chips? Can you even see the paprika with all that other seasoning? I'm coming up with a new term: paprika complex. It's when you're so insignificant, you might as well not even try. But you should try this casserole. In spite of the photo above, it actually tasted pretty good.
1 can Tender Bits, drained and cut into about 1" pieces
1 can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup
Use can to measure out milk, about 1/2 cup
1/2 onion, chopped (see note)
1/2 - 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Stir all of that together. It will be thick. Add one bag of crushed BBQ flavored Lay's potato chips and mix together, then place in greased casserole dish. Top with paprika, salt & pepper and bake 350 for about 45-60 minutes.
Note: Stephanie says, “I usually sauté for a couple of minutes until soft.”
Source: Caker Stephanie
Good heavens. Isn't Tender Bits a cat food? This reminds me of classic tuna casserole, but with chicken and barbecue chips. I just might have to add this one to the rotation.ReplyDelete
How big a bag of chips, by the way?
Well, I bought a big bag. Then I ate half of it before I made it. To be safe, I'd buy three bags. And some Tums.Delete
Ha! Tender Vittles was the cat food.ReplyDelete
I'm disturbed by the association, though. :)
Tender Vittles was good enough for my family. It got us through some hard times. Mother preferred it on melba toast. Father always said it was purrrfect right out of the package.Delete
In order to understand what the product " Tender Bit's" was, as I too am in Canada, I googled 'Tender Bits" and ran across a number of disturbing images. And speaking of disturbing images, when I was growing up me and my sisters and brothers used to sit around the kitchen table and dare each other to eat a milk bone, dry dog kibble , dry cat kibble, wet dog food and so on up the totem pole of pet food. It kept us busy and as a Caker Family, it tasted good to us.Delete
I think I've eaten a milk bone (or two) in my life. I'm not too proud to admit it. Wet dog food on the other hand - eesch!Delete
mmm, Big Turk.ReplyDelete
Worst. Chocolate. Bar. Ever.Delete
I think 'Tender Bits' is a 'Loma Linda' product (It has been a while since I have lived in the US). 'Loma Linda' was a 7th Day Adventist owned company & manufacturer of several 'meatless alternatives' such as the amusingly named 'Linketts', 'Swiss Stake', & "Diced Chik'. I believe 'Loma Linda' merged with Worthington Foods & 'Morningstar Farms' in the 70's & went public in 1992. (I always wondered why they chose "Morningstar Farms as a name for a vegetarian food company - it was the name of a now defunct & somewhat infamous hippy commune near my native town of Sonoma, California.)ReplyDelete
Well anyhooo...I digress.
But there is a large 7th Day Adventist population in Napa & Sonoma counties & I have quite a few of their cookbooks in my motley montage of church, 4H, Junior League, & various community cookbooks. What with 7th Day Adventists being adamant vegetarians most of the 'main course' recipes in their cookbooks kind of follow this general pattern - cheese + canned cream of something + meatless alternative or eggs. Open cans, mix, bake & serve - a vegetarian caker's delight!
Oh, I'm the unlikely offspring of a Mennonite mom & a raging' Cajun from Lousiana. (Now residing in Kathmandu with husband & aforementioned cookbook collection - go figure.)
Oh Bibi you have found me out! I'm a Bad-Ventist. and a Good Girl Caker. I LOVE me some Tender Bits.Delete
Thanks for that info, Bibi. I am now an enlightened Tender Bits caker. Although I'm forever going to be curious as to what "Diced Chik" looks and tastes likeDelete
I feel uncomfortable reading about tender bits.ReplyDelete
I'm with you yinzerella. It makes me feel like playing with some yarn and jumping up on the counter.Delete
I feel much more comfortable reading about tender bits than I feel about eating them. Now excuse me. I have to go the bathroom. (a.k.a. my litter box)Delete
Brian -- so glad you tried this and enjoyed it (as much as you can when you have to guarantee at least 4 doses of Lasix after a meal). I'm happy to hear it was good with chicken and doesn't need the spongy-ness of a Tender Bit to pull it off. Isn't it weird how the BBQ flavor sort of.... disappears? But in a good way!ReplyDelete
It was a different taste sensation than what I was expecting. The flavour of the chips wasn't as overpowering as I thought it would be. The heartburn that followed afterwards, however, that's a different story. Thanks for sending this in!Delete
I stumbled onto this recipe and I had to send it your way. I'm tempted to try it out, but to be honest I'm not sure if the starter would try and eat one of my kids.ReplyDelete
No word of a lie - a relative once brought Friendship Cake to my mom. It was freaking delicious. I considered making it for the blog, but it's a like a year-long project. I just don't have that much patience when it comes to food.Delete
I think that using BBQ Pringles would make it even more of a caker recipe.ReplyDelete
That is a very good suggestion. Even better, keep the empty Pringles canister and use it a vase.Delete
You can very likely substitute 'Tender Bits' with a gluten/soy seitan product, either in the form of vegetarian fake-meat, or (and especially if you're trying for that authentic flavour that only comes from a tin) Mock Duck from your local Chinese grocery (try not to be squicked out by the fact that they press it into molds that produce the illusion of prickled duck skin).ReplyDelete
I suggested soy to Stephanie when she submitted the recipe, but she said if I went that route, I'd have to dry the soy out in the microwave. It sounded too complicated, so I opted for chicken. I'll keep my eye out for Mock Duck.Delete
You can buy Tender Bits in CanadaReplyDelete
That's either the best or the worst news I've heard all day.Delete
Tenderbits are very good. And not cat food lol. And they are available in Canada. Have been for more than 25 years at least. Adventist Book Centre's (ABC) carry them. http://lomalindabrand.com/product/loma-linda-tender-bits/ReplyDelete
Thanks for the Tender Bits tip, Erin! Happy to hear that Canada isn't denied the glory that is the tender bit.Delete