I cooked up an adapted version of Rachael Ray's Mexican Meat-zza last night using Quorn Grounds, a vegatarian alternative to beef. It comes in 12 oz. packages and, according to the manufacturer, can be "sauté[d], bake[d], or microwave[d ...] as you would ground beef or other similar meatless product."
The grounds look very similar to cooked ground beef, although there were a number of frozen clumps that had to be broken up before cooking. It heats up fairly quickly (5 minutes over med-high heat) and is pretty flavorless.
The kids had no idea they weren't eating beef until I told them (I think they thought I'd forgotten about our swearing off of beef and chose not to remind me). Shane liked it as well, but I found it bland (though as Kevin pointed out, I'm suffering from mad-about-not-eating-cow disease).
On a related topic, I just read the following on ConsumerReports.org (I am obsessed with it). Keep in mind that this was written one year ago, before the USDA further reduced its testing for Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (Mad Cow Disease):
Is it safe to eat U.S. beef?
Since the Department of Agriculture currently tests only 1 percent of all cows slaughtered in the U.S., compared with 25 percent in Europe and 100 percent in Japan, we do not have reliable information on the safety of beef in this country. Until more information is available, individuals need to make a judgment about their risk tolerance, according to Consumers Union’s food-safety experts. If eating beef is not very important to you, you might want to forgo it until more is known. If you want to eat beef, you can limit your risk by avoiding the foods most likely to carry mad cow disease: brains and processed beef products that may contain nervous-system tissue, such as hamburger, hot dogs, and sausage. Organic, biodynamic, or 100 percent grass-fed beef carries the least risk, since the cattle are not fed any animal remains. Steak and hamburger that's ground while you watch are also lower-risk.
Is the U.S. doing everything possible to guard against an epidemic of mad cow disease? Consumers Union believes the federal government should take added steps to end practices that could undermine the safety of meat. "The U.S. needs to be far more pro-active in protecting the American food supply," says Mike Hansen, PhD, senior research associate at Consumers Union, which has been fighting for the following changes for years.
Screen far more cattle for the disease. The U.S. tested some 370,000 cows between June 1, 2004, and May 31, 2005, out of a total herd of about 97 million, of which 37 million were slaughtered. By contrast, in Europe every single animal above a given age gets tested.
Outlaw the feeding of the remains of any mammal to any animals that humans eat.
Tighten the law on dietary supplements; it currently allows supplements to contain material from the animal parts most likely to contain the mutant protein.
Require doctors and hospitals to report all cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.