Tag Archives: mozzarella

Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes

 

When in need of an extra vegetable that can sub as a main meal for the vegetarian coming to your party, reference back to this recipe.  I made these for Christmas and was in no way missing out during dinner.

 

What you’ll need:

 

  • 8-10 medium tomatoes
  • 1 box couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 cup 2 different kinds of mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 package mozzarella cheese

 

Wash the tomatoes then start by cutting the tomatoes in half and spooning the center out into a bowl.  I used a melon baller, which worked perfectly for this task. Set aside for later.

 

Next, fry the onions, mushrooms and garlic together with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan.  Cook until the mushroom turn dark brown in color and the onions become translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Everything should smell of garlic.

Toss in your greens and spices (spinach, basil, pepper, cayenne, Italian seasoning) next then cook until the basil shrinks, about 2-4 minutes.

 

While your vegetables are cooking you can start the couscous. Cook according to the directions replacing the water with vegetable broth.  When the couscous is almost complete, stir in the sun-dried tomatoes until thoroughly heated (I used canned sun-dried tomatoes that were already softened).  When I made this I used two boxes of couscous because I doubled up on the amount of tomatoes, but this is not necessary.  One box was plenty and the condensed vegetable medley would have provided more flavors.

 

Next mix together your vegetables, couscous and tomato pulp in a mixing bowl.

 

Stuff the couscous blend into the tomato halves and place on a roasting pan.

 

Top each tomato shell with a healthy amount of cheese. Here you can experiment using parmesan, mozzarella, white cheddar or even fresh mozzarella slices. Another tasty option would be to mix parmesan inside the couscous mix and top with mozzarella.

 

Bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.

 

To brown the top, broil for 3-5 minutes.

 

This was an excellent main course for Christmas for the vegetarian in our small group (me).  My uncle stated that when he spooned in a piece of basil with his grains it made a huge difference in adding much-needed flavor to the boring couscous.  The tomatoes mush, somewhat, when cooked allowing your fork to slice right through scooping up bits of grains, cheese, vegetables and tomato. 

 

I took both the left over couscous medley, tasty just on its own, and whole tomatoes to lunch for the next week. Two was more than enough to keep me going until dinner. The couscous, similar to when you cook it, puffs up in your stomach keeping you full for quite a while with a healthy carbohydrate. To make this gluten-free simply substitute in quinoa for the couscous.

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Filed under Food, Lunch/Dinner

Parmigiano Reggiano Spinach Artichoke Dip

I was on appetizer and wine duty this Thanksgiving.  Despite my efforts to narrow it down to just one appetizer, I was only able to diminish myself to two.  This hot, cheesy dip is perfect for the vegetarian in the group to chow down on before the rest of the Turkey day meat lovers stuff their bellies with turkey, ham, gravy, stuffing and bacon-infused green bean casserole.

Inside the pie dish, you’ll need:

  • 1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 14 oz. artichoke hearts,  drained and chopped
  • 1/2 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp. sriracha
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or just Parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

 

Start by mixing together the creamy, liquid ingredients like the cheeses, mayo, sriracha, sour cream and garlic.

The sriracha gives the combo a vibrant pinkish, orange color.

 

Next, add in the drained spinach and artichokes.

Pour your light green  concoction into a baking dish.

 

I chose to use a glass pie dish for display purposes, but you can use an 8″ x 8″ square pan or any other dish.

Bake in the center of oven for 20-40 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and bubble.

Serve with Hint of Pepperjack Tostitos, multi-grain crackers or Pepperidge Farm Cheese Crisps.

This dip, best served when steeping hot, was even better than the spinach dip you may order as an appetizer when out at, say, T.G.I. Fridays.  The artichokes were plentiful (which I always find restaurants to jip on), and the spinach wasn’t too  irony tasting,  a delicious pair with the creamy cheese and mayo.  The sriracha gave our taste buds a slight kick in the pants. For a party of 9, we only demolished half of this filling spread.  I finished the rest the next few days for lunch with the Pepperidge Farm Cheese Crisps. They added another salty sweet aspect which was to die for.

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Filed under Appetizers, Food

Naan Pizza

Danielle made something similar the day before as an appetizer to our cook out.  This bread is really flippin’ good. I wish I knew about it earlier.  You can top it with anything, but here is something I quickly whipped up for dinner after a long day of work.

Purchase:

Naan
Can of black olives
Jar of green olives
12 oz bag of mozzarella Cheese
Garlic
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

 These are really quite simple, and perfect for those don’t-want-to-gourmet-cook days.

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Preheat your broiler. On a cooking sheet, place one-two Naan, Indian flatbread near the pita bread and tortillas, and coat the top with olive oil and minced garlic using a paintbrush.  Sprinkle a desired amount of cheese over the oil. Top with olives and sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the broiler for 5-10 minutes (watch it so it doesn’t burn).  Enjoy.

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Danielle’s version is just olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan or another hard, good-for-grating cheese.  She throws hers on the grill and cuts it into appetizer bites.  It’s versatile enough that you can throw anything on top, like emphasis the sweetness with pineapples and black olives or turn it into an Indian bruschetta with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh grown basil.

The bread is sweet and soft. The edges add a little crunch when cooked and the browned cheese and black and green olives are perfect for your salt cravings.

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Filed under Appetizers, Food, Lunch/Dinner, Snacks