Tag Archives: tomato

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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Roasted Tomato and Onion Potatoes

Our first night in Phoenix, we decided that, despite not having their fire pit and built-in grill complete yet, we would cook burgers and roast vegetables (mostly for my sake) in the oven and on the stove.

Buy:

1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 onion
Several garlic cloves
3 red potatoes
1 jalapeno
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

This recipe is quite simple and the roasting vegetables topped in Italian seasoning will have your house smelling like a gourmet restaurant.

Start by cutting up your potatoes in bite sized pieces after washing them.
I chose to cook these first, as they take a little bit longer than the rest of the vegetables.  You can throw in the sliced onions now, or with the tomatoes depending on the texture you prefer.image  In a roasting pan, place your chopped potatoes (and onions if you are using them now) drizzle on a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, a garlic clove or two, half a tablespoon of chili powder and place the pats of butter sparingly on top of everything.
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Heat in the broiler for 15 minutes (longer or shorter depending on the size of your potato pieces).  When the potatoes are almost completely cooked through, add the whole tomatoes, onions (if you hadn’t used them already), coined jalapenos (I placed these off to the side since not everyone at the dinner table enjoyed the spice of a jalapeno and served them separate), drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of chili powder, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a garlic clove or two and place back into the broiler.

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When the tomato skin starts splitting, the vegetables are done.
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Toss together in a bowl with salt and pepper.

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The roasted vegetables were a great addition to the burgers and corn my aunt made for dinner.

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They have a distinct taste from the Italian Seasoning, and the best part is it is all in one, so you aren’t buying 6 different spices you’ll only use once and spending a fortune.  A little salt takes the boring olive oil taste to a new level of satisfaction.  It was perfect for a side to the cookout-but-in menu and great as a whole vegetarian meal.  The kids were a little scared of the Italian Seasoning, but my uncle thought they were so good he finished off the remaining batch.

 

 

 

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Red & Yellow Tomato Tart

This easy to make tomato tart recipe is perfect for summer/fall meals because the tomatoes are in season. My mom stopped at the local farmer’s market and picket up these massive, juicy, colorful tomatoes.  During the winter, yellow and orange tomatoes are hard to come by, so I just use all red mixing Roma tomatoes with beefsteak tomatoes or mix in fresh mozzarella cheese.

Purchase:

2-3 tomatoes in varying colors
2 Tbs pesto
2 Tbs honey mustard
1 pie crust (homemade or frozen)
Parmesan cheeseimage

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Spray your pie pan if you are using a homemade pie crust.  Bake the pie crust as directed on package.  If you are going all out and making your own crust, add in a little basil to the mix.Bake the pie crust as directed on package.  If you are going all out and making your own crust, add in a little basil to the mix.

My mom decided to make homemade pesto from our flourishing basil plant purchased this summer from Home Depot. Definitely worth the $2.50.  You can go ahead and use store-bought pesto for a time saver.  At the bottom of your crust, evenly spread a helping of pesto topped with the honey mustard. 

You can slice your tomatoes to any desired thickness.  I usually cut them thinner than shown in this pie, and they have more of a cooked squishy texture.  The thicker cut tomatoes hold better when you slice the pie, but may need a little longer cook time.  Layer your tomatoes, alternating colors, overlapping each other.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened to a desired texture and the cheese has thoroughly melted.image

It may sound like a strange combination, pesto and honey mustard, but this easy-to-make pie is mouth-watering.  It’s hard to eat just one slice.  The tomatoes mix with the honey mustard-pesto bottom layer bringing out the sweetness of the basil in the pesto but also ending in an overall green clove and pepper aftertaste on your tongue.  The crust soaks up the pesto leaving a soft, delightful carb to the pie.  It is definitely a perfectly light summer meal when paired with a side of vegetables and a club soda spritzer.image

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Spinach Calzones

Danielle again amazes me with her healthy recipes, so I decided to stop by and cook for her.  The recipe calls for 1 (10 oz) can of refrigerated pizza crust, 4 garlic cloves, 4 cups of spinach leaves, 8 (1/8 inch thick) slices of a sweet onion, 1 and 1/3 cups of sliced button mushrooms and 3/4 cup (3 oz) crumbled blue cheese.

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Pillsbury has the best refrigerated and in a can rolls, so I assumed correctly that their pizza dough would have that similar sweet, light, and fluffy taste.  You start by popping the can, and jumping with fright every time if you are like me, then spread out the dough on a greased baking sheet.  Cut it into four and pat out 6″ by 5″ rectangles.  Starting with the minced garlic cloves, spread out each vegetable into your four rectangles.

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I cut the onions a little too thick, and they probably would fit better if you actually chop them up instead of ringed slices.  I also added tomatoes, but after making this got to thinking they would also be incredible doused in tomato/pizza sauce like your own personal folded up pizza, or panzerotti as the Italian restaurants will call it.  Mini Bella mushrooms were on sale and are oh so much better of a texture and taste that your typical white button mushroom.  Also, I tried frozen spinach, as it is cheaper and easier, quickly zapped it in the microwave, and it still added a desirable, fresh flavor to the dish.  I decided to shop at Meijer after realizing that the Wal-Mart I went to was not a super Wal-Mart, and Meijer had this 4 oz block of blue cheese still in the wax.  It was the perfect size and not as strong and vibrant on your tongue as your typical blue cheese.  It also didn’t have the usual blue mold you see mixed into your cheese.  Highly recommend trying this kind.

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So once all the ingredients are piled high, but not too high or like me you won’t be able to close these babies, you will grab opposing corners of the pizza dough and pinch them together then start down the sides closing the calzone.

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They bake in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  This is when we decided it was okay that the calzones were overstuffed and unable to close.  They still came out looking, smelling and tasting as good as if they had sizzled and baked inside their own personal pod.

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Upon eating these Tobi and Danielle decided it needed some savory or spice for added flavor, but overall a good meal.  Add a chopped salad (thanks to Danielle’s mom) and some raspberry sorbet for a complete dinner.

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Skewered

Speaking of mini’s. I savored the remaining left overs of these delicious classics skewered on a 6-inch stick.  Plump red cherry tomatoes (or yellow and red if tomatoes are in season) smashing in a fresh mozzarella ball previously marinated in olive oil, pepper, and Mrs. Dash’s variety pepper seasoning (or whatever you find in your seasoning cabinet).  The mozzarella balls are delicately wrapped in a fresh basil leaf adding a splash of green to each bite you savor.  All together, a classic twist to the Caprese salad.  The only suggestion when biting in to these wonderful tomatoes is to pop the whole thing in your mouth or the juice will squirt out of the holes created from the skewer.image

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