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Healthy Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

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Healthy Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
I know it can be confusing to prepare a meal for dinner guests who are vegetarians. Having that prior notice used to give me panic attacks until I discovered this recipe. The best thing about this dish is the fact that it’s packed with nutrients. That matters when you have guests who count the vitamins and calories in everything.

I just have to say that rice is very filling so I urge you not to eat too much of this at one time. But the dish is lovely as a dinner starter. Try serving it up with other light dishes such as fish (or any seafood dish for that matter) or chicken but never with pasta or mashed potatoes. You don’t want to load your guests up with too many carbohydrates in one meal.

You’re probably in for a treat too because of the Parmesan cheese which doesn’t overwhelm the dish at all. It even gives it a little twist if you find the tomatoes a bit much. Other than this side note, you’re good to go!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup short-grain white rice
  • 6 ripe but firm large tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Description

  1. Fill up a medium sauce pan with water and add salt. Bring this to a boil and add the rice. Stirring constantly, wait for the rice to cook. It takes about 10 minutes and then you can drain the excess water. Run cold water through the rice and drain as well to set it aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, slice off the tops of the tomatoes about half an inch thick. Set aside the tops. Gently scoop out all the juice, seeds and pulp and place them on a separate bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of the tomato juice-pulp content.
  3. Prepare an 8 x 8 inch thick baking dish and spread olive oil to grease the bottom. Then arrange the hollowed out tomatoes into the baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl, throw in the remaining tomato juice-pulp contents with the rice. Mix these before adding the Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Combine them well and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Then spoon a mixture of the rice into each tomato and mound them in slightly to make sure the contents are really stuffed inside. When done, sprinkle what’s left of the stuffing mixture at the bottom of the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place the sliced off tops on the tomato and bake in the oven until rice is heated through, usually about 20 minutes. Best served hot or at room temperature, when necessary.

Baked Chicken and Tomatoes Casserole

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I got into a mini debate with a friend today about calling tomato a fruit or a vegetable. I insisted on calling it a vegetable. To my knowledge, people classified them as such, right? I was schooled today. She googled it and won the argument. I was on my way to get the chicken recipe I wanted to show her until I was inspired by earlier events.

I planned on making tomatoes the star of my dinner. This recipe is just the perfect complement to the day filled with food debates and internet surfing for answers. I ended up inviting her over for dinner so she could see the humor in what I was about to do.

Baking tomatoes from scratch is good. Simply drizzle olive oil on it and salt and you’re good to go. They give off a special aroma which not all vegetables/fruits have when baked. And they’re pretty nutritious too. Having the chicken to bake along with the tomatoes is a lovely combination, in my opinion.

This recipe also kept my kids craving for tomatoes more. They used to hate eating them because they tasted bland and had no special flavor. I can’t blame them for thinking this way. But this dish will change all that. Trust me, your kids will love tomatoes after having this.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves

Description

  1. Begin with the dry ingredients: Mix in flour, salt and pepper. Next, drench each chicken piece with this mixture. Rub it all over until every part is coated.
  2. Over medium-high heat, warm up a skillet and then add in butter to allow it to melt and follow it up with oil so it doesn’t burn right away. Then slowly add in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
  3. Take the cooked chicken out from the oil and place it into a baking dish. In the same skillet, sauté the mushrooms and onions. Next, add the remaining drenching flour mixture to make rue. Then throw in the tomatoes and bay leaves and give it a light stir.
  4. Cook this for about 4 minutes or until rue is done and pour this over the chicken pieces. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake at 350°F until chicken is tender or wait about 40 minutes. Remove from oven to cool down a bit before serving. Best served warm. Serves 6.
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