Monday, August 2, 2010

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

I had some fresh tomatoes from a friend and had always wanted to try making stuffed tomatoes. I looked up a few recipes, then created my own based on our tastes and what I had available. They turned out great! (My kids aren't huge tomato fans, but they loved the filling.)

8 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
~1 lb ground beef
2 slices bacon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
2 cups uncooked instant rice (I used brown rice)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan-cheddar would be good too)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp water

Slightly cut the bottoms of the tomatoes so they stand upright. Cut out the stem, making a hole in the top of the tomato. Leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell, scoop out and reserve the pulp. Place tomatoes in either a 9x13 baking dish or a baking sheet with tall sides.

In a skillet over med-high heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add diced onions, bacon, and garlic; once mixed and started cooking, add the ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Once cooked, drain off extra grease if necessary. Add about 1-1.5 cups of the tomato pulp and the sugar to the meat mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and summer 35-40 minutes, until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. (I tasted here and did add a bit more salt.) Add rice; mix well. Simmer 5-6 minutes longer or until rice starts to get tender. Stuff the tomatoes when mixture is done.

Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and butter, then top the tomatoes. Add some water to the baking dish/sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

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