Entries in Tomatoes (3)
Ah, there's nothing like comfort food at it's finest on a gloomy day.
Baked ziti is just one of those things that becomes an instant family favourite. It can pick you up and lift your spirits on a cold wintery day.
A steaming dish of golden cheesy tomato baked pasta heaven.
Mmm, melty cheese!
Do I have your attention?
It might shock you to learn that this comforting pasta dish is actually quite good for you. Here's a secret, ever play hide the vegetables? If you have kids, you know what I mean. It has 2 cups of shredded carrots, 1 whole onion, basil, and is bursting with tomatoes + homemade marinara sauce. Even the pickiest eaters in your family couldn't say no. Sure it looks and tastes like a traditional baked ziti that's packed with unhealthy fat and salt (not to mention heavy cream) but it's one of the cleanest pasta dishes you'll ever make.
The perfect crowd pleaser. Great for entertaining large groups.
Easy to throw together in 20 minutes. Then you get to sit back and relax while it cooks.
Baked Ziti (Gluten Free) (makes 9 - 1 cup servings)
(Slightly adapted from The Eat Clean Diet For Family & Kids)
- 1lb extra lean ground turkey
- 2 Cups shredded carrots
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced fine
- 3 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Cups homemade Marinara Sauce (or 1 can of no-salt added tomatoes)
- 1 Cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 8 oz. spelt rotini (or whole grain penne)
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 Cup - 3/4 Cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook turkey, carrots, onions, and garlic until nicely browned. Add chicken stock, marinara sauce, pasta, and basil.
- Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Pasta should be cooked al dente.
- Turn pasta mix into baking dish. Sprinkle top with shredded mozzarella.
- Place in oven and baked for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
This also makes great leftovers for easy lunches packed with nutrition and energy.
Lately my garden has been overflowing with tomatoes.
With the recent rise in temperature they have been ripening left and right. Now I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. My local grocery store is also selling roma tomatoes by the bushel now. I'm so sad that this probably means the end of summer is coming, but I do admit that fall is my favourite time of year. The produce is the best, you get to drink hot chocolate, bundle up in cozy sweaters, jump into piles of leaves, carve pumpkins and go on fall walks! Fall is aweseome.
Sorry, too soon to talk about autumn? Let's get back to those tomatoes.
Want to know something funny? Just the other day I was picking some of these gorgeous beauties, and as I was reaching into the jungle of vines my arm grazed the plant at the front of the garden, causing at least 5 tomatoes to all fall off at the same time. How weird is that? My tomatoes have never fallen off the vines by themselves before.
Seriously. They're just crying to be used..pick me. Pick me! Sort of like my basil plant.
And...there's still more coming.
Time to make a little somethin' somethin' with 'em.
If you've never made your own marinara sauce before, then you're missing out. There's nothing better than fresh and homemade. Plus, it's one of the easiest things in the world to make. This smelt soooooo good while it was cooking. It was like bottling summer in a jar. So warm and robust. The whole house smelt like this all day. You can enjoy this fresh, store it in the fridge for a week, or freeze for a few months.
You could also easily can this and keep it stashed in your pantry for one of those gloomy overcast winter days when you need a bit of warmth from summer.
Marinara Sauce (makes 3 cups)
(adapted from the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook 2)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups fresh roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups clean low sodium tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper flakes, and saute until onion is translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and oregano. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend sauce until desired smoothness. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve this with fresh with pasta, vegetables, fish or grains. It also makes an amazing pizza sauce.
Back in the day when we used to eat without a second thought, spaghetti and meat sauce was a big hit at my house. My mom would make her famous tomato meat sauce with ground beef and we would cook up some white pasta and sit down to a family dinner. I still love my mom's old recipe as a treat -minus the white pasta. But one day it dawned on us, "hey, why can't we just clean it up and make it more nutritious?" Of course!
Well that's exactly what we did. Served with some good wine of course:
Ever since I picked up Tosca Reno's first eat clean diet cook book, I've been inspired to take recipes and turn them into healthy every day meals. It's become something of a hobby that I get to enjoy with my family when we come together to make dinner. We really like cooking together. And after all, real food should taste good and have the best of both worlds (nutrition & flavour).
This is now a recipe that we like to make over and over again. It's comforting, it's healthy, it's whole grain and most importantly it tastes really good! If you're looking for something to go with a good bottle of red wine, then this is a recipe for you. We made this last weekend and enjoyed it with a glass of Ravine's VQA Red Coat from St. Davids Ontario. 2010 was a great year for wine in Niagara.
I like to call this a rustic tomato sauce because the tomatoes are roasted down in the oven along with other veggies and herbs, making it less of a traditional pasta sauce. It uses plump fresh Ontario grown tomatoes, asparagus, and roasted sweet red bell peppers all roughly chopped. Instead of the ground beef we picked up some organic locally prepared low sodium extra lean turkey sausage from Nicholyn farm in Horseshoe Valley. Another great place that I like to frequent. And ancient grain kamut spaghetti to replace the white pasta. I would strongly suggest topping it with a little bit of soft goat cheese like I served it here, no measurements needed:
The fresh basil came from my herb garden.
Rustic Kamut Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage (serves 4)
- 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups of mixed tomatoes, chopped (plum, yellow, cherry)
- 1 tbsp each of olive oil and red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 3-4 turkey sausages, grilled and sliced
- 2-3 tbsp fresh basil, torn
- 4 large knobs of goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 425* F. In a large baking dish, combine chopped tomatoes, asparagus, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sea salt and garlic. Place in oven to roast for 10 minutes.
- Saute the mushrooms in a medium sauce pan then add them, roasted red pepper, and grilled turkey sausage to the tomato mix. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes in the oven.
- Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta for 8-10 minutes.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with the tomato mixture and half of the basil.
- Serve among 4 plates and top with fresh torn basil and goat cheese.
Cheers to another home cooked meal!
If you like flavourful food you do not want to miss this one.