Frugal but Comforting Family Fare:
Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs & Oats (Gluten Free)
This is an old family recipe, one that has been welcome on my table for many years and before that on my mum and grandmother’s table too…..a recipe that is comforting and yet frugal, a recipe that “pads” out the meat but is still big on the love…….a recipe that uses local seasonal ingredients, such as the tomatoes, onions and herbs and is egg free and gluten free…..it’s a great way to get your five-a-day incorporated in to a family meal too…..and, it’s my entry for The Care to Cook Challenge, which is being run and hosted by my lovely friend Vansether over at Bangers and Mash. Vanesther is also my Guest Host for Herbs on Saturday this July, and as this has a liberal dose of oregano in the stuffing , I am also adding it to Herbs on Saturday challenge too……as well as a few more challenges, as you will see at the end of my post!
Let’s talk about The Care to Cook challenge……for the last few years Vanesther has worked with a charity called TACT, which provides fostering and adoption services to help some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK. Their aim is to help these youngsters find loving homes and a fresh new start in life…….The concept of family is very important to TACT; providing a safe, stable and caring home environment is so crucial and it makes a massive difference in supporting children and young people who find themselves in the care system for all kinds of reasons. Young people need to feel valued, made to feel special and loved, and need to be listened to when they are ready to share.
One of the simplest ways to bring family together and welcome new people into our home is through food. Family meals all too often are something children in care have missed out on. Because the family meal is so important, TACT has launched its very own cook book called Care to Cook, packed full of delicious starters, mains and desserts kindly donated by TACT’s adopters, supporters and staff. To help raise awareness of Care to Cook, Vanesther at Bangers & Mash is calling on food bloggers and food lovers to submit their own favourite family recipes, and one lucky person will receive a copy of the cook book signed by TACT’s new celebrity patron, TV chef and best selling cookery writer Lorraine Pascale.
So, this is where my recipe comes in; it is a family favourite, a recipe that can be made ahead of time and can even be frozen at the stuffed and oven-ready stage…..it’s NOT expensive to make and it’s VERY family friendly, my daughter used to LOVE this meal when she was little, just as much as she does now that she is all grown up! My Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs & Oats can be served with spuds, salad, bread, rice or pasta – the recipe can be increased to feed a crowd or for VERY hungry people too……it takes advantage of seasonal veggies and the oats adds extra health benefits….
The last time I made a batch of these last week, I had excess stuffing, so I also used an aubergine to stuff and bake alongside the tomatoes……the excess aubergine flesh was fried separately, to add the the existing mixture, and it was delectable. One large aubergine will feed two people for a light lunch with salad. I served my Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs & Oats with a simple herb salad, using basil, which goes so well with tomatoes I think……
As I mentioned earlier in my post, this humble little recipe sits in rather well with a few more blogging challenges……..so here goes my list:
Another favourite event is the One Ingredient monthly challenge, which is hosted by Laura and Nazima on alternate months, and this month the ingredient is TOMATOES and Laura is hosting over at How to Cook Good Food…..
And here is the recipe!! Have a GREAT Tuesday and see you later on……..Karen.
Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs & Oats (GF)
|Serves||Serves 4 as a light snack or 2 as a full meal|
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Cook time||30 minutes|
|Total time||45 minutes|
|Dietary||Gluten Free, Vegetarian|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
|Occasion||Barbecue, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Valentines day|
|Karen S Burns-Booth|
An old family recipe that ekes out the meat by adding oats; these stuffed tomatoes can also be made veggie style by adding Quorn mince instead of minced beef, and I have even used cooked lentils before too. Four large tomatoes will serve 4 people as a light snack or starter, and 2 people as a full meal……although, it all depends on the size of the tomatoes, and larger ones can be used with smaller tomatoes, to suit an average family of different ages and with different appetite sizes! Use other vegetables too, such as aubergines, peppers or round courgettes.
- 4 large stuffing tomatoes (or other vegetables such as aubergines and round courgettes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 200g lean minced beef (or 2 x 100g beefburgers, crumbled)
- 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 50g oats (I like to use jumbo oats)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 150g Quorn mince (for the vegetarian option)
An old family recipe that ekes out the meat by adding oats; these stuffed tomatoes can also be made veggie style by adding Quorn mince instead of minced beef, and I have even used cooked lentils before too. Four large tomatoes will serve 4 people as a light snack or starter, and 2 people as a full meal……although, it all depends on the size of the tomatoes, and larger ones can be used with smaller tomatoes, to suit an average family of different ages and with different appetite sizes! Use other vegetables too, such as aubergines, peppers or round courgettes. This is a Gluten and Egg Free stuffed tomato recipe. (The tomatoes can also be frozen at the oven ready stage.)
|Step 1||Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
Cut the top off the tomatoes, and carefully scoop out the middle of the tomatoes with a spoon, leaving a thickish wall of tomato. Set the tomato flesh and seeds to one side. At this stage you can sieve out the seeds if you like and just keep the tomato flesh. Chop the tomato flesh into small pieces.
|Step 2||Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, quite a large one, and add the diced onion – fry over a medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until it is soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, before draining and setting to one side in a bowl.|
|Step 3||Add the minced beef or Quorn to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the minced beef is cooked and brown. Put the onion and garlic mixture back into the pan and add the chopped tomato flesh, cook for a further 5 minutes before seasoning to taste.|
|Step 4||Add the chopped fresh oregano, Parmesan cheese and the oats to the meat/Quorn mixture and mix well, before adjusting the seasoning to taste.|
|Step 5||Place the tomatoes into a large baking/roasting tin or an oven proof dish and then fill them with the filling mixture, gently packing it down well into the tomatoes; replace the tomato lid on top of the stuffed tomatoes and drizzle the rest of the oil over the top of the tomatoes. Pour a little water into the baking tin or dish, and place the tomatoes in the oven, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.|
|Step 6||Serve hot or cold with seasonal salad and lots of crusty bread for juice mopping.|
|Step 7||NB: If there is any stuffing mixture left over, stuff another tomato or other vegetables with it, or freeze for future stuffing sessions!|