Quick Recipes and Easy

Need a Quick, Tasty Meal? Open a Can of Tomatoes

Need a meal in minutes? Canned tomato products are your solution. These products are colorful, tasty, and healthy. According to a 1997 University of Illinois nutrition study, the lycopene in canned tomatoes may help to prevent prostate cancer. Other studies, including a year-long study conducted by the University of Toronto and another study at Harvard University, turned up similar results.

Canned tomato products are rich in vitamins A and C. One half cup of canned tomatoes equals a serving from the vegetable group on the U.S. Government Food Pyramid. The USDA has posted recommendations for storing and using canned tomatoes on its Website. Canned tomatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place, the FDA says, on a shelf and not on the floor.

You should avoid freezing canned tomato products or exposing them to sunlight, the FDA adds, because temperature changes shortens their shelf life and speeds deterioration. Leftover tomatoes should be refrigerated in non-metallic containers that have tight lids. Use these leftovers in 2-4 days.

Never buy products in dented or bulging cans. Tomatoes are acidic and, to prevent a reaction between the acid and the metal, the inside of the cans has been sprayed with a protective lining. Dents may hurt this lining and the product may be spoiled.

Tomatoes are a fruit and an adaptable fruit at that. There’s nothing like a bowl of Tomato-Basil Soup with Caesar Croutons on a rainy day. If you like fish you’ll like Sole Poached in Tomatoes and White Wine. As for Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes and Tomatoes with Bacon, they go with just about everything, including scrambled eggs. Got a can opener?

TOMATO-BASIL SOUP WITH CAESAR CROUTONS

INGREDIENTS: 1 large can of tomato puree (28 ounces); 42 ounces prepared chicken stock (the kind in the cardboard carton); 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, garlic powder to taste (about 1 teaspoon); 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil; Caesar salad croutons; grated Parmesan cheese

Pour tomato puree into soup kettle. Using the empty can as a mesuring cup, add 1 1/2 cans of chicken stock to the puree. Pour in a small more stock if the soup seems thick. Add remaining ingredients except croutons. Cover soup and heat until it starts to simmer. Garnish with Caesar salad croutons and grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 6-8 servings.

SOLE POACHED IN TOMATOES AND WHITE WINE

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 pounds sole fillets (or talapia); 3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes, drained; 1 medium onion, chopped; 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley; 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; 1 clove of garlic, minced; 1/2 cup dry white wine; 1/4 cup half and half; 1 tablespoon soft butter; 1 tablespoon Wondra flour

Place fish in a non-stick skillet. In a bowl combine tomatoes, onions, parsley, seasonings, and white wine. Pour over fish. Place lid on skillet, leaving a crack for steam to escape. Poach fish for 5-10 minutes or until it flakes with a fork.

Take lid off skillet. Drizzle half and half around fish. Work the flour into the soft butter and add this roux to the fish sauce. Go the skillet in a circular motion over medium heat until sauce thickens. Serve with rice and butter lettuce salad. Makes 4 servings.

CHEDDAR SCALLOPED POTATOES AND TOMATOES WITH BACON

INGREDIENTS: 3 medium potatoes, washed but not peeled; 14 1/2- ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice; 3/4 cup frozen chopped onions; 1 1/2 tablespoons Wondra flour; 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated (may use Velveeta); 2.8-ounce package of real bacon pieces (the precooked recipe kind)

Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Cut potatoes into thin slices. Combine tomatoes, onions, and flour. Spoon a small of this sauce on the bottom of the baking pan. Layer potatoes, tomato mixture, bacon, and cheese in dish, ending with cheese. You should have enough for two layers.

Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Tent the dish with non-stick aluminum foil if the cheese browns too quickly. Cool for five minutes before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson

harriethodgson.com harriethodgson.com

Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 27 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Before she became a health writer she was a food writer for the former “Rochester Magazine” in her hometown of Rochester, MN. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief,” written with Lois Krahn, MD, is avalable from amazon.com amazon.com. A five-star review of the book is also posted on Amazon.

Tags: gourmet, heart disease, Green Tea, food, simple recipes, Fruits And Vegetables, cookbook, Health Benefits, high blood pressure, recipes snacks



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