Ever wonder what to do with a tomato for the next meal but don't feel like making another boring tomato sauce?
A tomato is packed full of nutrients and deserves a better highlight on the fruit and veggie radar. I am a mom with four kiddos and have definitely done my fair share of cooking. I often find myself needing to change it up but I still require a very quick recipe, as those monsters take up all my time. I decided to do some research to find some simple yet very tasty recipes for those of you at home like me looking for something easy. The name of my game is simple, so I am keeping it simple for you. These recipes are either kid thumbs up or down; I'm going to be honest here some were successful and others weren't.
After thorough searching I found these to be the most quick and basic ideas I have seen yet, of course I made some adjustments. A Grape Tomato Basil Pasta, A Tomato Soup, Caprese Salad (my favorite), Tomato Chicken, and Stuffed Tomatoes. But for this post, I will focus on just three of these ideas that I thought were the best.
Caprese Salad is a dish that you can make ahead of time, and let sit overnight, or fresh and eat while you are making. Ha, that's what I do. This is so simple you could eat this every day. My kids pretty much do.
Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Thighs can be made creamy with a milk or plant-based milk, or as a poultry base, or both depending on your diet. I will make my recipe with the plant-based milk and chicken broth since we have dairy allergies. I decided to make this with boneless chicken thighs because we can eliminate having to throw them in the oven to bake and can just use the skillet, thus saving even more time.
Cheese, Tomato, Spaghetti Squash Pasta is a mouthful. Initially I was hoping for this recipe to basically be mac n cheese but with vegetables to make it more filling and nutritious, but it ended up kind of mushy and bland with some tangy tomatoes. Side note, I did use brown rice spaghetti noodles and beef broth in place of the milk because I was out. Those two deviations from my recipe plan could have been the reasons. Usually I would want it creamy and cheesy, not just cheesy. Some kids ate it, others didn't. I would try it with milk next time and maybe with more spaghetti squash noodles. Also I would use sun-dried tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes. But here is the starting recipe vs. the updated recipe for the second try.
Okay, the 2nd trial recipe I will simplify thus allowing the tomatoes to stand out more. I will make it a more basic mac n cheese with sun-dried tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
After making this dish...it was much better than the first time around. It still needed something to tie the cheesy pasta and tomatoes together a bit, a third flavor. So I added some of the sausage I was serving with it, and that made all the difference. The kids did not enjoy the sun-dried tomatoes, I think those flavors are more for adult tastebuds. So the one small adjustment I would make for this recipe is to add 1 lb. of cooked sausage link sliced into small pieces, to the casserole just before baking. If you make this with the sausage this makes the dish a complete meal, not just a side dish.