Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"BLT" Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

In the late afternoon, around 3:30, I often need a little snack to keep me going until dinner. It's too easy to reach for junk when I'm hungry and in a hurry, so I plan ahead and keep vegetables and fruit at the ready. Carrots and celery dipped in light ranch dressing, easy to peel clementines, apples sprinkled with cinnamon are a few suggestions. Here is another very quick snack that I enjoy on occasion and was adapted from a treasured recipe from my mother-in-law. I mix the "BLT" creamy filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge so, when it's snack time, I only have to hollow out a few cherry tomatoes, fill and eat! Also, these make excellent party appetizers.

I have in my kitchen "junk" drawer a melon baller. I don't think I've ever used it for making melon balls, but I use this tool all the time for coring apples and pears. You certainly don't need this specialized tool to make this recipe but, if you happen to have one, dig it out of the drawer because it makes quick work of hollowing out the cherry tomatoes.

"BLT" Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
(Makes 16-18 appetizers)

16-18 cherry tomatoes
3 slices ready-cooked bacon, turkey bacon or veggie bacon strips
¼ cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2½ tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced onion (or 1 tablespoon dried)
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice the tops off of the cherry tomatoes and remove the seeds and pulp with a small melon baller or spoon. Place cut-side down on paper towels to drain for 10-15 minutes.

2. Chop bacon into small pieces. If using turkey bacon or meat-free bacon strips, cook according to directions until crisp, then chop. Place bacon in a small bowl and add ricotta cheese, light mayonnaise, minced onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients. If using dried onion, allow mixture to sit for about 12 minutes before filling tomatoes. (Mixture can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator until you're ready to fill tomatoes.)

3. Using a small spoon, fill each cherry tomato with mixture and serve.

Nutritional Information per stuffed tomato: 14.5 calories, 1.2 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g total fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 0.1 g fiber, 0.6 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010
Inspired by a recipe from my mother-in-law, Catherine Sheehan of Tulsa, OK.

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