Monday, February 8, 2016


Based on my own experiences, most people seem to dislike tomatoes.  They are fine with ketchup.  They have no problem with basic pasta sauce.  But for a lot of people, and I used to be the same way for many years, they will completely stay clear from tomatoes in general or only eat them if they're buried in a burger of submarine sandwich with sauces, lettuce, meats and bread.

"What About Bob?"-Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

I was one of those people who would only eat tomatoes when they were buried with other ingredients in a burger or sub.  I would remove them from my salads.  I would not even touch tomato soup or tomato juice.  I had some smart-alick tomato fan every now and then ask me why I liked ketchup but not tomatoes.  Ketchup is just tomatoes, after all, right?  I would reply they the next time they want ketchup they should just toss a tomato in a blender.  That pretty much shut them up.

I was very anti-tomato.  They had this flat taste that just didn't seem right.  I even remember a time when I was a kid and I was given a grape tomato which I believed was a gumball.  I put it in my mouth, but down, it exploded with juices in my mouth and I immediately spit it all out.  I only knew of your basic tennis ball sized tomatoes back then, so little baby grape tomatoes were foreign to me.

You can't beat locally grown produce!  The colors and flavors!  Mwah!!

That was my opinion on tomatoes until the beginning of 2014.

On January 2nd, 2014, after a crazy incident happened in my life that sunk my world the prior December, I started on a journey to get in shape.  This obviously meant eating healthier.  Everything I needed for a better diet was at the supermarket across the street from me.  Eating better, of course, meant more veggies.  Salads.  And that meant sucking it up and giving the mighty tomato a fair shot.

I started by putting sliced grape tomatoes in my daily salads but making sure I covered them in dressing.  In no time at all, I became accustomed to the grape tomato with it tangy flavor.  So I bought more and more for my salads, and it didn't hurt that the market was selling pints of locally grown grape tomatoes for very cheap.

Perfect looking Cherry Tomatoes I found, Imported from Italy.
Sometimes it's worth buying imported!  Superb!

As I kept to my workout and diet routine, I quickly eliminated breads and other no-so-good food from my options.  I started getting more serious about improving my culinary skills and would eventually look up recipe ideas using healthy ingredients like the tomato, cauliflower, broccoli and more.

I started making my own pasta sauce using lots of tomatoes for the base, and I can honestly say that what you buy in a jar or can cannot compare to making a fresh homemade tomato sauce.  And contrary to popular opinion, the pre-made stuff is NOT cheaper than going fresh and making it yourself.  I got into that more, or WILL get into that more in my Blog about making your own pasta sauce (as of this word right *HERE*, that Blog and several more are already written and ready to go, it's just a matter of deciding when to post them and how frequently).

Tomato halves, topped with grated Mozzarella, Cheddar, Mushrooms and more, ready for the oven!
Better, cheaper and healthier than any pizza!

I will never speak badly of the glorious tomato again!  And I encourage any Tomater-haters to give them a shot.  They are worth it.  Heck, I even eat tomato soup and drink tomato juice now!

Give them a chance and stay tuned for more Tomato Tuesday's posted bi-weekly.  Buy local if you can.  The redder, the better.  They are inexpensive in the long run and can yield a large amount of MMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Baked Tomatoes with Cheese ready to eat.  The choice
of toppings is only limited to your imagination!



4 tomatoes, sliced in half.
4 Tsp Extra virgin olive oil.
2 cups grated cheddar.
2 cups grated mozzarella.
½ cup chopped oregano.
½ cup chopped green onion.
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp garlic powder.
Ground black pepper to taste.


1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Top each tomato with mozzarella, cheddar, onion and mushrooms.  Sprinkle with black pepper and garlic powder.  Drizzle with olive oil.
4. Bake until tomatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Serve.

Goat Cheese, chopped Dill and pepper!

Experiment with toppings.  Use goat cheese, fresh chopped dill, basil, green pepper…whatever you can think of!  Cheesy baked tomatoes are a tasty and healthy alternative to pizza!

Chef Nairby

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