Post 1.2 - Veggie Tales

Part of the way I have tried to adjust my diet is adding significantly more vegetables. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and texture, and some of the recipes can be heavenly.

I recently made a Moroccan dish called a tagine, which was comprised completely of vegetables and fruits - parsnips, turnips, onion, carrots, apricots and prunes, plus a collection of spices. A tagine is the name of the cooking vessel, but also the name of the dish - although in my case, I prepared it using a slow cooker. At 131 calories per serving, it makes a filling, satisfying, low-calorie side dish, as well as a small meal in its own right, if you so choose. I like the recipe as written, but my mother has asked me to make it without the cayenne pepper. It takes a little time, so I told her I would make it without it the next time, but if I didn't like it, I would go back to making it the regular way - cuz it's for me. :-P

Generally speaking, though, the challenge for me has been integrating vegetables into meals like breakfast, which is not when we typically think of eating vegetables. Yes, you can have a vegetable omelet, but that's a bit predictable.

Luckily, NPR recently ran an article about adding vegetables to breakfast, and they had several great recipes.

Here's one that I made. Unfortunately, it can't be stored to eat at a later time because it's a bit delicate, but it's a great combination of flavors presented in a beautiful way. The original recipe calls for feta cheese, which I don't like, so the version below is what I actually prepared. Enjoy!

Eggs Baked with Spinach and Cheese in a Tomato Shell

4 large ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium eggs
4 tablespoons cheddar & jack cheese blend

1 pound spinach

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off tomato tops and set aside (may be used later as garnish). Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the tomato and scoop out insides, creating a tomato shell. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel to dry and drain out any excess liquids.
In the meantime, steam or sautee the spinach. To steam, fill a pan with a thin layer of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner, add the spinach and cover the pan until the spinach wilts. Drain out excess water once the spinach is cooked. Stand the tomatoes right side up in a pan, and place approximately ¼ cup spinach into the bottom of each, pressing down to make room for other ingredients. Break an egg inside each tomato shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the yolks become too firm. Serve immediately.
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