It’s like having a tomato festival all of my own.
I never realized until this morning how deep I am into tomatoes.
I was putting some fresh tomatoes from Larry’s Produce away, along with some other fruits and vegetables, and saw in my refrigerator that I had tomato products everywhere. Besides the fresh tomatoes, there was a tomato-based salsa (homemade) and tomato catsup. Then I walked to my pantry and saw cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce and tomato paste in my Original Nalley’s chili beans.
How do I use all this stuff?
Take the spaghetti sauce, for example. It’s Ragu Original. The Ragu serves as a good base, but I doctor the heck out of it. I use lots more onions, garlic and Italian seasoning plus browned lean ground beef.
Near the end of the cooking cycle, I add a can of diced tomatoes to create a fresh experience. Finally, I add a touch of catsup to give it a slight sweetness. Along with tomatoes, a lot of experimentation went into the final product, but I like it and that’s what counts.
Sometimes counting calories as I have been doing for the past eight months can help make foods more interesting and less fattening.
I usually add a can of diced or stewed tomatoes and a little cumin to a can of chili beas and wind up with a meal that has a little more than half the calories of the chili beans alone. It tastes better, too.
The wonder of tomatoes. They make for interesting and flavorful low-calorie meals, but filling. I haven’t found a bad combination of flavors when I add tomatoes. Yet.
What else? Well, I make my own salsa. I can make it as hot or as mild as I like. A couple of jalapeno peppers, a couple of large cloves of garlic, plenty of finely chopped onions, tomato sauce and some tomato paste. The amount of sauce and paste depends on how thick you like your salsa. I like mine a little thicker than most folks. Oh yes, salt and pepper to taste.
Fresh tomatoes have become a favorite of mine. I like field-grown tomatoes better than the hothouse tomatoes. The field-grown tend to be a little “red riper” and sweeter. During the winter, I use the canned diced or stewed tomatoes as I would fresh ones in the summertime. It works for me.
I have been surprised that I can eat like a vegetarian. There’s very little meat in my diet. It’s not unusual for me to have three fruit-and-vegetable meals a day. Fruit in the morning and veggies for lunch and supper with fruit for dessert. I never would have believed it. The benefits have shown up in my smaller waistline.
Tomatoes have played a big part in the 40-pound weight loss.
When you are by yourself, it’s hard to make some things about life interesting. Some folks eat out to keep the food part of their lives different. It is too often disappointing, so I cook a lot for myself. It works for me. The biggest problem I have is I have a lot of leftovers. By the time I finish them, I’m tired of whatever it was.
All in all, though, with the help of tomatoes, I do OK.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or email@example.com.