Vegetarian Times is my new favorite web site! This year, as most of you know, I have determined to eat even healthier than we already did. Part of my "eating healthy" plan is to include more veggies and a bigger variety of them! (I am from the South, and, quite frankly, I have grown tired of the traditional peas, beans, and cornbread with every meal!)
About a week ago, Vegetarian Times announced its 21-day healthy lunch challenge. It is a campaign to make and take your lunch every day, instead of eating out. Also, it includes 30 minutes of walking at lunch, instead of just eating at your desk. And then, lastly, you spend about 10 minutes of time just reflecting - thinking, praying, whatever.
Well, considering the fact that I stay home most days and don't hit too many drive-thru's, this didn't really apply to me. But I decided to give it a try anyway, because I wanted to add more to our lunches than just peanut butter and jelly (which is our old stand-by, because it's so quick and easy, and I can count the carbs in it!).
Today was day 4 of the challenge, and I decided to make a recipe I have been planning to make for YEARS!! Yesterday, I stopped by our local farmers market, and I picked up 4 yummy tomatoes! So I decided to make a tomato pie. And it was so good, I wanted to share my recipe!
I started out with a crust that you make right in the pan. It's very crumbly, but you just pat it down in the pan and then cook it for about 15 minutes.
Then, I cut my 4 tomatoes into about 1/4-1/2" slices and put them all around in my crust. I cut up some fresh basil straight from my garden, and sprinkled it on top of the tomatoes. After looking at it a bit, I decided it could use another tomato. I happened to have one more that I had bought a few days ago at the grocery store. Let me just say, as I cut the tomato, I could absolutely tell a difference in the ones from the farmers market and the one from the store. The farmers market tomatoes were firm, juicy, and easy to cut. You could tell they had been handled well. The one from the grocery store was mushy, fell apart, and was hard to cut. So on a side note here, if at all possible, consider buying local, fresh produce instead of the bulk shipped grocery store stuff that has been picked way too early and sprayed with all sorts of preservatives so that it can be shipped hundreds of miles to your local store and then be handled in a way that it is no longer even fit to eat by the time you get it. Back to my recipe.
After the last tomato was sliced and put on top, I added the other half of the basil and then spread grated mozzarella, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese all over the pie. I put it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.
The kids and I sat down to eat it while it was hot, so the cheese was still melty! It was really good!!
A few things I will do differently the next time I make this recipe. One thing is that I will use my other "old standby" pie crust recipe, instead of the crumbly pat-in-pan crust. The one I used was too crumbly, and when I tried to serve each piece, it sort of fell apart. Another thing I will change is the type of cheese I used. The melty cheese was a good idea, and it did taste good, but as it cooled, it hardened a little too much. Next time, I will use feta cheese, because it is crumbly, doesn't really melt, and has a really good, tangy taste.
All in all, the recipe was a hit, and I will be making tomato pie again soon! This pie would make an excellent side dish, but it was equally excellent as a main course!
This is only day 4 of the lunch challenge, but so far, I have really enjoyed trying out some new recipes and eating just a little bit healthier with my kids!