Key ingredient: Fresh Tomatoes
Nutritional Benefits: Tomatoes, which are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, are loaded with all kinds of health benefits for the body and they score a very high 96 on the NuVal™ Nutrition Scoring System. Tomatoes come in many varieties and their superb flavor makes them a versatile ingredient in many recipes. One of the most well-known tomato eating benefit is its' Lycopene content. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. Studies have also linked tomatoes to the prevention of heart disease as well as high cholesterol. The health benefits of tomatoes are becoming more and more documented every day so make sure you add them to your shopping cart!
Storage Tips: If you have bought your tomatoes from the store, the first thing you need to do is remove them from their plastic packaging, as leaving them in their bags will make them spoil faster. Put them in a bowl that you have lined with a paper towel. If you place the tomatoes with the stems at the top, they will stay fresh for longer. Temperature is an important factor when storing tomatoes. Room temperature is preferable. Keep your tomatoes away from any major heat sources, such as stove tops and microwaves. They should not be placed in direct sunlight either, unless they need to ripen. If this is the case, line them up on the window sill or place in a bowl on the sill if there is enough room.
Fresh Bruschetta Chicken-Stuffed Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings
2 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken - $2.49
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped - $0.26
2 green onions, thinly sliced - $0.19
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed – on hand
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar – on hand
1 tbsp. Meijer olive oil – on hand
2 cloves garlic, minced – on hand
4 large tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces each) - $3.18
2 very thin slices firm-texture whole wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes - $0.45
2 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese - $0.16