Fran’s Favorites: Stuffed Tomatoes


I have really enjoyed the fresh tomatoes this year.

I’ve made lots of spaghetti sauce, salsa, and my mom’s chili sauce. I’ve frozen some so I could make sauce later. I’ve eaten so many of them fresh. And Mike has really enjoyed the bacon tomato sandwiches made with such fresh, flavorful tomatoes.

But last week I got a call from my 10-year-old grandson in North Carolina. He remembered that we made stuffed tomatoes last summer and they were so good, he wanted to make some this summer. Nothing makes me happier than when kids want to cook!

We were inspired to make them last summer when we were at the Governor’s Residence and I read he and Jeanie a book called “Kalamata’s Kitchen.” It was an adorable story about a chef and young child making these delicious stuffed tomatoes from all the lovely herbs and produce in the gardens. So the three of us went to the vegetable garden and picked beautiful ripe tomatoes, and then went into the herb garden and snipped some fresh thyme, basil and parsley. We had a great time following the recipe and using our lovely garden produce. After we made it, and tasted it, Jeanie decided it tasted just like an inside-out pizza! It may not be the type of food you might think kids would like, but that joy of picking the produce and preparing the recipe, and finding out it really does taste good is such an important part in teaching kids to cook and make good decisions about what they eat. I can’t wait to cook with them next summer!

Stuffed Tomatoes

4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (we made our own)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1/2 Tablespoon thyme, finely chopped

2 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a small paring knife, core the tomatoes. Scoop out the center of each tomato with a spoon and discard. Lightly season each with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix together bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, and Parmesan. Add a splash of olive oil and combine. Divide the mixture and add it to the hollow centers of the tomatoes. Place them in an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and nicely browned. Serve immediately!

Recipe adapted from “Kalamata’s Kitchen: A la Kalamata” written by Sarah Thomas and illustrated by Jo Edwards

Fran DeWine

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

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