Can you guess what item in my pantry is so versatile it works for every around-the-clock eating occasion, from breakfast, lunch and dinner, to snack party-time?
And all their forms. Diced. Petite Diced. Diced with chilies. Crushed. Whole. Sauce. Salsa. Pizza Sauce.
Versatility is just part of the reason my pantry is filled with numerous canned tomato products. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, my goal is to create recipes that blend great taste with good nutrition. Dishes that are budget-friendly and nutrient-rich as I frequently say. That goal is easily met with canned tomato products because they are extremely nutritious, affordable, tasty and best of all, available all year long.
I particularly love that canned tomatoes are actually more fresh than those fresh red tomatoes I’ve let sit on my counter for over a week and failed to use. Why? Because canned tomatoes are picked and packed at their peak, then make it in that can within HOURS. All the nutrients are retained.
Here are four of my many around-the-clock recipes, all featuring a variety of canned tomato products. Enjoy cooking with tasty, healthy, versatile and affordable canned tomatoes!
Breakfast calls for Tacos. My “ready-in-fifteen-minutes” Fiesta Beef Taco Filling features canned petite diced tomatoes. Start filling those whole grain flour tortillas!
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 very large garlic clove, very finely minced
- 1 can (15. 25 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can (15.25 oz.) sweet corn kernels, drained
- 1 can (7 oz.) diced green chili peppers, drained
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (depending on your preferred heat level)
- 4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce (your preference)
- Optional additional toppings: shredded lettuce, baby spinach leaves, Mexican blend shredded cheese, salsa, diced avocado
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef, onions and garlic until beef is browned and onions are soft. Add beans, diced tomatoes, corn, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper and hot pepper sauce. Cook until everything is thoroughly hot. Serve in flour or corn tortillas, taco boats or taco shells, over rice or as nacho topping.
- Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container. Use within 3 to 4 days.
Lunch calls for an easy soup, like my Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup. Canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste star in the best half of the “soup and sandwich” combo.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ¼ cups chopped onion (or Kim uses one (12 oz.) bag frozen chopped onions)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or equivalent with jarred minced ready-to-use garlic)
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 jar (16 oz.) roasted red bell peppers, drained
- 3 – 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 to 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth (roughly 1 can)
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 – 2 teaspoons dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- ¾ to 1 cup whole milk (or half & half)
- Garnishes: croutons, shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a large stock pot or 5 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and heat 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, red peppers, tomato paste and vegetable broth, stirring well. Stir in Italian seasoning, basil, red and black peppers and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir/whisk in milk or half & half. Blend with immersion blender (or food processor in batches.) Reheat a couple minutes if necessary after blending. Serve hot with garnishes if desired. Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container and enjoy within four days. Makes about 4 to 6 servings.
Dinner is on the table in a flash with my skillet peachy pork dish. Jarred tomato salsa adds the kid-friendly kick.
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless pork loin chops, cut into ¾- to 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons less sodium taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 jar (16 ounces) favorite salsa, chunky style
- ½ cup peach preserves
- 1 can (15-16 ounces) peach slices in 100% juice or light syrup
- Toss pork cubes with taco seasoning in a medium bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add pork and cook to brown, stirring and turning when browned on one side. Add salsa and peach preserves, lower heat, cover and simmer 8 - 10 minutes, or until pork is done (145°F with instant read thermometer). Stir in peach slices. Serve with rice and side salad or green vegetable.
Snack time and Party Time.
Unique salsa with corn tortilla chips, like my Sunny Six Can Salsa, is always a snack and party favorite. Elevate your snack time and party table spread even more with my Pepperoni Pizza Hummus. Canned tomato paste and jarred sundried tomatoes in oil star in this easy dip.
- 3 cans (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, reserving at least 1 cup liquid
- 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- ¼ to ½ cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes (from 7 oz. jar packed in oil)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon each dried Italian seasoning, basil and oregano
- 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ to ¾ cup Mini Pepperoni Slices
- Chopped Italian parsley, crushed red pepper and/or mini pepperoni slices, optional garnishes
- Place all ingredients except pepperoni slices and garnishes in a large food processor bowl. Add ¾ cup reserved chickpea liquid. Process until thoroughly combined and blended, stopping and stirring occasionally. Add a tablespoon more reserved chickpea liquid (or olive oil) if you want a thinner hummus. Stir in mini pepperoni pieces with spoon. Refrigerate hummus until serving time. Garnish if desired before serving. Serve with crackers, pita wedges, pita chips, bread cubes and/or fresh cut-up vegetables like bell pepper strips and broccoli.
- Makes about 6 cups hummus (12 servings of ½ cup each)