Friday, December 05, 2008

Low Carb Italian Stuffed Tomatoes

6 large firm tomatoes 8 ounces spicy or mild Italian sausage (which ever is your favorite)2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium white onion, finely chopped 2 ribs celery, finely chopped 1 red or green bell pepper, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons chopped basil leaves 1/2 cup grounded pork rinds (acts as a low carb bread crumb)
½ tablespoon chopped thyme and oregano leaves1 cup shredded cheese ( I like to use Italian 5 blend mix)1/4 cup grated Parmesan
½ cup sun dried tomatoes in oil (optional- instead of the top or half sun dried and fresh tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut a third of the top off each tomatoes. Dice the tops up and set aside.
Scoop out seeds, pulp and juice to hollow out the tomatoes.

In medium nonstick skillet, sauté sausage in olive oil, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. When browned all over, add onion to skillet and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Add garlic, celery, and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to combine well. Add reserved chopped tomato tops, or sun dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper and stir for another minute.

Remove skillet from heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil, ½ tablespoon each thyme and oregano, grounded pork rinds, and Italian 5 blend cheese. Using a large spoon, stuff low carb mixture into tomatoes, packing down firmly. Top with Parmesan and place tomatoes in oiled baking dish. Bake until heated through and cheese turns golden, approximately 20 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

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