You know you have a hit on your hands when your guests ask for the recipe. And
thats what happened when I served Fresh Tomato Soufflé at a holiday
This recipe is similar to that favorite of hostesses that can be made ahead and maybe
too often is the sausage, cheese and egg combination. I have certainly served it
plenty of times. This soufflé enjoys the convenience of the familiar version, but
isnt recognizable even as a cousin. With tomatoes and cheese only, the result is
quite different. You may slice it, cut it in squares or just let guests spoon the soufflé
if you serve it on a buffet as I did.
Stuffed tomatoes are another favorite for a dinner party or buffet. They, too, can be
made ahead and make a colorful, festive addition to a table or buffet.
Instead of stuffing the whole tomato as pictured, you may want to stuff halved
tomatoes. Either way, they will brighten your table. Perhaps you have had the small
cocktail tomatoes stuffed with spinach and served as an hors doeuvre. Tomatoes
Stuffed with Vegetables and Rice is the same idea using large tomatoes.
Make this one ahead as well and pop in the oven for just 15 minutes before serving time
a harried hostesss dream dish.
Fresh Tomato Soufflé
1 lb. fresh tomatoes
12 c bread cubes (French bread)
2 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 c grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t Italian seasoning
4 c milk
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t salt
Directions: Use fully ripe tomatoes that have been allowed to ripen at room
temperature. Dice tomatoes (makes about 3 cups). Place in large bowl. Set aside. Butter a
13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Set aside. Place bread on cookie sheets in a single layer.
Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. To the bowl with the tomatoes,
add toasted bread cubes, Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion, and Italian
seasoning. Spoon into prepared baking dish. In a large bowl, combine milk, eggs and salt.
Pour over tomato/bread mixture. With a spatula, press bread down to cover with milk
mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes or refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350° until a knife
inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Makes
Tomatoes Stuffed with Vegetables and Rice
6 large fresh tomatoes
2 T olive oil
11/2 c sliced fresh white mushrooms
1 c chopped onion
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 t minced garlic
1 t dried basil leaves, crushed
1/2 t salt or 1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c quick-cooking rice (or leftover cooked rice)
1/4 c plus 2 T grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 400°. Cut a slice from the top of each
tomato (or halve). Remove pulp and set aside. Chop tomato pulp (makes about 31/2 cups). In
a large skillet over high heat, heat oil until hot. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook and stir
until tender, about 10 minutes. Add spinach, reserved chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil,
salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavors blend, about 10
minutes. Stir in rice. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4
cup Parmesan cheese. Place tomato shells in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Spoon hot mixture
into shells, dividing evenly. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of each. Bake until tomatoes
are hot and filling is golden, about 15 minutes. Makes 6 or 12 portions.