2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative Recipe 10: Tomato Dinner

Shawna's Tomatoes
Shawna's Tomatoes

Okay, we’re back with the 10th installment of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative.  This is the tenth time I’ve taken Shawna Coronado‘s delicious garden produce and I’ve made dinner for a family of four for under $11.50.  Tonight we’re doing:

A Tomato Dinner

I mean just look at those tomatoes.  How could they not make you hungry for a huge tomato meal?  There are so many lovely things you can do with tomatoes.  My only problem was keeping things under $11.50.  But I did it.  Barely. 🙂  The menu will include tomato ceviche, baked tomato pasta, and warm tomato sandwiches.  It’s going to be close, but we’re going to do it!

With tomatoes like that, you know the meal is going to be terrific.

Making our Tomato Dinner

Despite the fact our meal has three dishes, it’s going to be a cinch to make.  It will take a little time to prepare, but it won’t require a lot of furious cooking to bring everything together in the end.  However, to get everything out on time, I’ll give you the ingredients to all three dishes up front and then we’ll I’ll give you the steps to do all three in order.  So you know which steps go with which dish, anything you do for the ceviche will have a (c) before it, anything for the pasta will be marked with a (p), and anything for the sandwiches will have an (s).

You will need:

For the pasta

  • 10 tomatoes, halved with seeds removed (free from Shawna’s garden)
  • Salt and pepper (free for the challenge)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (free for the challenge)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (10 cents)
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flake (10 cents)
  • 10 leaves basil, sliced (free from Shawna’s garden)
  • Box penne pasta ($2.00)
  • 2 cups mozzarella ($2.50)

Total: $4.70

For the ceviche

  • 1 medium onion, sliced (free from Shawna’s garden)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (50 cents)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (25 cents)
  • 1 medium tomato (free from Shawna’s garden), diced and seeded
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (free from Shawna’s garden)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (50 cents)
  • 2 tablespoons cocktail sauce (50 cents)

Total: $1.75

For the sandwich

  • 1 large tomato, sliced (free for the challenge)
  • 8 slices bread (50 cents)
  • 2 ounches butter (25 cents)
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (25 cents)
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese ($3.25)

Total: $4.25

Grand Total: $10.70

(p) Preheat the oven to 325.  Arrange the tomatoes on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for at least 30 minutes or until they turn brown and ugly.

(p) Put the tomatoes in a blender and pulse 10-20 times or until the tomatoes broken down into pieces.  Then process until smooth.

(p) In a skillet, add the two tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the sauce and the chopped basil and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until about 20 minutes before dinner is served.

(c) About an hour before dinner, mix the onion, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl.  Put in the refrigerator to pickle the onions.

(p) Cook the pasta until al dente in well salted water.

(s) 15 minutes before dinner, get the tomato out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.

(p)  Mix the pasta, sauce, and top with cheese.  Bake in a 350 oven until the cheese is melty.  Done!

(c) Make the ceviche by stacking, tomato, celery, and marinated onions.  Top with cocktail sauce.  Done!

(s) Toast the bread in a toaster or oven.  Spread butter on one side of each bread.  Then assemble the sandwich with cheese on one slice of bread on one unbuttered side, mayo on the other unbuttered side, and tomatoes in the middle.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat, cover with another skillet and cook 2 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side 2 minutes.  If they cheese is not melted, put it in the oven just until the cheese melts.

Eat and enjoy!

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