Oven-Fried Tomatoes

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During my recent visit home to Vermont, I picked up three pounds of beautiful organic tomatoes from my mom’s farm share. They were so perfect and delicious I ate a few like you would eat an apple. I was very inspired to experiment with them, but a little hesitant since they really didn’t need much help.

This technique was a success. Baking the tomatoes brought out their natural sweetness and by oven-frying, it stayed very healthy. After I had already committed, I realized I didn’t have any breadcrumbs – so I made my own! These would be great as an appetizer or a side dish.

Oven-Fried Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast 4 pieces whole wheat bread until dark brown and set aside to cool. Slice 3 large beefsteak  into ¼ inch pieces and lay out on a cutting board. Pat dry with a paper towel and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Crumble the toast into a bowl to make breadcrumbs.

Set up three bowls – one with ¼ cup flour, another with 2 beaten eggs, and a third with the toast breadcrumbs. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top (one that you would cool cookies on). Spray the rack with cooking spray.

Dip each piece of tomato in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Place the tomatoes on the baking rack. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings. Per Serving: $1.64, 183 calories, 4g fat, 29g carbs, 9.5g protein.

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Caramel Apple Cookies

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Apparently victory tastes like… caramel apple cookies! This recipe brought home my third win at my company’s annual bake off. On a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, everyone gathered in our lunch area to taste the treats baked by my very talented coworkers. This year, the desserts ranged from blueberry cheesecake, pumpkin cream cheese bars, and Mexican brownies.  I always submit a dessert for the Healthy Dessert category to prove that even healthy treats can be delicious.

After tasting these, you’ll be surprised that they’re only 81 calories per cookie. In fact, the judges almost didn’t believe that it was truly a healthy dessert! The original recipe came from www.myrecipes.com, but I adapted it by using less sugar and fresh apple. This is a great way to use up a few leftover apples if you’ve recently gone apple picking. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon baking soda. In a separate large bowl or mixer, combine ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons butter at room temperature. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy and then add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 egg. Slowly add the flour mixture and fold in 1 ½ cups diced apple and 15 caramels, chopped.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop 2 teaspoons of dough onto the pan and flatten into a cookie. The dough may be loose, but baking will pull it together.

Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool on pans for 3 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks and serve!

Yield: 36 servings. Serving size: 1 cookie. Per Serving: $0.18, 81 calories, 2.5g fat, 14g carbs, 1.5g protein.