Good things come in small packages

Tis the season for parties. I recently attended a Happy Hikers Holiday Party at my friend Felicia’s. I signed up to bring an appetizer. I settled on a light and bite-sized hors d’oeuvres that my friend Andrea brought to book club this summer. These herb cream cheese stuffed tomatoes seemed easy enough since they didn’t entail any cooking. They were delicious, but it was difficult to get them stuffed and keep them looking pretty. Everyone at the party loved them though, leaving me with an empty dish.

You’ll need:

  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes
  • 1 block of fat-free or reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Balsamic glaze (Wegmans has it in their dressing aisle)
  • Sandwich-sized plastic Ziploc bag

Once I set to work actually stuffing the tomatoes, I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew, yet again. To start, prepare the tomatoes for stuffing by making two small slices on top of the tomato in the shape of a +. Then, slice a TINY bit of the bottom of each grape tomato off. You want to remove enough of the flesh so it creates a flat bottom, but not enough to break into the center of the tomato where the seeds are.

Remove the seeds however you can. This does involve a little manhandling of the tomatoes, but be gentle with them. You want them to retain their shape and skin so they will hold the cream cheese filling. Next, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. I used a combination of a small fondue fork and my pinky finger for the task. Give the tomatoes a good rinsing and let them dry out for a bit.

Mix the cream cheese, Italian dressing and milk together. Create a makeshift pastry bag by clipping off a tiny bit of the corner of a Ziploc bag. Fill the bag with the cream cheese mixture. Squeeze the filling into each tomato, being careful not to overfill them. You want to kind of squeeze the tomatoes back together a little bit as each one is filled.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with dry or fresh basil before serving. Place toothpicks into the center of each tomato to make them easier to eat. I think next time I’ll try this recipe for cherry tomatoes since they are larger and more conducive to stuffing.

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