Breakfast

 

 

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes and Eggs with Pancetta 

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Description:
Plump, juicy tomatoes encase pancetta, soft-cooked egg and basil pesto. Add a salad and home fries and you have a perfect brunch. This may not be as healthy as some of our usual recipes but I loved how it uses up the tomatoes that always seems to ripen at one time in our garden. I always have a bunch of basil ready to be used at this time of year too.


Ingredients:
8 heirloom or vine-ripened tomatoes, (2-1/2 inches/ 6 cm diameter)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3 tbsp (45 mL) basil pesto
8 thin slices pancetta, (at least 3 inches/8 cm diameter) or thinly sliced prosciutto
8 small eggs, (at room temperature)
4 tsp (18 mL) butter



Directions:
Grease 8 mini-muffin or shallow muffin cups; place on rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Cut off top of each tomato to make 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) wide hole. With spoon, gently scrape out pulp and seeds. Sprinkle insides with salt ; place, cut side down, on paper towel-lined plate. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Place tomatoes, cut side up, in prepared muffin cups to secure (tomatoes do not need to fit inside cups). Using paper towel, lightly blot insides to remove any moisture. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours; bring to room temperature to continue.)

Spoon pesto into tomatoes. Line inside of each with slice of pancetta, pressing down and along side to create hole for egg. Crack egg into each tomato cup; dot with butter. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until whites are set and yolks are still runny, 18 to 22 minutes.



Servings: 4


Category: Breakfast


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Wellness Tip
Fructose
Fructose occurs naturally in fruit, along with many other healthy nutrients including vitamins, minerals and fiber. Current nutrition guidelines indicate most people should be eating more fruit. However, when used as an additive in candy, drinks and baked goods, fructose isn't any better for us than its chemical cousin, sucrose (regular sugar). Fructose provides just as many calories and can have a laxative effect if consumed in large amounts. So, eat your fruits, but try to avoid added fructose.


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Recipe
Tuscan Leek, Potatoe & Bean Soup
Category: Soup
Description: Welcome those crisp winter days with a pot of hearty Tuscan bean soup. Leeks are a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables belong in your diet on a regular basis. Like their allium cousins, onions and garlic, let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to enhance their health-promoting qualities.
A good source of dietary fiber, leeks also contain goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.
Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
Leeks are great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
In addition, leeks are one of the good source of vitamin A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Often overlooked in leeks is their important concentration of the B vitamin folate. Folate is present in leeks in one of its bioactive forms (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5MTHF) and it is present throughout the plant (including the full leaf portion, not only the lower leaf and bulb).
Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.
Tips for Preparing Leeks - Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring when they are at their best.
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