As a mom, I want my family to be healthy and strong and I know that good nutrition plays a big role in this. Unfortunately, our busy lifestyles and different individual preferences (i.e. picky eaters) can make it difficult to be sure that everyone is getting the nutrients they need.
Although my children may not always want to clean their plate if there is a big pile of vegetables on it, I find it quite easy to get them to eat a full serving of vegetables if I can sneak them into other parts of the meal.
One of the most versatile vegetables that blends well into so many dishes are tomatoes. They not only go well with many other foods but they are also incredibly healthy. They contain high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, but also Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. There has even been research done on the benefits of tomatoes which include reducing risks of certain cancers, heart disease, skin damage, osteoporosis, just to name a few.
As a matter of fact, the March/April 2011 issue of American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine published an article entitled, "Tomato Consumption and Health: Emerging Benefits". You can read the abstract HERE and find a link on the page to read the full article.
Canned tomatoes are the easiest way to cook with tomatoes because you can always have some in the pantry and not have to worry about them going bad. Plus canned tomatoes are actually healthier than fresh because the canning process softens the cell walls of the tomatoes making it 2-3 times easier for the body to access the rich lycopene inside.
Do you see now why I love cooking with tomatoes?
Here's a simple Cajun recipe that uses Hunt's diced tomatoes and a Louisiana staple, crawfish. Yum!
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
2 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 16 oz. can Hunts Diced Tomatoes with Green Peppers, Celery, and Onion
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white rice
1 lb peeled crawfish tails
Tabasco or other pepper seasoning to taste (optional)
NOTE: If you've never bought crawfish, it usually can be found in the freezer of your grocery store in the seafood section. My store offers crawfish from Louisiana as well as China. The crawfish from China is about half the price but being from Louisiana, I'm a bit partial so I went with the true Cajun mudbugs!
And don't bother rinsing the crawfish. Just dump the whole thing in the pot, fat and all. It just adds to the flavor!
1. Melt butter in small stock pot.
2. Add garlic, parsley, and green onions and saute in butter until soft.
3. Add paprika, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and Hunts tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes.
4. Add chicken stock, rice, and crawfish. Bring to a soft boil.
5. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes unti rice is done.
6. Add hot sauce to taste (optional).
Serve with salad and garlic bread for a complete and nutritious meal.
This recipe is so simple. I could have used the traditional Cajun ingredients known as the "Trinity" - green bell peppers, celery, and onions but this would have significantly lengthened my prep time with all that chopping. That's why I love Hunt's Tomatoes with Green Pepper, Celery, and Onion - all in one! Plus Hunt's is 100% natural with no artificial preservatives or ingredients. The rest of the recipe is pretty much just a matter of throwing ingredients into a pot and letting it simmer.
I created this recipe and I dedicate it to my sweet husband. We met in 1991 in south Louisiana and were married there in May 1996. Soon after our wedding, we moved to Texas and we have missed that good Cajun food ever since. I love that with recipes like this I can cook the foods we crave, with a Louisiana flair, with little effort and still have time to chase around our two young children instead of being stuck in the kitchen all day. After almost 15 years of marriage, my husband and I are still very much in love. We cuddle daily and call each other by silly pet names like we did before we were married. I want to continue to cook him great food that he likes to eat but with the healthiest ingredients possible to ensure that our bodies stay as strong and healthy as our love for each other.
Do you have a favorite recipe that uses Hunt's heart-healthy tomatoes? Who would you like to dedicate it to?
Disclaimer: Hunt's and The Motherhood invited me to participate in this project to learn more about the benefits of tomatoes and to promote them to my readers. I was provided compensation for my time to create this post but the opinions stated here are all my own.