Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes
- Yield servings
- 8 large Roma tomatoes, rinsed and dried
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese with onion and chives (from 8 ounce container)
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 1/4 cups finely shredded cooked chicken breast (from rotisserie chicken)
- 1 -- (4.5 ounce) can of mushrooms, drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices bacon
- 10 ounces bag of pre washed spinach leaves (fresh)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, plus additional 1/4 cup for optional garnish.
- 4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove small cores from tomatoes with knife or tomato corer. Slice tomatoes lengthwise in half, then use a grapefruit spoon or similar tool to scoop out all of the seeds and pulp from the tomatoes, leaving the outer "shells" intact. (Reserve pulp and juice in a small bowl). Sprinkle the salt evenly over the scooped-out tomatoes, then turn them over onto a paper towel to drain further.
In a large bowl, stir together the onion-chive cream cheese, minced onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mozzarella cheese,1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 3 Tablespoons of the reserved juice and pulp from the tomatoes. Mix until completely combined. Remove chicken breasts from rotisserie chicken and finely shred with 2 forks. Measure out 1 1/4 cups of shredded chicken breast and add that to the cheese mixture along with the mushrooms. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Turn the tomatoes over, and with a large spoon, fill each tomato with the chicken & cheese mixture, dividing evenly among the tomatoes. On a small plate, toss together the Italian bread crumbs and the remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Dip the filled side of each tomato into the crumb mixture, ensuring that each one gets a good coat, and place the tomatoes, filling side up, onto a large baking sheet. (Some bread crumb mixture will remain.) Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the tomatoes. Place into the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
After the tomatoes have been cooking for 15-20 minutes, begin the bacon and spinach. Finely chop the bacon, and saute in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until lightly crisp. Drain all but approximately 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings from pan. Add remaining 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to the pan and saute for 30-60 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Try to time the cooking so that the next step is reached just as the tomatoes are finished cooking and removed from the oven. Place the spinach in the hot skillet with the bacon and garlic and toss with tongs just until lightly wilted. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the nutmeg. Toss in the 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.
To serve, mound 1/4 of the bacon-spinach into the middle of a dinner plate. Arrange 4 of the tomato halves around the spinach. Sprinkle the food and plate with 1 Tablespoon each of snipped chives and shredded Parmesan. Repeat process for the other 3 servings. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Total prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.