Tuesday, March 12, 2019

No-Guilt Pizza Bites: A Healthful Snack Idea from Cleo Coyle #Vegetarian

One of the nice things about this tasty and healthful snack recipe is how well it adapts to the produce of late fall, winter, and spring. 

🍅 When tomatoes are not in season, they’re often lacking in flavor. But even the blandest tomato can be transformed into something truly delicious with the simple addition of caramelizing heat. That's why I make these babies year round. So let's start cooking...

A Note from Cleo

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This snack idea came to me a few years ago while I was enjoying a delicious pizza bianca from a local pizzeria. The Italian cooks put fresh ricotta on the "white" pie, and I absolutely loved the sweet, fresh cheese. When paired with the bright flavor of roasted tomatoes in this recipe, it's a match made in culinary heaven.

You've heard of tater skins? Well, just think of these as tomat'er skins. May you eat with joy and in good health!

~ Cleo


No-Guilt Pizza Bites 

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Cleo Coyle's 

No-Guilt Pizza Bites

To make 8...


4 plum tomatoes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim)
Dried oregano (sprinkling)
Sea salt, to taste
(optional additions) dried basil, dried rosemary, or an Italian Seasoning mix
Grated finishing cheese like Pecorino Romano or Parmesan

Step 1 - Slice and prep tomatoes: I like to use plum tomatoes because they slice into little oval boats that remind me of potato skins. Roasting these babies will create a bit of a mess. To make clean up easy, simply line the pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tomatoes on the foil and coat the them with non-stick spray, as well. (You won't need to add extra oil if you do this.)

Step 2 - Sprinkle on spices and salt: I use sea salt and plenty of dried oregano. Certainly dried basil and rosemary would be delicious, too. Or try a pre-made Italian Seasoning mix from the spice aisle, whatever evokes the flavor of pizza sauce.

Step 3 - Roast the tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the tomatoes for at least an hour. Do not UNDER roast these babies. You are not simply baking them, you are roasting them to the point when they caramelize and become sweet. Trust me, I've done this many times. If you do not reach a point where the tomatoes' acidic nature transforms into something sweet (as you would taste in a well-cooked pizza sauce), the combo of ricotta and roasted tomato won't taste as good.

Step 4 - Finish with ricotta: Remove the sizzling, caramelized tomato halves from the oven. Plate them and add a tablespoon of fresh ricotta on top of each half. Garnish with another sprinkling of oregano (or Italian Seasoning mix) and your favorite salty, finishing cheese like Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, and...eat with joy!

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
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  1. This recipe is very timely for me indeed! I'm focusing on low carb eating to help control my diabetes & this qualifies as low carb! I love & adore pizza in any way, shape or form & I love tomatoes. When I see a recipe like this I always think why didn't I think of this??? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by the kitchen, Linda. You're right about this snack being a nice one for low carb diets. The key to getting that wonderful pizza sauce flavor is not simply baking the tomatoes but roasting them to the point of caramelization. Combined with the fresh taste of the ricotta and the spices, these crustless pizza bites really do make a satisfying and nutritious snack without many carbs or calories. No guilt, huzzah! Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
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  2. Oh yum! I love plum tomatoes and know this recipe will be delicious (and so easy)! Thanks for sharing ~

    1. Celia - You're very welcome! Thank *you* for stopping by today. I love using plum tomatoes for this recipe because of the oval shape, like a potato. Sliced in half, they make a nice little boat for creating the pizza bite "tomat'er skins" -- lots of taste with far less carbs. Enjoy!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  3. This is a wonderful idea and I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. You're very welcome, Lil, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank *you* for stopping by to let me know. Have a delicious week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  4. Libby DoddMarch 12, 2