Baked Italian Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

There are two reasons I put this lovely little tomato dish together last night.  First and foremost – we are DROWNING in tomatoes.  We have so many Roma tomatoes I could eat five for every meal for at least a month and they would still be coming out our ears.  We’ve done soup, pasta sauce, salsa, salads, and sandwiches – and we needed something new.

My brother in law told me about a Tomato Pie he had made recently with a cheesy top and traditional pie crust underneath which sounded intriguing but… I don’t know… am I the only one that doesn’t care for pie crust with savory stuff?  If there’s already a good amount of fat in a dish I’m not a fan of then wrapping it in more butter.  It seems unnecessary and I just can’t justify it calorie-wise.  I know.  Surprise!  I’m actually calorie conscious!  Anyway, that’s where the idea for this dish came from.

What was the other reason you ask?  Did you SEE that boring piece of chicken breast sitting on the plate next to my vibrant tomatoes?  Maybe not.  Maybe, in it’s terrifying whiteness it blended into the plate and you missed it.  Well it’s there.  It’s healthy and proteiny, and…yeah, that’s all I got.

The fresh tomatoes, the salty artichokes, the creamy cheese, and the crispy breadcrumbs made a nice foil to our otherwise plain Jane chicken.  I would have spooned it right over the chicken if I had had enough wherewithal at the time to do it.

Oh, and I should probably add here that the title of this recipe may be a little misleading.  This recipe is what I would call “Italian”.  To someone who lives in Italy maybe not so much.  You see, in my 29 years of life I have been to Italy exactly as many times as I’ve been to Costa Rica, England, Taiwan, and Saturn.  My “Italian” food education comes largely from what I’ve learned at the Olive Garden.  I don’t even have Food Network at home to watch Giada in action.  Sigh.  If only we could buy cable channels a la carte.  But I digress.

Let’s get started.  Slice up a bunch of tomatoes.  I’m using Romas and I think I sliced up about 20 of them into approximately 1/8” slices.

Next, liberally season tomatoes with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Grab your Italian Seasoning and shake that on liberally as well.  What the heck is even in Italian Seasoning?  I don’t know.  I just know I throw it in everything I think of as Italian.  And it works.

Now, grab your 65oz jar of artichoke hearts…

…and dice up about 1/2 cup of them.  I ❤ Sam’s Club for stuff like this.  Artichoke hearts are really expensive when you buy them in little cans.  This huge jar was like seven bucks.  Score.

Grab a bowl and add about 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.  Or, if you happen to have just a little bit of leftover pizza cheese in a plastic tub why not use that?  School of lazy.  Summa Cum Laude.

Add in your chopped artichoke hearts (not shown ’cause I’m dumb), and shake in about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Next, dump in a couple big spoonfuls of mayo.

And stir it all up.  Yum.  I could eat this with the spoon.  It would also make an awesome sandwich spread.  Hmm.

Spread it over your beautiful tomatoes.

And, just because we can, let’s throw on some bread crumbs.  I used the gluten free bread crumbs I keep in my freezer.  When you bake GF NEVER ever throw away crumbs!  You never know when you might be able to use them!  Oh, and, while we’re at it, let’s sprinkle on some more Italian Seasoning.  Can’t get enough of that!  (Whatever it is.)

Here it is, hot and bubbly out of the oven.

Let it rest for a few minutes, grab a slotted spoon and dig in.  You’ll definitely want that slotted spoon.  Tomatoes have a high water content and when you bake them that water slips right out.  Now, if you wanted something to absorb that water you could always throw that in the bottom first.  Some kind of bready layer would probably work.  But I didn’t want bread so a slotted spoon suits me just fine here.

Mmm.  Homey and yummy.  You may have figured out that this is a clever way of making Artichoke Dip into a healthy side dish.  No comment.  Enjoy!

Baked Italian Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

About 4 cups Roma tomatoes, medium sliced

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Italian Seasoning to taste

1/4 cup mayo

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Artichoke Hearts, chopped

1/3 cup Bread Crumbs (gf or regular)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice tomatoes and layer in a 9×9″ baking dish.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning to taste.

In a separate bowl combine mayo, cheeses, and artichoke hearts.  Spread evenly over tomatoes.  Sprinkle bread crumbs and more Italian seasoning over top.  Bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Let rest a few minutes and serve with a slotted spoon.

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