Cold weather demands comfort food. Things that are gooey, and basic, and stick-to-your-ribs-y, and flavorful. Now, you know me – I’m a busy girl, and I like dishes that can be assembled in under 15 minutes of active time, and take under an hour to prepare start to finish. the sooner I have dinner ready, the sooner I can reward myself with a glass of wine – er – a set of celebratory push-ups.
Since my children eat like someone’s paying them by volume, I like recipes that can be easily doubled or tripled.
For that matter, I like recipes that reheat well, since we try to always have leftovers for me to take on my call nights. You see, as a rule, I think of eating out as a social activity where I am paying for food, yes, but more importantly, for the experience of not having to cook, and being able to enjoy my family and friends without the distraction of meal prep. I have always refused to pay a hospital cafeteria/local pizza service/sandwich joint/you-name-it for a meal that I will consume by myself, in a call room, and quite likely, between urgent phone calls and deliveries (ie not while still hot). It feels like I’m paying the cafeteria to be on call. Hence, tasty leftovers that I made with my own two hands, at a fraction of the price of the questionably-handled Monday Chicken Special.
Which brings us to Tomato Pie.
You simply cannot get more basic, and simple. It meets the requirements of comfort food, and is delicious and versatile. Plus, you can put one together easily on a budget. Switch out your cheeses, if you’re not a fan of goat cheese or if you’re on a budget, and throw in your favorites. throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach, if you like. And while lovely fresh tomatoes work beautifully during the summer, don’t worry that you’re stuck with hot-house tomatoes in the winter – the glorious, cheesy, crusty goo that melts all over them will kick the tomatoes up a notch.
One last word: You are welcome to make your own biscuit mix from scratch (super simple, I know) and use that instead. But frankly, this is one of the recipes where I break my own rules, and buy the mix, because I can’t wait to get to those push-ups I mentioned earlier. For that matter, this recipe is, quite literally, the one and only reason why I keep both Bisquick and mayonnaise in my kitchen at all. The mayo serves the purpose of a binding agent for your melting cheese as it crusts over your filling. Don’t skip it.
- Olive oil spray (or olive oil)
- 3 1/4 cups Bisquick mix
- 1 cup milk
- 1.5 tsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 3 oz fresh basil, chopped
- 1.5 lbs tomatoes sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
- 1 lb Monterey Jack cheese (I shred mine in my Cuisinart like the good lord intended, but feel free to buy pre-shredded. Or, you know ... shred by hand. We won't judge you ... but we will eat our Tomato Pie a lot sooner than you ...)
- 8 oz log of soft goat cheese
- 3/4 cups mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Spray 9x13 casserole dish with olive oil spray (or brush olive oil on it to coat sparingly).
- Mix Bisquick flour and milk (I do this in a mixer, because as a rule, I do as little as possible whenever possible. My hubby, bless his heart, does it all by hand). Spread dough into casserole dish, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (just long enough to have biscuit base cooked).
- While dough is baking, quick-like-bunny, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, slice your onion thinly, and give it a quick sautee. You just need to soften it, you don't quite need it caramelized. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Take your dough out of the oven, and decrease your oven temp to 400 degrees.
- Scatter the basil over your dough as the first layer (put the spinach in this layer as well, if you decide to use it), then top with onions, and then with tomatoes.
- In a medium bowl, mix shredded cheese, goat cheese, and mayonnaise. Spread over the tomatoes to cover entirely.
- Crack some pepper over the entire thing, and throw it back in the oven for 25 minutes. You can use this time to steam some broccoli, or open a baggie of sugar snap peas, or sautee some kale, or lecture your kids on how you don't REALLY need veggies every day.
Now, go do your push-ups!