When I first rented a house after college, I remember shopping for groceries and buying several cans of diced tomatoes. I didn’t know why I should buy them – and had no specific recipe in mind. But, I remember thinking, “Of course you need diced tomatoes in your kitchen, right?” I think they sat in my cabinet for maybe a year. My mom’s habits of always stocking diced tomatoes stuck with me – even if I had no idea why!
Now, though, I’ve learned what to make with diced tomatoes – and a can doesn’t last longer than a week at my house. There are SO many types of canned tomatoes at the store – canned whole tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, canned stewed tomatoes. But, I’ve found that I really only need diced tomatoes – and with them I can make anything! I usually buy 3-4 cans at a time, and love the kind with either no salt added – or that have the Italian seasoning. Here are 4 ways to use diced tomatoes!
1. EASY Homemade Tomato Sauce
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good can of Ragu. But, you know what I love more? Easy homemade tomato sauce. I just throw several cans of diced tomatoes in my favorite pot, and let it simmer all afternoon (or even just 30 minutes!) with Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, S&P – and any other seasoning I’m feeling like. I just keep tasting it until there is enough seasoning. If I want it less clumpy, I just use a mashed-potato-masher, or my immersion blender and blend it a little bit :-).
This is the basis for so many dishes – spaghetti, ziti, baked meatballs, almost any Italian dishes :). It’s also amazing on homemade pizza!
2. Skillet Dinner with White Beans + Meat + Veggies
I know this is hardly an official recipe. But, I love throwing two cans of beans (white beans, Northern beans, black beans…etc.), a can of diced tomatoes, some leftover meat (shredded chicken, cooked sausage – even shredded Rotisserie chicken!) and some good seasoning to make a soupy flavorful meal. I like to channel my inner French chef with this one (think a cheap and fast Cassoulet). For seasoning, I like to use a bay leaf, S&P, Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, Parsley…etc. You can also add carrots, onion and celery if you have them around. For more liquid, add some water or chicken broth.
3. Simple Pasta
Who doesn’t love the smell of garlic? Actually, after I drove through Gilroy, California (the garlic capital of the world), I understand how you could get sick of it. 🙂 But, a good garlic smell mixed with a buttery pasta – yes please! Here’s a simple concoction:
Boil your favorite pasta in water until cooked. Drain. Eazy peazy. Then, while it’s boiling, in a skillet, combine olive oil and garlic (1 Tablespoon of each) – and your favorite veggies. I like: onion, carrots, celery, diced tomatoes. Then add in Italian seasoning, parmesan or mozzarella cheese and mix with your pasta – yum!
Fall is here – and that means a HUGE pot of chili will be on my stove multiple times this season. This is not a hard recipe – and is SO easy. And, it is the perfect meal when you have a party, game day – or just some friends over! Serve with the toppings (shredded cheese, chips, french bread), and you have a whole meal. I could pretend that our family has a unique recipe for this – but I really just love this simple staple recipe. It’s a classic and just like my mother used to make.
We love to eat leftovers over baked potatoes – and have a mini baked potato bar :).
I know these recipes are simple – but I couldn’t make them without a steady supply of diced tomatoes. Please let us know your favorite dishes that use canned tomatoes!