Riffing Off a Cooking Light Recipe

I am making an effort to use up stuff in the kitchen these days. I have always hated wasting food, but have never been very good about being creative in using up odds 'n' ends. When I saw the Italian Tomato Tart recipe in April's Cooking Light, I had an Oprah-style "aha moment." It's really not so much a tart as a nouvelle quiche. I had shredded Italian cheese, cherry & grape tomatoes and ham that needed eating, along with a carton of egg whites whose last sale date is today. Here's my remake:

Crust:

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen brown rice 2 T basil paste 1 T shredded 3-cheese Italian blend 1 large egg cooking spray

Filling:

1/2 c skim milk 1/2 c egg whites 1/4 t salt 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper dash of cayenne 1 large egg 3/4 c shredded 3-cheese Italian blend 2 oz. preservative-free Virginia-style deli ham, roughly chopped ~pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, thinly sliced (if grape toms are small, you can halve 'em)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. To prepare crust, cook the brown rice according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, basil paste, cheese and egg. Firmly press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in. pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 15 min. Remove from oven.

3. Increase oven temp to 400.

4. To prep the filling, whisk milk and next 5 ingredients in a bowl.

5. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese and 1/2 of the ham into the bottom of the prepared crust. Top with half of the tomato slices. Repeat with the remaining cheese, ham & tomatoes. Pour milk mixture over the top.

6. Bake at 400 for 10 min. Reduce oven temp to 325 and continue to bake an additional 35 min. or until set. Cool 10 min. before serving. Cut into four wedges - serves 4.

This could easily be made vegetarian with the exclusion of the ham, perhaps subbing some "fake" ham or else more veggies. For a side, I steamed some green beans (on their way out, too) and served them with a little knob of lemon butter.

Enjoy!