So what do you do with a big plate of tomatoes?
BLT’s of course!
This is what we had for lunch yesterday…
I was trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner yesterday and I had a bunch of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and basil to use. So I made soup. Now, we ate it hot, but we will eat it cold next time like gazpacho because it’s hot, hot, hot out and hot soup is not very appealing when it’s 108 degrees out. We were all sweating after we ate it.
The measurements are all approximate because I eyeballed everything and my recipe was doubled to feed all 7 of us.
Tomato Vegetable Garden Soup
4 C Chicken Broth (homemade is much tastier than store bought)
2 C Tomato Sauce (I used my homemade tomato sauce made with the tomatoes from my garden)
1 small Zucchini, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Onion
2 T Honey or to taste (optional…my tomatoes were very acidic from my garden and needed this)
1/2-1 small Eggplant
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (or use a hot pepper)
1-3 tomatoes, diced, depending on the size of tomatoes…use as many as you want if you are growing them! Use ‘em up!
Basil, a very large handful if you grow your own (I LOVE basil)
Start heating up the chicken broth and then place the onion and eggplant in the food processor. Whiz them up unless you really like the texture of whole pieces of eggplant and onion in your soup. (My kids didn’t even know that eggplant existed after I blasted it in the Vitamix.) Add the eggplant mixture into the chicken broth along with the rest of the ingredients except the basil. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or so and then add the basil and cook for a few more minutes.
I served this with cheese toast, made in my on the counter toaster oven, and fruit. Quick, (after I enlisted the help of my children for grating cheese, picking basil and chopping), easy and healthy!
Do you have too many tomatoes and peppers that you don’t know what to do with?
Well, here’s a little south of the border recipe that will help you use up your excess veggies and still enjoy the fruits of your summer garden.
Summer Salsa Deluxe:
4 Large Tomatoes
1 Large White Onion-chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers-chopped
2 Serrano Peppers-chopped
1/4 Yellow Bell Pepper-diced
1/4 Green Bell Pepper-diced
1/4 Red Bell Pepper-diced
1/2 Clove Garlic-minced
3/4 Cup finely chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Cup Green Onions-chopped
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours and enjoy with corn chips for dipping.
This salsa is muy caliente…so add or subtract peppers to taste! Enjoy!!!
I found a recipe that uses a lot of fresh tomatoes, which is exactly what I needed. My counter was decorated with too many bowls of tomatoes and the fruit flies were starting to multiply. (yuck) So anyway, here is the recipe.
“Mommy’s Best Baked Beans” (that’s what my kids named them)
2 1/2 C Dry navy beans or pinto beans
3 1/2 C Fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 C Tomato paste
4 T Molasses
2 T Olive oil (or a big slab of butter which is my preference)
2 T Salt
2 T Honey
1 T Basil (a handful if you’re using fresh)
1 large Onion
2-4 cloves Garlic
Soak beans overnight and then cook until tender. I put mine in the crock to soak and then cook for 4 hours or so on high. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Transfer to another dish and bake 1-3 hours, stirring every half hour or so, at 350 degrees until liquid is thick. You can also cook them in the crock pot. I tried it both ways and it definitely tastes better when baked in the oven, but when you don’t want to heat up the house the crock pot will do just fine.
We ate these beans tonight along with a big salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and also warm buttered whole wheat tortillas.
The family enjoyed it much more than I thought they would and it was very economical.
This pictures was taken of the beans that I cooked in the crock pot. The beans that I baked in the oven looked a lot darker and had a more intense flavor.
Canning might seem like a normal occurance to you, but to me it is scary. Like, how do I know it won’t kill me when I open the jars up and eat it? Who knows these things? Is there anyone left that cans? I have yet to actually see someone can something in their own house.
Well, today, I gave it a shot. I had about 25 pounds of tomatoes that had been staring back at me for a few days and some of them weren’t going to make it much longer, so I figured I better do something with them. So I went to Walmart, bought the great big $19 canning pot, the accessories and a dozen canning jars. I used my new Vitamix to whiz them all up, skins and all. And once I was done, I didn’t even have to strain the seeds out because the Vitamix blended almost all of them up. I am so loving this new toy of mine.
I also added a couple of onions, salt, and some garlic to the Vitamix, whizzed it up and then added it to my pot.
I brought it to a boil, turned it down and then let it simmer overnight on a low setting to reduce it by close to half.
I filled the jars according to the instructions in the Ball Book of Preserving and boiled them in the canner for 40 minutes and voila.
Two hours and 5 quarts of sauce later, my canning adventure was over.
Who knew that canning was so easy! (We’ll see in a couple of months if it’s as easy as I think it is by how everyone fares after eating it.)
Home grown tomatoes make the best, full-flavored salsa!
This is how I make mine:
Tomatoes, cut up
I put the onions, cilantro, jalapeno and garlic into the food processor and pulse it a bit. Then I add the cut up tomatoes and pulse it until they blend to the desired consistancy.
It only takes 10 minutes or less and tastes much better than any jarred salsa.
Everyone here loves it, except when I add too many diced jalapenos. I did that today. FYI…If you let your jalapenos stay on the plant long enough to turn red, they are much hotter.
Last night I had 4 yellow squash, a jalapeno and a bunch of tomatoes that no one was eating from my garden. So, I made lentil soup and added all those ingredients to it, plus some brown rice, onions and carrots. I’ll spare you the pictures because pictures of lentil soup look disgusting. However, Cary, my husband, even ate it and said it was really good and he really dislikes squash and lentils. My kids also all loved it. I was amazed!
Thanks Dad and Aunt Betty for all the ideas on what to do with the extra eggplants and zucchini. Gardens force you to get creative! I gladly welcome any new ideas on how to reinvent the eggplant, squash and tomato.
We had Eggplant burgers (meatless),
fried zucchini and yellow squash,
and sliced tomatoes with basil for dinner last night.
It was tasty!
So I had these 2 eggplants and a bunch of zucchini’s to cook for dinner last night. I honestly didn’t know what to do with them so I went to allrecipes.com and typed in eggplant and zucchini in the ingredient search. I found one called Ratatouille Pasta. The recipe was for 3 servings and I think I tripled it to feed my crew and added some hamburger, so it basically turned out to be a spaghetti sauce with eggplant and zucchini. In my opinion, it hid the veggies very well. My kids ate it and said it was yummy. Here is the recipe for 3 servings:
We also didn’t have the mozzarella, but it would have been really good with it.
My kids diced up all the veggies, so maybe that’s why they liked it so much.
This picture didn’t make it look very good, but it tasted good and every single one of my 5 kids ate it and said it was good. I was completely amazed!
They said it was “thumbs up”.
My 2 year old even said it was “thumbs up”, in his own way of course.