Bruschetta Mini Pizzas – Great Way to Use Up Excess “End of Season” Cherry Tomatoes

This week I’m participating in the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop (April 10-19) and giving away prizes (see below). The theme is gardening, so I wanted to share with you not only my love of gardening, particularly vegetables, but also a great little recipe I came up with to use all those extra cherry tomatoes you probably have sitting around at the end of a successful growing season. I don’t know about you, but even when I only plant two tomato seedlings (like you see below), I end up with more cherry tomatoes than I know what to do with.

I started out gardening the usual way with a plot in my backyard, but quickly switched to container gardening via grow boxes, specifically the ones sold by The Garden Patch™. The boxes sit on my porch where not only are they safe from bunnies and deer, but they’re also easier to maintain. No more hands and knees digging in the soil. I just need to keep the water reservoir filled (once a week unless it’s been brutally hot), apply fertilizer periodically and voila, salad bar at my back door! Cherry tomatoes do GREAT in these GrowBoxes™.

Maybe a little too great! 😀 I always end up with a major surplus by September. We’re talking every window sill, every free counter space–even the kitchen table–filled with ripening cherry tomatoes. The first year it happened, I made soup. Lots and lots of soup. After a while, you get plain sick of tomato soup, even if you like it.

Cherry Tomato Plants in a Grow Box

Two thriving cherry tomato plants in a GrowBox™ from The Garden Patch™.

So what can you do with all those tomatoes if soup’s not an option and you’ve eaten your fill of them on salads? Bruschetta!

Or more accurately, a combination of bruschetta and pizza, because I like to add lots of cheese on top! Yum! 🙂

Below is the simple recipe I came up with to use every last one of my homegrown cherry tomatoes. It’s so quick and easy, anyone (even novice cooks like me) can do it.

Cathy Chant’s “End of Season” Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • Lots and lots of ripe home grown cherry tomatoes, cut in fourths (or diced)
  • Red or yellow onion (red will be sweeter), chopped small.
  • Garlic, minced (I buy the pre-minced kind in the jar)
  • Italian bread*, cut into 1/2-inch slices (or cut in half length-wise, if it’s a thin loaf like French bread)
  • Olive oil (and a pastry brush)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (reduced fat version if you want to make it a healthier meal)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until lightly toasted (about 10 minutes)
  4. In a bowl, mix the chopped tomatoes, onion and a teaspoon or so of garlic.**
  5. Spoon the mixture onto the bread after it comes out of the oven.
  6. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese on top.
  7. Place loaded bread back in the oven (still at 375) and bake until the cheese is completely melted. (About another 10 minutes)
  8. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Cathy Chant's Bruschetta

Toasted bread loaded with tomatoes and cheese just before baking.

*For a healthier alternative, try one of the fresh-baked loaves of multi-grain bread found in the supermarket’s bakery section. Yum!

**Make a head tip — I made the tomato mixture in huge batches, then froze it in small rectangles to match the size of my bread. That way if I wanted to make bruschetta on the fly, I could just take a frozen portion. pop it on the toasted bread and get it in the oven. I usually hold off on adding cheese on top until the frozen mixture defrosts, though, since the cheese could melt too quickly otherwise.

A note about amounts – I didn’t measure anything in this recipe as I made it. It’s really more an intuition thing along the lines of “how do you like your pizza.” Think of it as customizable! Just remember that the point is to use up lots of tomatoes, so the tomatoes should take center stage here. Add just enough onion and garlic to complement the tomato but not overpower it.

Also, try some spices! I’m more of a garlic, salt and pepper kind of gal, but if you like oregano or basil on your pizzas or something like that, go for it! Mix a little bit in with your chopped tomatoes.

These bruschetta pizzas were such a hit with the family that I made them almost every day for lunch during the latter part of the summer and into the fall. My son, who isn’t a big fan of tomatoes in general, was actually disappointed when we finally ran out.

Interested in starting your own vegetable garden in containers?

Check out How to Start a Beginner’s Vegetable Garden at GardenGuides.com for great tips!

Now, on with the Authors in Bloom blog hop!

Between April 10 and 19, over sixty bloggers are offering great articles about gardening, cooking and more! They’re also offering prizes!!! Click the list below to visit them.

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop List – click to display links in a new window.

Let’s Talk About Those Prizes!

That’s right, we’re giving away prizes. The more blogs on the hop you visit, the more chances you have to win.

Want to enter my prize drawing? It’s easy!

Crochet Daisy Hotpad by Catherine ChantLeave a comment on this blog and/or sign up for my author newsletter and/or “Like” my Facebook Page (earn 3 entries if you do all 3!) before the deadline. I’ll be picking one lucky winner to receive one of the following prizes (depending on your location):

• U.S. Residents – A handmade (my me!) crochet painted daisies hotpad (shown right), perfect for serving a plate of piping hot bruschetta pizzas, or for adding a pretty floral accent to your kitchen, and a copy of the Kindle version of my young adult time travel romance, Wishing You Were Here.

• International Residents – A copy of the Kindle version of my young adult time travel romance, Wishing You Were Here to be delivered via email.

***Don’t forget to include your email with your comment so I can contact you if you win!***

Deadline to enter is midnight (EST) Friday, April 19, 2013. I’ll announce the winner (here on my website) by Monday, April 22, 2013.

Wait! There’s More!

Can’t forget about the GRAND PRIZE. Collectively, the blog hop participants are giving away a Kindle or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a $25 gift card for the same via a Rafflecopter drawing. To enter, simply leave a comment on ANY of the blogs on the list and those names will be entered into the drawing and announced on the Blog Hop Landing Page around April 21, 2013. For more details, visit the Authors in Bloom Event Page.

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