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Tomatoes: Facts, Tips and Recipes for Summer’s Favorite Fruit

Food Focus: Tomatoes

Tomatoes are everywhere in the summer. It seems every time you turn around, a bright red bushel of tomatoes is greeting you. From colorful heirlooms to the ones with weird ridges and bumps, I can’t get enough of their perfectly sweet flavor and juicy texture. Nothing compares to the taste of a freshly grown tomato.

Food Focus: The Allure of Virginia’s Hanover Tomatoes

Hanover tomatoes are somewhat legendary in central and eastern Virginia. Unlike other famous tomato varieties such as the Green Zebra, Texas Star, Cherokee Purple or Sungold, the Hanover tomato is not known for its particular size, shape or color. As you can see, it is a traditional-looking red tomato. So what makes a Hanover tomato special?

Fresh Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

This recipe uses lots – about 4 pounds – of fresh tomatoes to make a velvety soft soup that tastes like summer, especially with a garnish of fresh basil and tangy goat cheese. And surprisingly, it comes together easily in your slow cooker, so you don’t even have to do much work to enjoy it.

Rosemary-Skewered Vegetable Kabobs

Zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and rosemary are all over the place this time of year, and we created a fun way to grill them. Slice them thin and place them in a quick marinade before threading the strips onto a skewer of rosemary sprigs. The rosemary smokes on the grill, creating a fantastic aroma and flavor that works its way into the veggies from the inside out.

Greek Pasta Salad

Take a break from mayo-based pasta salads this spring and summer and replace their spot on the picnic table with this refreshing Greek version with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta. The tangy dressing makes it a light and bright side at any barbecue or cookout and the recipe makes enough to feed a group for a potluck.

Tomato Basil Soup with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

My parents would heat up canned tomato soup and serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich made of white bread and American cheese. It wasn’t particularly fancy, but it was good, old-fashioned “kid food” and I loved it. As I got older, I wanted something that offered more flavor and more texture, but it was hard to find. This is the closest I’ve come, while still summoning those great childhood memories, and the slow cooker makes it that much easier to put on the table tonight.

Liquid Fire Juice

Okay, so you made a resolution to get healthier and fitter this year, but you’re not sure how to do it, right? We’re here to help with our list of 10 healthy, easy and delicious juice recipes using our favorite juice extractor, including this recipe for Liquid Fire Juice. Also, be sure to read our juicing tips before you get started.

Spicy Tomato Garden Juice

This spicy blend of vegetables will be a sure way to get your year off to a healthy start. Spicy Tomato Garden Juice joins a list of 10 total juices for a healthy, delicious lifestyle. Juicing is a great way to get your daily serving of vegetables. For an interesting infographic all about juicing, click here.

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

In this recipe, we take the classic marinara sauce and mix it with parmesan cheese, cream and salt, creating a shortcut version of a tomato cream sauce or vodka sauce that is creamy, cheesy and delicious. It serves as the base for the pasta, chicken and spinach. When combined, they create a mouthwatering blend of Italian flavors.

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

This slow cooker marinara sauce is a beautiful red blend of chunky tomatoes, fresh basil and aromatic spices. It’s absolute perfection on spaghetti, and it could be used on a hundred other things, too. That’s the beauty of this recipe: it makes a lot, so you can store some in the fridge or freeze it for later use in a lasagna or pasta bake.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

We have been brainstorming ideas for recipes that are not only hearty and filling, but also quick and simple to prepare.  This classic tomato-based dish is unbelievably easy to make in your slow cooker.  Serve it over spaghetti for a well-balanced supper the whole family will enjoy.

Broiled Chipotle Tilapia Bowl with Avocado Sauce

Burrito bowls and one dish meals are all the rage, and everyone seems to want the recipe for easy dishes like this homemade chipotle burrito bowl – and we can’t blame them! These meals are easy to prepare, perfect to make out of leftovers and quick to clean up.

Spicy Summer Vegetable Pasta

Although summer’s end is slowly approaching, I do love the bounty of late summer vegetables I can find right now. The bright greens, reds, yellows and purples are calling my name, so I can’t help but center more meals around zucchini, squash, tomatoes and herbs while I still have the chance.

Grilled Shrimp with Herbed Feta and Basmati Rice

This tasty meal is quick, simple and easy to prepare. The shrimp cooks quickly, and the basmati is easy to make in a rice cooker. Just add the rice, broth and salt. When the rice cooker is finished, stir in tomatoes, feta and oregano to create a Mediterranean style base for the grilled shrimp.

Summer Salad Dressing Recipes

To keep salads interesting, we add toppings like chicken, toasted nuts, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese. Of course, a traditional Caesar salad or a simple salad with blue cheese can be equally delightful, and we know there is one stand-out way to ramp up your salads at home: make your own dressing.

Grilled Garlic Bread and Tomato Salad (Panzanella)

Too often, the grill gets passed over for the stove or oven, so these recipes highlight grilled side dishes. Use your grill to make garlic bread and toss with fresh tomatoes and othe toppings for a delicious and filling side dish. 

There are so many ways to use fresh and seasonal tomatoes. What is your favorite dish to make with this summer fruit? Share with us by leaving a comment below!

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