Garden Tomato Bounty…

My vegetable and herb garden is overflowing with summer bounty. I’m a bit in shock to say the least! We have tomatoes coming out of our ears! Not bad for a city girl and her first attempt at having a garden. Even if you’re not green thumbed, I’m sure you can appreciate the beauty of summer fruits and veggies. Tending to a garden definitely takes some work, but I love showing the girls where their food comes from. Our garden also is a bit of an additional incentive for Mabel to try some of the veggies we are growing.

I’m not a super chef by any means, but I do alright and the simpler the recipe the better! Who has time as a busy parent to prepare incredibly complicated meals. Overall, I believe in healthy eating, so I’m beyond elated to be able to enjoy all the yummy goodness my garden has provided. But what does one do with the influx of garden tomatoes? Make marinara and freeze it of course!! Super simple and goes right along with my number one healthy eating tip which is to be prepared. It is SO much easier to eat well when you surround yourself with healthy and wholesome options.

What I love about having marinara sauce on hand is that you have a viable base for tons of different recipes from simple spaghetti to lasagna. You can find thousands of different recipes online , even the basic tomato sauce  of the amazing Mario Batali. My recipe is incredibly humble AKA don’t judge me, people. LOL!! But, I promise it tastes delightful. Honestly, it is the gorgeous garden tomatoes that do most of the heavy lifting. As a quick sidenote, marinara sauce will keep one week in the fridge or six months in the freezer.

It is SO much easier to eat well when you surround yourself with healthy and wholesome options...
Marinara Sauce

6 cups diced tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic minced

1 to 2 large sprigs of basil

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat saucepan on medium heat and then add olive oil. Once olive oil is heated, add garlic and saute’ till lightly browned. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer.  Add sprigs of basil and thyme. Stir and cook until thickened.  Be patient for your sauce to cook down and thicken.  That’s where the magic happens!  If you are in a hurry, you can always add a bit of tomato paste to thicken. Let sauce cool. Remove basil and thyme. You now have a couple of options or you may decide to do both steps. If you have a food mill, you can can simply use that and call it a day. Another option is to put in your food processor or high powered blender and pulse a few times and then use a strainer remove any tomato skins and seeds. The last step is to place your marinara in a freezer safe container. I like using Ziploc bags so I can lay them flat in the freezer to save space. It also makes it quite easy to just break off what you need when you decide to use.

We had a great summer on the west coast. Now we are getting back into the swing of things back home on the east. The summer has flown by so fast! I truly hope you and your families enjoyed summer as well. Who out there has a garden?  What are your favorite recipes to make with your summer fruits and veggies?

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Carli says:

Hi emma
Good to see some simple recipes, ill be trying this especially when my little one gets onto food, ive just given birth to my 2nd son Jonah Beau last week so all theae ideas will be handy for when the solid food stage comes around

Emma Heming Willis says:

AHHHHH congrats on the birth of your new baby boy :):) Hope you are doing and feel well! Took me some time to get my feet underneath me once I had my second. I like this recipe because it’s always on hand if you need it. Especially when time becomes so limited xx

Carli says:

Thank u emma, yes its been a crazy week so far and i can already see how this time is going to be a bit more crazy than just having one baby, so you are right anything that can save time is a must to have.

First son Theo is starting school this week too so thats even more going on eeeekkkk x

Wendy R says:

Hi Emma – thanks for the lovely recipe – it sounds divine! I have a lovely (simple) family recipe for tomato, sausage and risoni soup which is a beautiful hearty winter meal with some crusty bread – want me to post it for you? There is nothing better than picking your own veggies is there. I get a real sense of achievement and being connected to nature picking things out of the garden and I love home grown tomatoes (my little man eats them straight out of the garden like apples) -but chopped up with a bit of basil on toasted bread for a really simple bruschetta – really yummy (rub the bread with a garlic clove if everyone’s eating it!) Today I pulled 2 leeks out of the garden for the very first time! And although they weren’t as big as shop brought(I couldn’t wait any longer), they were all organically grown with not one drop of chemical sprays or insecticides – certainly made them taste all the more sweet! Glad you had a great summer – we’re just coming out of our winter and this week spring has well and truly sprung – tomorrow its going to be 31 degrees Celsius! Phew!!
Wendy x

Emma Heming Willis says:

PLEASE post the recipe!! Would love to try it :):)

Ellan says:

Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

Emma Heming Willis says:

I love it!! Thank you for reading and I’m always happy when someone drops by to say hi :):):)

Wendy r says:

Hi Emma
My family recipe for tomato, sausage and risoni soup…
1/2 cup of risoni
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (Diced)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 x 400 gram cans of chopped tomato
1/2 cup of tomato paste
4 1/2 cups of water
3 beef stock cubes
1 teaspoon sugar
500grams of good beef sausages (or for a ‘grown ups soup’ try spicy chorizo)

1. Grill or panfry sausages til lovely and brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper, cool and cut into thin slices
2. Add risoni to pan of boiling water until just tender and drain
3. Heat oil in large pot, add onion and garlic and cook til tender
4. Add undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar and crumbled stock cubes
5. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 10 mins
6. Add sausages and risoni, stir until sausages warm back up and serve with some crusty bread. Some times I’ll also put some Parmesan or mozzarella cheese on the top just before I serve.
And that’s it! Freezes well just like your marinara sauce – I use the snap lock bags too and the recipe doubles well. My family love it – hope yours does too.
Wendy x

Emma Heming Willis says:

You rock!! Thank you for this xxx

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