Gardening season makes it easy to eat lots of fresh produce, but the onslaught of an abundant harvest also can lead to culinary fatigue.
If you're not into canning or don't have the extra freezer space, you'll need some creative ideas to keep all that food from going to waste. The first step is to look for new dishes and times (such as breakfast) to add vegetables to the menu.
An omelet loaded with diced tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and onions is an obvious choice. But there are plenty of other options, too.
Try making an open-faced breakfast sandwich by topping a piece of toast with sliced tomato, melted reduced-fat cheddar cheese and even an egg, if you like. The amount of vitamin C in tomatoes rivals that in the traditional glass of orange juice.
Grilled slices of eggplant have a smoky flavor that makes them a perfect stand-in for bacon in a lightened version of eggs Benedict.
This egg-topped vegetable casserole calls for plenty of tomatoes and zucchini. The recipe serves eight, so it's well-suited for a brunch with friends but also makes a great supper.
Start to finish: 1 hour 5 minutes (30 minutes active)
2 pounds plum tomatoes (12 to 15 tomatoes)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped yellow onions
5 cups diced zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
8 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
Cut an "X" in base of each tomato, slicing just deep enough to break skin. Add half of the tomatoes to boiling water and simmer until skins split, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool and repeat with remaining tomatoes.
When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding skins. Coarsely chop tomatoes and set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes more.
Add the zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes, then saute until softened and juicy, about 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the tomato paste, then simmer, stirring often, until juices are thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Place a rack in lower third of oven and heat it to 400 F.
Transfer vegetable mixture to a 9-by-13-inch or other shallow, 3-quart baking dish (vegetables also can be divided between individual ramekins or other smaller baking dishes), spreading them in an even layer.
With a spoon, make 8 deep depressions in vegetable mixture. Crack an egg into each. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are bubbling and eggs are beginning to set.
Sprinkle the cheese over eggs. Bake for another 5 minutes or until eggs are set.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 220 calories; 91 calories from fat; 10 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 190 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrate; 18 g protein; 4 g fiber; 482 mg sodium.