Tomato Appetizers

Tomato Appetizers

Each summer in gardens all over the cherry tomato plant is grown. Twisted and viney, its bright red globes are irresistible to kids and adults alike.  They are often eaten off the vine fresh and warm from the sun, sweet and tangy juice squirting and dripping down chins.  These bite size jewels  are great not just for fresh eating and as topping to salads. They make delicious salsas, sauces and are heavenly dried. Cherry tomatoes though also make great fresh stuffed appetizers!

Cherry tomatoes make wonderful vessels to be stuffed. Simply cut off the tops of well washed and dried tomatoes about a quarter of the way down and with a spoon ( a grapefruit spoon works great) scoop out the seeds.  Tomato prep done. They are now ready to be stuffed.  There is an unlimited amount of choices when it comes to stuffing, one’s favorite chicken or tuna salads would work great! Below though are a few fillings that can easily be whipped up. Each recipe will fill two dozen or so tomatoes, this will vary based on the size of the tomatoes of course.

Greek Inspired Filling

1/2 cup washed and chopped spinach leaves
1/8 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp. freshly minced garlic
2 slices crisped and crumbled bacon
1-2 table minced red onion

Stir ingredients together, salt and pepper to taste. They can be served fresh or if wanted can be wrapped in phyllo and baked following directions on back of phyllo package.

Bruschetta Style

24 or so basil leaves washed and dried (one per tomato)
24 or so small fresh mozzarella balls drained (one per tomato)
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tsp.  olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix together garlic salt and olive oil. To this mix add the cheese and let sit while prepping tomatoes. When ready wrap a cheese ball in one of the basil leaves and insert into tomato cavity.  Serve fresh, though with the addition of buttered bread crumbs these too can be baked in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Artichoke Cream Filled   (this will make about three dozen tomatoes but can be used as a dip with bread or crackers as well)

1 small (4 oz.) can of artichokes
1  cube of cream cheese (4 oz.)
1 large clove of garlic ( those who prefer a stronger presence can add a second)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add all ingredients for filling (no tomatoes) into a blender and blend until almost smooth. If too thick a tsp. at a time of the liquid from artichokes can be added, it should be the thickness of a veggie dip. Spoon into tomatoes. These could be baked off as well in either of the ways mentioned earlier. 

These appetizers are easy to make which means they are a fun and savory kitchen project for kids who love to get involved in the kitchen with Mom and/or Dad. They are great to bring along to picnics, barbeques and parties alike, any host would love to boast about these yummy little treasures.

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