Trading Post: Pick tomatoes and pick a recipe

Kathryn Rem

Now is the time to use up those backyard tomatoes, before the frost sets in. One way to do it is by making the tomato pie recipe sent in by Helen Davis of Springfield.

“My sister served this last year at a family gathering as a side dish, and it was delicious. The taste is heavenly — almost like a comfort food,” she said.

Davis also sent along a pizza recipe that is similar to one she has made. It calls for fresh Roma tomatoes. The recipe for Mexicali Hamburger Casserole was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens and calls for a topping of fresh grape or cherry tomatoes.

Tomato Pie

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green or Vidalia onions

1 (9-inch) prebaked deep-dish pie shell

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup grated cheddar

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Tomato Basil Pizza

Olive oil spray

1 package (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust or homemade crust

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh basil, snipped

2 garlic cloves, run through garlic press

2/3 cup mayonnaise

4 plum (Roma) tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 15-by-12-inch cookie sheet with olive oil spray. Roll dough onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle crust with 1 cup mozzarella.

Combine the remaining mozzarella cheese, parmesan, basil, garlic and mayonnaise in bowl.

Layer tomatoes over mozzarella and top with cheese and mayo mixture. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Makes about 8 servings.

Mexicali Hamburger Casserole

11/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 (15-ounce) can Mexican-style diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

11/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Fresh Tomato Toss:

1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1/2 cup corn

1/3 cup green olives, halved (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 12-inch skillet, cook and brown beef; drain off fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes and 1 cup of the corn; heat through. Transfer to greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.

For cornbread topping, in medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in egg, milk and oil. Evenly spread on beef mixture. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until topping is set. Let stand 5 minutes.

In bowl, stir together grape or cherry tomatoes, cilantro, 1/2 cup corn and olives. Spoon over servings.

Makes 6 servings.

* From Mallory Andre of Springfield: “I’ve never found a really good recipe for chocolate fudge. Would you have one?”

Readers, if you can help, please send in your best chocolate fudge recipe.

* Do you have any tried-and-true Halloween-themed recipes? If so, please send them to the Trading Post.

The Trading Post runs every other week and is compiled by Kathryn Rem. Send recipes and recipe requests to the Trading Post, The State Journal-Register, P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705, fax to (217) 788-1551 or Please include your name, city and daytime phone number.