Monday, March 19, 2012

Meatless Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons

Surprisingly, I never ate this as a kid. Maybe it was my serious aversion to tomatoes (except for ketchup, of course) or maybe it was my "I don't like that" phase. It's really nothing short of a miracle that the picky eater that I was turned into such a food lover. Whatever it was, I didn't realize grilled cheese and tomato soup was a "thing" until college.  Yes, I said college. I wasn't into it in college, either, because somehow the cafeteria couldn't make a decent grilled cheese. At some point, though, my mom started making lots of soup. We're a skiing family, and god knows we can't afford to buy lunch at the ski resorts every weekend, so my mom would make soup at home and pack it in a thermos. Every time was better than the last. She was (and is) always finding new ways to build flavor.

Well one day she must have made soup and a grilled cheese and that's how I got hooked. Unfortunately for Campbell's I'm still not into the canned tomato soup. My grilled cheese and tomato soup combo tends to be a bit fancier: Tomato Basil soup and a grilled cheese with red onion and basil. 

I know. 
It's amazing.

Thank goodness for Pinterest or I may never have thought to make grilled cheese croutons! You don't even have to dip- just scoop one up with your spoon. We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

We kept it simple by serving this with veggies and dip, pickles, and fruit salad. Sometimes simple is better.

Tomato Basil Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • butter or olive oil
  • 2 big cans of tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • chicken stock
  • basil, chiffonade 
  • salt
  • 1 jar roasted red pepper
  • milk, cream, or half and half

1) Saute 1 onion until soft in a pot with a bit of olive oil or butter. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, some chicken stock, and basil to the pot. Season with salt to taste. The soup is going to cook down to concentrate the tomato flavor. Feel free to add more chicken stock as needed. 
2) After the tomato has cooked down and seems thicker and has a strong tomato flavor, add some pieces of roasted red pepper. The whole jar may be too much red pepper flavor, so you may want to start with half the jar and add more to taste.
3) Put the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender to make it smooth (or smoothish if you like chunkier soup). Be VERY careful not to splatter hot soup on yourself.
4) Slowly stir in some milk, cream, or half and half to the soup and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • Thinly sliced bread
  • butter (salted)
  • herbs (whatever you have- thyme, rosemary, basil, etc)
  • cheese (whatever melts well, like cheddar or gouda)

1) Let some butter come to room temperature and mix in chopped herbs.
2) Heat a skillet over medium heat. While it is getting hot, butter one side of each slice of bread with your herb butter.
3) When the skillet is hot, lay half of the bread slices in the pan butter side down. Layer cheese on top of each piece of bread. Top each slice with another slice, butter side up.
4) When the bread is golden and crispy and the cheese is melty, flip.
5) When the next side of the grilled cheese is done, take them out of the pan and let them cool for a bit. Cut with a large knife into 1/2" squares. 
6) Put them on your soup and devour!

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