everyone likes grilled cheese and tomato soup. its just one of those meals that no one can hate. i do admit, for most of my life i was not a tomato soup fan (at least the stuff from the campbells can), but recently i have developed a taste for it. grilled cheese on the other hand, now that was something i have always liked– i suspect i did even in my previous lives.
this week, since i knew i wouldn’t need a ton of food because i’m leaving to go home for thanksgiving so early, i decided just to pick two dishes to make and live off leftovers. the beauty of grilled cheese is that if you have the ingredients, you can make a fresh and hot sandwich at the drop of a hat! the soup, on the other hand, is not so quick. so i made a big ol’ pot of it and just warmed up the leftovers right out of the fridge!
here’s what i gathered from the grocery for the soup:
-three medium/large and ripe tomatoes, two fresh cloves of garlic, half of a vidallia onion (or whatever kind you have on hand), one can of low-sodium chicken stock, a cup of fat-free half and half (leftover from making the butternut squash soup!), olive oil, S&P, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
i started by washing, “eighthing” (cutting in to eighths :] ), and seeding my three tomatoes and laying them out on a baking sheet. i gave them a quick glug of olive oil and S&P and tossed them around. on the same sheet, i cut up half an onion into small roasting chunks and halved two cloves of peeled garlic. i tossed the pan in the oven at 400 degrees for a good half an hour (moving them around occasionally) until they got all caramelized and soft.
once all the vegetables had roasted, i added them to a pot of simmering chicken stock (one can) that i added a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to. *note: add the red pepper flakes while the stock is still cold and bring it up to a simmer all together, your stock will take on a spicy heat from the peppers!**
i simmered everything together for a minute or two and then added salt and pepper to taste. right before i was ready to blend, i added a cup of the fat-free half and half to give the soup it’s “cream of tomato” look.
using my wonderful Magic Bullet, just like the butternut squash soup, i pureed my cream of tomato until it was nice and smooth and creamy. (i’ll show you what it looks like at the end :] )
ladle it up into a bowl or your favorite mug (this is my all time FAVORITE way to eat soup!) and serve it along side my delicious grilled cheese… coming right up!
for the grilled cheese, i pick up a few ingredients:
-a loaf of the most nutty and delicious whole-grain bread you can find, fresh basil, a fresh tomato, and sliced cheeses of your choice– i used provolone, muenster, and havarti–, and butter.
i found this nine-grain bread at The Krog (or kroger…) that hadn’t even been sliced yet. mmmm! i cut it myself into a little thicker slices than normal sliced bread just to make the sandwich substantial. just look at this beautiful loaf!
while i preheated my skillet (or you can use a griddle if you have one) to medium, i sliced some super thin slices of tomato on my cutting board and laid them out next to my freshly washed basil.
next step: the cheese! i laid out a piece of muenster on one half of the bread and then the tomato right on top. over the tomato i put a piece of round provolone cheese and topped that with three or four large basil leaves. finally, i topped the whole thing with a piece of havarti and closed the sandwich with it’s other piece of bread.
i spread each side of bread with a little bit of butter (so you get that beautiful golden-brown crust!) and grilled it in the pan on both sides until the cheese got melty all the way through. i usually cut my sandwich diagonally, but when you make this meal for nostalgia sake, cut it the way your momma always did :]
so, tell me, what’s better than a lunch (or dinner!) of grilled cheese and tomato soup? nothing. that’s right. nothing. whether it’s cold and rainy, you’re feeling a little under-the-weather, or you’re just missin’ mom, this is the perfect meal for any day.