Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (and oven-grilled cheese sandwiches)

I don't like tomato soup from a can. I do like one brand's roasted red pepper tomato soup, but it's a box. And I always add tobasco to that anyway. I'll eat canned tomato soup now and then, particularly with grilled cheese, but only after adding garlic powder and basil. Makes it much better. Once in Tunisia I tried to make tomato soup because you can't get it there. I based it on my own ideas of how soup my come about, using tomato paste. Disaster; not recommended. However, I knew with a recipe I could do better than the can. Last week for lunch, I decided I'd try it out for my building. Definitely worth it. It was honestly very easy and fun to make (the immersion blender is my new best friend) and everybody seemed to like it. Somebody asked if it was from scratch, and when I said yes it really surprised a few.

I forgot to take a picture (note to self: take camera to making lunch) but I found one that is the same color as mine was. She actually used a recipe from Cooking Light, but I don't think their changes are worth it (unless you have cream cheese instead of heavy cream on hand.) They save 1.8g of fat per serving, but it's not high to start with and if you have cream cheese, you're going to get sodium and other things that you won't have in the plain cream. It's up to you. For the tomatoes, do try to find low-sodium or no-salt-added if you can or else you'll have half your daily sodium intake in one bowl. I'm also adding the directions for grilled cheese in the oven, because when you're making lots, a pan is just too slow.

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup (apparently like at La Madeleine)
Serves: 8 Cook time: About 40 min

4 cups canned crushed (or diced) tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes) with juice
4 cups tomato juice OR 2 c tomato juice and 2 c vegetable/chicken stock
14 washed fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

- In a saucepan, heat the tomatoes, tomato juice, and stock (if using) on medium until hot all the way through (fresh tomatoes will need a while here, maybe 20 minutes)
- Blend in the basil leaves (in a blender, processor, or with an immersion blender) so that the tomatoes are all blended up.
- Add the cream and pepper, as well as salt to taste
- Stir 5-10 minutes or until hot enough for you.

(If you want to make this ahead, just leave out the cream until you re-heat it.)

Nutrition Info (1/8 of recipe, using tomato juice): Calories - 123 Fat - 5.6g Protein - 4.3g Carbs - 15.6g

Grilled Cheese, oven style

- Preheat oven to 425
- Put the bread and cheese however you'd like. Throw on ham or turkey or tomato or even a fried egg. The sandwich should be completely assembled (bread, cheese, bread all together) on a baking sheet
- Place in oven for 4 minutes
- Flip sandwich, let cook 3 more minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted

Yep, that easy! Mine came out nicely golden brown without any butter, but of course you can do butter or spray oil if you like.


  1. lmao - You didn't get the ability to cook grilled cheese in the oven from your mom that's for sure!


Try this and want to share how it went? Have questions before you try it? Let me know!