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February 3, 2011

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I have tried several variations on these recipes, but these 2 are my favorite. I never used to like tomato soup, but now pairing it with a grilled cheese sandwich, is one of my preferred comfort foods. It pairs especially well with studying for midterms!
What I like to do is cook the full batch of soup, and freeze what I don't immediately eat. 

To freeze: I labeled some ziptop bags with the date and "Tomato Soup" and then spooned 1 cup of the leftover soup into bags until the soup is gone. Squeeze all the air out of the bags, and then lie flat on a cookie sheet. Stack them up and then put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer. Once frozen solid, you can stack them and remove the cookie sheet from the freezer.

To reheat: Heat a sauce pan to medium-low and pour the contents of the bag into pan. You can either add cheese to the soup recipe itself, or add it during the reheating process (most others recommend to add it during the reheating process because of separation, but as long as you reheat the soup slowly, you should be able to avoid separation). 

Here are the recipes adapted from Food Network. The grilled cheese is here and tomato soup is here.

Prep Time: 20-25 min | Cooking Time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients for Tomato Soup:
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
3-4 Slices of Baconfinely chopped
1 Spanish Onionchopped
1 Carrotchopped
1 Stalk Celerychopped
4 Cloves Garlicfinely chopped
5 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
4.5 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 (28-ounce) Can Wholepeeled tomatoes
3 Parsley Sprigs
3 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup Heavy Cream
1.75 tsp Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions for Tomato Soup:
1. Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Once cooked, lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

2. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the pan. Bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine (I never had twine, so I just threw in the herbs and picked them out at the end) and add to the pot. 

3. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

4. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.

5. Whisk in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

6. Freeze any leftovers, directions are at the top.

Prep Time: 15 min | Cooking Time: 20 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 2

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese:
½ cup Shredded Muenster Cheese (About 2 Ounces)
½ cup Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (About 2 Ounces)
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (About 1/2 Ounce)
4 slices Thick Sandwich Bread
1 - 1.5 Tbsp Unsalted Buttersoftened

Directions for Grilled Cheese:
1. Combine all three cheeses in a bowl. Divide evenly among 4 bread slices and top with the remaining bread. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches in batches, adding the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons butter as needed, until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve the sandwiches with the soup.

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