Finally it feels like spring is really here to stay (albeit a month or so late but I’ll take it!). One of my absolute favourite things is the first time you can sit out on your porch and eat your breakfast or lunch on the weekend – it feels so decadent! I love the early days of spring, like this past weekend, when it’s still a little cool, but sunny. To take a little of that chill off, I like to head out with a cup of soup and read the paper as I take a break from (most likely) cooking and baking in the middle of the day and one of my favourite soups is tomato, under all its guises – creamy, chunky, spicy, with other vegetables, just plain. I’ve been a tomato soup fan from way back and one of the best things to pair with a bowl of tomato soup is obviously a grilled cheese sandwich.
It just so happens that April is National Grilled Cheese Month (I mean really, who decides these things? I want that job!), so for this month’s Kraft Canada #whatscooking assignment, I’m sharing a quick and easy creamy tomato soup adapted from this recipe and honestly the easiest (and best) grilled cheese sandwich ever, adapted from this one.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 small carrots, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 small red pepper, finely diced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 can (796 mL/28 fl oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 125 g (1/2 of 250g block) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cubed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- For the grilled cheese sandwiches:
- 4 slices white bread (I like to use something a little robust like a country loaf)
- Enough cheese for 2 sandwiches (sliced or grated, however you prefer)
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened to spreadable
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat.
- Add onions, carrots, celery and red pepper.
- Cook for approximately 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken stock, bring to the boil then cover.
- Simmer for approximately 8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and pepper and stir.
- Return to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.
- Return to a low heat and cover, keeping warm while you prepare the grilled cheese sandwiches.
- To make the sandwiches:
- Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Spread outside of each slice of bread with butter.
- Fill the sandwiches with the cheese. Cook in the skillet on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides.
- Sprinkle the soup with the basil.
- Serve the soup and the sandwiches immediately.
Verdict? This was such an easy recipe – the soup practically makes itself – I loved the creaminess from the cream cheese – and the grilled cheeses were a revelation. I’ve never cooked my grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet with the butter side out but I will be definitely doing that again soon! It was a much more elegant version of the Breville Jaffle sandwiches of my childhood!
Disclosure: As a Kraft Canada #whatscooking contributor, I receive compensation for writing these posts, however, all opinions are 100% my own.
Let’s get kids excited about food on May 16th 2014 – Food Revolution Day! Check out all the details for how you can participate here.