It’s a classic, right? Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I can’t tell you how many times we ate that for dinner when I was a kid. It’s also my go-to quick and easy dinner several times a month. It always good and everyone in our family will eat it. Don’t you love those kinds of meals?
This sandwich is one of my family’s very favorites. It’s easy to adapt to everyone’s personal preference. I leave salami off mine, the kids don’t care for the sun-dried tomatoes and olive tapanade quite so much. Think of it as a build-your-own sandwich bar.
I always, always, always make homemade tomato soup. And by homemade sometimes that means fresh tomatoes if it’s the summertime and our garden is plentiful, and in the winter it means using canned tomatoes. As it could not be easier! When I serve it, everyone thinks it took longer than the actual 10-15 minutes, including simmering time. This is a true 30-minute dinner.
- For soup:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic)
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (diced, whole, or crushed)
- 4 cups water or stock
- ½ to 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- salt and fresh pepper, to taste
- pinch sugar or little drizzle of honey
- fresh basil, cut into ribbons, for garnish
- grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- For sandwiches:
- 8-10 slices artisan bread
- 8-10 slices mozzarella or fontina
- 4 Tablespoons prepared olive tapanade
- 4 Tablespoons julienned sun-dried tomatoes, drained if packed in oil
- 8-10 large fresh basil leaves (can use spinach)
- a few tablespoons olive oil or butter, for grilling
- For soup:
- In a 3-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pot along with the other ingredients, except for the garnishes. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (We leave ours a little chunky.) Alternatively, place everything in a blender jar, including the sauteed onions, and puree. Pour back into the pan.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often, while preparing the sandwiches.
- For sandwiches:
- Have a large non-stick or cast iron skillet ready to go.
- Spread olive tapanade and sun-dried tomatoes on one side of half of the bread slices. Top with 1-2 slices of cheese depending on the size of the bread. Top next with the basil and slices of salami, followed by another 1-2 slices of cheese. Top with the other slices of bread.
- Heat the skillet over medium heat. Spread one side of each sandwich with butter, or brush with olive oil. Working in batches, cook the sandwiches on each side until golden brown and the cheese has melted, being careful not to let them burn.
- To serve:
- Ladle hot tomato soup into bowls and top with fresh basil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut sandwiches in half and serve on the side.
Here are a few more simple, healthy meals to round out your week.
FIVE DAY MEAL PLAN
Chicken Gyros with Baked Fries with Lemon-Rosemary Salt via Cafe Johnsonia
Baked Pasta with Squash and Kale via The Vintage Mixer
Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos via Oh My Veggies
Coconut Lentil Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger via Cafe Johnsonia
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