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From McCormick, here’s a lighter version of the classic combination of tomato soup with grilled cheese. Instead of a sandwich, the grilled cheese is miniaturized into a crisp crouton. A bowlful of the soup will warm you up on a chilly day, and the croutons will make you smile with delight.
We had fresh basil on hand, so used it instead of dried. We loved the extra punch of basil flavor. To convert dried to fresh herbs, or vice versa, use this ratio: One tablespoon of fresh herb equals one teaspoon of dried herbs.
RECIPE: HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP WITH GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS
Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings
For The Tomato Soup
2 cans (28 ounces each) no salt added crushed tomatoes
2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 cups fat free half-and-half (we used regular)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
6 very thin bread slices
3 ounces reduced fat Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
For The Grilled Cheese Croutons
 The croutons are miniature grilled cheese sandwiches (photo © McCormick).
 Roasted red peppers (pimento or pimiento) join the tomatoes in the soup (photo © Goya).
 A close-up. Don’t you want a bowl right now? Photo courtesy McCormick.com.
1. MAKE the tomato soup: Place the crushed tomatoes, stock, roasted red peppers, sugar, basil, garlic powder and onion powder in a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth.
2. POUR into a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese; simmer until heated through. Season with pepper. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Meanwhile…
3. MAKE the Grilled Cheese Croutons. Mix the mayonnaise and thyme in a small bowl until well blended. Spread 1 side of each bread slice with the mayonnaise mixture. Prepare 3 cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise side out on the bread.
4. SPRAY a large skillet with no stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, then cut each sandwich into 9 croutons. Top each bowl of soup with 3 croutons.
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