My kids have always loved grilled cheese and tomato soup. I’m talking Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring- they LOVE it. Then one day, two years ago this really horrible thing happened to my oldest daughter. The school stopped serving tomato soup with grilled cheese. They started serving broccoli and French fries with grilled cheese instead.
My oldest daughter came home absolutely outraged. Seriously, I have never had to call the school to intervene with an issue. Not with social conflicts, I make them deal with that on their own, no drama from this mama! Or even behavioral issues, not that we haven’t had our share. But on this fateful day, I really thought I might have to make a call given the way she came home. She was fucking pissed.
We now regularly have grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. I played around with different store-bought options. Our favorite is Amy’s Organic. SO, SO creamy and yummy. Market basket often has it on sale. But, recently we have had to undergo some budget cuts. (See my other post about how our world changed, this is part of that.) In addition to starting to make my own bread (more posts to come on that), I also started to look for other things I could do from scratch. I have always made my own pasta sauce and with the inception of Pina Family Pizza night every Friday I have begun making my own pizza sauce. Why couldn’t I start making my own tomato soup?!
Wellness and Budget Friendly without Sacrificing the Yummmmm!
From a health-conscious standpoint, this entire meal is on point. Homemade bread (again more posts to come here) and a low sodium homemade soup?! Okay, yes there is some cheese. And yes, I may or may not add a wee bit of mayo and whole-grain mustard on the inside of my grilled cheese. But this meal generally lacks preservatives or too much sodium. Win!
From a budget standpoint, this entire meal is a big winner. A loaf of sandwich bread costs me less than $1 to make. The soup costs me maybe $2 to make, depending on whether I use broth or water. I always have some sort of sliced cheese in the fridge and plain Greek yogurt. Plus mustard, mayo, and butter. Which the mustard nor mayo are necessary.
All and all I can feed my family a meal that we all love, that’s not full of shit for less than $5 and it’s fucking delicious? I. Am. Awesome.
You can make this soup in minutes on the stove or you can throw it all in the crockpot and forget it. Both options are equally delicious and require very little work. I want to state here, as I’ve made this mistake, that because I use no salt added canned tomato products it can often be tart. This is why I say to add salt and sugar to taste. Yesterday I forgot to add it to the crockpot and I noticed the kids shying away from their soup terrified to tell me what was up. Then I dove in. Holy TART! So I simply added a pinch of salt and sugar to each bowl and voila- no more tartness!
Throw the butter in a medium-sized pan and melt. Then add the chopped onion wedges. When the onions become opaque add in the liquid, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer for anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. If you’re like me you’ll forget it’s on the stove and arrive back an hour later. This is okay, but realize the longer it simmers the thicker it becomes. We aren’t making sauce here.
If you do forget about it, it’s okay to add a bit more water and salt to reach the desired consistency. After 30 minutes of simmering use an immersion blender or pour into a blender and blend until the onions are no longer chunky. You’ll see the soup change color and the blender become less choppy, that’s how you know it’s done. Serve immediately.
Literally throw all ingredients in the crockpot, set to low and walk away until 10 minutes prior to dinner time. Blend. Again, you’ll see the soup change color and the blender become less choppy, that’s how you know it’s done. Serve immediately.
Whatever the method you choose; if you want to be fancy and/or add some additional creaminess, add a spoonful of full-fat plain Greek yogurt on top of the bowls once served.
This could be a meal for two in and of itself with some delicious warm bread or even crackers on the side. Or this can accompany grilled cheese. If you ask my oldest daughter, alongside grilled cheese is the only way!