Try Soup and Sandwiches for Healthy, Hearty Comfort

Feb 08, 2018 at 02:42 pm by Easywaygourmet

Try Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese!

By Barb Ford

We seem to be having a longer and colder winter this year.  And it looks like spring is going to be chilly and wet, with wind and rain making most of us feel colder than we really are.  Its that bone-chilling, damp cold that makes me want the warmth and comfort of really hearty homemade food.  Like a hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich and a hot, steaming bowl of rich soup. 

At the same time, there seems to be more soup advertised on television than we’ve ever seen before. Somehow, you’re supposed to be smarter and more adult if you spend more on a canned soup with a few fancy ingredients. How about disappointments after you open the can?    They can’t seem to pack enough ingredients in to make up for the canned flavor.  

Well, there’s a way to be comforted by great homemade taste and be smarter than those advertisers give us credit for.  And there’s a way to do it all for less.  Less salt. Less fat.  Less money. Let’s make great soup and sandwiches ourselves. Real homemade soup.  Fresh hot sandwiches.   Less time than you can believe.  Better flavor, more for the money.  And that great feeling of making something good for your family and friends.

Now, my recipes call for making your grilled cheeses in a frying pan, but you can really speed things up and get an amazing, ooey gooey grilled cheese straight from your toaster or toaster oven using those special silicone bags called Toasta Bags, available often in the grocery store and always on Amazon.  They are reusable dozens of times and make a really great grilled cheese in a snap!  Using a Toasta Bag is simple, just make your sandwich (don’t use butter on the outside of the sandwich,) stick it in the Toasta Bag and stick the bag in the toaster.  Heat it until the outside of the sandwich is crispy and the inside melty!  My husband turned me on to this trick and it is one of the reasons I fell in love with him!

For the soups, I’m talking simple, quick and hot—within 30 minutes, start to finish.  Hot soups that you can use to change leftovers from a sad microwave affair into a whole new ball game.  Try making your own today—it’s faster than waiting for the pizza man, and can satisfy like nothing else.  And if you have leftovers, I’m sure you’ll feel better with a bit of stock or broth in the freezer than dozens of cans of soup.  Oh, and let’s talk about leftovers.  What if you have a bit of leftover steak or some sautéed mushrooms?  How about some plain green beans or a bit of cooked spinach?  Add any of those to the recipes below and you have your own personal recipe for a new family favorite! 


Beef  and Pasta Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, sliced

Cooking spray or oil

4 medium carrots, sliced thin

1 ½ cups cooked beef, browned thoroughly and cut into soup size chunks

1  quart beef stock or broth

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 cup uncooked No Yolks egg noodles or other pasta

Sauté the onion and celery until soft.  Add the broth, the carrots and the beef. Cook for until the carrots are soft.  Add the parsley and the noodles; cook until the noodles are done.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and thyme to taste.  You can personalize this soup with tomatoes, other cooked vegetables, and cooked potato chunks instead of pasta and different spices you might like, such as oregano, thyme or rosemary.

 Real Cream of Tomato Soup

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 ½ cups chicken broth or stock

1 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. minced onion

1/8 tsp. baking soda

½ cup half and half

Mix all of the ingredients except the cream.  Simmer one hour, add the cream and serve.     This soup can be great topped with cheese croutons, goldfish crackers, or with cooked spinach, mushrooms or other veggies added.  It’s so popular with my friends, I have the recipe by the fax for them in the winter.


Winter Squash Soup

1-2 cups cooked acorn or butternut squash, mashed

2 cups chicken stock or broth

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs

1 Tablespoon real maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

in a saucepan, mix all the ingredients together and heat through.  If needed, run the soup through a blender or use an immersion blender in the pan.  Season to taste and serve hot. 


Great Grilled Cheese

8 slices sturdy (not squishy) bread

4 Tablespoons soft butter (not needed if you are using Toasta Bags)

12 sandwich slices of good cheese

Other add-ins that you like (sautéed mushrooms, spinach or tomatoes or even pulled meat work well.)

Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium.  Make four sandwiches with the bread and cheese, placing any add-ins in the center of each sandwich.  Butter the top of each sandwich on the outside.  Place the sandwiches, butter side down on the griddle.  Gently butter the exposed side of the sandwiches while they are on the griddle.  Flip each sandwich over once it is golden brown on the first side.  Lower the heat a little and finish grilling the sandwiches until they are browned on the second side.  Remove the sandwiches from the heat and let them rest for a minute, then slice in half and serve alongside a steaming bowl of soup!  Remember, if you are using a Toasta Bag, you don’t have to butter the sandwiches—just make them, stick them in the bag and toast them!

Seriously Gourmet Grilled Cheese:

Two 1 inch thick slices Ciabatta (or similar) bread

Three slices smoked gouda ( enough to cover a slice of bread twice)

2 Tbs. Butter (Not needed when using a Toasta Bag to cook your sandwich)

1 ounce duck liver pate

Spread the duck liver over one slice of bread.  Top with the gouda and second slice of bread to make a sandwich.  Spread softened butter on the outside of the sandwich, covering both sides.(skip this step if you are using a Toasta Bag)  Grill the sandwich until crisp on the outside with the cheese melted inside.  Serve hot.