In the dead of winter, what’s better than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches? It’s a staple in our house, that’s for sure.
I had been on a mission to find the perfect tomato bisque soup. I think I made about four different kinds before I came across this recipe and it was exactly what I was looking for.
Apparently the secret to a good, hearty tomato bisque is butternut squash.
I know. I was just as surprised as you.
This is one of those recipes where you really have to use the onion and the fresh garlic as opposed to onion flakes and garlic powder. You’ve been warned.
Please don’t let roasting a butternut squash keep you from trying this. It’s as simple as brushing your teeth.
The sandwich was an invention of my husband’s for my birthday a few years back. As I remember, that was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever celebrated.
It’s a very versatile sandwich as well, however, it needs a cheese with a presence. No mild anything for this one. Sharp, tangy, awesome. So don’t be afraid to play with the lunch meats or cheeses, but try to make sure it’s a good cheese. The first time I ever had it, we used extra sharp cheddar. Brilliance in a sandwich.
Here’s how to do it!
Tomato Bisque Soup
recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
1 medium butternut squash (for about 1 1/2 cups cooked squash)
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup finely diced onion
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can (20 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar (add more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup milk (I’ve used whole milk and 1%, as well as half and half)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set to roast the butternut squash by cutting the squash in half, lengthwise, so you have two long pieces. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from each half. Place both sides cut-side down in a 9X13-inch pan. Add water to the pan, filling it about half way. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Depending on the size of the squash, you may need to cook it longer. Test with a fork. The outside should give way easy when finished baking.
Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the squash to a large cutting board or plate. Let it cool about 15 minutes before scooping out the flesh.
You can prepare the squash the day before, simply scoop out the inside and place in a tupperware. Make sure to let it cool completely before covering and refrigerating.
Otherwise, place the scooped out squash into a blender.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onion until soft. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Dump the the mixture into the blender.
Add the canned tomatoes (undrained) to the blender. Set the blender to low, gradually increasing speed until the mixture is smooth. If it’s not blending easily, slowly add the chicken broth to the blender and continue to mix. Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan and add the chicken broth (if you didn’t already add it to the blender,) salt, sugar, basil. Give it a good stir. Heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients mingle. Turn heat down to medium-low and add milk. Heat long enough to allow soup to remain warm and serve immediately.
recipe from my Husband’s brain
Fancy Grilled Cheese
2 slices of bread, cut thick
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs mustard
turkey, sliced thick from the deli
extra sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
In a small bowl, mix together egg, parmesan cheese and garlic powder.
Prepare a griddle or pan, set to medium to medium low heat. This will burn quickly, so don’t over do it.
In a separate bowl, mix ketchup and mustard together.
Dip the bread in the egg mixture and place in a pan. Spread the ketchup/mustard mixture on the bread while in the pan. Add the turkey and cheese. Dip another slice of bread in the egg mixture and place on top of the sandwich, egg side up.
Be careful not to let this burn. Let cook until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes each side.