Another day, another snow storm. Currently in central New Jersey we have over a foot (more than 30 centimeters) with more on the way. Again no work for me- my husband, a degreed meteorologist, is out in the elements being filmed for a TV segment. So it’s just me making lunch, which he’ll be able to enjoy once he’s back! Here’s our back deck:
I knew the storm was coming, so I figured I’d head to the store on my way home yesterday (along with everyone else in the entire state!) Once I got there, it was clear- I would be relying on my own pantry and fridge again to make food- the shelves were EMPTY. And I mean EMPTY. There was barely any fresh produce. Here are some pictures of the onion bins and parsley baskets (notice the ONE bag of carrots left under the parsley)
And the bottled water section, always a favorite to show during a storm:
No problem- I knew I could make something tasty out of ingredients already in my home. Once home, I looked through everything and saw half a carton of organic tomato soup staring at me- what is more perfect for being snowed in than tomato soup and grilled cheese?! I’d used the tomato soup as part of another recipe and it had been in the freezer ever since. Plain ol’ tomato soup wasn’t going to get it done if I’m dipping my grilled cheese in it so I knew I’d be using other ingredients around the house to jazz it up.
Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Soup
- 15 ounces (an ounce more or less wont matter) of low-sodium organic tomato soup- one can or half a 32 ounce box will work just fine!
- half an organic onion
- 1 can organic diced tomatoes
- 1 can organic beans, any kind will do (I had dark red kidney beans, so that’s what I used!)
- 1 tablespoon salt-free organic seasoning blend
- 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon organic coriander
- pinch of organic cinnamon
- pinch of organic red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
Grilled Cheese (I made mine with cheese and turkey bacon, you can simply make garlic bread- just as delicious!)
- 8 pieces Ezekiel bread, thawed (I use Ezekiel because it is sprouted and really healthy- you can use whatever bread you have on hand)
- organic cheddar cheese (however much you like- I prefer less cheese, many prefer it oozing out of their bread!)
- 3 pieces of organic turkey bacon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons organic vegan buttery spread (you can use butter if you have it instead). You may want to use more, I chose to use as little fat as possible
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil (again, you may want more!)
- 1/2 teaspoon organic basil
- 1/2 teaspoon organic oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon organic parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon organic garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon organic onion powder
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Dice organic onion and add to the pot when the oil is hot. Cook until onions start to become translucent.
Add the can of diced tomatoes, cook with the onions. My diced tomatoes happened to be larger than I’d like, so I used a potato masher to break them up in the pot- this is totally your call.
Add the organic seasoning blend- mine is salt free so I can add a large a mount. If yours is NOT salt free, use much less and taste- you don’t want it to be too salty!
Rinse and drain the can of beans, add to the pot. Once they’ve cooked for a few minutes, use a potato masher to break up the beans- they should still be chunky, you just want to release some of their starchiness to thicken the soup.
Add the spices, stir, and cook for a few minutes.
Add the tomato soup- mine was frozen, so I added the frozen brick right to the pot and turned up the heat. If yours is not frozen, just go head and add it and stir.
This is the brand I used:
Salt and pepper to taste (this will depend on how much salt your canned/boxed soup already has in it- I use low sodium so I needed to add a pinch of salt.) Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer as you prepare the grilled cheese.
I used Ezekiel bread, which comes frozen.
I thawed 8 pieces- as they were thawing, I melted the vegan buttery spread in a small bowl. I use Earth Balance Organic Natural Buttery Spread- great stuff!!! (it’s the only “butter” I bake with, too!)
Add the olive oil and spices, stir, and put in the fridge to harden/thicken a bit.
If using bacon or turkey bacon, cook the three slices until slightly crispy- it will crisp up even more once removed from the pan.
Once cool enough to handle, break into small pieces.
Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees F. Warm the thawed bread for just a few minutes and remove from the oven. Take the chilled spread from the fridge and spread evenly on 4 slices of bread. Take the broken up bacon if using, and arrange the pieces on the slices.
Put the cheese on these four coated slices- use however much you want. I used relatively little- my store just started carrying organic shredded cheese, so I picked up the organic white cheddar (they didn’t have yellow). I compared the price of a block or organic cheddar and the bag of shredded- the unit price was only a few cents different so I bought the shredded. Often shredded is much more expensive than a block, but not with this brand! I bought the cheese for a different recipe, so this was a perfect way to use up more of it.
Heat a little olive oil or vegan buttery spread/butter in a pan, add the four cheesey pieces cheese/bacon side up, and top them with the other four slices of bread. Lightly cook the four sandwiches on each side until bread is slightly toasty or golden brown.
Because I used so little fat in the ban, the bread wasn’t golden brown, but just nicely toasted- that’s how I prefer it- you can make a traditional style grilled cheese with more spread or oil if you’d like!
Once the outsides looked how I wanted them to look, I wrapped the sandwiches in aluminum foil and put them in the toaster oven to finish melting the cheese.
Once the cheese is fully melted, remove the sandwiches and slice in half. Serve with the tomato soup and enjoy!
This meal cost around $5.00 to make- even if you have to purchase items to make it, you will not use all of each item- meaning, you will not use the full package of cheese, you will not use the whole loaf of bread, the whole tub of buttery spread, etc. It costs out to about $5.00 to make using the amounts stated above AND I even have enough soup leftover to have for lunch tomorrow! Eating organically doesn’t have to cost as much as you think!