Main Dishes

Tomato Soup

IMG_0854 Tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is my hands-down favorite lunch in cold weather. I love tomato soup –but I don’t love the ingredients in the canned kind. I confess, I do like tomato soup from a can. Not only is there the convenience factor, tomato soup from a can tastes like . . . tomato soup, and not smooth marinara sauce.

Last winter I started making homemade tomato soup and I had several failed attempts. Who wants spaghetti sauce with a grilled cheese? Not I, said the fly (my dad always said that when I was little and it still cracks me up).

After trying three different recipes and reading a bazillion others, I just scrapped all the recipes and started throwing my own together. And you know what? It came out great! This is the soup that belongs with a grilled cheese. Not Campbells (with its scary ingredient list) and sure as heck not smooth marinara soup.

It uses simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. If you want some real convenience soup, cook a double batch and freeze half. If you plan on freezing this I would not add the cream. Just stir the cream in when you’re reheating the soup to serve.

Tomato Soup


1 T. olive oil 1 medium carrot 1 stalk celery 1/2 medium onion 2 C. chicken broth 28 oz. can diced tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon basil 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 T. honey 1/4 C. cream Freshly ground black pepper


1. Dice the carrot, celery and onion. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat, then add the diced veggies and sautee until soft and the carrots smush easily with a wooden spoon.

2. Stir in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, basil, paprika and honey. Simmer for five minutes to heat through and allow flavors to combine.

3. Blend until smooth (I use an immersion blender. They are inexpensive and save so much time!), then stir in cream. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich!

Yield: 4 servings


This soup is very popular at our house. Jonathan ate two bowls and then finished mine while I was busy taking pictures. Stinker.


Taco Dip

IMG_0552 I’m a big fan of meal planning. I almost always stick with what I have planned for supper, but breakfast and lunch deviate from my meal plan list pretty frequently. I enjoy trying new recipes and tweaking to make them healthier, and I try to do a lot of my experimenting while David is at work so he doesn’t get stuck suffering through a lunch of, um, a crunchy eggplant and zucchini tart. Just for example.


David is also not a huge fan of mexican food, so we have that for lunch regularly since he’s gone, and since I’m a huge mexican food fan. Some days you just need a taco, you know? But if the meat is all frozen and you have no tortillas, it’s ok! Because you can just make taco dip and get your mexican fix so you can move on with the rest of your day.


Taco Dip


4 oz. softened cream cheese 1/4 C. sour cream* 1/2 C. salsa 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed** 1 C. finely shredded lettuce 1/2 C. diced tomatoes 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese Fresh cilantro Lime juice


1. Place the cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and black beans in a food processor and pulse until combined and beans are mostly chopped. Spread in the bottom of an 8x8 inch dish.

2. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro and lime juice on top. Chill for one hour before serving with tortilla chips. If you can wait that long.


*You can substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream. **Or use 1 1/2 C. black beans, cooked from dried beans.


Notes: I like to really pile on the toppings, but feel free to add as much or little as you like.

Yield: One 8x8 inch pan. This probably serves four normal-hungry people.

Inspired by the Brown Eyed Baker and desperation for a taco.