Monday, February 14, 2011

Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese

When Jason and I were first married (almost 20 years ago!) and discovering the fun of cooking together, we bought a Martha Stewart Cookbook and subscribed to her magazine. We lusted over the photos (can you say food porn?!?) and all the exotic ingredients. But we had champagne tastes on a (cheap) beer budget and just couldn't justify saffron or endives or some of the other fancy, shmancy ingredients she wrote about so compellingly.

Only recently have we started reading Martha's Everyday Food Magazine and boy are we glad we gave Martha a second chance!

For tonight's dinner we chose....

Now it seems a little wrong to make a "Cooking for One" recipe for Valentines Day Dinner, but after the weekend we've had we needed some quick, easy comfort food. And Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese fit the bill.

First, gather the ingredients...

Note:  All amounts listed are based on cooking for one.  Double, triple or quadruple to your needs.

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced small (1/4 cup)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, torn
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 slices of bacon 
  • 2 slices sandwich bread
  • 1 ounce cheddar, grated (1/3 cup)
  • fresh pesto or salsa verde 


1. In a small pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

2. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until onions are soft, 15 minutes.

3. Transfer to a blender with cream; puree until smooth. (yes, Tanya is a very messy cook! That's why we need so many rags.)

4. In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high until browned and crisp, 10 minutes; drain on paper towels (or not if, like us, you have a paperless kitchen!). Remove pan with fat from heat.

5. Layer 1 bread slice with half the cheese, bacon and rest of the cheese; top with the second bread slice.

6. Return pan to heat. Cook sandwich until cheese is melted the bread is browned, 4 minutes, flipping once.

Serve with soup, topped with pesto if desired.


Chef Tanya -- I love that this recipe is flexible. If you're vegetarian leave off the bacon or use a faux-bacon. If you're vegan, you could try leaving the cream out of the soup and substituting your favorite Vegan Grilled Cheese alternative. This Vegan Grilled "Cheeze" Sammich looks interesting.

Chef Jason -- I liked all of it. The soup had a really good taste and the added pesto was a nice touch. I convinced Tanya to split a sandwich with me. That's a mistake I won't make again! I wanted that whole sandwich for myself.

Hannah -- I loved it! I ate all of it, from the cheese to the bacon. The bacon was very crispy. I tried the soup. It was really tomato-y. If you don't like tomato soup then you should not have the soup. Still, I would recommend this meal to kids.

Olivia -- I loved it! It was wonderful, even if the soup was a little too tomato-y. The only problem was I couldn't carry my plate to the table. (Olivia got an awful skinned leg in an unfortunate dog walking incident earlier today)

Miranda -- (Is at the theatre. Again. Her latest production, Children of Eden, opens Friday night. So she's in the rehearsal all week and will be enjoying JaFaxby's most nights. We'll share that recipe tomorrow.)

What did you have for Valentine's Dinner? Did you make your sweetheart something special? Tanya was entranced listening to Nigella Lawson describe her picks for Vday Food on today's Morning Edition (listen to the interview on NPR's website.). Can't wait to try her Tomato Curry with Coconut Milk Rice!


  1. Yum! I might have to try the tomato soup sans cream... - Mo

  2. When you do, report back to us on how it works!

  3. OK, it's killing me looking at this blog on an empty stomach. I have a soft spot for creamy tomato soup (love that this recipe calls for only a tablespoon of heavy cream), and paired with the grilled cheese it sounds like I've died and gone to comfort food heaven. Yum!

  4. So sorry, Gigi! If I could I'd feed you the leftovers.

    Oh, that's right. There weren't any leftovers because it was just. that. good. ;-)

  5. Tomato soup sans cream rocked! All three boys licked their bowls clean (including the ultra-picky diabetic kid!). Fresh strawberries on the side were polished off. I relented and allowed actual cheese sandwiches for the kids, but did goat cheese and tomato panini's for me and hubby...which I had had a nice brie on hand ;)

  6. So glad they liked it! I know, first hand, about picky eaters. My Hannah used to turn her nose up at anything that wasn't chicken fingers or sweets or raw carrots. But since we started putting the kids in charge of planning, shopping for and cooking some meals she's gotten much better at at least trying a bite of everything. And discovered along the way that she really does like some things (i.e. asparagus ... she loves it!)

    Goat cheese and tomato panini sounds yummy! My Olivia just adores goat cheese. I tried something last fall - it was a goat cheese with a pumpkin puree overtop. I"ll have to track down the recipe and share.