Tomato Soup and cheese something (tuna melts, open face melts, grilled cheese, quesadillas) is one of my favorite basic, comforting meals. Back in the day, canned tomato soup was a staple in our house.
But then, as you know, came the curse of label-reading. Uck. And that’s all I’m gonna say about what I found on the label.
Really, though, I can’t believe how many years I just bought things completely oblivious to what was in them. And if I’m being honest (and I try to be here…), part of me looks back with fondness on the time when I just threw things in my cart and went on my merry way.
The other part of me is horrified. So that part wins.
And you know what? Once I made tomato soup from scratch I found out how easy it is, but more important, I found out how much better it tastes. Way more like tomatoes and a lot less like watery ketchup (thanks to all the added sugar in canned soups).
This is what I use to make a basic tomato soup. Occasionally I’ll add orange juice (I know it sounds weird, but it adds sweetness and flavor) and on cool days in the summer and fall always fresh basil, but this is the basis for all the variations. Butter, onion, garlic, carrot, tomatoes (these are diced frozen ones, I use canned when I don’t have frozen), chicken or vegetable broth (I used frozen homemade chicken stock), and spices. I also threw in a can of canned Bruschetta Tomato Topping I made from last year’s tomatoes, just for the fun of it and the added flavor.
I know, I live on the wild side here.
Making tomato soup from scratch is as simple as sauteing onions in butter, adding the rest of the ingredients and boiling for a bit before blending everything up until smooth. I used to pour the soup (in batches) into a blender and would often get sprayed with hot liquid. Plus there were extra dishes.
When I discovered the immersion hand-held blenders, man I was in love! I started with a cheap-o plastic one because it was only $7.99 and I wasn’t sure how good they would work. It lasted for a few years, but the plastic didn’t hold up well in hot soup (and since then I’ve read all about how plastic and hot things should never go together…). Now I use a Cuisinart Immersion Blender with an all metal, removable neck and blade. At only around $30, it’s not the most expensive, but it works great for my purposes and holds up to hot soups no problem.
Wow, that totally sounded like an ad…sorry! The link above is to Amazon (I get a few cents if you go there from my site), but I really do like it, and if you are wanting one I just wanted to share my experience and maybe save you from spending $7.99 on one that didn’t last like I did.
And while making soup from scratch is not quite as quick as opening a can, it only takes 20 to 30 minutes – still a quick meal. While it’s cooking, you can prepare your cheesy side (try some black bean quesadillas- yum) and have a quality, real food meal on the table in 30 minutes.
Homemade Tomato Soup
- 3 Tb. butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 c. chopped tomatoes (or 3 14-oz cans)
- 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- Melt the butter in a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Blend with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth.
- When serving, garnish with sliced green onions, parsley, or fresh basil.
Makes 6-8 servings