Noah got sick and had to stay home from work one day and for lunch he made his signature sandwich: Grilled Cheese with pepperoncinis. My very first pre-school would always serve grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for those who forgot their lunches. I fell into that category quite often (not entirely sure if it was my or my mom’s fault) and as a result, whenever I eat a grilled cheese sandwich for a meal, I feel the need to accompany it with tomato soup. So, while Noah prepped the sandwiches, I made my first home-made tomato soup – all with ingredients we already had in our kitchen!
Homemade Tomato Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Stir in milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in tomato puree and sugar. Mix well, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
Add basil, salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Noah’s Grilled Sandwiches
TJ’s Soft 10-Grain sandwich bread
Extra Sharp White Cheddar
Arrange ingredients like this:
Place in frying pan like so (top with one more piece of bread):
You can also use a sandwich press (if you have one) to make this. Noah uses the press from our cast-iron griddle pan.
Finished Products – A Noah Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup!
Usually when I’m out of ideas (meaning I don’t have any real cravings or haven’t found an inspiring recipe), this is when I choose to order take-out. However, I have been spending way too much money eating out with friends lately, so for lunch today, I found myself in a little conundrum. What to cook without any recipe or craving to follow? So, for the first time in my life I cooked a meal without using any recipes at all! I merged the ingredients we had on hand in the apartment with what I could feel like eating, and ended up with the goal to create a white wine cream sauce pasta.
End result: White wine crab spaghetti with summer squash, broccoli and onions.
Verdict: Decent. Pretty good for a first attempt at creating something myself. Nothing amazing, but I’m very happy with my first try. I didn’t have any lemons on hand, and this dish definitely needed some. But, at least I knew what it needed.
8 oz pasta (I used TJ’s spaghetti)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 summer squash, sliced into thin strips lengthwise
2 broccoli, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 -1/2 cup white wine
4 oz heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juiced (I didn’t use any since we were out, but it definitely needed this)
red pepper flakes
oregano, basil, thyme (I used these, but would probably omit them next time)
6 oz pre-cooked crab meat and juice from can
1/4 cup chopped parsley
What I Did:
1. Bring water for pasta to boil. While water boils, slice squash, chop broccoli, onion and parsley.
2. Cook pasta (~7-9 mins). Drain pasta.
3. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a pan on medium high. Saute garlic in pan and then add your chopped squash, broccoli and onions. Saute until tender, then add white wine. Allow wine to reduce and add cream, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, rosemary, pepper and salt to taste. Stir in crabmeat, crab juice and parsley.
4. Combine pasta with crab/vegetables and sauce. Serve with sprinkled parmesan reggiano if desired.
p.s. I find it funny that I’ve read enough recipes that I now know the language of recipe writing.
Yesterday morning I suddenly was inspired to make a sandwich with some artisan bread, topped with the best vegetables and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So here is my sandwich made with a freshly baked french baguette (from Wholefoods), topped with arugula, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and sauteed chicken, then drizzled with olive oil & vinegar. Totally satisfied my craving.
And then, since we had lots of lemons and lots of mint, I made mint lemonade. 🙂
Yesterday, Maria came over for lunch and scrabble. So, I made a Americanized french meal of quiche and salad. I’ve made this quiche a few times before, and it’s just always so good. I think the key part is the addition of a little curry powder and cinnamon. Noah commented that my salad looked like a McDonald’s salad, but Maria confirmed that it tasted nothing like it. Yesterday’s salad had green leaf lettuce with apples, yellow squash, slivered almonds, and onions.