I can remember when I was growing up, one of my favorite lunches was grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.  My mama made it sometimes on rainy days, but she mostly made it on days when one of us wasn’t feeling too great.   It made you warm from the inside out.  It let you know that Mama was thinking about you and trying to help you feel better.  I always dunked my sandwich in the soup and ate it that way.  It was heaven.  It wasn’t that it was an extraordinary meal.  It was just plain old yellow cheese melted on white bread and tomato soup from a red and white can.

This really isn’t that soup.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It will make you feel better and warm your tummy, but this is not tomato soup from a can.

I am not a food snob.  I’ve warmed up and eaten my share of canned soup.  It’s awesome.  And when I’m really not feeling good, nothing makes me feel better than Chicken and Stars Soup.  It’s makes me feel like I’m back home and my mama is taking care of me.

But when I want a really yummy, hearty soup, I make it myself!

Tomato basil is a trendy flavor right now.  Has been for a few years.  There’s tomato basil crackers, chips, salads, dips…you name it.  If you surf the grocery aisle, you will likely find a dozen items that brag about their tomato-basil-ness.

This is one easy soup.  One of those awesome, dump-it-in-the-crock-pot-and-let-it-go kind of recipes.  We are just starting to get a little taste of fall weather – which in central Louisiana means that the temps didn’t get up to 90 degrees every day this week – so I’ve been in a soup mood.  It doesn’t take much.  I love soup.

And this is my new favorite!

Tomato Basil Soup

  • 6 14.5-ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 10-ounce bag of frozen seasoning blend
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 3.5-ounce bags of sun-dried tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 pint of half and half
  • 4 tablespoons of butter

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the half and half and butter.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours – or all day.

Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture smooth.  Add the half and half and butter and stir until blended and butter is melted.

Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Well Duh #1:  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup in batches in a regular stand blender.  Just be sure to remove that little plug in the lid before blending or the heat from the soup will make the lid blow off – which not only makes a huge mess, you will get burned!  Just hold a kitchen towel over the hole so nothing splashes out.

Well Duh #2:  I live in an area where it’s not always easy or cheap to find fresh herbs like basil or mint or dill.  Unless you grow you own, you may have a tough time finding them.  I just discovered this awesome product in my produce section:

IMG_3630Seriously so cool!  That one little tube of basil paste contains THREE BUNCHES of basil!  It lasts for awhile in the refrigerator, too.   This company also makes a ginger paste (I haven’t grated ginger in years!), a cilantro paste, and several other varieties.  For this recipe, I just used 2 tablespoons of the basil paste – or one good squirt.

Well Duh #3:  I used the sun dried tomatoes that come in bags.  They are not the ones packed in oil or water.  They are more like giant, tomatoey raisins!  I used the Italian Herb variety, but just use whatever.

Well Duh #4:  If you are a non-dairy kind of person, you can absolutely omit the half and half and butter.  Your soup will be darker in color, but it will still taste yummy.  I just really enjoy the richness that the dairy gives this dish.

Well Duh #5:  I made my kids’ favorite grilled cheese sandwiches for this meal, but you can make whatever you prefer.  We like to use Oatnut Bread and a combination of smoked Gouda and Muenster – but remember, my kids have different palates than most kids.  If your crew prefers white bread and American cheese, that’s what you should make!  I cut the sandwiches in half and used half for the croutons in each bowl and then served the other half as is.

Well Duh #6:  This makes a LOT of soup.  The four of us ate our fill and I still had 2 and a half quart jars of it left.  I just put them in the refrigerator for now.  One jar will be a meal for a friend who doesn’t like to cook.  If we don’t eat the rest in a couple of days, I will pour it in to a big ZipLoc and freeze it.


This is my kind of comfort food.  Warm, zesty, and delicious!




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