I unabashedly love grilled cheese. But a year of grilled cheeses (and frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles) from the cafe on the first floor of one of the Senate office buildings wreaked havoc on my figure, so I needed to cut back. And now I work in the Pentagon, which is completely devoid of acceptable grilled cheeses. So I must make my own, and I wanted to find a way to make it slightly healthier.
Thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I found a grilled cheese that incorporates lots of yummy things into a healthier, greener (yet still cheesy) grilled cheese. But I figured I had to make some tomato soup to go with it, right?
Enter some super easy (and skinny!) tomato soup. Both are delicious on their own, but together they’re magic.
The original recipe for the grilled cheese includes homemade pesto with kale, which sounds interesting. But I already had some great (regular) pesto in the freezer, so I used that. It was perfect for an easy and fast weeknight meal.
OK, now I’m getting hungry. Also, I should mention that I accidentally used fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles, so the soup was a bit spicy. I also was worried the chiles didn’t go super well with more pesto or basil, so I didn’t add much. But if you’re using just tomatoes (fire roasted or otherwise), feel free to add a spoonful of pesto to the soup, too.
I used my grill pan and a grill press, but a skillet and a spatula would work fine, too.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Is there anything better?
Skinny tomato soup (Adapted from Cooking Light, makes 4 servings)
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil OR 1-2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted (or regular, if you prefer) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups low-fat or skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion to the hot oil and cook at least three minutes (I let mine cook for longer, stirring occasionally, while I prepped the other ingredients for the soup and sandwiches). Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the basil and tomatoes to the pan and bring mixture to a boil. Add the cubes of cream cheese and stir until melted.
Use an immersion blender or transfer mixture to a heat-proof blender or food processor (you may want to let the mixture cool a bit before you pour it into a glass blender). Blend until soup is desired consistency (keep in mind that a blender will make it smoother than a food processor will).
Return the soup to the pan and stir in milk, salt and pepper. Cook soup on medium-high heat for at least 2 minutes more.
Green grilled cheese (Adapted from Tastespotting, makes two sandwiches)
4 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
4-6 tablespoons pesto
4 slices or 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
handful baby spinach (rinsed and patted dry)
4 tablespoons goat cheese
Spread pesto on one side of two pieces of the bread. Place or sprinkle mozzarella over the pesto and top with the spinach. Spoon/place about 2 tablespoons goat cheese on each slice of remaining bread. Slice the avocado and evenly distribute it on top of the goat cheese. Press the sandwiches together.
Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-low to medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. Place one or both sandwiches on the pan (depending on how many will fit) and press down. Cook each sandwich until the side touching the pan is golden brown and cheese is starting to melt, then flip sandwich and press down again. Continue cooking until all cheese is melted and both sides are golden.