I feel like tomato soup is just ideal for Valentine’s Day. If you’re not in Florida, where it hit 80 today, it’s still cold enough for soup in February. Plus, the soup is PINK! Could this be any more perfect? Yes, if you add a heart-shaped sandwich!
For our little family, I made a half recipe of this creamy tomato soup, with one tweak, & then served it with grilled cheese sandwiches on whole-wheat bread cut into heart shapes with a large cookie cutter. Comforting & delicious! (Oh, & lower in fat than a cream-based soup!)
Here’s how I made it:
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 small clove garlic, pressed
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus additional leaves, chiffonade, for garnish
- 3 oz. softened Neufchatel cheese
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- 1 can (15 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion & garlic & saute about 2 minutes, until tender.
- Reduce heat to low & add paprika, basil, & cream cheese. Gradually stir in milk & soup & stir until smooth.
- Turn heat back up to medium & add tomatoes, stirring constantly & breaking up tomatoes further by squashing them with the back of a wooden spoon, until hot.
- Serve with heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches!
Get Your Craft On Tuesdays
These sandwiches are amazing.
Versatile. With chicken: great for summer picnics. With turkey: the most delicious day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich you’ve ever had.
A hit with everyone who’s tried them. Even professed curry haters have come back for more!
Still not convinced? They have bacon in them.
Now that I have your attention, I sincerely hope you give these a try this November 25th. Your family won’t give those cold-turkey-&-cranberry sandwiches a second thought.
They come from Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook Giada’s Kitchen. My version makes a few of the ingredients a little more pantry-friendly (like subbing bacon for pancetta & ground ginger for fresh), because we have to buy enough crazy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner!
- 8 oz. thinly sliced bacon
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. yellow curry powder
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. ginger
- about 4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
- up to 8 ciabatta rolls (or, if you keep forgetting you’re not in New York anymore & they don’t sell ciabatta on every corner in Florida, these delightful French hamburber buns!)
- Cook bacon until crispy & set aside. I nuke mine between double layers of paper towels for a minute a slice.
- In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, curry powder, lime juice, honey, & ginger.
- Add chicken; stir to coat.
- Just before serving, crumble bacon into the mixture & stir just until incorporated.
- Slice rolls in half & spoon chicken mixture onto rolls.
I printed this recipe off a long time ago, while I was getting paid to stare at a computer screen 40 hours a week, from an online community that I don’t think exists anymore. The date on the bottom of the printout says 3/28/2008. And I never made it! It sat neglected in my recipe binder for one reason:
So I finally broke down & bought the $1.28 bottle & made these. Can you believe that it took me three & a half years?
(Note: This smells very vinegar-y while it’s in the slow cooker, so I expected a Carolina-type sauce, but it’s actually quite mild.)
From the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Slow Cooker cookbook
- 3 Tbsp. canola oil
- 4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder cut into 3 equal pieces
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light molasses
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Brown both sides of the pork & transfer to the slow cooker. Saute the onion in the oil until golden.
- Add vinegar & deglaze the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring it just to a boil.
- Pour sauce over pork. Cover; cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.
- Shred the pork on a separate plate & discard any pieces of fat. Skim grease from the sauce, then return the pork to the sauce, stir to combine, & serve on rolls.
We’re all looking for ways to save time, energy, & money, right? Well these 2 meals (1 looking significantly more scrumptious than the other, unfortunately, due to my lack of time & natural light on the second evening) will do that for you.
The same exact shredded barbecue chicken goes in both dishes, so you only need to do everything once! I mentioned these two meals once before, but thought I’d post the recipes in one place to make it easier.
Just put the following in your slow cooker in order:
- 3 carrots, grated
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
Cover, turn your slow cooker on low for 5+ hours, & forget about it. An hour before serving, shred the chicken & mix the ingredients together, than re-cover & continue cooking on low until ready to serve.
The first way to serve this barbecue chicken is between two buns:
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
The second way is to braid it inside pizza or roll dough, in what The Munchkin affectionately refers to as:
Roll your dough out into as close an approximation of an oval as you can.
Take a pizza cutter & create 1-inch-wide strips, but leaving the center few inches intact.
Spread your leftover chicken filling down the middle on the non-strip part of the dough. Top with another squirt of barbecue sauce & some shredded cheese. Keep in mind that the more cold filling there is in the middle, the longer it will take to warm up & cook, so don’t pile it on.
Then “braid” the dough by stretching alternating strips across the chicken filling & pressing into the base of the next strip down on the other side.
Do the best you can to make the bottom pretty. I can’t help you here.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until quite golden on top & the dough is done in the middle.
Let it rest a few minutes, then slice using a sharp serrated knife & serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Do you have any multipurpose meals like this one? I’d love to hear about more!
Happy Memorial Day! How do you celebrate? It seems to me that most Americans celebrate with MEAT — usually between two buns, & most often eaten outside.
The Munchkin participating in the family tradition 1 year ago
My husband’s family goes out to his Grandma’s house in Grantsville, Utah, & puts mums on the graves of their ancestors, then has a big delicious meal afterwards. I first took part in this tradition when we’d been dating for four months. I started recognizing last names on several of the graves, so I asked if they were descended from the same Clark I was (Clark, after all, isn’t an uncommon name, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if we weren’t). Turns out we’re fifth cousins. Awkward! Especially finding this out when you haven’t been dating for very long! But we laughed about it & later got married anyway… & got a big scare when we had to sign our marriage license, certifying that we were “not related within and not including the fifth degree of consanguinity” (neither of us had heard that last word before). Turns out it just means you’re not second cousins. Phew! In the clear! We’ve had a lot of laughs about that one as well.
She's probably going to kill me for posting this picture, but it's the most recent one I have of her!
Sorry, I digress. Back to Memorial Day. My family celebrates with a big cookout with friends. My mom is an amazing cook & lives all the way across the country in California, so this Memorial Day — which is also her birthday — I’m remembering her. Happy Birthday, Mom! I don’t want this to become a Mother’s Day post, rather than a Memorial Day one, so I’ll just say that how she’s able to do it all stumps me completely. She’s an amazing cook, gardens so well she practically has an orchard in the middle of LA County (& we always enjoyed the fruits of it — literally — at meals growing up), went to all of our concerts & band competitions & was a “band mom” for many years… & works full-time as an attorney downtown. I hope I can do half that without a demanding job! In short, she’s incredible, & so are her barbecue beef sandwiches. Since we don’t have a grill, this has become my big summer “cookout” dish. If you’re an apartment dweller like me, they can be yours too!
Syd’s Barbecue Beef Sandwiches
- 3 1/2 lb. pot roast
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- a few Tbsp. oil
- 1+ cup water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. vinegar (I use cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce — not salsa (the best is “Homade” — actually spelled that way — sweet chili sauce in a squat glass jar, but I’ve only been able to find it out west, so I use the Heinz version plus a pinch of chili powder. Not perfect, but still good.)
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 dash (or 2) cinnamon
- 1 dash (or 2) cloves
- 1 dash garlic salt
- Brown both sides of the pot roast in a large pot (I use a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) in hot oil with the garlic & 1/4 of the onion. Add salt & pepper to taste & enough water to cover, then cover & braise on low 2-3 hours or until tender. (Slow cooker: After browning, transfer everything to slow cooker, add 1 cup water, & cook on high 2-3 hours or low for 5.)
- Remove roast & shred, then return to pot or slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients, cover & simmer about 3 hours (slow cooker: high for about 2, low for about 4).
- Serve over rolls of choice at your next big get-together this summer!