When Mark and I first lived together and I was just entering the world of cooking, one of our go-to meals was canned tomato soup paired with grilled cheese. We both liked it, it's relatively cheap, and it takes about 10 minutes to make. Add some Cheez-Its on the side and you've got a quick, tasty meal that reminds you of childhood.
The problem is, well, there are a few problems actually. First, the canned stuff just isn't good for you. It's not real food. It contains additives to prolong shelf life, ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and "flavoring" (which could be anything, it doesn't have to be disclosed), as well as unnecessary amounts of sodium. Now, I'm not totally against taking a short cut here and there and if you want to pop open the occasional can of soup on a busy day I'm not here to judge!
The other part of the problem for us is that as our diet has evolved to be comprised of predominately real foods made from scratch the processed stuff just doesn't taste good to us anymore. It's actually kind of a bummer when you're wanting to take a shortcut, but ultimately it's a good thing. I think it was some time last year, after I had been making my version of tomato soup for a while, that we popped open a can of the Campbell's variety for lunch one day and it was awful. It had no flavor. It basically just tasted like salt. No bueno. I used to eat quite a bit of canned soup, especially when I was working for a quick lunch, not to mention Mark and I both grew up on the stuff, but I guess our taste buds are just changing!
The good news is, there is an alternative for that comfort food meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese. It's super easy to make, yields a good amount, and is freezer friendly if you want to keep some on hand. The best part is, it's delicious!
Creamy Tomato Soup
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
6T unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
28 oz. diced tomatoes
46 oz. tomato juice
1 1/2 T chicken base
1t dried parsley
1t dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
a good splash of dry sherry (~1/4 - 1/3c., this is optional, but I like to add it. I think it adds a nice, mild background flavor)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
In a large pot or dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato juice, chicken base, sugar, and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally until it comes to a bubble. Add sherry, if using, and continue to cook for another minute or two. Turn off heat and slowly stir in cream. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender (or carefully in batches in a regular blender).