Here’s another dinner idea for new moms (and dads) to get you through those times when you’re too tired to remember that dirty dishes belong in the dishwasher and milk goes in the fridge, let alone how to cook your once-favorite meals.
Today’s meal is a classic combo infused with some extra protein and fiber thanks to a secret ingredient: beans.
White bean and tomato soup with grilled sandwiches
This soup makes a great quick weeknight dinner with leftovers for lunches.
For the soup
- Tomatoes: I used a gallon freezer bag full of tomatoes I had blanched and frozen over the summer. You can also use a couple cans of whole tomatoes. Seed them if you feel like it.
- One medium onion, chopped
- A carrot or two if you have them around
- A few cloves of garlic, smashed
- A can of navy beans
- A bay leaf or two
- Dried oregano or marjoram, or basil (fresh or dried) to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- A stick blender or regular blender or bullet blender (you do need one of these or you’re going to have weird, stringy soup from the tomatoes.)
For the sandwiches
- Bread of your choice (we always have whole wheat in the house, so I used that, but something like Italian or English muffin bread is also killer for a grilled cheese. Heck, use hotdog buns if that’s all you have.)
- Cheese and, if desired, meat of your choice. (Here are some good combos: cheddar and ham, Monterey jack and bacon, the last of the string cheese in the fridge drawer and nothing)
- Butter and a cast iron skillet
To make the soup:
- Thaw the tomatoes if you happen to have frozen tomatoes. If not, skip to step two.
- Heat some oil in your soup pot and sweat (in this order) the carrots (will take the longest), the onions and the garlic (add last after everything else is pretty translucent so you don’t burn it.) You can also add dried spices at this point if you like.
- Add the tomatoes. I used all the juice that drained from the frozen ones and that basically was my broth. If you’re using canned tomatoes and are worried about how much salt is in their juice, you could probably drain them and add chicken or vegetable broth. I did not use broth for mine, but I know not everyone has frozen tomatoes.
- Let the tomatoes cook down for awhile (15-20 minutes? Time is weird when you’re home with a baby), using a wooden spoon to stir smash them up a bit.
- Once the tomatoes are good and soft and it’s starting to smell like tomato soup in your house, add the (drained) can of navy beans. Simmer another 10 minutes or so.
- Fish out the bay leaves if you put any in, turn off the heat (*danger: use caution, allow the soup to cool or have someone else do this if you’re baby wearing) and blend the soup up with your blender of choice. Return to the pot and salt and pepper to taste.
To make the sandwiches:
- Slice or shred your cheese (shredding=quicker melt, more even coverage, but do what you want) and lay out your ingredients for your sandwich
- Turn your cast iron skillet on medium-low heat.
- When the pan is warm (but not too hot, we’re cooking with butter) add a pat of butter to the pan (can cut it with vegetable oil if you want) and add two pieces of bread. When they have browned, flip them over and quickly add cheese to both pieces of toasted bread so it melts.
- Add meat to one piece of bread, and once the cheese on the other piece of bread has melted enough that it won’t fall off, top the meat with it.
- Finish browning the outside of your sandwich. Remove from heat and turn off the stove, you sleep deprived fools!
- I like to cut my sandwich into quarters so I can dunk into my soup.
Here are some glamour shots I took from my next-day leftovers. Delicious!
P.S. I have made this same soup with, instead of a can of white beans, some leftover hummus I was trying to use up. It was great – try it!