Budget friendly recipe – Tomato soup and Grilled cheese

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By Raya Kanaan
If you’re a vegetarian student who loves food and is on a budget, then this one is for you! I’ve often struggled to make affordable meals because I like making fancy food and it took me a while to understand that “fancy” doesn’t have to be expensive.
Because it is still chilly outside, despite supposedly being spring, let’s start with this easy super tasty Tomato soup and grilled cheese recipe. Considering most items are pantry items this should not cost you more than 1,200 Hungarian Forints. Even though Joseph Campbell came up with the idea of condensed tomato soup, I think we can up the can game and eat a slightly tastier version!

Ingredients for soup:
•1 onion, finely minced
•2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
•2 Tbsp unsalted butter
•1 Tbsp tomato paste
•1 Bell pepper
•Dash of oregano
•400g can chopped tomatoes
•1 cup water
•1 tsp molasses (if available)
•1 slice white bread, crust removed
•Olive oil
•Sugar, to taste
•Salt, to taste
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Ingredients for Grilled cheese:
• Butter
• Sliced bread of choice
• Whatever yellow cheese you have in the fridge (Cheddar, cheese mix, Emmental etc…)
• 1 Tbsp butter to grease the pan
• Mayonnaise

Method: Soup
1. Finely mince the onion and the garlic cloves. In a pan add 2 Tbsp of butter and melt over medium high heat before adding the minced shallot. Sauté for about 3 minutes before adding garlic and then sauté that for 1 more minute. Add 1 Tbsp of tomato paste and sauté for 30 seconds.

2. While the soup is simmering roast a whole bell pepper in the oven in oil at 230 °C until charred.

3. Add a shake of oregano and 1 can of chopped tomatoes, then add 1 cup of water along with 1 tsp of molasses (if available). Bring to a simmer and mix to combine. Let simmer for 30-60 minutes and then add the mixture to a blender along with the cooked pepper, skin removed post cooking.

4. To add to the creaminess of the soup, add 1 piece of torn crustless white bread to the blender and blend on high. As it blends, add olive oil to emulsify the soup. Next add sugar, salt, and more olive oil as necessary until you find your perfect texture and consistency. This depends mainly on you!

Method: Grilled cheese
1. For the grilled cheese, I use mayonnaise on the outside of the bread instead of butter, that’s a trick I learned from my favorite online chef Andrew Rea. Add the first slice of bread, mayonnaise side down in the melted butter then add your cheese slices and then the top bread layer. Cook in the pan until both sides are nicely golden brown.
2. Serve along with the tomato soup and enjoy!
*You can always use fresh tomatoes for this recipe: Cut 1.5kg of tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle some oil and roast them in the oven for 25 min at 230°C and add them in step 3 instead of the can.

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