Fast, Easy, Low Calorie, and Delicious Tomato Basil Soup Made With or Without Grandchildren

KitchenAid KHB2561CU 5-Speed Hand Blender, Contour SilverThis Grandma just attended an organic cooking demonstration, and the chef, Billy, was amazing.  Everything he described included tips for cooking with grandchildren.  He was humorous and entertaining, and most so when he showed us how to make fast, easy, low calorie and delicious tomato basil soup.

He said this was wonderful and fun to make with grandchildren—and there is another benefit.  He said when children participate in a recipe of a food they do not eat, in his experience, they are more likely to taste the food.  Where was he when our youngest daughter was a child.  She did not taste tomatoes until she was twenty five years old!  Really!

Billy said that the recipe normally calls for crushed tomatoes, but when cooking with grandchildren, he recommends using canned whole tomatoes and allowing the children to crush them with their hands.  The first thing this Grandma thought of was my cooking practice of covering my entire kitchen with old towels so there is easy cleanup when cooking or baking with grandchildren.  I was imagining tomato splattering all over the kitchen otherwise.

I love tomato basil soup.  I have tasted it in many restaurants, at Neiman Marcus, at Whole Foods.  Billy’s was the best tomato basil soup I have had.  I was surprised when he gave us the recipe and it was easy and low calorie.  A win-win.

Two imperatives for organic cooking with tomatoes, according to Billy.  He, of course, used fresh tomatoes from his garden, but recommends ONLY Muir Glen canned organic tomatoes, if not using fresh.  Whole Foods carries the brand.  Second, he recommends an immersion blender for ease of use.  He said the Kitchen Aid is fine.  I now know why hot foods always splatter when I try to blend them in my regular blender.  Suction.  Who knew you were supposed to take out that little clear plastic center knob from the container part and cover the top with a hand towel loosely sitting on top and only fill the blender half way.  I am going to buy an immersion hand held blender.

Here is the recipe which makes 8 (3/4 cup) servings, each containing approximately 50 calories:

Ingredients:

½ cup diced onion

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic

¾ teaspoon dry basil

5 cups Muir Glen canned organic crushed tomatoes (or whole if cooking with grandchildren)

1 ½ cups Muir Glen canned tomato juice

¼ cup half and half cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

If cooking with grandchildren, cover counters, floors, sides of cabinets, etc. with old towels

In a large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and dry basil and sauté for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add tomato products and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add half and half, fresh basil and salt.  Blend until desired consistency.  If keeping the soup a few days, it may thicken and you may have to add more half and half or tomato juice.

He said to make it more gourmet, you can cook the soup with the rind of a good quality parmesan cheese and serve it with grated parmesan cheese on top.

Easy, isn’t it!  And delicious it is.  Now, let’s see if Billy is right and grandchildren crushing tomatoes means they will taste the soup—before they reach twenty five years of age.

Joy,

Mema

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