Roasted tomato and basil soup, Fancy cheese sandwiches, Pumpkin crunch


The perfect meal for a cool fall day is here.
Roasted tomato and basil soup
(This roasted tomato and basil soup is the ultimate in comfort food. Roasting the tomatoes gives the soup a deep, rich flavor.)
9 Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS fresh thyme, minced
1 28-oz. can of tomatoes (pulsed several times in food processor)
2 C fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 TBS dried basil
1 TBS sugar
2 C chicken stock
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2/3 C heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread tomato halves on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast tomatoes for 1 hour. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and saute for another 5 minutes. Quickly pulse canned tomatoes in food processor. Add pulsed tomatoes, basil (fresh and dried) and sugar to simmering pot. Season with salt and pepper.
Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add stock and roasted tomatoes into pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Very carefully pour soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour soup back into pot and blend in cream. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
To make mini croutons: Cut a few small pieces of bread in small cubes, add a little oil, diced garlic and basil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes.  Add croutons to top of served soup, sprinkle with finely chopped basil.
Fancy cheese sandwiches
4 slices multigrain bread (I used Vital Vittles 12-Grain)
6 tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced with a sharp knife
10 slices fontina cheese, cut with a cheese slicer
12 to 16 large basil leaves
honey to taste
butter (to coat bread for grilling)
To make each sandwich, spread one side of each slice of bread with desired amount of butter. On opposite side of two of slices, spread a generous amount of honey, just enough to cover the surface. Divide tomatoes between the two sandwiches and arrange slices on top of honey. Then lay four slices of fontina cheese on top of each tomato-topped slice. Divide basil leaves between the two sandwiches and lay atop fontina. Then top with sliced mozzarella and remaining bread slices, butter side up.
Over very low heat, preheat a skillet then grill sandwiches. To ensure cheese melts evenly, cover skillet with a lid while cooking. Grill each side for about 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
Pumpkin crunch
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 can (15oz.) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 C pecans pieces
1 C melted butter
whipped topping (Cool Whip)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice; mix well. Pour into a lightly greased baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans and drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool & serve. Top with whipped topping.
Oscar Wilde said, “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards.”
If you would like to share a recipe with me, just send it to the J-T or email it to me.
(Melanie Behrens –

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