Fall is in full swing in New England! The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are all shades of orange, gold, red and even purple. There’s something about fall that makes me excited. Maybe it’s just the cooler air, but more than likely it’s the anticipation of family time and making memories at Thanksgiving and Christmas that will be here before we know it.
This is our first fall in New England, and we’ve already started making some memories with new traditions such as taking the kids apple picking and to a real pumpkin patch! This is all new to me coming from the south and having always lived in a big city. I think I’m probably having more fun with it than the kiddos.
Whenever temperatures start to drop I start craving foods that will keep my belly warm…chili, stew, and soup!!! Yum! In fact, a couple of weeks ago when we had our first cold snap, I made a big pot of chili and put on some Christmas music. Nevermind that it was only early October. I’m used to the cooler weather starting much closer to the holidays, so it just seemed right. #dontjudge
Here is one of my favorite soup recipes that is so easy to make. The only prep that you need is to chop up an onion and some garlic and make a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches. Speaking of making easy grilled cheese sandwiches. This is probably one of my all-time favorite kitchen gadgets. It keeps the butter at room temperature at all times, and it looks really cute on your kitchen counter. No more trying to shave off cold butter for toast or bread!
- 4 slices of bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 ounces of cheddar or Gruyere cheese, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup loosely packed basil, cut or torn into thin strips
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt
- Parmesan cheese, grated (optional for topping)
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large pot. Add onions, and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring continuously.
- Add in tomatoes, chicken stock, and ground pepper, and simmer about 20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender or traditional blender to puree the tomato mixture.
- Stir in cream and basil. Add salt to taste, and continue to simmer until slightly reduced, approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Heat skillet or grill pan on medium. Lightly spread butter over 1 side of each piece of bread, and add 2 slices of the bread, buttered side down, to the pan. Divide the cheese between these slices and place the other 2 slices of bread on top to make a sandwich. Grill each side of the sandwich until nicely browned.
- Remove sandwiches and place on cutting board. After the sandwiches have had a minute to cool, cut into 1 inch cubes. Top each bowl of soup with croutons and parmesan cheese.
- I don't like to list an amount for salt, because it can vary greatly depending on the tomatoes and stock used. I usually start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more as needed. There are times when I haven't needed any salt at all, so always taste first!
- Sometimes I throw the basil in before I puree the tomato mixture. My kids like it better that way because they don't see green stuff floating around in their soup.
Do you have any seasonal foods that you crave? What recipes are in regular rotation around your house? I’d love to hear about your favorite cold weather recipes in the comment section! Please let me know if you try it and what you think.
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