Well, we are officially back to school, and families have jumped back into the swing of things. Between homework, practice, rehearsal and after school activities, we all have our plates full. We want the best for our kids, especially when it comes to nutritious meals and the foods that fuel them through their day. The thought of coming up with a variety of kid-friendly meals for the school week might seem overwhelming, but luckily my friend Catherine McCord’s new book, Weelicious Lunches, has arrived just when parents need it most!
I met Catherine at the BlogHer Conference in Seattle two summers ago. In addition to being one of my favorite people ever, Catherine is the queen of quick, healthy, kid-friendly recipes. She is dedicated to creating tasty, nutritious food options for families on the go. Just like her site, Weelicious, and her first cookbook, I know this book will be another huge success. Weelicious Lunches is packed with tasty and creative choices for filling lunch boxes. Catherine also includes some tips for how to attract kids (even picky eaters) to healthy foods, like using brightly colored fruits and veggies and cutting sandwiches into fun shapes rather than sending the standard square bread. I’m a kid at heart, and I definitely worked up an appetite after perusing the pages of this adorable book. You’ll love it!
For my kosher readers, please note that this is not a kosher cookbook, though it does have plenty of kosher options– like this recipe, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons! Who doesn’t love the combination of warm tomato soup and a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on a crisp autumn day? The soup on its own is vegan and parve when you use vegetable broth; it’s also super low in fat and gluten free. It’s not spicy at all, which is great for young kids. The grilled cheese croutons are beyond easy to make. When served with a steaming bowl of the tomato soup, they are the ultimate indulgence.
I think this soup is the perfect example of Catherine’s genius– making quick, healthy, delicious meals that your whole family will love. Weelicious Lunches is a great kitchen resource for families, and it makes a fun holiday gift, too!
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Tomato Soup Ingredients
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Grilled Cheese Crouton Ingredients
- 4 slices bread, any type you like (I used sourdough, for gluten free use your favorite certified GF bread)
- 4 thin slices cheddar cheese
- Butter or oil
You will also need
- large soup pot, blender or immersion blender, skillet, sheet pan
- Note: The soup in this recipe is vegan/pareve and dairy free if you don't add the croutons.
To make soup:
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the carrots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add the remaining soup ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes till all ingredients are soft.
- Carefully move the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot.
- Variation: If you do not have fresh tomatoes, you can use one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes and decrease the stock to 1 cup.
To make croutons:
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter the slices of bread on one side.
- Place 2 slices of cheese on two of the slices of bread on the un-buttered side.
- Place the other buttered slices on top to form two sandwiches, so the buttered sides are on the exterior and the cheese is within. Place the sandwiches in a hot skillet.
- Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted.
- Remove the sandwiches from the pan and allow to cool enough for you to handle them. Cut each sandwich into 1x1 inch pieces.
- Place the sandwich cubes on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet and bake them for 5-7 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until golden brown and crunchy.
- Remove croutons from the oven and serve with the tomato soup.