I love soup. I’ll eat just about any kind. But of all soups, tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be the most classic combo. If you think so too, you’re going to love this version. The soup is easy to make and tastes much better than the canned version.
And the grilled cheese croutons? Oh. my. goodness!
They are crunchy, melty, amazing.
This recipe is inspired by a recent trip to Panera Bread. We don’t eat out very often (I am the Eat at Home Lady, after all), but every once in a while we do get out of the kitchen. So when Panera Bread asked if I was interested in sampling their soups and the creating a recipe, I jumped on the opportunity. Panera is one of my favorite places to eat. What’s not to love about bread and soup?
Panera Bread has a “Good Goes In” philosophy when it comes to making soup. I agree with that. When good ingredients go into making soup, good soup can be shared.
Jim and I went to Panera Bread with our youngest daughter for dinner one night. Every once in a while, we only have one child at home for an evening and it’s always fun to make it special.
I chose French Onion. Jim tried Broccoli Cheddar. And Mia went adventurous and tried Clam Chowder, which she’d never had before. She loved it!
While we were standing in line to order, the people behind us were having a debate about whether to dip or not dip grilled cheese in tomato soup. That spurred in my mind a photo I’d seen of grilled cheese croutons. I’m not sure where the original idea came from, but I decided to try my own version.
The soup recipe is altered from the More with Less Cookbook. I used more tomato juice, more onion and made more soup than the original recipe. I don’t think I did less of anything. And the croutons are not to be missed. Especially if you’re in the camp of dipping the grilled cheese in the soup.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 6 Tbs. flour
- 96 oz can tomato juice
- 4 cups milk, warmed
- 4 tsp. sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 slices Italian bread per person
- 2 slices cheese per person (Cheddar, American, Provolone etc)
- Melt butter in 5 qt. soup pot.
- Add onion and cook over medium heat till soft.
- Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.
- Gradually add tomato juice, whisking to blend.
- Stir in milk.
- Season with sugar, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Heat to warm, but do not let boil.
- Make 1 grilled cheese sandwich per person, using 2 slices of cheese. Two different types is really good.
- Cut finished sandwiches into cubes.
- Separate pieces and place on cookie sheet.
- Bake at 275 degrees for about 10 minutes.
- Serve with soup.
Grilled cheese croutons are best when fresh. We let each person decide whether to eat the croutons in the soup or along with it.
I can’t wait to try this again. Those Grilled Cheese Croutons are calling my name!
Disclosure: I was provided with a Panera Bread gift card to sample the soup as well as a stipend for my time in writing the post. All opinions are my own.