Grilled cheese

Tired of eating leftovers? A single-serving tomato soup and grilled cheese combo can be a tasty, easy weeknight meal for one or two. 

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As I've discovered over the last several years, since my husband passed away and my son moved out, cooking for one isn't nearly as much fun or adventurous as cooking for a family. I hate to admit it, but a bowl of cereal, a pint of ice cream, a bag of microwave popcorn or ramen noodles have been my supper — more than once, if I'm honest.

And when I do cook something, there are enough leftovers for a week's worth of meals. As an also-single friend said, referring to his recent purchase of a supermarket rotisserie chicken, '' Dinner, lunch, dinner, snack, lunch, dinner, snack ..."

I made a meatloaf over the weekend. I've had it for three meals and it's not even half gone. I just wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil and a freezer bag and threw it in the freezer — with all the other similar packages of mystery leftovers.

I recently saw chef Carolina Gelen on a morning TV show, making a tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich — they looked so good, I tried them that night. They were both out of this world! The grilled cheese was quite possibly the best one I've ever had, and they were only enough for one serving each! (OK, the soup is supposed to serve 2, but I ate it all in one sitting. A pint of ice cream is supposed to serve 3, just saying not in my home!)

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

(Courtesy of carolinagelen.com)

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 7 minutes

Servings: 1

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices bread of choice (sourdough, brioche, etc.)

3 tablespoons ghee or 3 tablespoons of butter plus a drizzle of oil

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 ounces shredded cheese, use a combination of mozzarella and a sharp cheese like mature cheddar

1 tablespoon water

Salt

DIRECTIONS:

Start with a pan, preferably cast iron, on medium heat, add in the butter and oil or the ghee, let it melt, then place both slices of bread in the pan. Toast them for 2 minutes on one side.

Flip both slices of bread, add all the shredded cheese to one slice, then place the other slice on top (toasted side down). Turn the heat to medium low and toast each side of the sandwich for 2 minutes each, adding a tablespoon of butter at each flip.

Once both sides are toasted, add in the pan 1 tablespoon of water (around the sandwich, not on top of the sandwich) and cover the pan with a lid for 1 1/2 minutes, this will steam the sandwich making the cheese extra gooey.


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TOMATO SOUP

(Courtesy of carolinagelen.com)

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 35 mins

Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 ounces cherry tomatoes

1 head of garlic, cut into 2

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 red chile, optional

Olive oil

Fresh thyme and basil

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk or heavy cream

1/2 to 2/3 cup vegetable stock, depending on the consistency you want

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven at 480 F.

Drizzle some oil onto a baking pan, add in the yellow onion, head of garlic (cut side down), fresh basil and thyme, red chile, cherry tomatoes, more olive oil on top, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake everything until the tomatoes are slightly charred for 25 to 35 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock and all the baked ingredients, besides the thyme, in a blender and blend everything until smooth, for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Margaret Button can be reached at mbutton@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6298.