Do you ever find yourself, after a long day of Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, planning, fraternizing, etc, with nothing to eat for dinner? Here's a delicious last-minute solution, especially good in cold climates: hearty tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentis).
For the soup:
1. In large soup pot, add: 2 T. butter, 1 onion (peeled and chopped), 1 cup carrots (peeled and chopped), 2 garlic cloves, chopped. Cook for about 4 minutes.
2. Add: 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, 3 cups chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, 2 t. minced rosemary, 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, 3/4 t. salt. Bring to boil, then reduce, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Discard bay leaf and puree soup in food processor or with an immersion blender, season with additional salt, if necessary, and pepper. Serve immediately with a bit of heavy cream drizzled over the top.
For the sandwiches: (these are likely self-explanatory, but here are instructions none-the-less)
1. Throw sliced cheese (ideally, a cheddar with some bite--my favorite is extra-sharp white cheddar by Tillamook) between two buttered slices of good bread. Grill in a frying pan, flipping as each side gets brown.
And in 30-45 minutes, dinner is served!