My baby turned 3 last weekend. THREE! I guess she’s really not a baby anymore, especially since she recently decided she’s done with diapers. Just like that, she switched to wearing underwear and using the potty, and hasn’t looked back. I’m thrilled to never have to change a diaper again, but also a little sad that the baby/toddler stage has come to an end. With the youngest child, it’s always a little harder, knowing I’ll never experience those stages again. On the bright side, there are so many wonderful stages to look forward to. I can’t wait to see the person she’s going to become. She’s already developing a hilariously quirky personality that shines through in everything she does, like watching Scooby Doo episodes non-stop on Netflix, taking no crap from her brothers when they try to tease her, telling me all the time that she loves me, coming up with funny names for things (her morning oatmeal is known as “opeemeal”) and making lots of new friends at daycare.
Last weekend, new 3 year-old Ayla asked me for soup for lunch, so I made a quick and easy tomato soup for her. When I wondered what else we could have with our soup to make it more interesting, I immediately thought of grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are just meant to be together. I remembered something I saw online about grilled cheese croutons, and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to try them.
I got a “comfort kit” from Armstrong Cheese a little while ago, with some cute red dishes, a cutting board, apron, a Superstore gift card, and coupons to buy Armstrong cheese. Their natural cheddar cheese slices are perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re just the right size, and so much better than processed cheese slices.
We went to Superstore to use our gift card — plus, we had points from our PC banking cards to use — so it was a shopping spree! That place is a dream for food bloggers because they have the best photo props. When I was in the kitchen aisles, I had to restrain myself from dumping all the contents of the shelves into my cart. I couldn’t resist the burlap placemat and gorgeous dishcloths in my favourite colour. I’m still not sure what you call this colour — greyish bluey green? But I love it. And I love the floral-patterned one in these photos with the red soup bowl. I also have a striped and a solid dishcloth in the same colour, so you’ll probably see those pop up in my photos as well.
Anyway, I kind of went off on a tangent there, sorry. Back to the soup and croutons. Grilled cheese croutons are really just a grilled sandwich cut up into squares and piled on top of soup. It’s insanely easy, but also insanely delicious. I’m not quite sure where the idea first came about; it may have been the Barefoot Contessa? In any case, I can’t take credit for it, but I still want to share it here because it’s an idea worth sharing.
I use my toaster oven to make grilled sandwiches. I find it’s the easiest way to get the cheese nicely melted without burning the toast. I just pop in my bread and cheese for a few minutes on the toast setting, and it’s done.
The soup is very uncomplicated, but surprisingly good. I just used a can of stewed tomatoes, but if you can find roasted tomatoes, or roast them yourself, that’s fantastic. For a quick lunch or dinner, I find canned tomatoes do the trick.
I cut Ayla’s crouton into a heart shape, because it’s close to Valentine’s Day and it seemed like a fun thing to do. She gobbled that up. Then she gingerly took a few sips of her soup before saying she was done.
Bennett didn’t want any soup, but he loved the grilled cheese. Cole didn’t want any grilled cheese (he hates cheese — what a weirdo), but he loved the soup. Actually, at first he looked at the bowl of soup with puzzlement and said, “Is that it? That doesn’t look like soup, it looks like tomato sauce.” Then he calmed down, added some crackers and finished the whole bowl. He even asked me to pack the soup in his lunch for school the next day, so he must have liked it.
Have you made grilled cheese croutons yet? What do you think?