You know when it's freezing outside and all you crave is some delicious soup to warm you to the core?  Well, I actually don't know what that's like. You know why? I live in South Florida! However, this soup was absolutely perfect and definitely hit the spot, even on a warm 87 degree Florida day. :)

We paired the soup with some Italian bread toasted with garlic, oil, and mozzarella, and then topped with basil and tomato.  This little sandwich was to die for! Even with fat free mozzarella cheese! I found a new brand of fat free cheese that is now my favorite.  

My husband actually thinks this soup tastes like the old Olive Garden minestrone soup.  He loved it!  We froze half of it to have it again in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to enjoy it for the second time! :) 

Ingredients for Tomato Soup: 
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 gloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 34 oz jars of Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 32 ounce box of Swanson Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 cups of Barilla Bitalini Pasta
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Mozzarella, Tomato, & Basil Sandwich: 
  • 1 loaf of Italian bread
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 a block of Lifetime Fat Free Mozzarella Cheese
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced into circles 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 5-10 minutes.  Add the jars of tomato sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, and pepper.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering, put the minced garlic in a small bowl with the olive oil.  Cut the loaf in half and then in half again, like a sandwich.  Then, using a brush, brush the garlic and oil all over the inside of the bread.  Add about three pieces of mozzarella to each piece of sandwich, along with a little more oil, and three or four leaves of basil.  Wrap the sandwiches in foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and melted.  Remember, it's fat free cheese so it won't melt the same as regular fat cheese, but it will be soft.  

After the sandwiches are done, add some tomato slices to each sandwich and serve along side with the soup.  This makes about 8 servings of soup, so save some room in your freezer to have some more soup later! 

Andrew and I loooove bruschetta.  We sometimes have to skip out on it in restaurants because they have cheese (and they can't remove it) but this version is just as tasty and there is no dairy.  

  • 4 cups peeled seeded and chopped tomatoes (any variety works but Romas are the best)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves sliced and very finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed and very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme minced
  • Pinch of kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 baguettes (Any French bread would work, but the skinny crusty baguettes work the best)

First, cut the tomatoes into quarters. Then, clean out all of the seeds from the tomatoes using a spoon.  There should be no seeds or juice left inside the tomatoes. 

After that, press each piece of tomato down and cut it into strips, then cubes.  All of the tomato pieces should be about the same size. For the basil, a chiffonade works best.  To do this, stack fresh basil leaves one on top of the other until you get several leaves.  Then roll up the leaves.  Slice very thin slices off of the little roll of leaves.  You will get a very thin shredded look to the basil without bruising the leaves.  Mince the thyme and oregano as well as the garlic. 

Combine the tomatoes, chopped garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a glass or plastic bowl.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The longer you keep the mixture in the refrigerator, the better it will taste! 

While the bruschetta mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the baguettes on a diagonal in thin slices.  Drizzle the slices with olive oil and bake the bread in the oven for about 10 minutes or until toasted.  

After the bruschetta has cooled and the bread is toasted, top a little bit of the bruschetta mixture on each slice of bread. 

Bon Appetit!