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Growing up I was never a big fan of the tomato soup/ grilled cheese combo. But my husband loves it so I make it every once in a while. I made a lot of soup recently and usually just freeze the leftovers, but this time I thought it would make a perfect gift for someone so I put it in some little mason jars and added a gift tag. 

This is by far my favorite tomato basil soup. It is a replica of Zupa’s tomato basil soup (when we went to BYU we went there all the time). You can easily pair the soup with a favorite grilled cheese recipe in a little wax or plastic bag. This is a go to grilled cheese recipe we use all the time.

Tomato Basil Soup
(similar to Zupas)

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 cans (14.5 oz each) of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a big soup pot, heat oil and apple juice over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic and pepper about 8 minutes stirring frequently. Do not let the onions turn brown. Remove from heat. In the same pot add drained canned tomatoes and chicken broth and stir. Use an immersion blender to mix until smooth, or transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree (make sure the mixture isn’t too hot or the lid isn’t on too tight or else it might explode if it’s too warm in the blender). When fully pureed, pour in to bowl and puree the rest of the mixture. Return both halves to the pot and set on medium to medium high and heat until warm. Add butter, cream and basil and simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t boil. Then add mozzarella cheese and stir until melted. This freezes well and is great for leftovers.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 onion thinly sliced
8 slices of Italian bread
thinly sliced deli ham
havarti cheese sliced
1 green apple or honey crisp apple thinly sliced

Melt 1 tbls butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook. stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized (about 20 mins). Set aside.

Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Layer the ingredients on the non butter side of the sandwich: the cheese, ham, onions, apples, and more cheese then top with remaining slice of bread. Place in warm skillet or panini grill to cook. Cook until both sides of the bread are golden brown.

Makes 4 sandwiches

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