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Tomato Basil Soup with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

Tomato soup is one of those foods that immediately conjures memories of my childhood. My parents would heat up canned tomato soup and serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich made of white bread and American cheese. It wasn’t particularly fancy, but it was good, old-fashioned “kid food” and my brothers and I loved it. As I got older, I realized I wanted something more than the basics, something that offered more flavor and more texture, but it was hard to find.

This is the closest I’ve come in a long time to tasting a tomato soup that offers a sophisticated balance of flavors and textures, while still summoning those great childhood memories. Everyone in the family is sure to love it, and the slow cooker makes it that much easier to put an incredible meal on the table tonight.

The grilled cheese was upgraded, too, with some of our favorite foods. Try making your next grilled cheese on a panini grill with avocado and bacon, and I know you’ll agree this is the best fall meal you’ve had this year. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup

Yield: Serves 6
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans (28 ounce each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Heat olive oil in stovetop-safe slow cooker cookware over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook 2 minutes; stir in tomatoes and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, basil, sugar, salt, red pepper and black pepper to cookware. Stir until well blended. Place cookware in slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or on LOW for 4 hours. Stir in heavy cream before serving.


This recipe calls for a stovetop-safe slow cooker, but can be adapted for any slow cooker.

If using a slow cooker with ceramic crock, cook vegetables in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer ingredients to slow cooker crock and cook as directed.

Three Cheese Avocado Bacon Panini

Yield: Serves 2
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 (1/2-inch) slices hearty bread
  • 2 slices Cheddar cheese
  • 4 strips cooked bacon
  • 2 slices avocado
  • 2 slices Jarlsberg cheese
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat panini press.
  2. Stir mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard in a small bowl.
  3. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread and mayonnaise mixture on the other side.
  4. Place 2 slices of bread, butter side down, on the panini press.
  5. Layer Cheddar, bacon, avocado, Jarlsberg and mozzarella on each slice of bread.
  6. Cover with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter side up.
  7. Close panini press.
  8. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until desired brownness.

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