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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recipes | The Best Tomato Basil Soup & The Best Grilled Cheese | Dinner Ideas

Tomato Basil Soup

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3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 - 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned
parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute - being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up.  Add the juice from the whole tomatoes, as well.  Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar.  Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes.  

To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.  Serve topped with parmesan cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich.  Get the recipe for The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich here.


When I first started my catering business I wrote all of my favorite recipes in a little blue journal book so I'd have them with me all of the time.  Over the years I've shared a couple of recipes from this little journal, but not all.  Truthfully, when I started this blog (forever ago...?) I was a burnt out on all of those recipes I'd made hundreds of times.

Now, after a four year break from the catering business, I am ready to dive back in to some of those old favorites, because after all, they were really great recipes for entertaining.  This Chocolate Molten Cake recipe was one of my first and best go-to's as a caterer.  I always served it at dinner parties - with great success.  The ingredients and supplies are humble - chocolate chips and a cupcake pan!  They work great for parties because the batter is made in advance, then baked right before dessert and served warm.

I made these last year for a friends dinner.  While the recipe makes 6-12, they work great in the freezer.  Just bake all of them together, then freeze the leftovers.  You can reheat in the microwave for just 30-60 seconds.

Now, onto the recipe, perfect for any celebration....

Chocolate Molten Cakes
makes 6 medium cakes or 12 small individual cakes

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2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cocoa

3/4 cup of butter
12 ounce of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream 
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour

Prepare cupcake pans by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around.  Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa, coating completely. 

To make the batter, place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then top it with butter and cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth.  When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour.  Pour into prepared cupcake pans.  Refrigerate for 1 hour (at least) and up to a couple of days.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes for regular 12/pan size and 15-18 for jumbo 6/pan size, just until the outsides and most of the top have set, and the centers are still slightly runny.  You can insert the tip of a knife to test.   You just want a bit of the very center to be a thick pudding like texture.   Let them cool for 5 minutes, then place a sheet pan on top of the muffin pan and invert them.  

Serve with whipped cream, ice cream and dusted with chocolate or cinnamon.


Melting chocolate with the butter and cream this way is so easy - microwave! 

The pans buttered and cocoa-ed while the chocolate is in the microwave.

Perfectly melted. 

You can fill them almost all the way to the top - they don't puff too much. 

Cooling for 5 minutes to help them continue to set. 

Top with a sheet pan... 

Ready for the flip... 


So, so good.  You really must try them. 

10 seconds later...

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Here is the easy-to-pin strip!


Our home is officially freshened for spring.  This season, I am embracing blues and fresh greens with plenty of pots full of lush plants.  I have vases full of daffodils and pitchers with tulips, buckets of blooming branches and planters planted with topiary.  Most importantly, the windows are open, the sprinklers are running (we need some rain!), the mornings and evenings are chilly, but the afternoons are warm.  We are ready for time in the garden, hosting friends for casual dinners and family for spring holidays.  Welcome, Spring!

This collection features new custom block prints for Spring with my favorites, blues and greens.  There are pillow covers, table runners, napkin sets, tea towels and fabric yardage for your special projects.  

This table is set with a row of potted tete a tete (mini daffodils) in Small Rustic Pots down a Green Lily Runner.  I love the aged finish these pots have, they truly look like weathered antiques.  Creamware Platters hang in the background - one of my reasonless favorites.

The front door is holds a Hanging Basket full of forsythia for now.  In a couple of weeks, it will change to cherry blossoms.  Our front steps are set with two Planters from the Large Medallion Set (that comes with one this size, and one larger).  The larger two are on our back porch.  

The Rattan Baskets (set of 2, nesting) are back in stock.  The larger of the set is a permanent fixture on our ottoman, always filled with various reads and toys ; )

Now onto the pillow covers.  The pillow covers!  Here, the Privot Berry 22" square cover is paired with the Light Blue Leaf Rectangle cushion cover.

Privot Berry Pillow Cover Collection, $32-42

Cupcakes on the smallest of the Bread Board Set.

This green color turned out a little brighter than I had intended, but I think it feels fresh and springy!

Planter Boxes

 I am so thrilled with these.  The smaller (Petite Medallion Planter, $45) is an 8x8x8" cube, and holds a 6" potted plant perfectly.  The larger (Petite Orchard Planter, $80) is a 12x14x12" cube that holds an 8-10" potted plant.  I am using these indoors right now for topiary, but will likely move them outdoors with boxwood and some sort of trailing flower in a couple of weeks.

I love how they add a stateliness to any area, like our entry.

Potted Gardenia Topiary in the Orchard Planter that will move outside once summer is here, with a large watering can... to help me remember to keep it watered ; )

I love these "short" flower buckets.  They are the perfect size to plop in a potted herb from the grocery store, or in which to keep my cleaning supplies or packets of seeds.  I've even used them to keep a bottle of wine chilled for an outside party.

You might remember seeing these Tall Floral Buckets in the photos of my Workshop/Pop-up Shop.  They come as a set of 3 for $84 (various sizes, this being the largest).  I have a lot of plans for them - umbrella stand, hanging on pegs to hold gardening tools, blooming branches, and, of course, flowers.

Here, Mr. poses for his picture with the set of all three of the Tall Buckets (that come as a set) are pictured together.

I have three new colors of wraps for this season, beginning with an all-time favorite, Chatham Blue Wrap.  This goes with everything, including my signature dark jeans with white shirt.  I wear it with workout clothes and a puffer vest during the week and throw it over my shoulders with a blouse for every other occasion.  I love these!

I can't wait to pair this with white jeans.  It would look great with white on white, a bight coral top or a light blue shirt (another favorite of mine).  This is definitely going to become a staple.

This is my springy wrap.  I've mentioned that I don't own too many colors in my wardrobe.  This pale yellow brings a springy feel to any outfit.  I'm picturing it with a navy pencil skirt and cream silk blouse for Easter.

I've added a new collection of ribbon this spring.  I love the simple, stitched look of this ribbon.  The colors are beautiful, and it will add a homemade touch to any gift, napkin or bundle of flowers.

Lemon Cupcakes topped with Swiss Buttercream, recipe coming later today.

Striped Cupcake Wrappers in fun spring colors.  I have used the blue and yellow for the cupcakes above, and will save the other colors for other occasions.

All of the supplies can be found, here, in the Baking Supplies Collection.


Le Pens + Tablets Collection

I'll be sharing some step-by-step blog posts for some of the projects featured in this collection today and tomorrow.  In the meantime, enjoy browsing the Spring Collection : )


  1. Gorgeous! Nothing says comfort food more than a big bowl of tomato-basil soup. Yum. Lovely photo, too, BTW. :-)

  2. Yum! I will definitely be trying this recipe. That soup looks divine!

  3. Gorgeous and comforting. Makes me want to curl up in my jammies with a big bowl of this and a grilled cheese sandwich.

  4. Delicious. There is nothing in this world that can compare to a bowl of hot velvety tomato soup on a bleak, chilly day...espcially when there's a gooey grilled cheese on the side!

  5. Looks great! How many serving does it make?

  6. oh that looks delicious... gotta try this, thanks for the recipe! :)

  7. Allie, the soup should make a little more than 4 cups... since I like a big, healthy serving.

  8. Just made this for lunch and it was delicious! I will make this again for sure!

  9. I love this tomato soup! I'm about to make it for the 3rd time tonight and I can't stop thinking about it! Even better than BoudinSF :)

  10. deliciousssssssssss

  11. I saw this on Pinterest and HAD to come and get the recipe. I can't wait to try it out! Thanks so much for sharing!! cute blog.

  12. just made this.. VERY yummy :)

  13. I saw this on Pinterest too, and hopped over here for the recipe...made it this afternoon and it is scrumptious! I did cut down on the cream...I like my tomato soup really tomato-y, and the cream kinda cuts the flavor for me. But seriously good food right here!

  14. We must say your recipes look awesome. Very inviting photos. A blog for true foodies...

  15. dede goff4:52 PM

    I also saw this recipe on Pinterest...I'm definitely going to make this. Looks Delicious. Thanks for sharing!!! : )

  16. I've made this TWICE this week. Best soup ever!

  17. I made this tonight for dinner! So tasty!

  18. Traci8:22 PM

    I found your tomato basil soup recipe on Pinterest - I made it tonight along with the grilled cheese and they were fabulous!!! I have been trying to find a good tomato soup recipe and have not had much luck until now! Thanks for sharing the recipe, can't wait for leftovers tomorrow!

  19. I made the Basil Tomato Soup today for lunch. Absolutely divine. My hubby and I have never liked tomato soup, but your recipe looked so amazing. And it WAS! A definite keeper in our house :) Thankful to have it in time for the winter :) Thank you!

  20. The grilled cheese and tomato basil soup look MOUTHWATERING. I put it up on my blog for my readers to see as well. Love your blog, Im now a follower!

  21. Thank you for this recipe. It is a new staple in my kitchen:) The basil just makes it fabulous!

  22. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Can't wait to try this recipe! I want to make it in bulk so I'm wondering if you've ever tried freezing it?

  23. Anonymous9:18 AM

    made this yummy soup last week and we all enjoyed it. I even wrote aobut it here

  24. Anonymous10:32 AM

    made this last night. it was delicious!!! thank you! :)

  25. I made this last night but I added an onion with the garlic. It is so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Anonymous10:15 PM

    I found this on pinterest and made this today. It was easy and delicious! Will definitely be making again in the future. Thanks for the recipe!

  27. I have to say, I will never buy tomato soup again! This recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  28. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Wonderful recipe, easy and delish. I did substitute Greek yogurt for the cream to cut calories and it was perfect. Thanks, I will be checking more of your recipes.

  29. I've been thinking about this all day! I am on my way to the groceries to get the missing items! It's what's for dinner!

  30. OMGoodness so yummy!! My 9 year-old grands said 'grandma this is better than Mimi's Cafe!'. And if I do say so myself it was!!!

  31. Made this last night for dinner--I loved it!! Thank you for the great recipe.

  32. Anonymous4:09 PM

    all i can say is YUMMY.........YUMMY.......THIS WAS GREAT SOUP.

  33. Phyllis9:02 PM

    I had looked for a good tomato basil soup and had not found one until I saw this one. I don't like my soup too spicy. This is just right!! Thanks. I'll be making it again.

  34. Patti8:08 PM

    Jenny----Love this soup. I've got the ingredients to make my 3rd batch this winter. :) Thanks for sharing!

  35. Anonymous10:36 PM

    Absolutely DELISH! So excited I found this on Pinterest. I am now going to follow you on FB for somemore recipes!

  36. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Soooooo delicious! I had dill rather than basil and it still tasted great!

  37. Anonymous9:58 PM

    I'm reading these reviews and I totally disagree! The soup tastes like eating tomatoes out of can. Just being honest.

    1. Anonymous11:45 PM

      Agree. I love tomatoes, so I dealt with it, but I knew my husband wouldn't be a fan. He ate it (most of it, once smothered I cheese). Not good, but I guess not bad. Just chunky , like you said, like eating canned tomatoes.
      ....on the plus side, the dog Loved It. By the way, I cook/bake all the time and am also a chef for a restaurant....just like easy recipes now and then. I blame myself for using canned tomatoes....but at the same time, they work well in many recipes.

  38. Anonymous10:24 PM

    I agree, it's very acid... it is missing something. Probably more cream.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. I just made this soup last night- I added 2 more Tbsp of basil and a dash more cream. I thought it was fantastic! Made in one pot in under 20 minutes, so time-and-clean-up friendly. I tip my hat to you, Ms. Steffens Hobick!

  41. Anonymous10:58 PM

    Can't wait to try this! Sounds so yummy and comforting:)

  42. Anonymous9:52 PM

    This was good...thanks for the recipe...I used chicken broth but will probably use veg broth next time. I added a tiny pinch of baking soda to reduce the acidity of the canned tomatoes I had on hand

  43. I will be giving this recipe a try. Looks so good I can smell it :D

  44. Your blog is great and i also know Allen always adds balsamic vinegar to his soup. Try this kind of recipe..very great..

  45. Made this soup tonight. OMG, so Good!!! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  46. Made this soup tonight. OMG, so Good!!! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  47. I love tomato soup with grilled cheese. Thanks for the recipe! Going to use it against mine:

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I made this recipe this week and it was so YUMMY!! Thanks and I am glad I found it on Pinterest! Very much a keeper!

  50. April7:31 PM

    I just made this soup for the first am I glad I doubled the recipe! I plan to freeze this in individual servings and enjoy for lunch in the weeks to come. Thanks!

  51. Anonymous6:40 PM

    im making this tonight!

  52. Anonymous1:53 AM

    Pregnant and loved the soup! Been craving a good tomato basil soup, now I can make it. Thanks!!

  53. Does anyone know how many people this serves? I want to make it for my family.

    1. Anonymous8:34 PM

      makes about 4 big bowls

  54. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Made this last night..... WONDERFUL.......If you didn't like it, you did something wrong! the kids loved it with a grilled cheese sandwich. My 6 year old liked to dip his in his sandwich in the soup...Yummy

  55. Anonymous8:47 PM

    My absolute favorite meal! I used uour recipe as a baseline and use fresh tomatoesinstead of canned whole, I also use coconut milk instead of cream, and lots of it, and lots more basil. Thanks for a great recipe!
    Comfort food for me, especially with freshly made sourdough.

    1. Anonymous3:05 PM

      Thanks for this idea with the coconut milk - made it and LOVE it!

  56. Oh my goodness... It tastes so damn good!!

  57. Anonymous4:04 PM

    i would love suggestions for using fresh tomatoes, as my garden is spitting them out like crazy right now!

    1. A friend ask me for a recipe because of all the fresh tomatoes in her garden. I came up with a tomato, basil soup with a touch of parmesan cheese. You can check it out at

  58. Delicious!!! I made this tonight and I could have eaten it all! But had to share with my family :) I used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream since I am trying to cut down on fat. I'm sure if I ever tried it with heavy cream nothing else would do, but it was really good with the half and half. I added a little grated parmesan into the soup as it was cooking. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks so much for sharing!

  59. This soup was so amazing!! Just found your blog recently and love it! I can't wait to try more of your recipes and I love your design tips. Thanks for sharing!! PS your fam and your lil girl are so cute :)

  60. Anonymous6:25 PM

    We are having a very cool fall day and I made this soup in the crock pot this morning. It tastes amazing and will make again.

  61. Anonymous2:34 PM

    All I have to say is WOW, this was amazing! Best tomato soup recipe ever!!!

  62. Anonymous2:35 PM

    PS: love your blog! Can't wait to try more of your recipes! I am already planning a ladies lunch to make the tomato soup recipe again!!!

  63. Terra W9:06 AM

    omg!! soup and sandwich are both so friggen good!! will be making this combo again and again!!!

  64. does anyone know how many people this recipe serves?

  65. I found this on Pinterest and absolutely LOVE this soup. Even my tomato-hating husband agreed that it was so good! Have you ever made it with a crockpot? I would love to take it to a all day scrapbooking event, but it would need to be in a crockpot for about four hours.

  66. I found your recipe on Pinterest. A friend of mine found it from me. We both made it separately & our families loved it! Thank you!

  67. Our family loved this - thank you!

  68. I doubled the recipe and it made enough for at least 10 people. It was delish!! I roasted fresh tomatoes in the oven first before blending them and adding them to the soup, but for a quick midweek dinner I could totally see using the cans. Fresh basil made a big difference and I had also added a small diced onion. Would definitely make again, thanks!!

  69. Delicious and already read your post Darcyeats its true there is nothing in this world that can compare to a bowl of hot velvety tomato soup on a bleak
    Personal Chef To Go

  70. Tomato is my favorite thing. And thanks to share this recipe.

  71. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Looks really good. Just a question - it seems it would be pretty salty with broth, canned tomatoes, and sea salt. Are you using unsalted tomatoes or broth? Thanks

  72. I am thinking to do some experiment with this recipe. I am thinking to add ginger garlic paste for different taste.


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