A bowl of warm, comforting soup may not be as traditional as chocolate for Valentine’s Day but it may be just what the doctor ordered for your loved ones who are sick with colds, flu or sinusitis. A care package with creamy tomato soup, crackers or bread, and a bag of salad will communicate you caring and allow them to rest, rather than cook. You can even toss in a chocolate candy heart or two.
Here’s an easy tomato soup recipe that makes 10 cups or six servings, enough for your friend or family member and you.
Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Pinch of ground cloves
3 cups vegetable broth
2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground pepper to taste
½ cup dairy beverage of your choice (regular or low-fat milk, rice milk, soy milk)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add the sugar and cloves, and stir the vegetables until they are well coated.
Add the broth and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the mixture for 30 minutes and stir occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender (working in batches) until smooth.
Return the mixture to the saucepan. Add the salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk of your choice. The type of milk you choose will depend on whether you or your intended recipient has any food allergies or sensitivities. Refrigerate the soup until ready to use or deliver. The soup can be freezed as long as you do so before adding the milk.
For a care package, pour the soup in quart-sized mason jars or other containers. Label the containers with these heating instructions: heat the soup in the microwave or on the stove but do not bring to a boil.