Milk or Water? That Is The Question

If you haven't already heard, I am a huge soup lover. I love all sorts or soup, but one that may surprise you coming from a food snob like me, is that I love Campbell's soups. I grew up with a whole plethora of red and white Campbell's soup cans at my fingertips. My favorites were Chicken Gumbo, Split Pea with Ham, and Bean and Bacon. My mom had them readily available to make after school or for a summer lunch. One of the big faves was Tomato Soup, but there was always the debate whether to make it with milk or water.

This was a big question. Sometimes you wanted the full tangy-ness of the soup made with water, but other times you needed the smoothness that a can full of milk would bring. I had many friends who were very opinionated on this score. I have a tendency to lean more toward the can of milk side other than the water side. It's just me.

A few years ago between the covers of the Food Network magazine they had a little pull out pamphlet that was titled, "50 Things To Make With A Jar Of Pasta Sauce". I probably wouldn't make 49 of those recipes, but there was one that made my entire life. Creamy Tomato Bisque is what I call it, but by golly, it's just a glorified version of Campbell's Tomato Soup made with a can of milk. It is so good, and is the perfect companion to a crunchy, gooey, grilled cheese sandwich on Great Harvest White bread. Again I may be biased due to the fact that I sleep with the Great Harvest baker, but dang it is delish!!

I have made this recipe a lot, and even my kids eat it. I have found though that you need to use a good bottle of canned Marinara sauce (AKA Spaghetti Sauce) or it doesn't taste to lovely. I tried it once with the $.99 can of Hunt's or something and I ended up feeding it to my kitties. My best attempts have been when I use a bottle of my homemade Marinara sauce. (Here's a link to that recipe.) If you don't have access to your own bottled goodness, just pick a sauce you like to eat on noodles. I'm sure it will taste wonderful.

So tonight for dinner you may need to try this out. It will surprise you how easy it is and how good it tastes. Just make sure you stop by the bakery for a loaf of our Country White bread. It makes the best grilled cheese to dunk in your soup. Enjoy!!

Tomato Bisque
(Original Recipe from the Food Network Magazine with a little help from Lisa)

2 T. of chopped fresh herbs sauted in 1 T. butter
(Basil, or Oregano, or Thyme or a combo. Used dried if you need to.)
1- 28 oz jar of your favorite homemade Marinara sauce
2 cups water
2 cups half and half
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c. sugar
Parmesan Cheese
a little salt and pepper to taste

Simmer all ingredients together except for the half and half and cheese, for 5 minutes. Add cream and cheese and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a dream.


  1. Lisa I love you and your food!! I am not sure which I love more. ;)

  2. my mom used to make tomato soup with a can of evaporated milk...YUM! I am a milk girl too! I have turned Robbie into a milky soup lover too, so add us to your poll. 2 for milk!!!!!

  3. Lisa: Saw you on Studio 5 and love your website. Am only disappointed you don't post more often but as a mom I understand.
    Question about the best bread ever, I don't have a cast iron pan. Can I use a regular pab, dutch oven size?
    Really love your stuff,

  4. Susie!

    Hey thanks for the comment. About your question on the cast iron pan. A cast iron pot is a must. The bread will bake fine in any pot, but you won't get the crispness from the cast iron pot. The cast iron is actually working like a brick fired oven. If you have a pizza stone that might be your next best bet. Preheat it in the oven and then put your dough directly onto the hot stone.

    You can find a pretty inexpensive cast iron dutch oven at Wal Mart or any IFA store. It doens't have to be big. Only about 2 1/2 qt. size. Good Luck.

  5. Genial post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.



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