The Joys of Bread

Bread and soup are soul mates. I don't care what the low-carb folks have to say ... soup just isn't the same when paired with a plate of bacon! Whether it's a simple sandwich or a warm roll, having some bread to dip in your favorite soup is probably as close as it gets to comfort food.

With that in mind and also giving a nod to the busy lifestyle that most people have adopted today, it seems appropriate to take a look at some creative ways to accompany your soup with bread without taking half a day or more to make it from scratch. So, instead of long rising times and lots of kneading, these recipes use sliced bread from the bag, convenience items and ingredients you probably have on hand right now. Just because you have a cup of soup to enjoy doesn't mean that you either have to give up a lot of time and effort to give it a bread-based sidekick or go without. Use these recipes to get you there in no time with little effort.

Simple Pull-Apart Bread

Refrigerated biscuits make this quick treat almost too simple to call a recipe! For a heartier option, sprinkle diced ham and grated Swiss cheese over the top before baking.
  • 1 pkg. refrigerated biscuits
  • Seasonings of choice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Open the biscuits and arrange the eight rounds in a circle with one in the center on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press the dough down to form a circle with scalloped edges. Sprinkle the dough with the seasonings of your choice and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Two-Pan Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are my favorite accompaniment to tomato-based soups. Since sandwich presses have gotten so popular, I was inspired to make my own -- on the cheap! I use this method for almost all of my hot sandwiches and breakfast bagel sandwiches too.
  • 2 slices bread -- I like oatmeal bread because it tastes very nutty when toasted
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. coarse mustard
  • 2 slices ripe tomato -- skip this if fresh tomatoes aren't available
  • 2 oz. grated cheese -- I like almost any sharp cheese for this
  • Pinch salt and pepper -- don't skip this step!

Find two heavy skillets -- one larger than the other -- and place them over medium-high heat on the stove.

Spread a teaspoon of butter on each of the slices of bread. Spread the mustard on the opposite side of one of the slices of bread. Arrange the tomato, cheese and seasonings on top of the mustard and place the other slice of bread, buttered side up, on top of them.

Place the sandwich in the larger hot skillet and quickly place the bottom of the other hot skillet over the top of the sandwich. Remove the larger skillet from the heat, making sure the other skillet stays on top of the sandwich. Allow it to rest in this arrangement for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 1 sandwich
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes