Grilled Sandwiches and Tomato Soup for a Crowd

When I was coming up with menu for Olivia’s first birthday party I really wanted something that would appeal to adults and kids alike. It’s lots of fun to create appetizers and dishes adults will enjoy, but with lots of kids (nieces, nephews, and of course, the birthday girl) running around and being hungry, I knew that I needed something they could eat easily without making a huge mess all over my clean house. Enter… the grilled sandwiches. Grilled cheese for the babies and BLTs for the grownups. Of course, adults also liked the cheese ones. And for a little touch of yummy I provided some homemade tomato soup which is DELISH, if I do say so myself.

Not only are the sandwiches yummy and easy to eat (finger food, o yeah!), but they also look pretty cool stacked up like so. I put toothpicks in each quarter of a sandwich to make it easy to grab and munch. I figure it’s better to eat things off skewers at parties so as to avoid having anyone need to sit down in order to manage their giant plates of difficult-to-consume food.

If you’d like to make some grilled sandies for a crowd you’ll need

  • Bread (I like sourdough)
  • Butter
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mayonaise
  • Bacon, fully cooked
  • Lettuce, washed and dried
  • Tomatoes, cut into slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toothpicks

I buttered one side of each slice of bread and grilled them until they were a nice golden brown. Of course, the cheese sandwiches were grilled until the cheese melted. For the BLTS, once the bread was grilled, you just slap some mayo on there, then lettuce, bacon and tomatoes. Finish with some salt and pepper. It’s easy to get an assembly line going for this part.

Cut sandwiches into quarters and insert a toothpick into each piece for easy grabbing, dipping and munching.

And now for the
Tomato Soup for a Crowd

(Makes 20 mini servings)

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Peel and dice your garlic. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the garlic in the oil, being careful not to let your garlic burn. Once the garlic has turned a little golden, add the tomatoes, with all their juices, and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, salt, sugar and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let soup simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and ground basil leaves.

Allow the soup to cool and then ladle it into individual serving cups, or into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with pride.

Helpful hints:

This is pretty much just a doubled recipe. Halve it to have an easy family dinner.  I like to eat the leftovers for lunches.
It also keeps really well in the fridge, so feel free to make it several days ahead of time, freeing up your day-of duties if you’re hosting.
This recipe was inspired by these two recipes. One and two.

I shared this recipe at Tastetastic Thursday on A Little Nosh
I was really excited when I stopped by Oh Happy Day! and saw that I wasn’t the only one who thought grilled cheese and tomato soup was a good idea for a party. They classied up their sandwiches a bit more than I did… but still.. I felt cool. 

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