Weeknight Dinner

tomato soup and grilled cheese dinner

My weeknight dinner efforts are fair at best. Everybody is worn out by the time we make it home and roll through the door. We have many cereal and scrambled eggs nights (much to TheRoomDad’s frustration). One weeknight dinner I can handle is tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I usually have all of the ingredients on hand even if I have not been to the grocery store, and it takes minimal effort and time to prepare. We ate tomato soup twice last week with toasted sandwiches in the panini maker.

tomato coup ingredients


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c. canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. fresh basil leaves, minced (or 1 t. dried)
  • 1-2 c. chicken stock

tomato soup carrot and onion


  • Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften (~5 minutes).
  • Add the diced tomatoes and basil. Simmer about 10 minutes.

tomato soup heating

  • Add 1 c. of chicken stock. Return to a simmer.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree carefully until smooth.

tomato soup pureed

  • Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Reheat if needed before serving.


  • If you do not have whole carrots, dice a handful of pre-cut carrots sticks if you have a bag of the snack carrots in your refrigerator.
  • You can replace the basil with thyme.
  • We like the soup with grilled cheese strips and/or Goldfish.

tomato soup and grilled cheese strips

Summer Salads

mexican chopped salad

Now that it is summer, I am more inclined to make a salad for a meal. Let’s be serious, now that it is summer, I am really not inclined to make anything at all. But on the odd day that I prepare a real meal, I might be more likely to make a salad. The Fried Chicken salad we took to Miss Priss’ teacher for their last day at school is my favorite, but this one might be my new second favorite.

A friend shared this Mexican Chopped Salad recipe that she found on Fine Cooking. I made it a few weekends ago. TheRoomDad grilled fish, and we ended up wrapping the salad with the fish on a tortilla for some really good fish tacos. There was leftover salad, which we used like salsa the next day with tortilla chips. It is quite delicious and very summery!

mexican chopped salad and dressing

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 T. fresh lime juice
  • 3 T. fresh orange juice
  • 2 t. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 T. honey (more to taste)
  • 3/4 t. ground cumin
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 large orange or red peppers
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 large firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem, seed core, and ribs. Put the pepper halves on the baking sheet cut side down. Husk the corn and put the ears on the baking sheet. Drizzle both with olive oil and rub oil around to coat the skins and corn kernels evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven about 20 minutes until the peppers are soft and slightly shriveled and skin is blackening. Corn kernels should be lightly browned in some spots.
  • When the vegetables are done, let them rest until cool enough to handle. Scrape away the pepper skin (it should peel off easily) and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. Cut the kernels from the cob.
  • Make the dressing. Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with 1/4 t. kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the garlic paste with the lime and orange juices, shallot, honey, and cumin. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with pepper and more salt and honey, if you like.
  • Artfully arrange the corn, tomatoes, peppers, jicama, avocado, and black beans in stripes or piles on a small platter or other wide, shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad platter just before serving.
  • Spoon elements of the salad onto your plate or tortilla to eat (don’t toss ingredients together).


  • Squeeze fresh lime juice on the avocado slices to keep them from turning brown too quickly.
  • Serve the salad with grilled chicken, grilled fish, or grilled flank steak and warmed tortillas for really good tacos.
  • Chop all of the ingredients up to 4 hours ahead and store them covered in the refrigerator until time to serve. The assembly is very fast.
  • Don’t forget to sprinkle the cilantro on the salad before serving. I made this mistake. It was still delicious, so I guess cilantro is optional.

What is your favorite food or meal in the summer?

serving mexican chopped salad