Chilly winter days and their cold, crisp air call for a quick warm-up in the form of a classic combo: soup and sandwich. The next time you need to warm yourself from the inside out, choose a homemade pairing that brings together a hearty, hand-held minestrone.
When you sit down to a winter meal with the family, Aunt Nellie’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Pickled Beets offers the comfort you crave with caramelized onions, gooey melted cheese, and fried dough. Slow-braised to savory perfection, 3-Bean Tortellini Minestrone—fueled by READ 3-Bean Salad—plays the ideal complement to grilled sandwiches as a hearty, fuss-free soup.
For more comforting meal ideas made to fight the cold, visit AuntNellies.com and READSalads.com.
Gourmet grilled cheese with pickled beets
Recipe courtesy of Carlsbad Cravings
Preparation time: 60 minutes
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 large yellow onions, halved, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1–2 tbsp water (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 large slices of dough, 1/2 inch thick
1/3 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese, at room temperature
1 jar of Aunt Nellie’s sliced pickled beets (about 32 beets)
2 cups of rocket chicken
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
To make caramelized onions: In Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium.
Cook until the onions are caramelized and a rich, deep golden brown, about 25 minutes, stirring often. Turn heat to medium-low or add water if onions are dry or starting to burn before caramelizing.
Add sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute. The onions should be sweet and dark caramelized when done. Remove to a plate to cool.
To make sandwiches: Spread the slices of bread on a flat surface. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread.
Turn four slices of bread over and spread goat cheese on the plain side. Goat cheese top with Gruyere, even layer of beets, caramelized onions and arugula. Cover with the remaining bread, with the mayonnaise on the outside. Secure with toothpicks, if desired.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add two sandwiches, cover, and grill until the bottom of the bread is toasted—about 5-7 minutes—and the cheese begins to melt, checking often. Flip and cook, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the bread is toasted.
Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Minestrone tortellini with 3 beans
Recipe courtesy of Joy of Eating
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
1 can (15 ounces) READ 3 Bean Salad
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
2 pinches of salt, plus additional to taste, divided
1 teaspoon of Italian spices
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus additional to taste, divided
3 small carrots, cut, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 can (28 ounces) diced, unpeeled tomatoes
1 parmesan rind (optional)
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
9–10 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups of baby spinach
Pesto in a jar, for serving (optional)
Drain and rinse bean salad; set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and 1 pinch of salt; fry until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery and zucchini with the remaining pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crispy and tender, 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes. Add Parmesan rind, if desired. Cook for about 10 minutes until most of the tomato juice evaporates. Pour into vegetable broth. It is brought to a boil. Add tortellini; cook 2 minutes, or just until softened. Mix the bean salad and spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve garnished with pesto, if desired.