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Cut calories, fats from tomato soup, sandwich
Rich-textured tomato soup can be enjoyed for just 126 calories a cup.

Tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich creates a popular meal, but its calorie count and fat content could surprise you.

OliveGarden.com's recipe for cream of tomato and basil soup contains 482 calories and 34 fat grams per cup, but I slim it down by using a mixture of tomato puree, mashed potato and half-and-half in place of two cups of heavy cream.

I also substitute chicken broth for white wine.

The "Taste of Home" cookbook's recipe for three-cheese grilled cheese has at least 703 calories and 59 fat grams per sandwich, but I lighten it up by choosing light wheat bread and reduced-fat cheeses.

You can have one of my three-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches plus a cup of my cream of tomato and basil soup for 365 calories and 17.7 fat grams.

Kathy's three-cheese grilled cheese

2 slices Sara Lee Delightful wheat bread

2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese with chives and onion, softened

1/4 cup shredded, reduced-fat Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend

With both pieces of bread on a baking sheet, spread the cream cheese on one piece and sprinkle the shredded cheese blend over the cream cheese.

Put the baking sheet under the oven's broiler until the cheese is melted and the other slice of bread is browned.

Once the cheese is melted, put the sandwich together and flip it over to broil the other side. Serve this straight out of the oven with a cup of the cream of tomato and basil soup. Makes one sandwich.

Adapted from a "Taste of Home" cookbook recipe.

Kathy's cream of tomato & basil soup

1 tbsp. butter

2 cups chicken broth (low-sodium, if desired)

1 (15-oz.) can of diced tomatoes

1 (11-oz.) can tomato puree

1/2 cup plain mashed potatoes

1 cup half-and-half

3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half.

Decrease heat and add tomato puree, mashed potatoes and half-and-half. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree the mixture until smooth.

Stir in the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each.

Adapted from an OliveGarden.com recipe.

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