Thirty Minute Thursdays: Eggcellent Sandwiches with Spinach & Tomato Soup

It’s been a little while since I last posted. I’m used to sneaking in an entry every other day, but Columbus Day Weekend brought along Fall Break from classes, and I took the opportunity to take a 2 day trip to Ithaca, NY with my parents and L. While there, we visited several wineries, explored the town, and ate at some pretty phenomenal restaurants – the famed Moosewood included! I’m planning to write up a post all about my food-related experiences on the trip, but for now, I have to celebrate Thirty Minute Thursdays with a less exotic but certainly delicious meal by Rachael Ray.

One Sunday evening a few weeks back, I set out to make a tomato & spinach soup for dinner from Rachael Ray’s cookbook, to be paired with what she refers to as an “Eggcellent” sandwich. I made a few changes, naturally – I used an onion instead of a shallot, decreased the oil in the soup, swapped oil in for the butter for the sandwich, and opted for a quartered whole wheat bagel instead of an English muffin for the bread. Then, of course, I left some things alone (shocking, right?) – I did cook with ham, something that is more or less unchartered territory for me, and even bought the called-for muenster cheese instead of scrambling for whatever I had on hand. One neat thing that I learned from this is that you can go to your grocery store’s deli counter and order a single slice of meat or cheese! How fantastic is that? You see, I did cook with ham and muenster cheese, but there was no way I was going to go through a whole pack of either one, so this option was absolutely perfect for me. Each slice cost me about $.60 - you really can’t beat that.

The tomato and spinach soup turned out to be…okay. Not bad, but it did lack a little bit of multidimensionality that I tend to gravitate toward with my foods. I did like the chunks of the tomatoes, and reheated the next day for lunch I actually enjoyed it even more. It might be nice to add in some milk (not even cream! Just milk) or some broth to cut the intensity of the tomatoes.

It’s also possible that my less-than-enthusiastic response to the soup had everything to do with how much I (internally) raved about this sandwich. It was everything you could want in a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. It was savory with a hint of sweetness, just a little bit salty, and warm and melty with a perfect chew from the toasted bagel. I really loved it, and it was pretty simple to make, so I’m sure I’ll be returning to the “recipe” again soon. Well, maybe not too soon – even if I can buy ham by the slice, the high degree of processing still skeeves me out a little bit. Still, this is a Really. Good. Sandwich. 

Tomato & Spinach Soup, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces (no salt added) diced tomatoes
28 ounces (no salt added) crushed tomatoes
2 cups (no sodium) stock
5 ounces spinach, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Method
Heat the olive oil, onion, and garlic in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute for 5 minutes, then add in the diced and crushed tomatoes. Stir in the stock to combine, followed by the spinach in handfuls until it wilts and mixes with the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow it to reduce a little. Season with pepper.

Eggcellent Sandwiches, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
olive oil, to lightly grease the pan
4 eggs
¾ cup egg whites
4 thin slices reduced-fat deli ham, diced
2 whole wheat bagels
4 slices muenster cheese

The Method
Halve each bagel, and then slice each half into two once more so that you wind up with 8 slices of “bagel thins.” Lightly toast the bagel slices, then set aside in a single layer on a cookie or baking sheet.

Meanwhile, combine the eggs and egg whites in a small bowl and set near the stove. Add just enough oil to coat a small frying pan, using a paper towel to make sure the pan is greased thoroughly enough. Add the ham and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the eggs have started to firm up, 4-5 minutes.

Evenly distribute the egg mixture amongst 4 of the bagel thins, top with 1 slice of muenster each, and place under the broiler to just melt the cheese. Remove from the oven, top each egg-and-cheese bagel thin with a plain bagel thin to make a sandwich, and enjoy!


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