Just a Check In, Plus... Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese - Skillful Cook
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Just a Check In, Plus... Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Just a lil' check-in see how you're doing with all the weird stuff happening right now. Plus I'm sharing a fav right now - tomato soup and grilled cheese!

A bowl of tomato soup with the grilled cheese .

Hello friends! We meet again, and yeah, life is really giving us some hard times.

Most of us are (I hope!) probably doing some version of shelter-in-place as we attempt to ride out the waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most of us are probably feeling the hourly alternating emotions of “I can do this” and “I don't think I can do this.”

We are working on some new things for the weeks ahead, and I am anxious to get those things into the world for you. But for now, I'm just going to share what's REAL with you.

Today, here in the thick of social distancing and shelter in place orders and a scary news cycle, this is what's real:

  • I'm tired.
  • I'm sad.
  • I feel like I have LESS time, not more.
  • I'm hopeful.
  • I'm encouraged.
  • I'm almost daily moved to tears by the amazingness of people.
  • I'm hungry.
  • I'm also not hungry.
  • Cooking feels like a lot of work right now.
  • I am missing a lot of “key” groceries (hello, milk).
  • I am eating a lot of Fruity Pebbles (thank you, nut milk).
  • I am missing my friends and family.
  • I am grateful, and I am grieving.

The point of all this is just to do a weird little check in to say, hey, still here! Still feeling everything and then some right along with you, still juggling the balls of parenting and remote work and news management and self-care, still thinking about all of you, still eating.

I mean, it's not fancy, but we're eating. And the most noteworthy, wonderful, completely winning thing right now:

Tomato soup with grilled cheese.

Wait, you haven't made tomato soup with grilled cheese yet during quarantine? HOW DARE YOU.

Welcome to my life right now - this is the recipe for minimal groceries, and even minimal-er energy.

Canned tomatoes, cashew, carrots, garlic, bay leaves on a table to make tomato soup.

Yes, I used baby carrots and don't yell at me! No regular carrots to be found, so baby carrots have been summoned for their moment of greatness.

Cream? None. Bacon? None.

In place of the cream, cashews were a great stand in to make the soup creamy, and the bacon was just all-out skipped.

I'm not going to write out a new recipe card here because my favorite, the original HOMEMADE TOMATO SOUP already exists and it's exactly what I used this week (with my substitutions). Please make it. It's so, so good.

My first bite of buttery, crispy, browned and melted grilled cheese dunked in this rich tomato soup felt like a nice, reassuring, calming hug.

Here's how it came together:

And here's how good my about-to-dunk-sandwich photo turned out:

A bowl having tomato soup and spoon in it and a piece of bread lying near it.


Friends, how are you doing? What is your experience in this? What are you feeling these days?

What are you cooking? What recipes are making life just a little more bearable? ♡

Thinking of you, hanging in there with you. One day at a time! xo

Filed Under: Life

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Must tell you I am cooking several of your recipes – salmon patties, tortellini and sausage soup (husband’s favorite), sheetpan garlic ginger salmon and veggies (instead of chicken), and pumpkin muffins (since I recently found canned pumpkin on clearance). Thank you, your recipes are appreciated!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have grilled cheese and your tomato soup on the menu for later this week! I shared your chocolate chip cookie bowl and rosemary focaccia recipes with a friend at work. Over the last year, I have taught several friends to make yeasted bread with that focaccia recipe. It works perfectly.

    Eating simple favorites is working for us. We enjoyed the freshness of Texas caviar, which is attached to so many celebratory events in my mind. I made a cold Turkish green bean recipe (a simple, long-time favorite) that led to a call to an old friend who taught me to make it. This recipe thing works both ways. Glad to share my favorites with you.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Turkish green beans? I’m super interested! Any chance you’d be willing to share your recipe with us?

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Alice! Sadly I don’t think we have a focaccia recipe! But it sounds fabulous, I’d love to see a link if you have one 😛

    3. Skillful Cook Logo


      I absolutely love grilled cheese sandwiches. Have you had homemade grilled cheese & tomato? Not only grilled cheese and tomato, but french toast grilled cheese? Yum yum dim sum! 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    You basically summed up all my thoughts above. I got laid off. I am so tired, I have less time than more since I am home with my 3 year old and 9 month old. People are posting pictures of reorganized closets and I can barely run a vacuum. (I know I shouldn’t compare). I was doing so well breaking up with my phone but now I’m on it constantly. I oscillate between being fine and being panicked. But there are good things too, of course. I’m turning into a “yes mom”. You want to do play doh? Sure! Paint? You bet! Make mud pies? Why not? No rushing them because we have no where to be. Sitting and watching a movie with my 3 year old instead of frantically prepping for the next day of work/day care. Taking it one day at a time, deep breaths, home workouts and Brené Brown’s podcast are saving me right now. Thanks for the update, hang in there. ❤️

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You succinctly summed up how I’m feeling as well. It’s like being in limbo but the stress makes me feel physically like I’m hung over – headache, unsettled tummy – without the benefits of having had a good time the night before. 😕 However, staying healthy is a must so we’re doing mostly fun vegetarian meals (tacos, nachos, burgers) to keep our spirits up. Thanks for continuing to inspire us all Lindsay.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am a nurse who just recovered from my own case of Covid-19 so I’m feeling very grateful to be on the other side of the past 2+ weeks of illness. Also grateful my husband didn’t get very sick. We spent lots of time cooking at home when I was up for it and made lots of “pantry meals.” Thanks for your posts, I’m planning to make that deep dish cookie this week to celebrate being able to go get fresh eggs now! 🙂 Thank you everyone for doing your part and staying home!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Anne, I am so glad to hear you are recovering. Thank you to you and all the healthcare workers keeping us safe. Doing our part by just staying home feels really insignificant compared to the work you are doing, so thank you!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    One day at a time, that’s all any of us can do. Eating has been a lot of snacking which I don’t usually do, but I am trying to give myself some grace. Luckily we have a lot of elk from last season in the freezer and have been supplementing with whatever fresh vegetables are available. I’ve also been practicing my sourdough bread making skills, which has been a journey!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you Lindsay for checking in & checking on us♡
    Like so many, trying my best to stay positive & literally taking it a day at a time, trying not to watch to many hours of the news, doing some baking & reading & getting outside when MN weather allows- maybe a bike ride today with the sun & warmer temps predicted. And lastly a shout out to all the helpers; healthcare workers, teachers, parents who are now doing homeschooling, grocery workers, restaurant workers trying to keep thier businesses afloat & so many more- thank you!
    Be kind to one another, hold onto your faith, be gentle with your own self, stay strong- we will get through this.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay!
    I am a big fan. Many of your recipes have become our favorites. But your cauliflower sauce is a staple. I always have some on hand. It freezes well, too. Instead of milk I had cream cheese! I have even used it for the base of creamy soups and mac and cheese!
    Stay well and THANK YOU!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    “I feel like I have LESS time, not more.”

    THIS. Everything just feels upside down – hang in there!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes…grilled cheese and tomato soup for the win! I am 2/3 of the way through the first trimester of my first pregnancy with our first child (so scary sometimes especially now…) and tomato soup and grilled cheese is one of the only things that tastes good these days. I love reading your check-in’s and coffee dates!
    🙂 Missing family and friends right now though…..

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I feel you with missing family and friends. And grilled cheese and tomato soup was one of my favorite pregnancy foods, too. 🙂 Hang in there!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made a version of this yesterday and blew one of my kids’ minds when I told him he can dip the sandwich in the soup. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can completely sympathize with the “I can do this”/ “I can’t do this” vacillation. I’m grateful I’m not the only one because I was starting to doubt my sanity a little.

    We are incredibly lucky that we’ve been able to pretty seamlessly work from home. Today is day 1 of distance learning with our 1st grader, while both parents continue to work full time. oof. It is a lot. No other way to put it.

    I love to cook, and consider it therapeutic, but I gotta say, there has been a lot of daydreaming about eating out and letting someone else do all the work! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I have come to the realization that I take way too many things for granted. I’m going to really try to appreciate everything more. My goal is to savor the small pleasures in life. Reading your blog is definitely a bright spot in my day. Your tomato soup looks amazing and I’m going to try making it.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just finished eating leftover 5 ingredient red pepper cauliflower pasta from this website! Made it about four days ago. (My kids love it but don’t like it left over, so Mom’s still working on it.) My grocery had all the ingredients but I had to make it with regular white pasta because that was my only choice on the shelf. Thank you for helping us ride this out.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I live in Spain so we’ve been quarantined for two weeks now and it feels like forever. I feel the “I have less time” – I am alternately disappointed in myself for not immediately checking off my very long housecleaning/organizing/free time to-do list, while trying to remind myself I’m not actually on vacation and the stress of the situation is creating anxiety that’s constantly running in the background. Luckily, I’ve been able to cook a lot – including lots of your recipes like chocolate chip cookies and Golden Soup (so comforting). Thank you for checking in! But I think we’re missing the most important information here – how is Sage dealing with all of this? I’m sure she has some wise words for us!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Oh wow. Sage. Honestly she has been taking so many naps that I haven’t even had a chance to ask her. I’ll get right to that!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Lindsay! This quarantine period has been interesting, to say the least. Not unlike yourself, it’s been all over the place. I’ve been sleeping more, but still feel tired a lot. It’s nice to have time to myself, but I miss seeing people. I can go run outside, but I miss the gym and the people there. Have more time to cook, but less motivation to do so.
    I’m grateful to have the ability to continue working from home, and no kids so I don’t have that massive responsibility to take care of them or home school like some of my close friends have been.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think that still feeling tired a lot thing is really common, at least that seems the be the consensus among our team too. I think there’s so much heaviness that even just… existing in it, and processing it, is exhausting. You are in good company with the low motivation thing. 🙋🏼‍♀️Hang in there!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    We’ve made grilled cheese and tomato soup twice already, lol. I’m not doing that well today. Wish we lived somewhere else and had more space. Wish our neighbors were more considerate. Wish this wasn’t happening at all. It comes and goes in waves, but right now I am really feeling it!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Had to pop in the comments to tell you that your blog and recipes have been one of the “good things” in the last couple weeks. I love having the extra time to dive into your recipes. Thank you for being light in a dark place.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you so much Kelly. As motivation can sometimes get low in these seasons, your words are really… well, motivating. 🙂 Take care.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is on the menu tonight! Our 10 month old loved the soup and subbing for cashews and butter worked great.

    Also, skillfulcook recipes make up 70% of what I cook at our house (I dont think I’m exaggerating). Thank you!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay thank you so much for this it’s so comforting to hear from you and hear your experience. Please know that it’s shared and that your posts are something I looked forward to every week before all this and am so happy to read even more now. A very funny moment of universal coincidence: just before I read this I asked my roommate what he was making that smelled so good. He said tomato soup. I asked him which recipe he was using and he said Skillful Cook (good boy I taught him well). I thought to myself, ah! I’ll go see what’s up on POY and get some recipe inspiration for this week and GOSH DARN if you two weren’t on the exact same wavelength. I think you just earned yourself another big fan!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    “…felt like a nice, reassuring, calming hug.” I’ve decided I need to make this recipe for this reason alone.

    I am currently in the process of divorce from my high school sweetheart, married for (almost… will be before it’s finalized) 14 years with three kids together. And we are quarantined together right now. It was all supposed to be so amicable. But he basically isn’t speaking to me at this point (and is still going out, I don’t know where). I miss his friendship. I cry a lot.

    But I also take daily walks and every night I have dinner by candlelight with my kids where we share our “best part” and “hardest part” of our days. I love it, though our responses to those prompts have become decidedly more boring since this whole COVID thing.

    Cooking is saving my life right now. Seriously, thanks.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve made your fluffy pancakes, carrot cake bites, and your best chocolate chip cookies (twice) with my 2 kiddos in the last couple weeks. Delicious, as to be expected! POY to the rescue! Thank you!!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Faring well. Husband retired week before Lockdown in UK. I’m a full time home maker, so learning to work around him.
    We’re old enough to remember having to ‘make your own amusements’ and are managing ok. And we have ‘connectivity’. Though I’m beginning to miss seeing other people – and I’m not that much of a ‘people person’.
    Yay Organic Veg Box deliveries!
    People I feel sorry for are the ones Locked down on their own. Or with children to home-school, though maybe parents will respect teachers more now!

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Feeling all the same feels over here – it’s comforting to know that others are in the same boat of emotions. My bff and I try to call and check in with each other every morning in between wrangling kiddos and it’s been such a beacon of light in my day. Food wise, after several days of crappy breakfasts, I finally switched back to my usual fruit smoothie with collagen powder that I usually make to take to work. I use the Costco frozen fruit mix with peaches, strawberries, mangos, and pineapple and the summery taste is so wonderful. :o)

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your posts are always very comforting. I enjoy the consistency of your style of photography and writing. There are so many changes right now in the world, but I appreciate being able to see something I’ve been familiar with for a few years now. Thank you!

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for your recipe, I used it as the base to make pumpkin soup. It turned out great and I am not a cook!