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Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

Prep: 20 minutes • Cook: 40 minutes • Serves: 8

3 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 stalk celery, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) peeled, whole, no salt added tomatoes
1 can (28 ounces) peeled and diced tomatoes
1 cup low sodium tomato juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup half and half
8 slices French baguette, cut 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

1. In large saucepot, heat 2 teaspoons butter and oil over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, thyme, sugar and pepper. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover and cook 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent sticking. Stir in half and half, and remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place bread slices on rimmed baking pan. Divide and spread remaining 1 teaspoon butter over bread slices, and sprinkle each with cheese. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

3. In batches, transfer soup to blender and purée. Transfer puréed soup to large bowl before puréeing next batch.

4. To serve, ladle soup into individual soup bowls. Top each with a Parmesan crouton and garnish with thyme leaves.

Approximate nutritional values per serving: 162 Calories, 5g Fat (28% of total calories) 2g Saturated Fat (11% of total calories), 7mg Cholesterol, 370mg Sodium, 26g Carbohydrates, 4g Fiber, 5g Protein

Dietary Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1 Protein; 1 Fat