This is so amazing! I have come across several things in my diy, save money, live healthy journey that have made me think "THIS is my favorite thing I have done so far!" My top 3 I think are the homemade baby wipes, soap scum cleaner, and this: Cream of ___________ substitute. I happened to see it on Pinterest and like most things, I had it pinned for a good month or two (or three...) before I got around to actually reading it.
I have several favorite recipes that call for cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or tomato soup. This pin claimed that it is better for you and "wayyyyyy cheaper" so I decided to be brave and go for it. My blog motto is "trial and error", if I never try it, I'll never know. So, over the past 2 weeks I have tried all 3.
It has been amazing!
So they all have the same basic recipe that you tweak for each. Here is the "basic" White Sauce:
First, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan (I have used salted, unsalted, & margarine; all have worked). When is is melted, add 3 tablespoons flour (I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper. Whisk and cook over medium heat until it bubbles. Then slowly add 1 1/4 cup of liquid (different for each). Add is slowly while whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Cook, while whisking, until it thickens.
Okay, so when I first read that I thought that it sounded like it might be hard and take a long time, but I was very wrong. It was SO easy!
First I will cover the Cream of Chicken I used it to make a family favorite: Chicken Pot Pie (recipe here). My husband said "this is better than the canned kind" That made me feel like I had won an Olympic medal. I almost gave a speech.
Make the basic white sauce but add 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning to the flour mixture. For your liquid use 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 cup of milk. One thing to know about this one is that you can use all chicken broth and no milk (use 1 1/4cup). I just used the milk because I was worried it would not be creamy enough.
Next moving on to Cream of Mushroom OH MY GOSH! This was so good that I licked the saucepan! I used it to make another family favorite that I grew up calling Cattleclatterhash (recipe here).
While the butter is melting add 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms to saute. Add the flour mixture as usual and use milk as your liquid. One tip for this one: you can't buy just 1/4 mushrooms, but you can cut all of them up and freeze them to get out 1/4 cup each time you need them. :) I have tried this and it works just fine.
Now on to Tomato Soup. I originally made this for another family casserole we call One Dish Dinner (recipe here). I later just made it as soup for me and my son to have with grilled cheese for lunch one day. Put to the husband test, it was good in the casserole but had a stronger tomato juice taste than canned tomato soup when eaten by itself.
This one is simple. Make the white sauce but use tomato juice as your liquid. You can buy those little 6 pack cans of juice and use 2 cans.
Health run down: well, there are 3 tablespoons of butter so you know there must be more calories than in the canned stuff (you would be right) but the good thing is, you know exactly what is in it, less processing and less sodium.
Also, yes, it is cheaper. The math is of course different for each one, depending on the ingredients. One box of stick butter will make this 10 times. I am feeling to lazy to figure out how many tablespoons my 5lb bag of flour is, but the cost of the flour needed is most likely pennies. For the mushrooms. I bought a little thing of fresh ones and chopped them up and froze them in in snack bags that had 1/4 cup in each so that I could get a package out when I needed it. I got 6 servings out of it and then used the rest for pizza toppings. :) For the tomato juice, I bought a 6 pack of juice which ended up being $1.32 per soup mix. I am sure there is a cheaper way to buy tomato juice so I am going to work on that one.
Anyway, I thought these were delicious. You can find instructions for cream of celery and chive soup in addition to these at this blog. It is the same as the the cream of mushroom except with celery or chives instead of mushrooms. Hope you enjoy!