Friday, May 8, 2009

Homemade cream of condensed soup replacement

What do you pay for a can of cream of "whatever" soup? I make it for pennies. Literally. I also control the ingredients. If I had a child with allergies to wheat or milk or whatever, I'd save a fortune. The organic stuff is even more. It can be made without MSG if you buy the bullion from a natural food store...and/or use a condensed natural stock. The real trick is to not get too much salt in the finished product. This is really low fat!

Look at this. If you didn't catch the dehydrating post from Angela ( it's well worth learning about. I have a lot of fun with my dehydrator. Somehow I'm out of onions. Must be all the recent activity with the Cream Soup Mix at a fraction of the cost from the previous post. I made 36 of those. Adding pasta and other dehydrated vegetables and seasoning ins quart size jars. At any rate, in reality for this cream of soup replacement, I do use the dry onion. Just imagine it's a dry onion there in the picture. Seriously, right now my dehydrator is running with more onion, but it will be a while.

For the cost of 1/4 cup flour (figure just under 4 cups per pound, a 5 lb bag of flour is 2$--enough flour for about 80 mixes.) Depending on the cost of your bullion, it can be relatively cheap. Yes. I know. This is so exciting! I personally know a lot of ladies who literally cannot cook without a can of cream of chicken soup in the house. They use it for everything. Soup yes, but also casseroles, and sauces. If you use cornstarch, it only takes about 5 minutes (but it won't hold it's thickening ability once frozen so keep that in mind if you plan on making frozen sauces).

So, I use a small jar to hold up the bag, but totally not a necessary step. It helps if you are making a lot at once to have the jar holding the bag to see all the ingredients. I have found this most helpful when I'm making 10 or more at a time.
Once the bags are made, you can either recycle the bags each time, or throw them away. I'm good with reusing cuts on garbage and expense.

Here is a recipe for condensed soup replacement. It is a dry mix so it is shelf stable I like to make about 20 in little snack size baggies at one time and shove them in a Rubbermaid. Then I just label the container cooking instructions. Here's what I do...

Tess' Condensed Soup replacement
1/4 cup flour (or gluten free: 2 T cornstarch)
1T chicken bullion granules (also available in low sodium and MSG free variety)
1T dry onion flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Chef Tess All purpose seasoning (or a Mrs. Dash of your choice.)

For cream of mushroom, add 2T crushed freeze dried mushrooms.

To prepare: Combine mix with 2 cups milk or broth whisking over medium heat. Heat until thick, about 10-15 minutes. For an extra rich creamy base, add 1/4 cup cream cheese at the end of cooking. Use one mix to replace one can of soup.
You may cook several batches at once and then freeze them in 2 cup measurements to replace a can of soup in most recipes. Cool well. If you use pint size freezer bags, they are perfect. Lay them flat when you freeze them and then they can stack very nicely. They will "curdle" a little when defrosted, but once boiled will return to that creamy texture (so it's fine to use them in recipes for casseroles and so forth.)
There you go.


Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

That's such a great idea.

I do use condensed soups sometimes in my chicken and biscuits, but I could also envision using this base for mac and cheese??

What do you think about that scenario?

Chef Tess said...

It's a wonderful base for mac and cheese, especially the baked casserole style. Any recipe that calls for condensed soup will work with this in it's place. Chicken and biscuits...oh I love that stuff. Why haven't I blogged that one yet? Hmm. Ideas ideas.

Olivia said...

Hey Tess!

I was wondering if I could add powdered milk to the mix? The only problem I have is that I only have instant powdered milk right now, so not sure if that changes the recipe. Wondering how much powdered milk I should add.

Also, what if I don't have freeze dried shrooms? I usually have the little cans or fresh. How much should I add? I know this sounds like a dumb question, but this cooking stuff just doesn't click in my pretty little head.


Chef Tess said...

I believe instant you use 1/4 cup per 1 cup water? It's been a while since I had that in the house here. I would check the package and just use whatever amount of dry powder it would take to make 2 cups milk. Then when you make the mix, just add water instead of milk, unless you want it extra creamy. MMM... On the mushrooms, the fresh I would use 1/4-1/2 cup cooked mushrooms, depending on how much mushroom flavor I wanted. BTW not dumb questions! I am happy to help. Love ya Olivia!

Brenda said...

I have a recipe that uses condensed soup without being diluted. Can I make this mix and then use only 1 cup of milk to make it the thicker consistency that I need for my recipe? Every recipe I see for homemade condensed cream of... soup is a recipe to make the soup to eat, rather than the condensed soup that I can use in my recipe.
Does that make sense? Thanks!

Chef Tess said...

This recipe will be pretty thick when prepared with the 2 cups milk 1/4 cup flour. Especially as it cools you will find it to be the consistency of a thick condensed soup. Yes, you can use it anywhere you use the thick condense soup undiluted. I have other soup mix recipes for soup...this is for replacement in recipes specifically calling for condensed soup from the can.

Brenda said...

Perfect! Thanks! That will be perfect for my sour cream chicken enchilada recipe! You're awesome! Can't wait to try it!

Lisa said...

My 2 year old is allergic to dairy and soy so I am trying to figure things out with my cooking. Can I use almond or coconut milk or would it be bland? I mostly use cream of mushroom in my cooking.

Chef Tess said...

I've used the unsweetened almond milk and it's been pretty good or this. Great question!