Friday, February 22, 2008

Souped Up

A can of Cream of Mushroom soup probably gets tossed into more recipes than is decent to think about. Sometimes the call is for Cream of Celery or Cream of Chicken or Cream of Whatever but mostly it's Cream of Mushroom.

Which I never have on hand.

So this morning I got to thinking, gee, I wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper and easier to just make my own Cream of Whatever and not even bother with the store bought cans. No sooner thought than Googled, of course, and lo! What wondrous results to behold. So wondrous, in fact, that I'm impelled to share the recipe for what is a dry soup mix that stores on the shelf and, with the addition of water, makes delicious Cream of Chicken soup any time you feel the urge.


Mix together in a bowl: 2 cups nonfat dry milk, 3/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 cup chicken bullion granules or powder, 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes OR 1 teaspoon each onion powder, basil, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Store in airtight container at room temperature. To use: combine 1/3 cup dry soup mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Mix well in small saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.

That's the basic recipe, which lends itself to variation. If you don't have the granulated or powdered chicken bullion, just skip that part and use chicken broth instead of water when making a serving of soup. Or use some other flavor of bullion in the mix, like vegetable, for instance.

I like this way of doing it -- a lot. When you're in the mood for the soup, all you have to do is scoop up a portion of the already mixed goodies, add water and, bingo! You're good to go. I'm sure this would work even faster with the use of the microwave but it certainly doesn't take long from the stove top. I'll bet this is a lot healthier than what's in the can, too, by golly.

As it turned out, the suggested portion was just right for the potato-chicken casserole I made this afternoon. For the potatoes, I used a couple cups of Tater Tots. I'd imagine you Coffee Mates in other lands have 'em, perhaps under a different name. They're basically shredded, cooked potato, formed into little tubular shapes. If you don't have any handy, just shred a couple cups of cooked potato for the following recipe.

First I greased my 8"x8" baking dish with olive oil, then covered the bottom with frozen Tater Tots. (As suggested, you can substitute a layer of shredded, cooked potatoes.) In a bowl, I whisked together 2 eggs, 1 cup milk and the above-mentioned portion of cooked Cream of Chicken soup (1/3 cup dry mix and 1 1/4 cups water, cooked until thick.) To that I added a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and about a cup of chopped, cooked chicken, then poured the mixture over the Tater Tots in the baking dish. Sprinkled a generous portion of Mrs. Dash chipotle seasoning over the top and baked in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

In the picture above, there is a small serving of the finished casserole sitting in front of the plastic container with the dry soup mix. Those flecks in the mix are bits of the dried sweet basil. Hmmm. Dill would be good in that, too. I'll keep that in mind for future reference.

By the way, no tin cans were harmed in the making of these culinary spectaculars.


bonnie said...

Way to go! I should tell Jim who is on a salt free diet and can no longer use creamed canned stuff. (yeah I know broth would have salt)

bonnie said...

Drat I forgot to tell you to take a look see here.

Dee said...

Bonnie, there are numerous salt-free broths and bouillons on the market. Jim probably knows about them. Also, cooking up some chicken broth from scratch, without salt, works fine and can be frozen in handy portions. And there is always Mrs. Dash for plenty of salt-free flavor.

I'll have to check out the link later, but thank you. I usually do videos late at night because they take so long to download on my dial-up. (smile)

Mage And George said...

That's just a great thing to have handy. Thank you.