There are so many great things that can be made quickly and easily using a can of Cream of Mushroom (or Chicken, Celery, etc.), but I am not a fan of many of the ingredients of the ones you buy. It is easy to make your own from just a few wholesome ingredients, and is particularly easy to make up a big batch and freeze in can-sized portions to have on hand to grab when you need something easy. It is really interesting, too, how much better it tastes!
Cream of Something Soup
Equivalent to one can
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 to one cup of main ingredient (mushrooms, celery, chicken, etc.)
- 1/4 cup butter (or other fat)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Salt to taste
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
- 1 cup milk (or alternative milk like almond, soy, etc.)
Saute onion, garlic and main ingredient (or use diced cooked chicken) until soft . Set aside. Melt butter, then add flour, stir and cook for a minute or two. Add broth, milk and sauteed mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for a few minutes – the longer you cook, the thicker it will become. Be sure and stir frequently or it will tend to scorch on the bottom as it thickens. If not using immediately, let cool and package for freezing or storage.
I always make at least 3 or 4 times the recipe, since it is just as easy to make a large batch as it is to make a small one, and I love having it on hand. I discovered by accident that if you use bacon drippings for all or part of the fat, it makes a delicious country gravy taste (think sausage gravy over biscuits or chicken-fried steak). I package it up in quart-sized freezer bags and freeze flat for quick defrosting and easy storage.
Here are some other suggestions for some quick & easy meals using your soup. Add to crumbled browned hamburger or steak strips and sauteed sliced mushrooms, cook briefly until heated through, then add sour cream for beef stroganoff. Add to diced cooked chicken and cooked veggies of your choice (parboiled frozen mixed veggies work great), heat through and serve over mashed or baked potatoes, biscuits or toast for an easy chicken pot pie. Add to raw chicken pieces or pork chops and bake for 45 minutes or until meat is done – add water or milk if needed. Serve over rice or noodles. Use as-is (heated up, of course) for gravy. Use your imagination or one of the hundreds of recipes that call for Cream of Whatever soup.