Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alternatives for Cream Soups

A friend of mine asked a very good question the other day that is one I have been playing with for a while: What is a healthy alternative to using canned cream soups in casseroles, sauces, and other recipes? Well, making just a basic white sauce is the first option that comes to mind (obviously you may need to double or triple this recipe, depending on how much you need):

Basic White Sauce
  • 1 Tb. butter
  • 3 Tb. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. chicken bone broth (or canned low sodium chicken broth with no MSG)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • salt and pepper
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly.
Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth.
Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.
Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
Can be varied by using vegetable broth, sauteéd chopped celery, celery seed, or sauteéd chopped mushrooms.

If you're looking for something a little more interesting, here are a couple of others:

Substitute for Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 c. water
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 garlic clove crushed
1 or 2 Tb. olive oil
2 c. chopped or sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tb. corn flour (or regular flour)
some Worcestershire sauce or some mustard, just enough to taste (optional)
Salt, and pepper.

Heat oil on medium heat.
Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms.
In a mixing bowl add water and flour and beat until it gets the consistency of heavy cream. Add more flour if needed.
Add this mixture to onions mixture little by little so it does not get lumpy and keep stirring.
Add rest of ingredients, bring to boil for a few minutes, then add to whatever dish you are preparing.

And if you have a wheat grinder, you can make bean flour from dry beans, which makes another kind of delicious "white" sauce. (Click the link below for a great video tutorial and some other fabulous cooking-with-food-storage ideas):

Substitute for Cream of Chicken Soup

Grind 4 Tb. of any white bean (lima, navy, etc.) to make 5 Tb. bean flour
Combine 5 Tb. bean flour
1 ¾ c. water
4 tsp. chicken bouillon into a saucepan (or preferably, the equivalent amount of a bone broth)

Cook on stove top at medium temperature until thick and delicious (whisk frequently). The soup should cook in 3 minutes. (This may be longer if your grinder makes a very coarse flour).
Use this with cooked veggies and or meat for a complete meal. (Replaces a can plus the water or milk in recipes).
So why not just go with the easy option of cream soups for your recipes? One reason is to avoid all the unnecessary salt contained in them. Another you will see in the next post...

3 comments:

Mommy Bee said...

The other night I took a can of white beans, stuck them in the food processor and mooshed them up, then put them in a pan added about 6 frozen cubes of my homemade chicken broth. I added a little water (and flour) to make it stretch, and it worked great as the equivalent of about 2 cans of cream of __ soup (I used it as sauce in a casserole).

Katrina said...

That sounds like a great idea as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

Eric Miller said...

Thanks Katrina!

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