Friday, January 29, 2010

Frugal Food Friday: Non-fat Creamed Soup Mix Substitute

Well, it's still Friday...for a couple more hours anyway.  I'm a bit late getting my post up.  Substitute teaching, going to bed late, and cooking up a daily felt-food post on my Helping Little Hands blog had me pretty tired last night.  Here we go now, though...
This is one of my favorite cheap meal tricks...and it's healthy too!  It solves a couple problems at our house.  First there are a few recipes we love that call for Cream of (fill in the blank) Soup.  If you've ever checked out the stats on creamed soup, you know it's loaded with fat, and runs you at least $1 for the generic brand.  There are low-fat versions of them, but then you usually have to buy name brand soup, which is more expensive, often as much as $2 or more.  We also have a problem at our house that we need dried milk in our emergency food storage, but its shelf life is relatively short (about 3 years).  This means it needs to be rotated frequently...but we really don't like to drink reconstituted powdered milk.  It wouldn't be bad in an emergency, but I prefer the fresh stuff in general.

Then enter this recipe into our lives to solve both our problems.  It can take the place of  Cream of _______ Soup in almost any recipe and is a way to use up that powdered milk.  (Also be sure to check out Dorothy's idea for using powdered milk with veggies.)  It most frequently appears in Tuna Casserole (Tuna Runa Castle) at our house.

Cream Soup Mix
Taken from Quick and Healthy by Brenda Ponichtera, Pg. 70

To make Mix:
2 cups nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp dried onion
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon
(Also calls for 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried thyme, but I prefer it without.)

Mix well and store in dry place.

To Use Mix:

In saucepan combine 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cups cold water. Stir over low heat until thickened.

In glass measuring cup, combine 1/3 cup soup mix with 1 1/4 cups cold water. Heat on high for 4-5 minutes, stirring several times, until mixture thickens.  (Keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil out of your container.

Note: I usually use the microwave option and add little bit more mix to make it thicker.  It also has suggestions like adding a mushrooms if you want it to be cream of mushroom soup and so forth, but I usually just leave it plain and add some extra veggies to the recipe.  For instance, when I make tuna casserole, we often add broccoli to the water when we're cooking the noodles and add a can of corn to increase the amount of veggies.

One last note:  I highly recommend the cookbook this came from.  The recipe ideas in it are super practical and they're all healthy.  It's written by dietician, and I believe she's from the northwest.  I've also heard she has a second cookbook out, but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet.  Of course I'd double check all this and link you to it...but I need to get my felt food post out still too!  I'll add the nutrition facts for your you tomorrow, because I believe they're included in the cookbook.

One last, last note:  I doubled the recipe when I made this batch today and it fit pretty much perfectly in a 6 cup rubbermaid container for storage.  You'll want to keep this in an airtight container so it doesn't pick up moisture and get clumpy.



Kathy Haynie said...

I am going to do this - but I won't double it since I'm not cooking for a big family. Thanks for a great tip, Polly!

Katie said...

This is a really good idea Polly. Thanks for sharing!

Polly said...

Mom (or anyone) you can make this one "can" at a time if you want. If anyone is interested, just email me and I'll find it in the cookbook and send it on. pollycarlson (at) gmail (dot) com

emmalou said...

I've been wondering what to do with a bag of powdered milk I acquired about 6 months ago. This is perfect! Thank you!

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