Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cream of Mushroom Soup

I've written a few times about my food journey in the past year or so.  I used to think that reduced fat and fat free and lean cuisine, etc. were good options to help prevent weight gain.  I quickly ruled out freezer meals- they're so full of sodium, they don't fill you up OR keep you full, and if you look at the ingredients list, I'm not a good enough reader to pronounce the names of all the ingredients.  Unless it's some sort of ethnic food, I operate under the assumption that if I can't say it, I shouldn't eat it.

Anyway, the past year has been a time when I've finally started to learn how to cook beyond "survival mode."  You know, the college age kid that just cooks the same few staples- spaghetti, grilled chicken, family meal deals from Bi-Lo, veggies from a can or bag, etc.  It's been a lot of fun for me.  It's gotten increasingly more fun as I learn more about what I'm actually putting into my body, what the nutrients are, different ways to prepare the same staple ingredients, and striving to eat real food.  For those of you that don't have to listen to me talk about food on a regular basis, "real food" is non-processed, non-GMO, organic when possible, and local if at all possible food.  I could go into all sorts of explanations about why I chose this lifestyle, but basically, I've done a lot of research, tried a lot of things, and this is what works best for me- for my health and the way I feel.

I'm totally not a "cream of ____ soup" person, but with the holidays lately, I've done the green bean casserole and a few other dishes that require "cream of" soups.  In reading the ingredients, I decided it was time to see if there's a suitable, taste-comprable substitute out there.  I found some powdered substitutes where you add water when you're ready to use them, but most of them had more processed/ sketchy ingredients than the canned soup has.

So, from the Campbell's website, this is their cream of mushroom soup.  I'd really like to know what "flavorings" are.

At my inexpensive grocery store, a 10.75 oz can of cream of mushroom runs 2/$3 pretty regularly, and occasionally, you can get it 10/$10 at CVS.  So, at best, about a dollar for the 10.75 oz can.

Today, I made 5 pints.  My ingredients were:

~a handful of diced organic mushrooms (mega clearance, the whole carton was only 99 cents) so, maybe 45 cents of mushrooms
~4 cups of organic milk ($2.69/gallon) = 67 cents
~3/4 cup butter ($2.29/ 2 c.) = 86 cents
~1 cup of unbleached, whole wheat flour  = roughly 50 cents
~2 cups of homemade chicken stock)= negligible cost of 2 cups water, and give it electricity for about an hour- time to make the stock and then the soup.

Even if you budget electricity and water at 1.00, the total cost is still about 3.48.  It literally involved less than 5 total minutes of prep, one minute of stirring, and about 15 minutes of waiting for the soup to thicken.  So easy, and cheap.

Oh, and I made 5 pints worth, or almost 7.5 cans of store bought soup.  One's missing because I used it to make dinner. :)  At best price, you'd pay 7.50 for this amount of soup in the grocery store, so this is at least 50% savings.    I highly recommend it- one dish only, not time or labor intensive, and so much healthier for you and yours.

PS- You can freeze it!

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