I always used to cook with canned Cream of Chicken Soup. I never questioned whether it was good for me. Finally, I looked at the label of ingredients and decided I could do better. I substitute this mix in every recipe I make; soups, gravies, casseroles, sauces, and more. It’s simple, and it takes just a few minutes to whip up.
STORE-BOUGHT vs. WHOLE FOOD ALTERNATIVE RECIPE
First, let me convince you that this version really is healthier than the can, because, honestly, none of us need an extra step in our cooking unless it is absolutely necessary. So, here is what the ingredient label looks like for canned Cream of Chicken Soup:
photo credit: https://adventuresofaglutenfreemom.wordpress.com
There are 29 ingredients in the canned version of this soup. It contains Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Partially Hydrogenated oils—both of which are controversial ingredients in the food industry. Science is still inconclusive as to what kind of potentially harmful health effects these items have on our bodies.
My Hearty Cream of Chicken soup has just 15 ingredients, (including the 10 ingredients which make up the “Better than Bouillon” base). My homemade soup contains neither MSG nor hydrogenated oils.
Now, let’s look at the nutrition label:
The canned version has 8 grams of fat and 120 calories per 1/2 cup serving.
If you choose to use skim milk in my recipe, there are about 6 grams of fat and 99 calories per 1/2 cup serving.
But, honestly, I don’t care much about fat and calories. In my nutrition consulting, my concern is the kinds of food you consume and not so much the calories. Your body will tell you when you have had enough, if you are feeding it whole foods.
|Hearty Cream of Chicken Soup
1/4 cup chopped onion (green, yellow, or red are all fine)
Sauté onions in butter in a medium saucepan until onions are soft and translucent. Mix in the flour to form a paste. Pour in half of the milk and whisk until well combined with a wire whisk. Add the rest of the milk and the bouillon, and whisk until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
Equivalent to 1 Can of Soup.
Mince onions into small pieces. Sauté the onions in 2 Tablespoons of butter, stirring occasionally.
Once the onions are tender and slightly translucent, add the flour. (I always have a steady supply of fresh ground wheat in my fridge, so that is what I use for flour. In fact, I really only ever use all-purpose (white) flour when I am baking dessert items. Whole wheat works fine for everything else I make.) Mix the flour and butter until it forms a paste. This flour+butter “paste” is called a roux (pronounced, “roo”). In my opinion, every great cream sauce or gravy begins with a roux.
Add only half of the milk to the roux, just to make sure it gets fully dissolved and there are no clumps. Once the mixture is smooth, add the remaining milk. Stir continuously! If you get sidetracked and walk away from this mixture, it will scorch and you will have to start all over.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper into the soup to taste. You will know the soup is finished when the mixture is thick and begins to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat, and it is done! You just made your very own cream of chicken soup from scratch! Don’t you feel so liberated?!