I always used to cook with canned Cream of Chicken Soup. I never thought to question 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.
Canned vs. Homemade
First, let me convince you that this version really is healthier than the can, because, honestly, none of us needs 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 potentially harmful health effects these items may have on our bodies.
My Hearty Cream of Chicken soup has just 16 ingredients, (including the 12 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. If you are using 2% Milk (my preference), the fat grams and calories are the same as the canned stuff.
But, honestly, I don’t care much about fat and calories. In my nutrition consulting, my concern is the kinds of food being consumed and not so much the calories. Our bodies will have a better chance at telling us when we have had enough, if we are eating mostly whole foods.
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
More flavor, less ingredients, and healthier for you.
- 1/4 cup onion minced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk 2% milkfat
- 1 1/2 teaspoon “Better than Bouillon” chicken base
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
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 continually until well-combined with a wire whisk.
Add the rest of the milk and the bouillon and continue whisking until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Any color of onion will work in this sauce--green, red, yellow. I have even used dehydrated onions and they gave the sauce a more rich flavor. Also, this recipe yeilds equivalent to one 15-ounce can of cream of chicken soup. Calories listed are per 1/2 cup serving.
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”).
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?!
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