Well, that's about to change! I've just discovered an excellent, inexpensive, and healthy alternative to cooking with dear 'ole Campbells!
I found a recipe for Homemade Cream Soup. Since my plans for dinner included using two cans of Campbell's soup, and I had all the ingredients for homemade cream soup, today was the day to give it a whirl, and see for myself.
To begin cooking the soup, first you melt the butter and a dash of olive oil in a large skillet.
Let the butter melt, and slowly turn a golden color...
First, I added a whole chopped onion... stir it around, and let it cook for 3-4 minutes...
Then add in the remainder of the veggies, which are celery, mushrooms, and 1 jalapeno (seeded & diced)...
Stir the veggies around, and simmer for another 4-5 minutes until they are nice and browned...
Now the next step is optional. This wasn't in the recipe, but because onions are outlawed in my house (my husband can't stand the texture of onion... PERIOD!), so I knew that in my house, having large chunks of onions and mushrooms would not go over well. My solution...
Blend them into a pulp. I plunked all the veggies, plus the 1 cup milk into my blender...
And gave it a whirl!!!
Not really that appetizing looking, to be sure... BUT... at least I've got my bases covered with the picky eaters in my family!
Now, in a large skillet (I rinsed out the one I just used for the veggies), melt the butter until it is bubbly, and then add the flour.
Let the butter and flour brown a bit, and then add in the chicken broth...
You are basically creating a homemade gravy here. Whisk the gravy mixture until creamy, and all chunks of flour have disappeared, and you have a beautiful brown gravy.
Now it is time to add the blended veggie mix...
Whisk until you have a beautiful gravy/soup mixture.
Now it is time to pour up the soup into a large canning jar. I will be using this homemade soup mix throughout the week, and it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
I found that this recipe makes about 4 cups of cream soup.
Now that I had the cream soup all ready to go, it was time to move on to putting together the casserole on my menu for this evening's meal. It is a favorite recipe of our family, and honestly, it is so simple that it sounds too good to be true, but I'll promise you that its got a comforting taste that has you going back for seconds! I'll post both recipes below...
To get started, brown up the hamburger meat, seasoning with salt, pepper and a couple of fresh squeezed garlic cloves.
While the meat is browning, peel, and dice up your potatoes, and place in a large oven roaster. My Pampered Chef stoneware roaster is my go-to pot. Love it!
Peel and dice carrots, and add those to the pot.
Dump in the browned, drained hamburger meat...
Pour in about 1-1/2 cups of the homemade cream soup, and add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
Stir it all together, and salt and pepper to taste. Pop this into the oven for 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours at 300 degrees . If you are in a hurry for dinner, you can cook it at 350 for an hour. I find that cooking it slow keeps the potatoes more tender, and not so mushy.
Pull out of the oven, and give it a good stir. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Sometimes you might need more salt. Potatoes absorb a lot of salt, and it is always a good idea to check for seasoning before serving.
Then take some grated Pepper Jack cheese, and sprinkle liberally over top of hamburger mix, and cover with lid. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, and then its ready to serve!
Supper time was ready in a cinch when the kids got home from school, and we enjoyed sitting around the table together visiting. I shared with them how I had made the soup for the casserole from scratch, and they definitely thought that the taste was much better with the homemade than the bought canned brand.
Give it a whirl sometime... it takes a few minutes to make, but you can have the soup handy for the rest of the week's cooking, knowing you made it yourself, and save yourself all the effort of opening up all those pesky soup cans when its time to cook dinner again!
Here are the recipes below for the Homemade Cream Soup and the Cheeseburger Casserole.
HOMEMADE CREAM SOUP
3/4 cup butter, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp chicken bouillon
1 Tbsp salt
Melt ¼ cup butter and oil in large skillet. Add onions, and cook on medium heat for three to four minutes until lightly browned. Add in remainder of veggies, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until all lightly browned, and soft. Optional: Blend veggies and milk in blender, or remove veggies from skillet. Melt 1/2 cup butter in skillet, and add 1/2 cup flour. Whisk together until flour is lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, bouillon, and salt, and stir until a light brown gravy forms. Mix back in veggies and stir all together. Ladle soup into glass canning jar. Makes about 4 cups of soup that can be used in any recipe calling for a cream soup.
1-1/2 pounds hamburger meat, cooked, drained
4 cups potatoes, peeled, diced (about 4-6 potatoes)
1 cup carrots, peeled, diced (about 2-3 carrots)
1-1/2 cups (or so) homemade cream soup (or 2 cans cream mushroom soup)
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Garlic, salt, pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack Cheese
Using a large oven roaster, mix potatoes, carrots, and hamburger meat together. Stir in the cream soup and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, and pepper. Bake in 300 oven for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven, and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Replace lid, and let casserole sit for 10 minutes. Serve.