Five Island Sojourners

A blog about Homeschool, Cooking and Life in the Tropics

How to Make Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

on July 18, 2012

Have you discovered the joy of the casserole? Freeze it for months, defrost and the kids always love it. Also known as the “hot dish” for those hearty Midwesterners.  The “hot dish” was first introduced to me by the pastors’ wives of Minnesota– and you can’t help but immediately realize the glory of it:

* the ability to feed an entire family with one dish

* the one dish will usually contain most of the food groups except fruit– Ish!  That’s a derogatory statement of grossness in Minnesota, for those of you who are unfamiliar with that interjection.   A side bowl of cut-up apples is always a nice complement to the creamy hot dish anyway.  Or if you live in the tropics, a little fruit salad of mangos, pineapple and apples.

* the “hot dish” can be prepared in advance, stored in the freezer for 3 months, defrosted and tossed in the oven for an hour– pull it out and magically feed your entire family and a few friends, which leads me to the next point…

*  you can always have one or two of these puppies ready in your freezer in case of a last-minute need to feed up to 6 adults or you have a meal ready to give to a friend in need (they can also put it in their freezer and pull it out whenever they need it– they will love you forever).  The pastors wives of Minnesota didn’t even need a separate freezer, they’d just store these casseroles on the back porch in the winter– sometimes stacked three or four deep.  Now, that’s what I call the Midwestern version of The Proverbs 31 woman!

* if you don’t have enough casserole dishes, just mix up the sauce, clean and cut up the veggies, cook and cut up the meat, even cook up the rice.  Throw them in separate ziplocs, put all the small bags in one big bag, write on it, and toss it in your freezer.  Defrost, assemble, and bake. This will save you a lot of space in your freezer.

One reality we face in living overseas, and you’ll probably hear me mention this once, twice or ten thousand times, is that we just can’t count on our grocery stores to have items regularly in stock.  We went two months without cheese this year– two months?!!!  Why?  Why?!!!  If there’s anything Midwesterners love more than hot dishes, its cheese.  Cheese, glorious cheese.  This has led me to have a very bad case of Expat Syndrome, which is marked by frantic hoarding of items such as cheese, mayonnaise and butter.  I have even found myself hiding these items under all my other groceries so no one will see them in my cart.  It’s animal instinct, people!  Don’t judge me.

We currently have an embargo on Cream of Chicken Soup Concentrate, which is a staple for many hot dish recipes.  Oh, the AGONY!!!!  I’m not kidding, this is really a source of much stress for me and my friends (I’m not the only one…at least thats what I tell myself).  So, I spent a long time perfecting a substitution, which is actually quite delicious.  I usually multiply this by 5 and store it in 14 oz  portions (the amount in one can) in my freezer.

If you need Cream of Mushroom soup substitute, just exchange the chicken broth for beef broth, chop up some mushrooms and throw those in too.  It’ll be good!  Relax, take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be just fine.

Multiply and freeze in 14oz quantities (equivalent to one can).
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup low-fat or fat free milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed to taste.

Use in casseroles in place of condensed cream soups.

Notes:
Add a little extra chicken broth powder for a little more flavor.

 

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