So if you have talked with me recently you’d know that I’m getting a bit obsessed with making my own sauces, dressings, marinades, cooking soups, you name it, if you can make it in a food processor, I’m trying it! I can see where the convenance of popping open a can of cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or even cream of celery soup and throw it into a casserole, crock pot dish or your favorite dish to make it creamy. I’m all about convenance and whatever is quicker these days. Cooking with two kids around or a cranky baby is a regular occurrence at my house these days. However, I’m trying to really cook healthier for my family, that means more fresh fruits and vegetables, less processed stuff. It’s not like I’ll never buy a box of crackers, bag of chips or canned soup again, but I can at least try to make an effort. I really didn’t know how easy it really is to make it homemade until one day I was making a Healthy Turkey Tetrazzini (Recipe to come) and as I was making the cream sauce I finally mastered the “thickening” process. I’ve never really been able to “thicken” anything all that well, as I was making it I realized if I put in fresh mushrooms wala, cream of mushroom soup! Fresh! So later that weekend, I got the ingredients out and tried it……I was able to make 3 jars of this in one batch, I froze 2 and gave one to my mother who then used hers in a green bean casserole the following week, which by the way rocked!!!! I’m not sure I’ll ever make a green bean casserole with canned cream of mushroom soup again that’s how good it was! Come back Sunday for my new home-made Pea Pesto I’ll be featuring for our Eat Your Greens theme! Or check out my Spinach Pesto I talked about last week.
When trying to thicken any sauce, I’ve learnt a few things along the way. One, more solid less liquid. Meaning if your using flour or cornstarch you’ll need more of that than whatever your mixing it with, broth, water, or whatever it may be. Even when I tried it to a 3:1 ratio it didn’t thicken enough so don’t be blown away when you see my 7:2 ratio below in the ingredients! Two, lots and lots of whisking, don’t give up! Keep whisking. Lastly, remove your sauce from the flame for a good minute before adding the cheese, this really really thickens it. In this case I removed it from the heat, added the milk and then the cheese. I hope I can make this just as perfect this weekend because I mastered it last time! Just follow my directions and you should have the same turn out! Oh one more TIP!!! Get all of your ingredients measured out before you start. Yes yes yes I’m an organized chef, I like all of my veggies cut, ingredients measured and pans ready to go, but when making this you’ll want to have everything on hand trust me.
What you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 7 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken low sodium, fat free broth
- 1 cup reduced fat milk
- 1/2 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of mushrooms, diced (I used my mini chopper to get it real fine, I suggest doing this)
What to do:
In a large sauce pan add the margarine and melt over medium heat swirling it around until it’s melted, add the salt, then add the flour stirring, you’ll basically just turn the flour into a thick crumble, at first I thought this was going to be a disaster, but trust me, keep going. (Look at the picture above it looks bad but it’s not.
Next add in the broth 1 cup at a time. Whisk in between each addition for a good few minutes. I actually set my timer for 2 minutes because sometimes while your whisking it seems like ages when it’s only been 30 seconds! Turn heat to high and let it come to a soft boil, you’ll see it thicken before your eyes. Add in the mushrooms and continue to whisk and thicken. I’d whisk for another 2 minutes. If you don’t continue to whisk, it may start burning on the bottom, that’s happened to me before. If it’s bubbling up too much just turn your heat down a little, it’s hard to say exactly what level it’s supposed to be.
Remove the pan from the fire and let sit for a minute. Add milk and cheese whisking again for a minute or two.
Let cool and bottle it up! I can’t wait to make this again. I want to have a supply so I never have to reach for a can again, I’m hoping to experiment with celery and chicken too because I love cooking cream of celery too.
Here are some of my recipes you can use your new homemade healthy cream of mushroom soup with!
Slowcooker Chicken Pot Pie – This one would be amazing with a homemade sauce!!