Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cream of WHATEVER! { Menu Plan Monday}

I promised a while back that I would share how I'd learned to cream up our homemade spaghetti sauce naturally. You see, growing up we always threw in a can of cream of mushroom soup to our sauce. I love the creamy taste, but over the past year or so had become wary of the cream of "insert something here" soup that so many familiar recipes called for, so I started looking for a natural substitute. I found, and tried, a mix consisting dry milk powder, corn starch and various other things that you just added stock or water to when cooking. The consistency worked, but the taste was terrible!

Enter More With Less cookbook with it's basic white sauce recipe. (I realize this is not ground breaking news to the rest of the world, but it was news to me...and good news at that!) Knowing how to make a basic white sauce has opened up a world of possibilities for me in cooking.

Basic White Sauce ingredients include: butter, flour, salt, and milk. Basic Directions are: Melt butter. Add salt and flour and mix. It will chunk up so as you pour in milk, stir with a wisk. Continue cooking and stirring until thickened. More With Less cookbook gives variations of how much butter/flour/milk to add to get varying levels of thickness. I love it.

For the amount and consistency equivalent of a can of condensed cream of "whatever" soup:
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
(You can add anything you want to make it a cream of "whatever you want" soup.)

Scratch Cream of "Whatever" soup off my grocery list! One more item down...many more to go!

Now for this weeks menu plan:

B:Toast and Eggs
L:Leftover rice, beans, and lentils
D:Mandarin Rice Bake (More With Less, pg. 132)

B:Overnight Crock pot Oatmeal
L:Leftovers or PB sandwiches on easy homemade bread.
D:Creamed Chicken over confetti rice squares (More With Less, pg 186)

B:Granola or toast and eggs
L:Leftovers or PB Sandwiches
D:Vietnam Fried Rice and Sweet Potato Bake (More With Less, pgs. 130 & 140)

L:Leftovers or PB Sandwiches
D:Kusherie (Egyptian Rice and Lentils) or Lentil Barley Stew (More With Less pgs. 107&108)

B:Granola or Oatmeal
L:Leftovers or PB Sandwiches
D:Chow Mein (More With Less, pg. 133) (This uses bean sprouts which I'll try to grow starting today!)

B:Granola or oatmeal
L:Leftovers or PB sandwiches
D:Quick Chop Suey (More With Less, pg. 133) (This also calls for bean sprouts :)

B:Granola or Oatmeal
D:Leftovers or sandwiches

**You cooking mavens don't forget to enter my Flirty Apron Giveaway while you're here! **


  1. We don't cook many things involving cream-of soup, but recently we did. Usually, we might make an alfredo type of sauce using butter and cream, similar to what you mentioned above with milk, but we didn't have ingredients to make it work. Instead we used a cornstarch recipe. I don't have to tell you that it wasn't great. :)

    Hopefully the next cream-of-something soup we make will be at a time when we have both butter and milk around!

  2. We love the Kusherie from More-with-Less! Haven't made that in a while, actually - might be time to have it again :)

    I've never heard of adding cream of anything to pasta sauce, lol. I usually add about 1/4 cup of light cream to a batch of my tomato sauce to give it a bit of creaminess and reduce the acidic "bite".

  3. Great ideas! I used to add cream of ____ soups too but then I started reading ingredient lists and it is scary! So I usually will add sour cream to something to make it creamy. I also use a basic white sauce in a lot of recipes too instead of a cream of whatever soup.

  4. I love the More With Less book! There is so much useful info in there.

  5. uh, so easy! I have been wanting a good recipe for cream of ___ soup too! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I can't believe I never commented on this post, but I bookmarked it a year ago and I have been referring back to it every time I need Cream of Whatever soup!!! I LOVE that you put the tutorial on here for us. I haven't bought Cream soups in the grocery store in a year!! Tonight is chicken enchiladas without the preservatives - YUM!


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