While deciding on the menu for this week (Mark and I plan a weekly menu, and then do our grocery shopping based on that), tonight I wanted to make Monterey Chicken Casserole. While most of the ingredients are "natural" and relatively unprocessed (chicken, rice, cheeses, chili, tomatoes, etc.), it does call for a can of cream of mushroom soup. Campbell's is my standby for that, so let's just take a look at the list of ingredients in one can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup:
- Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and/or Soybean)...don't they know?
- Modified food starch
- Wheat flour
- Whey (dehydrated)
- Monosodium Glutamate (our good friend, MSG)
- Soy protein concentrate
- Yeast extract
- Garlic (dehydrated)
Mmmm, love me some of that MSG and "flavoring"! What does that even mean, "flavoring"?***
So, I decided to make my own cream of mushroom soup. After searching the internet for recipes, I devised something that I thought would work. Here's my list of ingredients:
- Chicken broth (also homemade, from a real chicken - one that actually got to roam around a farm yard)
- Onion (the real stuff, not dehydrated)
- Garlic (also not dehydrated)
And that's it. Now, some might say that "flour" is a highly processed food, and it is, certainly. But like I said, let's not get all crazy about stuff.
My recipe made 3 cups, 2 of which I will freeze for future use. It only took about 30 minutes total, including prep time. It looks good...not quite as gelatinous as the stuff in the can, it's really creamy, and it has a nice mushroom-y flavor...with no added "flavoring"!
Am I going to toss out all my canned soup now? No, of course not. I don't think I have time to always make every meal completely 'fresh'. But sometimes, I might choose the alternative (especially now that I have some in the freezer...hope it freezes well).
An now, of course, I don't feel quite so bad about all the Doritos that get crushed and sprinkled on the top!
*** Flavoring agents are substances added to food to improve the quality of taste. Because apparently the product doesn't taste good without it. And by "substance", read "chemicals" - some flavoring agents go by the names "methylphenylcarbinyl acetate" and "ethyl 3-phenylglycidate" (an epoxy compound). I think I prefer flavorings such as "mushroom" and "onion". Or , if you prefer something fancy, Agaricus bisporus and Allium cepa.