Posted in Edible Awesome, Featured Inspiration, Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

5-minute DIY Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe! (using TJ’s Umami seasoning)

I LOVE mushrooms.  Chunky or not, they’re right up there with olives for me on my list of top flavor pops.  But I understand that not everybody is a fan of their texture, which is why I am super excited about Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend.  First of all, I can have all their ingredients, which in seasoning blends is becoming more and more rare for me (they usually have MSG or soy mixed in, or tomato, or something like that on my intolerance/list of no-no’s).  It’s just porcini and white button mushroom powder, salt, dried onion powder, ground mustard seed, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and dried thyme.

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I’ve heard umami described as that “something something” that just makes a dish taste more enjoyable.  For my sensational kids  and husband (others might call them picky, but sensory processing disorder is a thing), texture with food is a biggie, and now I can use this mushroom-packed powder in recipes without them detecting squishy little chunks of “yuck” yum. ( Please note it does have the crushed red pepper in it, so if you are sensitive to spiciness, go easy on it.  I’m not a lover of too much spice, but I do like the level in the recipe below. )

We got the flu, and it was not fun.  I made a bunch of chicken broth that week to try to speed the recovery process, and after chicken noodle soup, I wanted to make GF stuffed manicotti.  My mom’s no-bake recipe for manicotti growing up used a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.  As I have to read food labels for gluten, MSG, soy, etc., I find it rather challenging at least and expensive for sure to buy considering those parameters. 

When I went GF and dairy free, I knew there were ways to make your own.  But previously, when I used pre-cut mushrooms, it came out gritty when the ones I got turned out to have dirt in them.  Now that’s disgusting! So this time I wasn’t going to mess with actual mushrooms, plus I was sick and wanted something easy, and considering the aforementioned sensory issues, was delighted that I’d recently bought 3 of the mushroom seasoning mix jars at TJ’s the week before.  (A risky move, since I’d never tried it before.  But as I said–mushrooms=love.  So that was enough for me. )

Below is the Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe I came up with in order to use it in the Instant Pot Manicotti recipe I attempted!  (Son asked for seconds of the manicotti, so since he’s generally the pickiest of them all, I consider that a win!)  I used the organic chicken stock (a little thicker than broth because it uses the bones, too) I’d made, which was already flavorful, but I am sure you could use store-bought as well.  I also used my GF flour blend mix.  This recipe only takes about 5 minutes to make!
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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

6 TBSP gluten-free flour

2 TBSP dairy-free butter (or coconut oil, ghee or regular butter if you can tolerate those.              I used nitrite-free bacon grease since I am not opposed to some fat in the diet for                good hormone synthesis.)

2 Cups organic chicken stock

2 TBSP TJ’s Umami Mushroom seasoning

1 cup dairy-free milk (or regular works too)

Directions:  (You could choose to saute’ some onions prior to step one…but I was tired and didn’t).

1. Melt dairy-free butter (or whatever fat/oil fits your diet) and mix the 6 TBSP GF flour in to make a roux.

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2.  Pour chicken stock and stir with a whisk/fork until the roux has dissolved.

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3. While stirring, mix in the Umami seasoning.

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4.  Keep stirring occasionally until you see bubbles and thickening occurring.
(At this point I kind of wanted to eat it all like that, condensed-soup style, but I needed it for my next recipe.  If you want to freeze this recipe, stop here before adding the dairy-free milk, which you can add after thawing).

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5.  If you want it to be like soup and not condensed cream of mushroom soup, add 1/4 to 1 cup dairy-free or regular milk and stir until incorporated.Easy pleasey!  (Not peasy…there are no peas in this recipe.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Stocked Up

Here’s the basic chicken stock recipe I was inspired to make by Ellen Brown’s $3 Meals , except I used what I had and put it all into a 5 quart crockpot overnight on low.  A lot of recipes I see and want to make call for chicken broth/stock or bouillon cubes.  In a pinch I have used and grew up using bouillon cubes, but looking at the store lately as I’ve gotten into the habit of reading the ingredients on the labels, I noticed almost every single brand uses MSG, or monosodium glutamate, which can cause headaches and illness in some people, etc.  Some products will have this ingredient and just label it as “other seasonings” or “other spices” or something vague like that.  If not every ingredient is openly named, I am wary of buying the product.  But in any case, I enjoy making my own stuff and saving money doing so.  I like being somewhat self-reliant.  I figure if a food is on the shelf at the supermarket, it’s there because once upon a time somebody had made it at home and enough people wanted it that it ended up on a production line and in the supermarket; so there’s a way to do it homemade again!  Chicken stock is one of the simpler DIY ingredients in a lot of things, and you can easily freeze it (I’m not brave enough for canning stuff yet).  Even though those boxes or cans of chicken broth are sooo tempting as shortcuts, they can be pricey and are not as healthy as fresh.

5ish lbs skin-on bone-in chicken thighs… and any other chicken bones I had saved in the freezer for making stock (only about from 5 thighs from last time making stock) as well as a ham bone that I’d already used once in a ham and bean slow-cooker soup.
1+ cup chopped celery (I love how fast chopping celery goes in my food processor!  I do carrots and onions at the same time, too)
1+ cup chopped carrots
1+ cup chopped onions
2 Tbsp minced garlic 
(one of the few things I buy pre-prepared in a jar since I can find it at the Dollar Tree store!)
2 Tbsp parsley, dried
3/4 tsp thyme 
(I used less than most recipes because my hubby doesn’t love this herb)
1 1/2 tsp crushed bay leaves or 2 whole
1 tsp black pepper
sea salt
aaaand next time I will add some sage, up to 1 tsp I think.  This needed a little more oomph.
top off with Water to about 1 or 1/2 inch from the crockpot lid
(makes about 4 qt of stock that I freeze, and I get about 2+ cups of cooked shredded chicken for enchiladas or whatever else).

I was happy with how thick this turned out, simply with the addition of a few more soup bones.  So each time I make stock, I let the crockpot cool in the fridge overnight (or longer since I never seem to get to things right away) and then scoop off the saturated layer of fat on top to discard, as well as the chicken skin and icky stuff, but saving the bones in a freezer baggie for next batch of chicken stock.

A good rule of thumb is to use this up from your refrigerator within a week and a half, or freezer within 3 months (I use it up way faster than that!!  It’s winter–i.e. soup season!)

My favorite quick go-to meal using chicken stock/broth is egg-drop “hot” ‘n sour soup with noodles in it (basically egg-drop soup with soy sauce, worcestershire sauce added to it), .  My little one even likes it if I thicken it enough for him to spoon up into his mouth easily, or if I help him drink it from a little mug.  

Today I used 3 cups of it for the above and 3 cups for 2 chicken pot pies.  “Instant” flavor as a base for whatever I want to make with it.
What would I do without my crockpots?  Best $5 (for 1 qt size) and $19 (Aldi sale–5 qt) I ever spent.  Crockpots and slowcookers only take up the amount of energy as a 60 watt light bulb I read once.  How cool!