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Old 01-28-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
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Subbing "processed" food ingredients with "from scratch"

I recently acquired my mother's recipe collection, which she has spent the last few years typing up and organizing electronically. It's a combination of old family favorites going back to great-great-grandmothers, recipes acquired from friends and old fashioned recipe swaps, and various and sundry dishes we've "discovered" along the way through modification and experimentation.

I love so many of these foods, and I love to cook. Problem is that (for a variety of health-related and other personal reasons) I am trying to stop using processed foods altogether. Not to mention, I'm living in the Philippines now and many of the standard processed items are not available to me here (or they are so expensive as they are imported from the US I'd prefer not to spend that money).

So when I come across an old family favorite that calls for, say, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.....I still want to make the recipe, but I'd prefer to make it without buying a can of soup (which is often not available anyway).

So I'm starting this thread where I and others can ask the greater cooks among us how they would make a recipe if they had to substitute a pre-packaged ingredient with something they made from scratch.

My first question is: How can I substitute any condensed cream soup?

Mushroom, chicken, broccoli....I've got dozens of family favorite recipes that call for these and I'd like to make them. I'll post a sample recipe if need be.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:09 AM   #2
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I'm one of those weird people who hate (no really, HATE) cream of anything soup. I don't know why, it just is.

I would start with a basic bechamel sauce (butter, flour, milk, S&P and nutmeg are the traditional ingredients). And then add flavors according to what kind of condensed soup you're trying to replace.

You can do tons of things to vary your bechamel, like:
*use stock to replace the milk
*add about 1/2 of cheese for each cup of milk / stock
*add fresh / dried herbs
*add onion to the liquid that you heat for the bechemal (remove before adding to the flour+butter)

Best of luck to ya! =)
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:40 AM   #3
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Hi cmarchibald, found this link that might be what you're looking for.
http://www.ifood.tv/network/condensed_soup/recipes
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:31 AM   #4
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Zereh, I'm the same way....I only ever use them in recipes but I'd rather do something with fresh ingredients.

MSC, thanks for the link!

Next question: I have a lot of recipes that call for crumbled Ritz (or similar) crackers for filler. What's the best sub in that case?
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:18 AM   #5
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Any type of cracker would work. I don't know how much crackers are used in the Philippines or if they have a "native" cracker. Depending on the recipe you could sub bread crumbs or oatmeal for the filler. I've been known to use oatmeal in my meatloaf at times. The flavor may change without the Ritz crackers but if they are only used for filler, they may not add a whole lot of flavor anyway.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
Any type of cracker would work. I don't know how much crackers are used in the Philippines or if they have a "native" cracker. Depending on the recipe you could sub bread crumbs or oatmeal for the filler. I've been known to use oatmeal in my meatloaf at times. The flavor may change without the Ritz crackers but if they are only used for filler, they may not add a whole lot of flavor anyway.
I can't get Ritz crackers here but there is a very very similar cracker that is native made here that I've used a few times. But if I wanted to get away from buying crackers just to crush them up to use for filler in a casserole, what would I use? Bread crumbs seem best for the recipes I'm thinking of....but let's say I wanted to get REAL hardcore and make something totally from scratch, no processed foods at all.....what kind of bread should I bake for the crumbs? Does the bread need to be a few days old or will fresh baked work?
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:02 PM   #7
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How can I substitute any condensed cream soup?

Something like Campbell's cream of mushroom soup imo is so unique to me that I could ID with a blindfold among 10 other mushroom soups. My mother used it in many of her recipes.

But unavailable as it is where you are... hummmm. I suppose as a recipe substitute I'd Google the soup to find the contents and just try and duplicate it the best i could.

Not that I'm any kind of expert and frankly can't hold a candle to 99% of the posters here. but a couple of weeks ago i used the directions from bean with bacon soup to make some up and it turned out real good.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:02 PM   #8
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I would think that you would want to have some white bread and a little that you dried into the bread at a low temp. When I think of ritz I think more of a buttery crunch. Have you looked a recipies for how to make a ritz cracker? You could start there. other than that why not just make a crouton and then crush it up.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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You could use any kind of bread. I'd either let it sit out and go stale or toast it then crumb it. There are recipes out there for crackers but I'm not that good of a baker. I don't think I could get the proper crunch on my own. Others probably can but I'm not that adventurous!
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:36 AM   #10
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Next up!

I have a recipe for a casserole that I really want to make, but it calls for a pkg of ranch dressing mix (the Hidden Valley Ranch powdered variety). I don't have any and can't buy it here. Can I substitute something else without having to go buy a bottle of ranch dressing?
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