Friday, April 27, 2012

Freshman 15

In college, my idea of "healthy" was well intentioned, but definitely misguided! I thought if I ate salad (with blue cheese dressing) every night for dinner, only ate the vegan desserts in the dining hall, and bought the reduced fat Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, that I was healthy. Imagine my dismay when the pounds kept piling up despite my "healthy" lifestyle. Hello Freshman 15. Where'd you come from? 

Hopefully, my knowledge of healthy living is more advanced now then it was in my beer-laden, college-aged mind. However, there are a few bad food habits from college that I occasionally wish to indulge in, but seek more mature, healthy alternatives. These include Doritos on buttered rolls (so bad, but oh so good!), Buffalo chicken wings with real blue cheese sauce, and that disgustingly delicious Cream of Mushroom soup! How was I not diabetic then?

In a monstrous craving attack a few weekends ago, where I thought I would die if I did not have a cup of Cream of Mushroom soup (I'm dramatic about my food), I created this recipe that does not come from a can nor require the use of cream! My ass, thighs, and stomach all thank me!

Bubbly from the Immersion Blender
Kickass Cream of Mushroom Soup*

1 medium onion, diced**
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced**
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced and cut in half depending on the size**
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp butter - just for a little bit of richness
3 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
2 1/2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1 12 oz can evaporated fat-free milk
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and garlic. Let saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add chopped mushrooms and thyme. Let cook another few minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and brown.
3. Add butter. Wait for butter to melt before adding the flour. Mix in flour and let roux brown for a few more minutes.
4. Slowly, while whisking, add in broth, making sure to scrap up whatever bits may have browned on the bottom of the pot. Whisk for another minute or two. Salt and pepper to desired taste.
5. Let soup simmer for 15 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks. If the soup is too thick, a little broth at a time, remembering that you will be adding the milk.
6. Turn down heat and add milk, making sure never to let the soup boil after milk has been added. Heat through.
Optional step - 7. Use an immersion blender to slightly puree soup to get desired texture. This step isn't necessary depending on your preference.

*The ingredients in this soup can be reduced to make this into a vegetarian mushroom gravy, which happens to be awesome over meaty non-meat meatballs!
** indicates that produce in locally grown in NY and PA

Meaty Non-Meat Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

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