a wee apologia

thumbsup campbell soupThere has been public outcry (from at least two of our dear readers), aghast that we have slammed Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Did Sara have the audacity to say she’d never had – nor would she have – a can of it in her cupboard?  Did we scoff at the idea of someone actually fixing or eating and, yes, LIKING a curry made with it?

We want to apologize by offering up a few recipes from our past – all made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup .  In case you didn’t know, you can now buy “heart healthy” Cream of Mushroom soup.  Interestingly enough, the MSG has also been omitted.  See my feelings about that in Food for Thought.  I’d still go with the original version.

You can click on the recipes above to make them readable.  Mind you – posting them is not the same as recommending them.

Knowing about this controversy which apparently surrounds the use of Cream of Mushroom Soup, I solicited input from three of my Fort Collins’ Besties, who are all visiting me in Glen Ellen this week: Eileen, Patti, and Jeanie.

Eileen went through her mom’s recipe files and quickly found 5 recipes that were her family’s favorites – all with Cream of Mushroom soup.  Especially interesting since Eileen’s mother was focused on feeding her family nutritious and healthy foods.

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Eileen’s fav Tuna Casserole with Cream of Mushroom Soup

Patti recommends using Cream of Mushroom soup for an easy Beef Burgundy.

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Patti’s Beef Burgundy with Cream of Mushroom Soup

Jeanie confesses that this 1976 recipe for Spinach Squares from Sunset Hors d’Oeuvres cookbook (which sold for $2.95) is still her go-to for potluck parties.  It’s finger food.  It can be made ahead of time and chilled.  Jeanie says her mother didn’t think much of canned soups – except canned tomato soup, which was served up when Jeanie or her sisters were sick.  But Jeanie’s mom was a connoisseur of jello.  Especially jello with carrots, canned pears, or fruit cocktail.

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Jeanie’s favorite party food – Spinach Squares with Cream of Mushroom Soup

All in all,  writing about Cream of Mushroom Soup has been a True Confessional kind of experience.  Those familiar red and white cans definitely bring back memories for those of us who experienced those “halcyon days” of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Here is our Cream of Mushroom Soup Go-To recipe.  And, once again, my grandmother, Mom Hill, gets the credit. (and BTW do you know how impossible it is to make brown rice look good in a photograph?)

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Mom Hill’s Super Simple Brown Rice Casserole with Cream of Mushroom Soup

Mom Hill's Super Simple Brown Rice Casserole

Note: do not be tempted to add salt – unless you’re using unsalted broth.

  • 1 c brown rice
  • 1/2 cube butter (4 T), melted
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can (10 oz) Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can chicken broth (or 1 3/4 c homemade or boxed chicken broth – or vegetable broth)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place all the ingredients in an oven-worthy pot with a lid.  Mom Hill would first heat the ingredients on the stove top in a “kettle,” bring it to a boil, and then put it in the oven, covered.

Let the casserole bake – covered – for 1 1/2 hours.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
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Best of the Besties: Jeanie’s Super Simple Spinach Squares

Super Simple Spinach Squares

  • Servings: at least 12 - as appetizers
  • Print

Adapted from Sunset Hors d’Oeuvres cookbook, circa 1975

  • 2 10 oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach – or 1 16 oz package
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb of sliced mushrooms
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c dried bread crumbs (or Panko)
  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz) Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese, divided (or most any grated cheese of your choice; Jeanie used a combination of parmesan and mozzarella for us.)
  • a pinch of black pepper, basil, and oregano

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the spinach in a wire strainer and rinse under hot water to thaw, then press out all the water and set aside.  Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat; add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the onion is limp.

In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork; then stir in bread crumbs, mushroom soup, 6 T of the cheese, pepper, basil, and oregano, drained spinach, and onion mixture.

Put the mixture in a well-greased 9″ baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining 2T of cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for 35 – 45 minutes.   A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean and the edges should be slightly browned.  Cool on a rack.  Serve at room temperature or chilled and cut into 1″ squares.  If you’re refrigerating it, warm in a 325 degree oven for about 12 minutes before serving.

Recipe brought to you by Jeanie in Santa Fe and BigLittleMeals.com.

1 Comment

  1. Bob Carleton says:

    Confession and true reformation are good for the soul! Thanks for seeing the light and admitting the grievous wrong (well, maybe slightly wrong). All hail shortcuts to din-din.


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