Cream of mushroom soup is incredible.
It is hard to overstate the glorious awesomeness of cream of mushroom soup. It has literally been our mealtime savior for the past year, ever since I realized just how many things one can make from it. (I think the wife is getting tired of it, which is part of the drive to create ever-new recipes using it!)
My obssession with cream of mushroom soup (hereafter known as COMS) began in 2009, when I was staying with my parents whilst easing into a new job situation. A day rolled around where I figured I'd be nice and cook lunch for my siblings as a token of thanks for my parents' generosity. I settled on cooking chicken with a white sauce.
I had never in my life cooked any kind of white sauce, and was certain I was going to screw something up. It has close to a million (okay exaggeration, probably around 800,000) ingredients, and is quite easy to burn and/or have stick to the bottom of the pot in a sort of white sludge. I did get it right on the first try, but just barely. And it took a REALLY long time to make. Food with white sauce was officially off of my A-list of lunch items.
Until I discovered that COMS (cream of mushroom soup) has almost everything that your run-of-the-mill white sauce requires. It already has the buttermilk, the consistency, a lot of flavor which happens to be diverse enough for several applications, and mushrooms (I am part hobbit, I think...). My first white sauce after the original attempt used a can of COMS, a pad of butter, a scoop of sour cream, and milk. That's it. Those are all things that are generally around the kitchen anyways for other things, and since we buy off-brand practically all the time, a can of COMS usually costs about a buck.
So, over the week, be sure to look for recipes involving cream of mushroom soup. I assure you that we have taste-tested all of these recipes for quality and general tastiness (we sort of invented them). At some point I will have stretched the limit of what COMS can do, but at the moment I don't think we are anywhere near that limit yet. Hee hee. --Nick