RECIPE: Trader Joe’s Condensed Cream of Portabella Soup Hack

Our local grocery store was offering select frozen dinner options for $0.99 the other day and the only thing Boyfriend and I love more than cheap, easy dinner options is when said options lend themselves to “Thrift Shop” references. Obviously, we stocked up. We grabbed the only remaining potato gnocchi and a couple bags of ravioli. We don’t normally buy these things because they’re too expensive, given that we’re still hungry after one bag and that two bags puts us damn near “should have ordered cheap pan-Asian food” territory. At $0.99, though…

We actually weren’t particularly hungry on the night that we made the potato gnocchi, but I was still concerned that one bag wouldn’t be sufficient for the both of us. Wanting to bulk it up a bit, I googled sauce options and then settled on a mushroom cream sauce, which I had no intention of making from scratch. I grabbed a carton of Condensed Cream of Portabella Mushroom Soup that had been sitting in our pantry with no hope of escape for awhile. (I hate the texture of mushrooms and Boyfriend’s not been impressed with Trader Joe’s soups for the purposes of consuming them, undoctored, at lunch.)

I glorped the condensed soup into a sauce pan and added a little bit of milk (maybe 1/4 cup) and some white wine (1/2 cup, from Costco of course). Water would have been a fine substitute for the milk; I just wanted to give the “cream powder” in the soup something to un-powder with. The soup was very salty and very… portabella-y, I guess? I’ve never actually eaten a portabella. To jazz it up, I eyeballed my additions of the following:

  • Crushed, dried (formerly fresh) rosemary (half a twig)
  • Black pepper (start with 1/3 tsp)
  • White pepper (start with 1/4 tsp)
  • Granulated garlic (start with 1/4 tsp or less)
  • Onion powder (start with 1/4 tsp or less)
  • Dried, powdered sage (start with 1/4 tsp)
  • Ground nutmeg (a pinch)
  • Poultry seasoning – because I couldn’t find dried thyme, but actually, it probably worked out better this way (start with 1/4 tsp)

I kept adding these until I was satisfied with the flavor profile and then I boiled the sauce back down a bit, in part to rehydrate the dried rosemary. I wanted it to be thick enough to stick to the gnocchi, but not so thick that it was back to being too salty or glorpy. I turned the heat off when it reached the consistency of a Mornay sauce.

When the gnocchi was done, we spooned the sauce over it and then sprinkled with grated Romano cheese. It was tasty and easy and I have a ton of the sauce remaining, since it started out as soup condensate. As per usual, I was too concerned with eating my concoction to photograph it, and there were no leftovers. #oops


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