Hotdishes/casseroles commonly have cream soups in the recipe (e.g., cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery). You look in your pantry and there is none to be found, or your vegetarian/vegan diet doesn't fit the store-bought cream of something can of soup, or you like to be in charge of what goes into your food and not rely on what product maufacturers think should be in it. I have a tasty homemade alternative that I discovered on simplehealthytasty.blogspot.com plus a recipe to use it in.
Cream of Something Soup
2 ½ cups rice milk (I had a box of soy/rice milk combo in my pantry, so that’s what I used. Look for ingredient lists that do not include added sweetener or other unnecessary gunk.)
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon (I used McKay’s Vegan Chicken Seasoning that my friend Connie gave me… good choice.)
3 rounded tablespoons whole wheat flour (or w.w. pastry flour)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (A textbook in one of my Holistic Nutrition classes recommends Red Star Nutritional Yeast. It tastes like cheese… yum.)
2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
In a saucepan, mix 2 cups rice milk and the veggie bouillon (or vegan chicken seasoning). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl or cup, whisk together the remaining ½ cup milk with the flour. When the mixture in the pan comes to a boil, slowly add the flour mixture while stirring. It will thicken. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients.
I substituted this Cream of Something Soup in place of cream of mushroom soup in a recipe that I clipped from our local newspaper. The weekly food column called Diane's Delights has been a mainstay in the Brainerd Daily Dispatch for 30 years or so... written by the same person all those years. The name of the recipe is called Amber's Chicken Bake, but I renamed it Chicken Tomato Gravy because, unlike Diane's orginal version, I served it over mashed potatoes... and I seriously tweaked it... so so good.
Chicken Tomato Gravy
2 chicken breasts (Bone-in is more moist than boneless, but you can use either one.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Substitute ½ recipe Cream of Something Soup.)
½ cup sour cream
14.5 oz stewed or diced tomatoes (I like the kind that is seasoned with basil and oregano and sometimes garlic.)
black olives, sliced (optional)
mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Bake the chicken at 350° for about 45 minutes or until done. Cube. Saute the mushrooms, if using. Combine all ingredients and heat. Serve over mashed potatoes. Serves 4.