Many people use cream of mushroom/tomato/potato/chicken/celery for their favorite holiday recipes. However, back in the day my grandparents made many of these "cream of whatevers" for use in their favorite dishes. Below is the basic recipe for a thick white sauce base to make your own "cream of whatever." As I have some dear friends who are gluten intolerant/allergic or lactose intolerant, I have included information on how to adjust appropriately.
Basic White Sauce:
3 Tablespoons butter or oil
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1-1/4 cup liquid, milk or stock
Melt butter or oil in saucepan. Stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add liquid slowly, stirring with wire whisk to prevent lumps. Cook until thick. Makes 1 cup or 1 can of condensed soup.
Tomato Soup: Use tomato juice for the liquid. Add dashes of garlic, onion powder, basil and oregano.
Chicken Soup: Use chicken broth for half the liquid. Add 1/4 t. poultry seasoning or sage.
Mushroom/celery/chive soup: Saute 1/4 C chopped mushrooms, celery or chives and 1 T minced onion in butter before adding flour.
Gluten Free Suggestion: Use a gluten-free flour (rice, tapioca, etc.) or cornstarch instead of flour.
Lactose Free Suggestion: Use stock rather than milk & oil rather than butter.