A lot of families are really hurting in these tough financial times, I decided to share our PoorMan Pantry recipes from my childhood. I hope it helps those who need it most.
Being poor doesn’t mean you have to throw away your desire for variety or tasty meals. But it often means trying to make each meal last longer or provide left overs for another day. This French Onion Soup is one of those, make more of a little bit kind of meals. All while making something tasty too.
It took a while for me to decide to even try French Onion Soup as an adult. I think I was in my late 20s by the time I finally gave in and had a bowl. I wasn’t sure about it. But my boyfriend at the time took to another restaurant a few weeks later and I decided to give it a second try. After that, it’s become one of my favorite soups.
I came across a recipe for making French Onion soup from scratch and that typically means slow cooking it in a crock pot. Which also means time consuming and expensive. Gathering all the ingredients for a “from scratch” recipe can start adding up while you’re walking through the grocery store. But here’s a recipe that can cut all that in half and provide two bowls of hot and tasty soup in less than 20 minutes. After reading that recipe, I decided to post the PoorMan Pantry version for now while I budget for the “from scratch” recipe for later.
20 Minutes prep and cooking time.
1 10oz Can Campbell’s French Onion
1 Bag Salad Croutons
4 Slices of Provolone Cheese
4 Slices of Parmesan Cheese
Let’s start with the croutons.
I’ve come to discover that what makes each version of French Onion soup different from place to place is the breading each restaurant decides to use in their soup. If you like plain white or wheat bread, you may not like the soups made with pumpernickel or rye. When you’re picking out the croutons consider what you like and choose accordingly. We like using Italian seasoned croutons. And you don’t have to get the most expensive bag. Your local store brand should be acceptable.
Now as for the cheese, check the sales at your local grocery. It might actually be cheaper for you to buy the specific slices needed at the deli, than buying a packaged already sliced brand. And yes it needs to be sliced, not shredded.
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F
- Empty the can of soup in a small sauce pan. Double check the directions on the can. It should tell you to add 1 can of water.
- Warm the soup to almost boiling. As soon as you see the soup start to bubble even the slightest amount, you’re done.
- While you’re waiting for the soup to warm up, find two oven safe soup bowls.
Make doubly sure you can place your soup bowls in the oven!
- Measure out enough croutons to fit inside each bowl. You want them to come close to the top, but not stacked so high that they’re over the rim of the bowl.
- Take 2 slices of Parmesan cheese per bowl and cut or tear them into 1inch bits and toss them in with the croutons. Mix them together. You want cheese bits in-between the croutons and on top of them. Set the bowls aside and wait for the soup to be warm.
- When the soup is ready, use a ladle to pour the soup over the croutons and cheese in each bowl.
- Place one slice of Provolone on the top of the soup and in the center of each bowl.
- Break the edges of the 2nd slice of Provolone and place it in any gap between the center slice you already have on the soup and edge of the bowl. Do this for both bowls of soup.
- Place both bowls on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. If the center of the cheese doesn’t look melted after your timer goes off, add another minute or two until it looks fully melted. It can be a little browned like the picture above, but don’t burn the cheese.
- Serve hot.
It should go without saying, but let’s say this anyway because you know someone isn’t going to think about this and I don’t want them pointing at me!
– Be careful removing the bowls from the cookie sheet. They’re going to be hot! Use pot holders and set the bowls on a pot holder for serving. You don’t want to burn a ring in your table or in your hand.
– Be careful to test the temperature of the soup before you pop a big full spoonful of soup in your mouth. It just came out of the oven..it’s going to be HOT!
Here’s a few hints to making and eating your soup easier.
Pouring the french onion soup into the bowls will cause most of the onions to remain in the pot, or you’ll accidentally pour most of them into the first bowl. I like to ladle the soup over the croutons/cheese of each bowl to make sure everyone’s getting their fair share of onions. Once most of the onion is out of the pot, I pour the remaining liquid between each bowl.
Make sure you consider the size of the bowl to the amount of soup you’re making. The liquid should come close to covering all the crouton mix in the bowl. It doesn’t have to cover it completely, but it should be close.
I don’t like to drape the cheese over the sides of the bowl. That might be fine for a restaurant to do. But I’m the one washing dishes after dinner and I have no desire to make that a harder exercise. Placing the cheese topping to the inside edge of the bowl is fine and serves it’s purpose.
For eating your soup, I like serve each bowl with 2 soup spoons. It makes it easier to divide the cheese in the bowl and wrap any melted strings of cheese around the spoon you’re going to eat from.
Hope you enjoy this quick, simple and inexpensive meal. It’s what we just had for lunch.