(Re-posted from a while ago but a good one to revisit!) Since all this started I’ve been trying desperately to come up with alternatives to the old family favorites that require a can of this or that. So here’s a few solutions I’ve come up with that replace those cans that plague our meals with BPA. No one wants hormone disruption with their dinner do they? (Yes I’m being cheeky.)
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Many recipes during the holidays require cream of mushroom soup. Finding it not in a can has proven to be next to impossible. What are you can-free options?
Pacific Foods Cream of Mushroom Soup is packaged in a tetrapak box instead of a can. Yes the lining is BPA free.
Use Cream of Celery Soup: Swap this in its place… can be found in box form in the natural foods aisle of many grocery stores.
Make it yourself: A little more time consuming but you could do a large batch and freeze 10 oz. portions for use later.
Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
1 lb. fresh mushrooms
2 c. onions
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1 c. cold water
15 oz chicken soup
1 c. all purpose cream
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. butter
Grate mushrooms and onions. Melt butter and saute onions and sugar until brown. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Add cold water and stir until blended. Add can of soup and simmer for 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in cream.
Or: Make a roux with butter and flour. Add milk and veggie broth to desired thickness then add sauteed mushrooms.
What’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?? But what about those pesky convenient cans of perfectly spiced pumpkin? I’ll be the first to admit that going the DIY route sounds unappealing with as much preparation Thanksgiving dinner requires. But if you’re ambitious then here’s a DIY idea for you I found on the Mother Nature Network:
Do It Yourself: Buy a little, tender, organic sugar pumpkin at the farmers market, cut it in eighths, scrape out seeds, and steam or boil it. Cool, remove skin, and blend until smooth like a puree. Should result in roughly 15 oz. or so you’ll need to fill a deep dish pie recipe.
Edit to Add: A reader commented about this method and since she’s done it before she had some better tips on cooking pumpkin:
They are still very watery squash and will make a bland, soggy pie if used in the way you describe. Instead, what you should do is cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds, roast it face down on a cookie sheet (about 1 hour at 375 should do it) and then once it’s cool peel the skin off. Now you still need to get rid of the excess water. Wrap the pumpkin flesh in cheesecloth and squeeze the heck out of it repeatedly until it is about 1/4 the original volume. Finally, puree the condensed flesh until smooth. Because so much of the pumpkin is water I would actually recommend using 2 sugar pumpkins to get the 15oz usually called for in pumpkin pie recipes.
As the article says, many pie recipes call for a can of condensed milk, which you can substitute heavy cream (or soy milk for vegans). Great tip! The article also has a great egg-free, soy recipe.
Make Sweet Potato Pie Instead: I’ll admit I didn’t grow up eating sweet potato pie. But it is a great alternative to pumpkin and doesn’t require the can of pumpkin to make. You can cut up and steam sweet potatoes and blend until smooth to get the puree you need. No can required. It’s just as festive and delicious as a pumpkin pie. Here’s a delectable recipe from Alton Brown (I love him!) on the Food Network:
Sweet Potato Pie
- 1 pound 3 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
- 3/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 (9-inch) deep dish, frozen pie shell
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Directions: Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer basket into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Mash with potato masher and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment. Add yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, yolks, and salt, to taste, and beat until well combined. Pour this batter into the pie shell and place onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle pecans on top and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the custard reaches 165 to 180 degrees. Remove from oven and cool. Keep refrigerated after cooling.
Green Bean Casserole
Ok… I didn’t grow up with this dish at my family table. I never even heard of it until I moved to Philadelphia. I also think it’s a vile vile food. But my husband and family love it and think of it as a staple on Thanksgiving day. Problem is it requires not only a can of cream of mushroom soup (se above for alternatives) but it alse requires canned green beans. Solution? Buy bags of frozen, cut green beans instead.
You are either one of two kinds of people. You’re the homemade cranberry kind of people, like me. Or you’re the gelatinous can of cranberry kind who is ok with a round disc of cranberry on your plate. Which is who I was until I tasted my grandmothers homemade cranberry sauce and I converted. Some people can’t have Turkey day without their green bean casserole and can of cranberry. But if you are the adventurous type and want to eliminate the need for the can of BPA cranberry here is the recipe I use every year. Trust me its easy and delicious:
Nana SafeMama’s Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice (and zest)
- 1 package of cranberries (looked over and washed)
Directions: In a large saucepan, mix water, orange juice & sugar. Stir until dissolved over medium heat. Dump in cranberries and zest an orange into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then boil gently, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Let cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate. Best made the day before (says Grandma… and its actually true, plus its one less thing to do on Turkey Day).
Need some original recipe ideas? Check out my friend at the Craving Chronicles who has some beautiful cranberry and pumpkin treats listed for Thanksgiving. You can apply the ideas here to any of her recipes. I really want those Orange Cranberry Rosemary muffins!
Have any BPA free holiday tips of your own? Share them in the comments!