Hello my Darlings! This is Chef Tess, your crazy neighborhood chef-mom and friend. I love being a guest on the Cookin’ Cousins and I think you’ll be seeing a little more of me! I’m just full of cheese today. This is a cheesy post. I’m just Oozin’ with it. Actually…I should never really use the word “oozin’” when I’m talking about food right?  Is oozin’ a word? If it is then it is a word that should only be reserved for medical journals. No. I think it applies to food. I think cheese can be (and should be) oozin’…but in a totally delectable non-weird Patch Adams kind-of-way. For instance, in a proper mess of Green Chile-Bacon Baked Macaroni and Cheese when it is in its golden perfection straight from the oven with a crisp crunching topping and the cheese is melty and gooey and divine with smoky nibbles of bacon and chunks of spicy green chilies…there is certainly some remarkable, life-changing oozing going on. Am I right?

Why do I bring up the cheese?

Well, I got a really fun e-mail from our friend Zak here on the Cookin’ Cousins that he had received from one of our readers. He said, “I have a blog reader that has been using your condensed cream soup mix recipe and was wondering if she could make condensed cream of cheddar soup by adding some freeze dried cheese. If so, she was wondering if you have a recipe for that.”
Previously on our fabulous food storage blog, I showed how to make a really simple condensed soup mix that works outstandingly well for replacing a can of soup in casseroles and “what-not”. Remember this recipe?
Tess’ Condensed Soup Replacement Mix

1/4 c Corn Starch or 1/3 cup ultra-gel
2 tsp chicken bouillon/stock granules
1 T Honeyville freeze dried onion
1/4 c Honeyville  instant non-fat dry milk
2T Honeyville  sour cream powder
1/2 tsp  Honeyville Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning

Directions: Combine mix with 1 1/4 cups water whisking over medium heat.

Heat until thick, about 5 minutes. It will thicken more as it cool so don’t add a lot of extra thickener or you’ll end up with glue.

Yes. It does weigh just about the same amount as the contents of one small can of cream-o-gunk soup. Give or take 1/2 an ounce. I’m not worried. By the way,if you use ultra gel, you can skip the cooking step and just combine the full mix with the 1 1/4 cups warm water using a wire whisk. It will thicken in about 5 minutes. Yes. You did just make instant condensed soup pudding. Mmm…

*Chef note: Cornstarch will lose it’s ability to thicken once frozen, opt for Ultra gel for freezer sauces.
Cream of mushroom: Crush 1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Mushroom Slices down to 2 T crushed freeze dried mushrooms. Add to your mix.
Cream of Celery: Add 2 T Honeyville Freeze Dried Celery to the mix.
Today I’m adding some Cheese. Brace yourselves for evil-genius. 

To make condensed cheese soup you have two options: 

Option 1:  Replace the cornstarch or ultra-gel with 1/3 cup Honeyville powdered cheese sauce. It will hydrate the same as the above recipe, but be cheesy. I like this one because it is just so stinkin’ simple. You do not even need to heat the mix, just add water, stir and let it sit about 5 minutes. It will thicken and be ready to use.
Option 2: Use 1/2 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese with the mix. Have you ever tried our amazing Freeze Dried Cheese ? It is totally wicked! Um…in the most righteous kind-of-way. Yes. It tastes like cheese, cooks like cheese and works like cheese. It is cheese. The only ingredient in the can is cheese.
Add the freeze dried cheese to the dry mix. Hydrate the entire mixture with the normal 1 1/4 cup of water. Stir over low heat until the cheese dissolves and you have a beautiful non-lumpy cheese-oozin’ divine sauce of happiness. 
To make it into a cheese soup: 
Use 1 3/4 cup water with the condensed cheese soup mix. Add 1 cup of  hydrated  freeze dried vegetables of your choice. 
OR for a dry vegetable cheese soup mix:
 1 batch of the condensed cheese soup mix (above)
with  3/4 cup freeze dried vegetables (of your choice). 
Directions: use 2 1/4 cup water to hydrate the entire cheese soup. You may use less or more water depending on how thick you like your cheese soup. Simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, stirring often. Does that make simple sense?
This condensed cheese soup can, of course, be used to make something as simple as a meal in a jar that we call Cheeseburger “Helper”. 

Chef Tess Cheeseburger Hamburger Skillet meal in a Jar

1 batch of Chef Tess’ condensed soup mix (above)
1/2 cup Honeyville  Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese
2 cups Honeyville elbow macaroni
½ cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Ground Beef
1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)

Put all ingredients in a quart jar with an oxygen absorber and seal tightly. 
To prepare Cheeseburger Skillet Meal: Put contents of mix in a 12 inch skillet (with a lid) Add 6 cup hot water. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer 12-15 minutes until noodles are tender. Sauce will thicken a little more as it cools. Yield 6 cups prepared. 4 servings. 1 1/2 cup each. 365 calories. 6 grams fat.
There you go my darlings! Make some easy cheesy condensed soup. Enjoy!