Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rachael Ray vs. RecipeGirl: A Soup Challenge

I was browsing through an old Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine the other day and stumbled across a soup recipe that looked like something I would eat. Better yet, in true Rachael Ray form, it was simple. The recipe happened to be in a section called, "Good Deal" (translation= affordable dinner). Rachael claimed that this soup would only cost a buck eighty-four per serving. I decided to challenge that and make it myself. The recipe: Wild Rice, Mushroom and Sausage Soup.

The broth and wild rice simmered for about 30 minutes, during which time I was able to prep everything else for the soup. I used a rice that I picked up a Costco a while back: Organic Harvest Medley: A gourmet blend of four uniquely aromatic California rices, including CalMati Brown rice, Wild Rice, Sweet Brown Rice and Heirloom Red Rice.

Browning the sausage was the next step. I used the store brand's smoked chicken sausage (in my effort to be as thrifty as Rachael).

The veggies were added (simply onion, celery and mushrooms) and sauteed until softened.

The broth/rice was combined with the sausage & veggies, and simmered for about 15 minutes before adding the cream and seasoning with salt and pepper.

The result: a really good soup! Was it as cost efficient as Ms. Rachael Ray promised? Just about...

The breakdown of the cost-per-ingredient was very similar. My chicken broth was slightly more expensive, however having purchased the wild rice in bulk, I was able to catch a break on that one. I went with RR's cost given for olive oil as I really had no idea how to figure that out! As the comparison chart shows, I paid a tad more for the remaining ingredients. Had I shopped around for the lowest prices, I feel confident that I may have even been able to beat the buck eighty four! My cost: $2.18 per serving. Definitely still cheap eats for a pretty darn tasty soup.

**NOTE: This recipe can be easily lightened. If you spray your pan with cooking spray and then saute the sausage, oil from the sausage will come out and will be plenty for sauteing the vegetables. Fat free half and half may be subbed for the heavy whipping cream- it just won't be as decadent.

This recipe can be found HERE.

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