The most surprising recipes that use a can of soup

What's your opinion on the general subject of canned soup? Pretty meh, right? Everyone's got a few cans on hand, though they're not something anyone really remembers buying. Nor does anyone particularly look forward to eating those canned soups, but they'll do in a pinch (or a zombie apocalypse). Sure, you can always dress up canned soup to make it slightly more palatable. Throw in some meat, extra veggies, maybe a little cheese, and before you know it, you'll be well on your way to concocting a whole new dish.

As it turns out, this is where canned soup really starts to shine — as a mystery ingredient that can be used to, well, soup up a wide variety of different recipes. While you may be familiar with the whole concept of using canned cream of mushroom (or cream of anything else) soup in casseroles (including that gross green bean one that's inexplicably become a hated Thanksgiving tradition) we've found a few recipes that put canned soup to use in ways you might not have been expecting.

Slow Cooker Bacon and Ham Breakfast Potatoes

Soup for breakfast? No, not exactly. This yummy one-pot (that pot being of the instant variety) breakfast dish makes use of condensed cheddar cheese soup to tie all the ingredients together. Mommy's Home Cooking says to fry up a pound of bacon and a half pound of diced ham, along with a chopped onion. Once the bacon is crispy and the onion is soft, mix the meat and onions with 2 pounds of baby potatoes, which you've scrubbed, and cut in half (no need to peel). Then stir in a cup of shredded jack or cheddar cheese, 2 sliced green onions, and 2 chopped bell peppers (leave that last ingredient out if you've invited Duff Goldman over for brunch, since he's not a fan).

Scoop all the ingredients into your slow cooker, then top with that can of cheese soup mixed with ¼ cup of hot water. Cook it for 8 to 9 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high, then serve topped with extra shredded cheese, and perhaps a little sour cream; maybe even a sprinkling of chopped chives to make it pretty.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

If you've ever eaten at Cracker Barrel, surely you must have ordered the hash brown casserole — if not, you've really missed out on a treat, since this is one dish that everyone's favorite road trip restaurant gets right every time. While there are numerous Cracker Barrel hash brown copycat recipes out there, this recipe from Eat This, Not That! uses cream of chicken soup to take things to a whole new level. Just mix a 2-pound bag of frozen hash browns with half an onion (diced), 1 stick of butter (melted), a pint of sour cream, 2 cups of shredded cheddar, and a 10-ounce can of cream of chicken soup in a great big bowl (this stuff takes up a lot of room), then spread the mixture in a greased casserole dish. Bake the casserole at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. If you want to make it "loaded," top it with sliced cheese and bacon crumbles during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

French Dip Tortilla Roll-Ups

Love French Dip sandwiches, but think they're too much trouble to make at home? Not with this recipe which converts this beloved meal into easy, un-messy roll-ups. Since you'll be using deli-sliced roast beef, the au jus comes from canned beef consommé.

The Taste & Tell blog suggests topping four 12-inch flour tortillas with four slices of provolone cheese (torn or chopped into smaller pieces for more even distribution), half a pound of sliced roast beef, and ¾ cup French fried onions. Fold in the sides, roll up, and brush the four roll-ups with olive oil before baking at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes. While they're baking, warm up a can of beef consommé with 3/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, then use it for a dipping sauce.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

These enchiladas from The Seasoned Mom are as easy as they are cheesy, thanks to our old friend, condensed cheddar cheese soup. Mix the soup with 1-¼ cups milk and 1 cup of enchilada (or taco) sauce, then spread a cup of the mixture in a 13 x 9-inch casserole. Brown a pound of grown beef with half a cup of chopped onion, drain, and stir in ¼ cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned) along with a cup of shredded cheddar and another cup of the soup/enchilada sauce mix.

Place half a cup of the beef mixture in the center of an 8-inch flour tortilla (you'll need six in all), roll up, and place seam-side down in the casserole dish. Pour the remaining sauce over top of your enchiladas and top with another cup of shredded cheddar. Bake for half an hour at 350 degrees, then serve topped with your preferred combination of sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, diced avocados, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and/or any other Mexican-ish garnishes you like. Elote, anyone?

Tomato Soup Spice Cake

Believe it or not, canned soup can even be used in desserts. Well, at least one dessert. This vintage recipe for spice cake comes straight from the Campbell's Soup test kitchens, and its not-so-secret, yet nonetheless unexpected, ingredient is their very own Campbell's tomato soup. Sound a bit weird? Well, according to the reviewers, it's been a family favorite for generations.

If you'd like to try it yourself, you'll first need to mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1-⅓ cups granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1-½ teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon ground cloves, then stir in half a cup of shortening, 2 eggs, ¼ cup water, and a can of condensed tomato soup. Stir until blended, then beat on high with an electric mixer for four minutes, because this is how they made cakes back in midcentury America. Or maybe just mix until the ingredients are combined, since modern culinary science has proven that there is such a thing as too much mixing

Pour the batter into a 13 x 9-inch pan, then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes before cooling for 20 minutes. Serve as is, or frost with a cream cheese frosting made by beating 8 ounces of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pound of powdered sugar.