Recession cooking, part 4

October 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment

This isn’t so much a recipe as a suggestion on how to stock your fridge for a week’s worth of recipes at a bargain price.

First of all, this starts with anytime you have pieces of vegetables that would otherwise go down the garbage disposal. The tops of carrots, carrot peels, the bottom end of celery, the last few remaining mushrooms, spinach leaves, part of an onion, etc., that you have when cooking are the perfect flavoring for cooking broth. Fill a ziplock bag with these odds and ends throughout your cooking and keep in a freezer for later use.

Secondly, we used to buy precooked chicken on a regular basis to have on hand for a few meals. (Salad toppers, quesadilla fillers, etc.) While super easy, it was very pricy. At $2.50 – $3 for 6 ounces of cubed meat (that let’s be honest, looked pretty suspect), this was no longer in our budget. For just a little more money, you can quadruple the amount of meat and also create enough stock to make soup 2-3 times or flavor things like rice, mashed potatoes, and more.

Here’s all you do: Buy a whole, uncooked chicken. Hy-Vee here regularly runs them on sale for 89 cents a pound, and we will buy 2 or 3 then and stick in the freezer. A whole chicken runs about $4 when on sale.

Put a large strainer inside a large stock pot. Place uncooked chicken in strainer, and place frozen vegetables from your freezer bag around the chicken. Fill with water until water covers chicken by an inch or two. (If pot isn’t large enough for this to happen, you will just have to continually rotate your chicken while cooking) Season water with a tablespoon of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Place stock pot on high heat until water begins to boil, then reduce to medium heat to keep water from boiling over. Continue to cook at  medium heat, slow boil, for 2 hours.

Lift chicken out of water and place on large platter. DO NOT DISCARD WATER OR REMOVE STRAINER/VEGETABLES, leave on stove top on medium heat.

Let chicken cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to touch without burning your fingers. Pick chicken off bone (should come off easily. If not, place back in water and boil longer), place in containers to place in fridge. Depending on the size of the chicken, for our family of 2, this usually creates enough chicken to make 3-4 meals (barbecue chicken sandwiches, chicken to top salads, chicken in baked pasta, etc.), or about 6-8 total servings. Place bones, chicken skin in separate bowl.

Discard 1/2 of chicken skin, put remaining 1/2 back in strainer, along with all bones from the chicken. Add water until large stock pot is approximately 3/4 full. Reseason with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to taste. (Also paprika or any other tasty items you have)

Boil until liquid reduces in pot by half, usually about 4 hours. At this point, remove strainer from stock pot (with all of the bones, skin and vegetable peels still in it), leaving you only broth in stock pot. Remove broth from heat and let cool for 15-20 minutes until stock is no longer boiling. Pour into glass mason jars or some other type of container. This usually makes enough for us to have 3 32 ounce jars of stock, the equivalent of about 8 normal cans of chicken stock.

Let stock sit in fridge overnight. Skim off any fat that solidifies on the surface in the morning. (If you had a fatty chicken, your broth might have a little ‘wiggle’ to it instead of being crystal clear like store bought. Don’t worry, it just means it’s extra tasty. When heated, the consistency is the same)  If you leave enough room at the top of the mason jar, you can store in the freezer for up to 4 months, or you can store containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

So to recap, for a $4 investment in one whole chicken you will yield:

6-8 servings of protein

The equivalent of 8 cans of chicken broth

 

That’s like paying 25 cents per serving of protein and 25 cents per can of chicken broth. So as you can see, for a little extra work, you can save a bundle of money! Not to mention, this chicken broth will make you never go back to store bought again.

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Entry filed under: cooking, Food, recipe. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Recession cooking, part 3 Recession cooking, part 5

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About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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