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Should this post be entitled “How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock” or are we past that?  For now, I am going to assume that you don’t need a tutorial or a recipe for the stock itself, but I am going to share with you some of my favorite tricks for freezing it once it is made.

Oh, I will sneak in one pre-cooking tip as well.  I always buy whole chickens from local farmers, so I have the neck (a la A Christmas Story) and the bones to contend with after I roast the bird.  While the chicken is still fairly hot, remove as much meat as you can and freeze that for soups and such later.  Remember to date your freezer bag.  Then, pop the carcass in another freezer bag.  When I have four carcasses in the freezer, I know it is time to make stock.

I prefer to do two large pots of stock at a time, since it is less work to do two in one day than it is to make one on two separate days.  So, I have quite a bit of stock to deal with when it’s done.

For a giant turkey, however, I just make the stock the next day as we drag out the holiday decorations and watch White Christmas :).

Here is what I do:

1.  Place a large colander over another large container/pot that is heat proof.  A third stock pot is perfect if you have one, but the inside of your crock pot or rice cooker works, too.

2.  Strain the contents of one pot into the empty container.  Now you can pick through the carcass again and take out any meat that came off the bones.  Discard the veggies, bones and skin.  Repeat with the second pot.

Big Ol' Pot of Stock

3.  Now, what to do with a giant pot of stock?  Grab your freezer bags and label them with the contents, the date, and the quantity.  Do not forget to label with the quantity.  Trust me.  So annoying to have several bags of frozen stock in the freezer and have no idea which one you should defrost :).  I usually do some 4 cups, some 2 cups, and sometimes 8 cups.

Labeled Bag

4.  To prevent your bag from flopping over as you fill, turn the top over and set the empty bag in side another bowl.  Measure your stock and pour it into the bag.  Turn the top back over and seal.

Put Your Freezer Bag in a Bowl and Turn the Top Over

5.  I lay the bags flat on a big cookie sheet which fits in my chest freezer.  Freezing the bags flat seems to be the best way to store them once they are frozen.

And, if you live in a cooler climate, you can stick the bags out in the garage or on the porch to cool for a bit (or freeze solid in 30 minutes, depending where you live) before putting them in the freezer.

Let me know if you’d like me to post how I actually make the stock.  Next week I will be posting a couple yummy chicken/turkey soup recipes to use up the homemade stock and shredded poultry.

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

Enjoy!

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Brown basmati rice
Image via Wikipedia

If you checked out my post about my menu plan for the week, you will remember that I was trying several new recipes this week.  Well, I am really happy to report that every single one was a winner!  Unbelievable.  I plan to post each of the new recipes with any changes I made along with a little review.  First up –

Green Rice Casserole – I don’t do a lot of casserole recipes around here.  Mostly because all of the casserole recipes I had in my pre-real food days call for ingredients that I wouldn’t think of buying.  Ever.  But, I do love the fact that casseroles can usually be made ahead – either weeks ahead and frozen, or the morning of and stuck in the fridge.  So, when I saw this recipe over at Money Saving Mom, I thought I would try it.  And, I also had a can of green chiles in my pantry from Trader Joe’s.  I thought, “Oh, I have those!!  It must be a sign.  But I don’t believe in signs.  But I do want to use up those green chiles.”

Every single one of the kids ate itAll.  Some even had multiple servings.  I added more rice and chopped chicken to my version to make it bigger and more main dish-y.  I served it with steamed broccoli and apple slices.

This is the recipe as I made it:

Green Rice Chicken Casserole

4 cups cooked brown rice

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup almond milk

4 oz. can chopped green chilies (If you have these in your pantry it may be a sign.)

1 1/2 cups raw milk cheddar cheese, grated and divided

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (I just threw in leftovers I had in the freezer.)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 small onion, finely chopped (or 1/4 cup dry onion flakes)

Combine half the cheese and all the other ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 9″x13″ baking dish.  Top with the other half of the cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer.

Serves 6-8 people.

Enjoy!

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