Posts Tagged ‘kitchen tip’

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.


Read Full Post »

29 cents per lb!!!!

 I felt as if I had gone back in time.  Was it 1993 or had I really just seen a sign for 29 cents/lb bananas??  This was no joke.  And I was not kidding around.  I grabbed as many as my mom would allow without refusing to be seen with me.  We were at a Super Target, supposedly shopping for dolls for my girls.

My kitchen tip for today is obviously – GRAB THE BANANAS!  No, that’s too obvious.  My real kitchen tip for the day is what to do with these speckled beauties once you get them home.

We use bananas in smoothies almost every day, and frozen bananas work just as well as fresh.

Here’s the system:  Set out two large bowls, a cutting board, a knife, and enough freezer bags to hold all your bananas.

  1. Open your first freezer bag, fold the sides down and prop it up in one of your large bowls.
  2. Peel a banana.
  3. Toss the peel into one of the bowls.
  4. Take off all of the funky stringy things.
  5. Cut bananas in half or in thirds (easier on the blender).
  6. Place banana pieces in the freezer bag.
  7. When your bag is full, but not too full – you want to be able to lay it flat and freeze the bananas separately to avoid one giant banana chunk – seal it up and pop it into the freezer.

Now you have bananas ready to go for baking, smoothies, or one of our favorites – Banana Ice Cream!  And, another bonus tip for the day – remember my tip on letting your smaller children cut their lunches to pieces?  Well, here is another way for you to get a task done and let them cut.  Once you train them, you have just freed yourself from another time-taker in the kitchen.

For other tips, join me at Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Read Full Post »

We are in a pancake phase right now.  We have eaten these Pumpkin Pancakes several times in the last few weeks, and I plan to keep making them as long as I can find canned pumpkin and farm fresh eggs.  I was able to grab several cans of organic pumpkin at Trader Joe’s today.  Yay!

Today’s kitchen tip is a simple but useful one.  I cook our pancakes on my electric griddle (is that what you call that thing?) because I can make seven at a time.  Works pretty well for my family of seven.  I don’t want to grease the entire griddle, because that is just overkill.  I don’t want to grab the whole stick of butter and get my hands or the wrapper all funky.

Solution – take a hunk of butter and stick it on the end of a fork!  This way you have a handle, and you can apply the butter only where you really need it.

Now I’m hungry.

Join me at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays and These Chicks Cooked for more ideas to simplify your time in the kitchen.

Read Full Post »

Our weather is positively perfect today.  Sunny, warm, breezy.  The kind of day you want to store away in your memory to pull out on a bone chilling, dead of winter day.

I know my time in my garden is coming to a close this season, so it is time to harvest fresh herbs.  There are a few plants that have done very well this year, and I can’t possibly think of enough uses for all of the fresh parsley I now own.  This is a good thing.

My parsley

Each day I get the chance, I will snip some herbs and bring them in to adorn my kitchen with beauty and fragrance as they dry.  I have come up with a nice little trick to make drying herbs (or flowers for that matter) a cinch.

All you need is two little girl elastic ponytail holders for each bunch of herbs you plan to hang.

2 Tiny Pony Holders

Wrap the ponytail holder around the end of your bunch.

Parsley all wrapped up

Now, use the other ponytail holder to attach it to a handle in your kitchen.  Wrap it once around your bunch and once around your handle.  Snap!  Now as your herbs dry, the ponytail holders will shrink with your herbs and you won’t have herbs falling out all over your counter.

Herbs in my kitchen

And, my hands smell like rosemary – which is a nice little bonus.

When your herbs are dry, just take them down and store in a container until you are ready to use them over the long, cold winter.

Pop on over to Tammy’s Recipes for more kitchen tips!

Read Full Post »