Taking Stock of Chicken Stock

Author: Michelle

Making your own chicken stock is quite easy. Especially, if you eat whole chickens. In my family we eat a whole chicken about once a week. There are so many great things about a whole chicken; its cheaper per pound then chicken breasts (I typically pay $1.99 per pound for a whole chicken versus $4.99 per pound for boneless, skinless chicken breasts), a 4-5lb chicken will feed a four person family for dinner, roasting a whole chicken is easy AND you can use the carcass when you are done to make your own chicken stock.

Chicken stock can be used in soups and the stock can be frozen to have on hand when you are ready.

Chicken Stock Recipe:

1 chicken carcass (cooked whole chicken with any remaining meat)

Kosher salt to taste (generally I use about 1 tablespoon)

Veggies (this can be scraps you have left over or fresh veggies. Below is what I usually use)

*Carrots

*Onion

*Celery

3-4 Thyme sprigs

Parmesan cheese rinds (I save the rind from my parmesan cheese in the freezer and then throw them into the pot when I’m making stock. Make sure you are buying real parmesan to do this with. Real parmesan will have a thick rind, often times with writing on the actual rind.)

Place the chicken carcass, salt, veggies, thyme and parmesan rinds into a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the bones of the chicken are covered or mostly covered. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 1 hour.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. Discard all the veggies, thyme, and parmesan rinds. Once the stock has fully cooled a white film may form at the top, this is usually fat/grease. You can skim that off the top if you don’t want it in your stock or you can include it with your stock, as it will add some flavor. Transfer the stock to airtight containers. The stock will hold in the refrigerator for about 3 days and in the freezer for about 3 months.

I usually store my stock in freezer bags of 2 cup proportions. Now you are ready with stock anytime you want to make a soup.

Though making stock is very easy, if I’m not feeling up to it, I will freeze my leftover chicken carcass and then make the stock when I feel up to it. I also often times forget to defrost my stock in time and think of it as I’m putting the soup together. Not a problem! Don’t try to defrost in the microwave, just empty the frozen stock into a large pot and heat it up on your stove. It will defrost in no time.

If you are looking for a fantastic roasted chicken recipe, Ina Garten at Barefoot Contessa has it.

Kale; it’s really good for you!

Author: Michelle

Here is a simple change we can all make in our daily life; eat kale!

The benefits of kale are well known and touted by many. Kale is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and rich in calcium. Kale can be used in salads, smoothies, soups, and baked into chips.

In addition, kale freezes well. So if you have kale and you aren’t going to use it in time, freeze it before it gets that bitter taste. Fresh kale will typically hold for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Once it’s been frozen it isn’t as easy to bake into chips, but can still be used in soups and smoothies . If you’re still buying iceberg lettuce, don’t buy it again. Iceberg lettuce has very small amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, whereas, kale has much higher amounts of both vitamins and also has fiber and protein. Iceberg lettuce does not have any fiber or protein. Kale can be your new lettuce. If you don’t like the raw taste of kale, put it in smoothies, it works well with strawberries and blueberries.

Kale is generally in season in the winter months as it grows in cold climates. However, it may be available most of the year in your area, depending on your local agriculture.

More great benefits of kale:

Kale has been named as a vegetable that has potential to lower cancer risk.

Kale can help to lower cholesterol levels.

Organic vs. Conventional:

When it comes to kale buy organic. The Environmental Working Group listed kale on its 2015 Dirty Dozen PLUS list, stating kale samples, ‘were frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.’

If you can’t afford to buy organic kale then cooking the kale will help to lower pesticide levels.

Kale soup Recipe:

This is a really easy recipe that can be adapted based on personal tastes. I like it with a lot of vinegar and sausage, but any of the ingredients can be modified.

1 15oz can of red kidney beans

1 package of sausage cut into bit size pieces (any kind will do, and any amount depending on preference)

½ cup Pearl barley

3-4 cups of chopped kale

White vinegar

In a large pot combine all ingredients together, except the vinegar. After the kidney beans have been added, use the empty can and add three cans of water to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to maintain a rolling boiling. Cook for 1 hour. When there is approximately 15 minutes remaining add ¼ to ½ cup of white vinegar.

I like to serve this soup with a crusty bread and butter.

References:

“EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.™” 2015 http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php.

Lewis, Alison. “Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Kale.” 2 April 2012. MindBodyGreen. 6 April 2015 http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html