Thursday, March 08, 2012
As I said yesterday, I save my chicken bones to make chicken broth. I do the same with beef and pork bones, too. And turkey, of course. Probably just about all bones except fish and lamb. Though come to think of it, I got a bag of lamb bones at the Farmers Market last summer to make some lamb broth.
Sometimes I make a batch of broth from just one kind of bones. Like chicken broth. Or beef broth. And sometimes I collect bones from a variety of sources and make a batch of mixed broth. For the kinds of soup of I make, it doesn't usually matter.
The process is pretty much the same. Put the bones in a pot of water and simmer them a long time. Add some veggies and/or herbs and spices if you want to. Strain out the solids, then freeze or refrigerate.
For chicken broth, take most of the meat off the bone, then use the bones for the broth. Put them in a big pot (I like my 8 qt crockpot, I used to use my 4 or 5 qt crockpot until I got my big one, or you can use a stockpot on top of the stove or a big pot in the oven) with a tablespoon or so of vinegar. Add some onion, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley, as desired. Big chunks is fine, since they'll cook for a long time. Add a couple of bay leaves, some pepper corns, whole cloves, maybe some poultry seasoning, or whatever. Simmer for 12 to 24 hours. Don't boil, as this is supposed to make the broth bitter, though I can't say I've ever noticed this.
For beef broth, if you're starting with cooked bones (like from shortribs or steak or roast bones you've accumulated), the process is like that for chicken broth. You might want to change the herbs a bit. If you're starting with uncooked soup bones, you can roast them at 400 until nicely browned but not burned. Roast the veggies with the bones, too. Then put the bones and veggies in your pot, use a bit of vinegar and/or water to deglaze the pan and add that to the pot, too. I've never gone to this much bother, myself.
You can add pork bones (from spareribs, pork chops, etc.) with either the chicken bones or the beef bones, or use them in a mixed broth.
Home made broth will probably have a lot more gelatin to it than store bought broth. It will become close to solid (but jiggly) when refrigerated. The gelatin is supposed to be good for you. You can increase the gelatin by including a pig's foot or ham hock or a calves foot with the bones.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
I tried another MIM/OMM this morning, following the suggestions given here. I used no cinnamon, 1 t of splenda, and 1/2 t of vanilla. I didn't melt the butter or beat the egg before adding them to the dry ingredients. I just mixed the dry ingredients in the bowl, then added the egg, vanilla and soft butter and mixed it up really well. No problems there. It came out fine.
I split it in half, buttered one half and put a slice of cheese on the other, then ran them under the broiler until the cheese melted. It turned out much more like bread this way. The broiling sort of dried it out so it wasn't so cakey or hot cereal-y or something. I did butter the buttered half again. Next time I won't butter it before broiling it.
So there you have it, two very different results from basically the same recipe. My first attempt, with lots of splenda and not broiled, was very good, but more like a sweet muffin. The texture was soft and moist and not really very bread-like. The second attempt, with less splenda and the addition of the vanilla and then broiled, was much more like bread. In fact, as I was eating the half with the cheese on it, I wondered if it was enough like bread to trigger bread cravings. A really good substitute for something I used to binge on can do that to me.
And now on to the "real" January 3, 2010 menu.
Tea with splenda
Scramble – garlic, onion, frozen spinach sautéed in butter, eggs and cream, all scrambled together in chicken fat
Chicken with Carrots and Cabbage (recipe added to my Recipe Box)
Tea with cream (twice)
1427 calories, 108 grams of fat, 77 grams of protein, 30 net carbs, 12 grams of fiber
I'll add the recipe for the Chicken with Carrots and Cabbage to my Recipe Box at SparkRecipes. As I recall, it was ok but not great. I don't think I've made it since the 2010 challenge, but I didn't kick it out of my recipe file, either.
I would love to hear from you if you have budget recipes or ideas!
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Here’s what I ate on January 2, 2010, when I was actually doing the Food Stamps Challenge. As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten it all figured out yet.
3 eggs scrambled in 1 T of butter
Broccoli Cheese Soup – 8 oz frozen broccoli, 2 c home made chicken broth, 1 T butter, 1 oz cheddar
A sort of a stir fried sort of thing – 8 oz raw ground chuck, 180 grams of cabbage, 75 grams of carrots, ½ cup of onions, fried in 2 T drippings
1 cup of tea with 1 T of cream, times two
1297 calories, 81 grams of protein, 94 grams of fat, 25 net carbs, 14 grams of fiber.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
I like to get 10 lb bags of chicken leg quarters at Walmart. I used to get them for 4.90, but now they're usually 6.90. But still a pretty good deal.
I start by eating the skin, as I talked aboug in my post yesterday. I usually eat it all in one meal, but there's enough for a couple of meals if you have something with it like a vegetable.
Then I have the meat. I usually cook all of the legs at once, either in the crockpot without the skin or in the oven with the skin on. I find that I usually get 10 leg quarters per bag, and that I get an average of about a cup of meat from each leg. So about 10 cups of meat per bag, plus the skin. I freeze most of the meat in 1 cup containers. 1 cup is just about right for a salad, which is how I usually eat the meat. Casseroles usually call for 2 to 4 cups of cooked chicken. It's a convenient size portion to have one hand. (I live alone. I'd put it in bigger containers if I were cooking for more than one.) A few legs I leave on the bone to have just as chicken for supper or lunch.
Taking the chicken off the bone is usually a meal in itself, as I nibble on the meat as I take it off the bone. So there's really more than just 10 cups.
After I have the meat off the bones, I put the bones in my 8 qt. crockpot and cook them on low (or warm for the newer crockpots - it shouldn't boil but shouldn't be below 150 degrees, either) for about 24 hours. I add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to help leach the calcium and such from the bones. I usually add some or all of the following: onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, pepper (whole or ground), cloves. But sometimes I just leave it plain. I usually don't salt it but add salt later, when I use the broth.
After the broth has cooked for 24 hours or so, I pour it through a collander to separate the broth from the bones. I usually pick over the bones again, which makes another meal from the chicken. Then I put the broth in pint jars (preferrably widemouth so it comes out more easily) and freeze it to use in soup and such. I could use just half the bones at a time and still end up with good broth. If I don't feel like making broth right then, I freeze the bones and use them later.
If you freeze in glass jars, be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch at the top that's empty to allow for expansion. You don't want it to break the glass. I usually put the lids on loosely, just in case, then tighten them after they are frozen. I put the jar of frozen broth in a pan of hot water to melt it enough to get the broth out when I want to use it. Be sure the lid is on tight first, though! I have forgotten to do so and most of the broth leaked out.
So, from a 6.90 bag of legs, I get 1 or 2 meals from the skin, 10 meals from the meat I take from the bones, a meal from taking the meat from the bones, and another meal from the bones after I've boiled them for broth. And 8 pints or more of broth. That's 13 meals from the chicken, or 53 cents per meal, plus 8 pints of broth that would cost at least 4.00 if I bought the broth in cans. Quite a bargain as far as I'm concerned.
The problem with this is that I eat lots of salads in the summer and lots of soup in the winter so they don't match up. I either keep adding meat to the freezer to get the broth, or I have a freezer full of bones and/or broth to get the meat. But there's usually a point in the spring and in the fall when they match up just right.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
You may have noticed that my protein source for some meals is chicken skin. It’s not as bad nutritionally as you might think. One ounce of raw chicken skin, when cooked, has 90 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and no carbs. And don’t forget that fat is your friend!
The skin almost always comes from a 10 pound bag of leg quarters that I get at Walmart. They’re cheap and I prefer the dark meat anyway. They were $5.90 for 10 pounds here in Idaho last month. They’ve generally been $6.90 for 10 pounds back in Indiana lately.
I cook the skins (and the legs, too) in one of two ways. The first, and easiest, is to just bake the legs, skin on, preferably but not necessarily on racks. The skin will get golden brown and separate from the meat and puff up and get nice and crisp. When the chicken is done, I pull off the skin, salt it and eat it. The meat I save for other uses.
The second way I cook them is to pull the skin off before I cook the meat. Then I spread the meat out on my boiler pan and bake it at 400 until nice and crisp. I usually put the legs themselves in the crockpot. I prefer the meat done this way, but the skin tends to stick to the broiler pan. I prefer the skins cooked the other way.
Whichever way you cook it, the skin is crisp and delicious! And I figure it’s free, really, because it doesn’t change how many pieces of meat I get from the 10 pound bag of leg quarters.
And don't forget to save the drippings! Put them in a large measuring cup and refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and the bottom will be nice strong chicken broth. Use it in soup. Use the fat instead of butter or oil for frying things.
I’ll talk more about what I do with the leg quarters another day.
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