How to Make Chicken Broth

Bone broths are amazing.  They are good for every part of you, from the hair on your head to your toenails.  Broths are very simple to make, and are so much cheaper than buying an inferior commercial product.  Most of your ingredients for a good chicken broth are leftovers that would otherwise be thrown away.   You start with putting the carcass of a whole chicken in your slow cooker. Using the juices that escaped when you cooked the bird will add rich flavor.  If you have access to some chicken feet you can add half a pound to a pound of those. The feet contain quite a bit of gelatin which will add extra nutrition, but you can still get good broth without them.. Pour in enough water to cover the bones.  Adding about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar helps release the nutrients from the bones, but doesn’t affect the taste. There is another optional add in that requires a bit of forethought. If you save and freeze the ends of carrots and celery you can add those for more vitamins in your broth.  Set the temperature of your slow cooker or crock pot to low and let it simmer 8-12 hours.  Longer is better, so I’ve found overnight works best.

After the broth is done cooking let it cool and put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  Then take it out and skim off the fat that collected on the top.  I got in a hurry once and skipped this step.  The broth was greasy and had an unpleasant feel to it.  Don’t skip it, skim it.  (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)  Now you can freeze your broth and use it as a base for soups, stews, or in any recipe calling for broth or stock.  One more tip: if you want to freeze it in small amounts to use in a recipe you can add tablespoons measured tablespoons in an icecube tray.  Pop them in a freezer bag after they’re frozen and then you won’t have to thaw a whole container for just a couple of tablespoons of broth.

Enjoy the health benefits, great flavor, and savings from making your own chicken broth!

 

Necessity The Mother of Invention Aka Italian Chicken Quinoa

We keep most of our meat in the chest freezer in the garage.  Usually on the weekends I have my husband bring in what we will need for the week.  This weekend, I forgot.  Shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I somehow misplaced my key to the garage.  All we had in the freezer were some chicken necks and backs for making broth, cranberries, a chopped up zucchini, and one frozen cooked leg quarter.  If I had made my menu over the weekend or taken meat out of the inside freezer the night before, like I’m supposed to, I wouldn’t have had this problem.   I had to have supper made and ready to eat when he got home, because we were going to church tonight. Perfect storm.  After some frantic searching, I realized I’d have to come up with something using what I had.  So I started some quinoa cooking.  Quinoa is a high protein grain, I chose it because one leg quarter between the two of us isn’t much protein.  If you don’t have quinoa you could substitute rice. I put the chicken in the toaster oven to thaw, and thought.  After the chicken was thawed through I got to work. I put some olive oil in a pan and threw in the frozen zucchini.  I added the shredded chicken, a can of diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  And you know what, it actually turned out pretty good.  I admired my mom when I was younger because of how she could make a meal out of pretty bare cupboards.  I’m grateful that the creative tips she taught me has allowed me to do the same.  Here’s the handy dandy recipe for when you are low on ingredients, and need something quick and easy to make.

 

Italian Chicken Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

1 Chicken leg quarter, pre-cooked (could use any other cut of chicken)

1 chopped zucchini

1 tbs olive oil

1 can diced tomatos

2 -3 tsp Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cook up some quinoa. While that’s simmering do the following steps.

2.  Put olive oil in skillet on medium heat.  Add the chopped zucchini.  Stir occasionally.

3.  While the zucchini is warming, shred the chicken. Add it in to the pan.

4.  Stir in a can of  diced tomatoes. Add Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the skillet.

5.  Its done with the zucchini pieces have turned semi-transparent, about 20 minutes.

Serve chicken tomato mixture on a bed of quinoa.  Feel free to add to this; some crushed garlic, extra oregeno or basil, or other vegetables you have on hand could go well.

 

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is an ancient high protein grain.  It looks a little like barley, and has a very subtle nutty flavor.  It can be used as a substitute for barley, bulgur, or rice in many recipes. It is a staple in our gluten-free house. When preparing quinoa it is best to be prepared.  Soaking it for 4-8 hours before cooking makes it easier to digest.  In a pinch you can skip or shorten this step.  Quinoa grains are covered with bitter tasting powder called saponin so they need a quick rinse in a strainer. Place the quinoa in a sauce pan with 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa.  Add a pinch of salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Then cover it and bring the heat down to a simmer.  Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on letting it steam for 5 minutes. The water should be fully absorbed.

Quinoa is huge online right now. Its high protein makes it a great alternative to less nutrient dense carb choices. You can use this in many recipes, such as my Italian Chicken Quinoa.