Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

First blog of the new year.

So, first things first- Happy 2011 :)

Did you make any resolutions?(and, are they realistic?)

Did you give your sweetheart a kiss to ring in the new year?

Did you see the ball drop in NYC?

More importantly, are you ready for some new recipes?!

I have a goal, (not a resolution, this was a project I decided to take on about a month ago) to cook every recipe in a single cookbook. I have decided that I am going to accomplish this goal by cooking the recipes from The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites.

We have been purchasing whole, raw chickens for quite some time because it's far more budget friendly. I learned how to cut up a chicken when I was a kid- my mom used to get whole birds once in a while because they are such a good deal. Yea, you have to do a little work, it's worth it. I can cut up, skin, and de-bone my own poultry. It's a great skill. Making my own stock from the bones is a bonus. Besides, no store bought stock compares to homemade.

I also buy my ground beef in bulk (not the chubs! they compress the meat so much it never gets the original texture back) and divide it up into half pound freezer bags. I flatten the meat out in the bag and lay them flat to freeze. Then I just stack them all up.

A trick I learned from my mom is to cut up onions and freeze them. I like to dice up 2 or three at a time, freeze them on a baking sheet over night, then bag them up. They don't clump together if you take this extra step. I've taken to using the same process for celery, green onions, and bell peppers. I rarely need these veggies raw for a dish so it works out well.

I was asked if Jon and I have any New Years Day traditions. We usually sit around the house and watch the Twilight Zone marathon (the original series from the 1950's). But this year Jon decided he wants to build on our tradition. So, off to the beach we go. The sun is shining and it's 75 degrees. It's a great way to kick of the new year.

To kick off my cooking journey I decided I needed to make some chicken stock. I made it in the crock pot. Once it was cooled down some, I divided it up into freezer bags and laid them flat in the freezer. When they are hardened, I will stack them all up.

Word to the wise- LABEL EVERYTHING you repackage and put into your freezer. Seriously, you won't remember 3 months down the road what meats or sauces are what.

I hope you had a delightful holiday season. May your new year be blessed.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend. Cheers!

White Chicken Stock (From All New Complete Cooking Light)
Makes 10 cups

28 calories per cup

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
10 parsley sprigs
8 thyme sprigs
3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces
3 bay leaves
2 medium onions, unpeeled and quartered
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces
2 garlic cloves, crushed
16 cups cold water
6 lbs chicken pieces (I keep a bag of chicken bones, necks, and gizzards in my freezer for this)

Place first 8 ingredients in an 8-quart stockpot; add the water and chicken.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 3 hours.

Strain stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Reserve chicken for another use; discard remaining solids.

Cover and chill stock for 8 hours. Skim solidified fat from surface of broth, and discard.

For the crock pot:

I reduce the water to 10-11 cups.

Put everything in the crock, cover and simmer high for 5-6 hours.

Turn off, allow to cool somewhat. (removing the crock from the cooker helps speed this up)

Strain. Refrigerate. Skim the fat and divide into 1 cup bags.

Label and freeze.

1 comment:

  1. What a great choice on cook books for your adventure. I am trying to sneak healthier ways into my families meals. Heaven forbid if they hear something is good for them. My big project for the year is cutting back on excess, getting rid of clutter, and living more simply. I am looking forward to reading how things are going with your project. Happy New Years to you and yours!