One of the biggest money savers in our house is making homemade chicken stock. I make a lot of soups and other things that require chicken stock and it is very expensive to buy. I know there are a lot of recipes out there for making stock...but really I just throw a bunch of things into a giant pot and boil away. Good enough for me.
As I accumulate things in the kitchen that I think would be good in stock, I freeze them in a large container. Then, all I have to do is open the container and throw the item in. It's okay if they all stick together, because your throwing it all in the same place anyway. I think having one container saves on space, time, and money. Here is a list of some of the things I have thrown into a pot of chicken stock. The ones that are bold are, in my opinion, a must:
Chicken - cooked chicken carcasses, uncooked chicken parts, skin, yucky parts...whatever
Celery - save your leafy parts as they add tons of flavor to the stock
Garlic - no need to peel
Fresh or Dried Herbs
Parmesan or other cheese heels - once you've used the cheese just stick it in the freezer to save
Salt - don't go crazy on this because you can always add more to the dish
Left over veggies such as peas, corn, green beans, green onions - seriously, it all adds flavor
I make chicken stock every couple of months and I basically just load up a large pot with all my savings and fill it to the top with water. Then I bring it to a strong boil and reduce to a simmer. Then I cover it and let it go. Simmer for a loooooooong time. I've been known to do it overnight. I would say at least 6 hours.
Then, I let it cool and get a large tupperware container. I then strain the stock over a strainer. Throw all the leftovers away. DON'T try to save the chicken. You just boiled the heck out of it. It's done its duty.
Now, let the strained stock stay in the fridge overnight. All of the fat and other left over bits will rise to the top and you can skim it off. It really is worth the overnight wait.
Finally, divide the stock into bags or other containers to freeze and use for later. I divide mine into 1 quart (4 cups), 2 cups, and 1 cup increments. I freeze mine in bags. It works well and rarely leaks. See here:
Then your husband, who thinks making stock is silly, can leave you messages on your bags :)
Well, that's what works for me! To see more tips go to Works For Me We Wednesday!
If you haven't had a chance to enter my giveaway for the cutest produce bags ever you may do so here!!