How to Make Your Own Beef Bone Broth

 

In one of my past blogs on eating healthy and sharing meals, I shared how it was easier to eat healthy when you take turns cooking and share the healthy meals with a friend.  The friend that I share meals with is not the only friend that I have that is aiming to eat healthier.  Although we don’t share meals each week, she has shared recipes and sent samples of new recipes.  In today’s post I am sharing the pictures and recipe for the beef bone broth that she made.  Thanks Christine for sharing!

Start by roasting organic soup bones in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

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While bones roast …
Into a crock pot, add three fourths hot water, large onion (or onion peels and tops of onions that you have been saving in freezer after chopping onions for other recipes), celery (or celery leaves and ends cut off and saved in freezer), cloves from one head of garlic, ground Thyme, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and sea salt.

After bones have baked for 45 minutes, add cooked bones and any liquid to the crock pot.

Cook on high for one to two hours.  Then cook on low for one to three days.  The longer the broth cooks, the more nutrients and minerals will be extracted from the bones.

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Drain liquid.  Freeze in freezer quart jars.  This recipe made 5 jars.

Save bones and marrow.  When cool put in freezer bag, save for dog treats.

Save strained onions, celery and garlic.  When cool feed to chickens.  No waste!

If you have chicken bones instead of beef bones, refer to Brandi’s post (Homemade chicken broth)

In a future post, I will share Christine’s recipe that she made using this bone broth.  It was the most delicious chili that I have ever eaten!  Oh how I could eat some more of that.  Hint…Hint…

–Penny

Frugal Living: How to Feed Your Family for a Week With Just One Chicken! Recipe #2: Homemade Chicken Broth

As promised, here’s the second installment of How to Feed Your Family for a Week With Just One Chicken! Click here to see the first post if you missed it.

This week’s recipe should actually be cooked right after recipe one.  Once you’ve cooked your whole chicken in the crockpot and removed the meat from the bones, throw the bones, and any skin and/or fat, right back in the crockpot (yes, with the onions and the juice that is already in the pot).  Add in the following ingredients:

1 – 2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 – 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped (sometimes I use the leftover pieces of celery that I normally wouldn’t include in a recipe, but that are technically edible since we are just looking for the flavor here)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh parsley (or about 1 tsp dried parsley)
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or about 1 tsp dried parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
*sometimes I also like to add a few garlic cloves or some minced garlic, depending on what I have in the house

Now fill the rest of the pot almost to the top with water.  Cover, and then let it cook on low overnight.  In the morning, you’ll smell a wonderful, savory aroma of homemade chicken broth.  Turn off your crockpot if it hasn’t gone off on it’s own, and then take out a large bowl and a strainer.  I usually strain my chicken broth into a large bowl, and then transfer the broth from the bowl into the smaller freezer containers.  Do whatever is easiest for you.  Make sure to label your containers with the contents and date before putting them in the freezer for long term storage.  I only make one batch of broth from these chicken parts, but I have heard of others who will throw it all back in the pot, add more water, and put it cooking again.  I just simply don’t use that much broth on a regular basis to do so.

So what do I use my chicken broth for? I have an easy one-pot recipe for chicken alfredo that calls for chicken broth.  I include my homemade chicken broth in gumbo and in chicken tortilla soup.  I also use it in soups, and sometimes even as a replacement for beef broth, depending on what recipe it is.  What do you use chicken broth for?

–Brandi

 

Frugal Living: How to Feed Your Family for a Week With Just One Chicken!

This is another crockpot recipe! Yay! (Don’t have a crockpot? Don’t worry.  I have a hack for you at the end of this post.)

When my husband and I began discussing the idea of me staying home with our children full time, we began watching our spending more closely.  In order to reduce our monthly grocery budget, I began researching ways to make food go further.  This was also around the same time that I began choosing more whole-food recipes and leaving behind the boxed, processed “convenience” foods.  (Honestly, I find my crockpot recipes are more convenient than the boxed stuff because you do a little prep work the night before or the morning of, and you can come home from work with a healthy dinner ready to go!  Who doesn’t love that?)  This recipe fits both categories – cheap and healthy!  However, today will just be day one of my chicken recipes.  Check back each Thursday for the next few weeks to see how I make this one chicken feed my family over and over again (therefore saving us money!).  For ease of navigation, I’ll add each week’s link to the bottom of this post, so feel free to pin this link and keep checking back here to find the newest recipe.

So here’s what you’ll need:

Crockpot
Meat Thermometer (my crockpot has one attached)
Whole chicken (make sure it will fit in your crockpot)
Your favorite all-purpose seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)
1 Onion

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Here’s how easy it is to cook:

1.) Cut the onion in half.  Place it in the crockpot with the cut side up.

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2.) Make sure the chicken is completely defrosted if it was frozen.  Remove any innards.  I do rinse off my chicken before seasoning and cooking, but that is optional.  Season both sides thoroughly.  (If you want to be more detailed, you can inject some of the seasoning, but I no longer do that and I still find it tastes great).

seasoned-whole-chicken-in-crockpot

3.) Place the seasoned chicken on the onion halves.  I place my chicken on its back so that my crockpot’s temperature sensor can be put in the breast of the chicken.

whole-chicken-in-crockpot-with-temperature-probe

4.) Cover and cook until the breast reaches a temperature of 165-170 degrees.  I cook my chicken on high and set the sensor to 170 degrees, so my crockpot turns to “warm” instead of “cook” once the chicken reaches that temperature.  There will be liquid at the bottom of the pot with the onions, that is totally normal.  We will use that for homemade chicken broth, which I’ll teach you how to make in my next post.

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That’s it! You’re done!

Once the chicken is cooked, you can remove it from the crockpot and clean the meat from the bone.  For supper that night, we usually each have a piece of chicken with a large serving of steamed vegetables (broccoli is a favorite here) and a buttered roll or a slice of French bread.  If you can remove the meat from the bone before serving your family members, do so (yes, even the chicken leg).  This way you can keep the bones for your stock.  So there’s easy meal #1 from our whole chicken.  Check back next week to find out how to make your own healthy chicken stock from the leftovers of this meal.  Enjoy!

crockpot-chicken-with-broccoli-and-french-bread

P.S. Those of you who scrolled down for the hack to this recipe? Simple: Buy a whole rotisserie chicken at your grocery store’s deli counter.  You’ll pay a little more, but you’ll still be able to use it in the same ways we will over these next few weeks. 🙂

Recipe 2: Homemade Chicken Broth
Recipe 3: Chicken Caesar Wraps
Recipe 4: Chicken Quesadillas
Recipe 5: Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Recipe 6: Chicken Alfredo
Recipe 7: Chicken Pesto Sandwiches

–Brandi

feed-your-family-for-a-week-with-one-whole-chicken

What’s in the Crockpot? Vegetable Soup

My favorite recipes these days are those that require very little prep and use minimal amounts of dishes (One-pot recipes are the best! I have a few I will type up for y’all soon!).  I have two children under 5 (and they don’t always nap…), so I don’t have a lot of time for prepping food and washing dishes.  Being able to make one of these types of meals in the crockpot (set it and forget it!) makes it even better.  Here’s one of my favorite “easy” recipes.  It is healthy in the fact that it has lots of vegetables, but it is not super high on my healthy list because I use store-bought beef broth, canned tomato sauce, frozen veggies, and I do include corn even though we don’t eat corn at all in any other meal or as a side.  This could be improved easily by using vegetables from your garden (even if they are frozen), your own homemade beef broth and/or tomato sauce, and leaving out the corn.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make my veggie soup:

(3) steaks, cubed and browned (I usually use the petite sirloin when it goes on sale at our local grocery store)
(1) 32 oz container of beef broth
(2) 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
(1) can of water (use the empty tomato sauce can)
(3) 12 oz packs of frozen mixed vegetables
(1) 12 oz pack of frozen corn
Salt, Pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (as needed)

1.) Season the steaks with salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (or your favorite general purpose seasoning).  Cut them into cubes and brown them over medium heat.

browned-cubed-steak

2.) Transfer the browned steaks into the crockpot and then add the rest of the ingredients.

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3.) Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for longer.  Since I add the vegetables in frozen, they do not get soggy or mushy.

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I usually serve the soup for supper that evening, serve enough for leftovers for the next day, and then freeze the rest in individual serving sized containers.  This gives me a quick and easy (and rather healthy) meal to take out on a day when I just did not have enough time to cook.  All I have to do is take however many containers I need out of the freezer, pop them into the fridge the night before (or even the morning of, if I forgot – mommy brain is real! haha), and have them defrosted by the evening.  If you want to make the meal more substantial, buy a loaf of French bread to serve on the side, enjoy it with a salad, or you could serve the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (my family’s favorite side for this dish).  Enjoy!

–Brandi

 

 

What’s in the Crockpot?

Cooking Smothered Okra

I cook smothered okra each time I finish filling my gallon freezer bag with sliced okra.  (refer to this post on how to cut and freeze okra.)

My easy way to cook smothered okra is to drizzle a thin layer of olive oil into the bottom of my crock pot and add the frozen okra from the gallon bag (you can also make it using fresh okra).  Plug in the crock pot, place the cover on top and turn the setting to high.  I usually don’t season my okra.  Instead, I choose to wait until I use it in a recipe and then choose the appropriate seasonings.   I stir every half hour to keep the okra from sticking.  When the okra has reduced by about half, I turn the setting to low and allow  it to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours.  If I am going to be away for a few hours or it is time for bed, I add about half a cup of water to the okra to keep it from sticking.  You will know the okra is cooked when it is no longer stringy or slimy and usually has turned a dark green to light brown color.

When the okra is the desired color and texture, turn the crock pot off and allow the okra to cool.  Once cool, I place the smothered okra into a quart freezer bag, label it, seal it, and place it into the freezer for future recipes.

During the hot days of summer, while picking and freezing okra, I begin to look forward to “Gumbo weather” as we call the cooler fall days here in Cajun country.

Sometimes waiting for that “Gumbo weather” can take too long so we have Our Little Way of dealing with that too.  We turn the thermostat lower on the air conditioner, take the okra out the freezer and before long it’s gumbo time.   The forecast here does not show any signs of cooler weather any time soon.  So… you guessed it…. my next post will be how to make okra gumbo.

–Penny