Wednesday, January 15

How to Make Your Own Staples Instead of Buying Them

January for my family usually means getting on track with savings and finances for the new year. Shopping and making some staples (like chicken broth) at home really helps with cutting our food bill down to size... no more christmas cookies to spurge on. Is it just me or does your grocery bill start expanding around late October/early november and then by December 31 it's an animal all its own? 

When I plan ahead a little and maintain these kitchen staples in my freezer and pantry, saves me room in my shopping cart, it saves me money, and gives me the comfort of knowing exactly what is in the food I am eating and feeding to my family. I love the spice isle at the grocery store. I love the huge amount of packets we can add to meats and veggies and create huge flavor. I grew up on sloppy joe seasoning packets and taco packets. But trying to be healthy and looking out for my family I have noticed there are so many convenience types foods that we add to our recipes that have vague ingredients such as "spice", "spices" or "flavorings". Those ingredients make me nervous. 

Some many think eliminating these processed foods from their diet means cooking all day in the kitchen, creating a long complicated substitute, or giving up recipes they have been cooking for years, but I assure you it doesn't. Start with one or two of these easy homemade staples, and you'll find yourself getting into the pattern of keeping them on hand because of the convenience of not needing to add them to a list. Saving a $5 bill here and there. Those pesky cans of cream of whatever add up. These homemade staples that we all use in our cooking can be safely stored for months or even up to a year in the pantry or freezer and ready for when you need them. 

4 of my favorites homemade staples:

1.Cream of Celery Soup 
2.Flour Free, Sugar Free Easy Enchilada Sauce
3.Pizza Dough (freezable & customizable)
4.Flour-Free, Corn-Free, Sugar-Free Taco Seasoning Mix

Another staple is how to make homemade chicken broth. Chicken broth is easy and affordable. You can save yourself some sodium and cash at the grocery store by doing it yourself with a little planning. They both freeze beautifully for months! You can even make it in a crockpot!

In my chicken broth I use 3 vegetables (celery, carrot, onion), a whole chicken, a large pot of water, salt, pepper, and a lemon or lemon juice in a pinch. That's it. No mystery ingredients. Here let me show you: 

one whole chicken 3-4 lbs - I am removing the stuff in the cavity

I put the chicken in a very large pot of water with salt & pepper

2 stalks of celery in very large pieces
one whole lemon sliced in large chunks
one or two cloves garlic and one whole onion cut into 4 pieces 
Chop up 2 carrots. Scrub them good and you don't even have to peel them. Put all the veggies into the pot and turn it on to boil - its like a hot tub party
I added a handful of fresh parsley. Let it boil on medium high.
Then reduce and let it simmer with a lid on for an hr or up to 2 hrs depending on the weight of your bird. The chicken should be cooked through at temp 165 degrees.
Once I determine the chicken is done.... Let everything cool down. 

First I use a slotted spoon and a bowl to "fish out the cooked and softened vegetables" and disgard them. They are mushy and are of no use to anyone. Second I remove and shred the chicken meat into 1 lb portions. I store this in the fridge knowing I can always throw it in the freezer later if I don't have a use for it. This wonderfully moist chicken doesn't stand a chance though. Then I strain the broth. This takes awhile as it is ALOT of broth. Once I have it just as clear liquid I can store it in bowls in the fridge overnight.

The broth's fat will rise to the surface in a solid white form. I will remove most of the fat the next day and then store the chicken broth in freezer bags in 1 cup and 2 cup servings for later use.

This chicken gave me over 12 cups of chicken broth plus 3 lbs of meat for different lunches and meals throughout the week. Not bad for a $7 whole chicken. That would've been 3 boxes of "broth or stock in a box" from the store..... the math is astounding. 

Meals you can make with the shredded chicken:
Chicken Pizza
Chicken Soft Tacos
Chicken Salads
Chicken BBQ Sliders
Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas
You can add Chicken to Mac & Cheese

Making your own staples to use while cooking can save you money and is easy as pie. Most recipes just need 10-15 minutes of hands on attention. 

From my January 
"getting back on track" kitchen 
To yours

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel to comment about the pictures or recipe above. Looking forward to reading your comments. Happy reading, cooking, eating, and sharing good food!