In the few months since starting this blog I have learned, among other things, that I have smart friends! In my last meal planning post I complained about what a big pain it is to roast a chicken, but I keep buying, roasting, shredding and freezing whole chickens because they are much more economical than buying boneless chicken breasts (especially if you buy better-for-you chicken). I also mentioned that I don’t make my own stock, even though I know I should because I would save money, and I can control the ingredients. I haven’t had great success creating stock in the past and it seemed like one more thing to do.
One of my smart friends told me she makes chicken broth in a crock pot. Ding Ding Ding. That was the best idea ever! I found a post from 100 Days of Real Food on cooking chicken in a crockpot, then making the broth in the crockpot. Double win!
On Saturday morning I took the toddler on my weekly grocery shopping trip and we picked up a Greenwise whole chicken, not on sale, for $2.49/lb. I don’t have my receipt anymore, but I would guess it was about four pounds. I loosely followed The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot recipe, but I didn’t measure the spices. I just threw some paprika, onion powder, coarse salt, and pepper together and rubbed under the chicken skin. Then I cooked for about 5 hours. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about this method was the meat was so tender, it was falling off the bone (just like the recipe said), exposing some of the backbones and hip bone. I’ll admit, I’m a meatatarian who doesn’t like to be reminded that her food once roamed God’s green earth and seeing these bones kind of freaked me out a little. I may have been reminded of Aliens. Not good. Not enough to keep me from doing this crockpot method from now on, but not good.
Anyway, I let the whole chicken cool in the fridge overnight, and shredded the chicken in the morning. I swear the chicken was better cooked and more moist than any other chicken I’ve ever cooked. Even the meat on the back wasn’t mushy, it was edible! I think I got more chicken off the bone than ever before. As if things couldn’t get any better, I threw the bones back in the crockpot and followed her Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot recipe. I added a bay leaf to the pot, and carrots would have been nice but I forgot. I don’t like the idea of keeping my crock pot on all night, but I let the stock cook all day and into the evening. After the kids were asleep, I ladled into a big bowl and let it cool overnight.
On Monday morning, while my work computer booted up, my coffee warmed up and my egg cooked, I filled up my mason jars with one cup of broth each. I can’t remember which blog, but someone recommended filling liquid way below the jar shoulders, freezing with the top off and keeping jars from touching each other during the freezing process. I also kept several cups in my fridge because I am planning on making rice a few times this week.
So, that’s my story of how my smart friends saved me time and money in my kitchen. Thanks, friends. 🙂