Friday, 31 January 2014

Spicy Taco Mac n' Cheese

Spicy Taco Mac n' Cheese

Ingredients:

1 Recipe Spicy Mexican Beef

1, 8 ounce package Cream Cheese
2 1/2 Cups mixed shredded cheese
2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Sour cream
About 400 grams/1 pound Dried Pasta noodles (macaroni or shell work well)
2 Stalks Green onions

Instructions:

Prepare the spicy Mexican beef according to recipe, or use 1 pound of ground beef and use 1 package of taco seasonings.

While that is cooking prepare the pasta according to the package directions.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a large deep sided baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes and put into a medium sauce pan, melt over medium heat until soft, add sour cream and milk and continue to stir until thickened and evenly mixed. No clumps.

Add 2 Cups of the mixed shredded cheese to the cream sauce and stir for about another 2 minutes.

Combine the spicy beef, cheese sauce and noodles in the large baking dish. Stir well until well combined and even.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top as well as the green onions.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese on top has melted.

Enjoy!

Proper Chicken Wings

Baked in butter and Parmesan cheese with fresh cracked pepper and basil. The secret to these yummy delights is that the chicken wing and skin has a lot of natural fat and oil in it, and when you slowly bake it the flavor really comes out. Much better than deep fried chicken wings and if you don't believe me than I dare you to try these.

Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

About 20 Wings, bones and skin intact please
1 1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 Cup Basil leaves, chopped
Pepper
1/2-3/4 Cup Butter
Cooking spray
1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped

Instructions:

Cut off the tip of each chicken wing, save it to make chicken stock or discard. Split the rest of the wings at the joint. I do this by cutting at the crease, and then snapping backwards to split the rest, and using my knife to clean up the ends and separate.

Place all the prepared chicken pieces in a large bowl.

Melt the butter and pour over the wing pieces. Toff to coat all of the wing pieces.

*Optional sometimes I also toss a little garlic powder in with the wings and butter at this stage.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, basil and parsley. Give it a bit of seasoning with pepper. Toss to evenly mix.

Line a large baking sheet with tin foil. and coat well with cooking spray.

Toss each wing piece in the cheese/crumb mixture and turn to coat on all sides. Place each breaded piece on the prepared baking tray so they are close but not touching or over-lapping.

Once finished breading, bake the wings in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes.

Let stand on the pan for about 2 minutes  before serving.

Enjoy!

Notes

Good enough to make people who hate cheese, like cheese.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Baked Italian Salmon

Baked Italian Salmon

Ingredients:

2 Salmon fillets
1 Small onion or shallot
2 Cloves Garlic
About 1 Cup diced fresh tomato
4-5 Green Onion stems
1 Lemon
2-3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley leaves
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Pancetta or Bacon (2 slices) (optional)
Honey (optional)

Instructions:

Lightly season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or a pan lightly misted with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a skillet, begin to cook the pancetta or bacon. If using Bacon fully cook the bacon, and then remove it from the pan and drain the fat. Crumble the cooked bacon into small bits and return to the pan. Don't worry about draining the fat if using pancetta, it is much less fatty than bacon as it cooks. 

Finely dice the onion/shallot and garlic cloves. Dice the tomatoes and green onion. Finely mince the herbs. Slice the lemon in half. 

Stir fry onions/shallot and garlic cloves in the pancetta/bacon skillet and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are just beginning to turn golden. If the onions are sticking and not cooking well, add some olive oil to the pan and stir.

Add the tomatoes, herbs and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lemon into the pan. Stir fry for about 5-10 minutes. Until tomatoes soften and everything smells awesome.

Stir in the diced green onion and divide the vegetables in the skillet over the top of the two salmon fillets on their pan. Right on top!! Place the other lemon Half on the pan, cut side up as well.

Bake salmon in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is just flaking in the center of the fillet when gently prodded with a butter knife. Once cooked let stand on pan 2 minutes. Once plated, squeeze the baked lemon half over the top of each salmon fillet.

Enjoy!

Snowed in All Day Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Ingredients:

2-4 Small Ribs
1 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
2-4 Tablespoons Seasonings
Honey
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic

OR use this Recipe for a nice Korean BBQ Sauce

Instructions:

Season the ribs with salt and pepper and any herbs or spices that you wish to use. Lightly drizzle some honey over the ribs as well.

Coarsely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Arrange the ribs on their sides (exposed bone end down if possible) inside the insert of the slow cooker. Toss the onions and garlic in between the rib racks. Pour about 1 cup of BBQ sauce all over the ribs and use a silicone brush to distribute the sauce evenly. Turn the slow cooker on low heat and leave it alone for about 6-8 hours.

After 6-8 hours, the ribs should be fall off the bone tender but not perfect.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and lightly mist with cooking spray. Transfer the ribs from the slow cooker insert to the baking sheet. Spread the remaining BBQ sauce over the tops of the ribs and broil for between 3-10 minutes, or until the freshly added BBQ sauce begins to bubble and cook under the broiler. Remove ribs from oven, let sit about 2 minutes and serve.

Goes great with Roasted Corn!

Enjoy!

Notes:

Ribs aren't my favorite food, I get a little OCD over my need to wash any any stickiness from my hands so saucy rich ribs are a bit of a nightmare for me to eat. However like a true man, my man friend of choice loves ribs maybe almost as much as he loves me. So I wont lie, I have tried ribs in the past and various methods but my ribs never ever got as lovely as they did with this recipe. I might not be the biggest rib fan, but this recipe was almost enough to convert me to a lover. Also when I made mine I accidentally dumped about four tablespoons of marjoram on my ribs, and just kind of went with it and the marjoram went really well with my sweet chicken and rib BBQ sauce. So be brave! Be bold! And when you are trapped all day at home, why not crack out the slow cooker and make some drool worthy, fall of the bone tender ribs.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Fancy Roast Dinner with Boulangère Potatoes

Roast Dinner with Boulangère Potatoes

Ingredients:

About 2-3 Pounds potatoes
1/2-1 Cup Stock
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Small Onion
1 Tablespoon Butter
Pepper

Optional:

1/2 Cup Bread crumbs
1/2 Cup Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup soft shredded cheese
1 Tablespoon parsley

Roast of Choice
3 Tablespoons Butter
3-4 Cloves Garlic
2 Teaspoons Salt
Pepper
2-3 Sprigs Rosemary, Leaves only


Instructions:

In a small skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter. Finely chop the onion and stir fry in the skillet for about 8-10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Chop the garlic cloves in half and rub the cut edge of the garlic cloves all over the inside of the dish the potatoes will bake in. Lightly grease the pan with cooking spray or butter.

Add the cooked Onions on the roaster. Finely slice the potatoes, I used my mandolin for this job. Arrange the sliced potatoes over the onions in the roaster so it looks even and pretty. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Finely chop the rosemary leaves. In a small food processor or bowl mix together the chopped rosemary, butter, salt and pepper. If you have a food processor add the garlic cloves and pulse smooth. If you are bowl mixing finely mince or grate the cloves or garlic and mix it in.

Rub your butter paste all over your roast, place on its rack, and place the rack over the potato roasting dish. Pour the stock into the roasting dish until there is enough to cover the entire bottom of the roaster. Don't drown the potatoes, they should be less than half submerged in the stock.

If you are making this ahead of time cover the roast with foil and place it in the fridge, until 30 minutes before cooking time.

If you are going ahead with cooking. Please have your oven preheated to 450°F.

Roast uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, then reduce heat to 325°F and continue to roast until your meat has reached the correct cooking temperature. 

Once the roast has cooked, lift the rack off the roasting dish, and transfer to a platter and allow the roast to rest covered for about 15 minutes. 

Optional: Mix together the bread crumbs and cheeses in a bowl, toss over top of the potatoes after the roast has finished cooking. Sprinkle parsley over the entire top of potatoes. Only if you want. . .  this is optional.

Return potatoes to oven, raise temperature to 400°F. Continue to cook potatoes until tender and ready to eat. 

Serve potatoes family style on the table with a lifter, carve the roast after lifting and allow guests their choice of cuts. Complete the meal with a salad and of course. . . 

Enjoy!

Notes:

I made the most delightful roast leg of lamb this week for my fancy Monday night dinner, and my goodness it might have been the best meal of my life. I served it with the potatoes in this recipe, Parsnip Chips, and Stuffed Tomatoes, with mini cheese cakes for dessert. Oh it was a good night of food.

So, Boulangère is french for cooked kinda like a casserole with onions. So while it sounds super fancy and French it is also wicked simple to make. Which is my favorite kind of cooking. I also used my trivet and some long metal skewers raise the roast over the roaster and then was able roast my leg of lamb right over the potatoes. If you can pull this off I suggest trying it because everything tasted like nothing I have ever had. If you can't rig something up so you can roast over the potatoes, then that is alright. Just use a deep casserole dish for the potatoes and a roaster for the roast. Everything will still be perfectly wonderful.

Also this is a great recipe for dinner parties or to make ahead and have someone else put it in the oven about 1  1/2 - 2 hours before you get home, someone like a husband or babysitter, and then you come home to a lovely dinner. A very nice plan. If you do it this way, just remember to remind your oven operator to take the roast and everything out of the fridge about 30 minutes before putting it in the oven at 325°F. Or if you trust them you can follow the roasting instructions in the recipe below.

Alright finally, you can use a beef roast, pork roast, roasted chicken, lamb, pretty much anything with this recipe. You can also change the type and flavor of the rub used on the meat to really change the final flavor of everything. This is a recipe that can be used again and again with different herbs, seasonings, and flavors so it shouldn't ever get boring. I suggest garlic and rosemary in this recipe, but almost anything could work.

Hm this reminds me that I want to make a chart of never fail seasoning combinations. . .

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Mini Cheese Cakes! (With Cookie Crust and Blueberry Sauce)

Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

About 40-50 Mr. Christie Nilla Cookies
3+ Tablespoons melted Butter

2 (8 Ounce) Packs of cream cheese
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract

Blueberry Sauce:
1 Pint Box of Blueberries
1/4-1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Almond extract
3+ Tablespoons water

Butter or butter flavored cooking spray to grease the ramekins or spring form pan.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Allow cheesecake, sour cream, and eggs to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes on the counter should do it.

In a food processor ideally, crush the Nilla Cookies to smithereens until they are an even fine crumb. Pour the melted butter into the food processor and pulse a few times quickly to mix the butter in. 

If you don't have a food processor smash the cookies as best you can, and pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix quickly.

Grease or butter the ramekins or spring form pan. 

Divide the crumb mixture between the ramekins, or pour it all into the spring form pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom and create a nice smooth crust for the cheese cake.

Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

While the crusts are lightly baking, Prepare the cheese cake filling.

Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer or stand mixer, until smooth. Add the sugar and cream well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each one. Add the flour and vanilla and blend. Slowly add the sour cream and blend together until smooth.

Once crusts have finished baking, raise oven temperature to 450°F.

Allow the crusts to cool for a few minutes before adding the filling. This also gives our oven a chance to preheat for round two.

Divide the filling mixture between the ramekins or just pour it into the spring form pan.

Bake the cheese cakes at 450°F for about 10 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 250°F, do not open the oven and continue to bake for about 1 hour or until the filling has set. Which means it doesn't jiggle when you touch the middle. Be gentle, you don't want to leave a mark in the top.

While the cheese cakes are baking Let's start that berry sauce.

In a small sauce pan over medium-lowish heat, add all the blueberries and mash until they are all at least mashed a little bit. Add the water and sugar and continue to stir and mash until the blueberries are nearly all broken down. Add the almond extract and reduce heat. Continue to simmer until the sauce is starting to thicken and become syrupy. 

If you like you can use an immersion blender to really make the sauce smooth and even. 

By now t he cheese cakes should be almost done. Pour the Blueberry sauce into a bowl and set aside for now.

Once the cheese cakes have finished baking remove from oven and chill on wire racks for at least 15 minutes.

Once they aren't scalding hot anymore chill the cheese cakes in the fridge for at least two hours before serving them.

To prepare, quickly heat the sauce up in the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour over the top of the cheese cake and serve.

Enjoy! 

Notes:

There are few things more disappointing for a chef than to spend the day making something lovely and layered like a cheese cake, and then not having your guests eat it, or only having tiny little tastes of it. If I've made it, then I want it to be eaten! Which meant I had to rethink of I serve some things to fool my guests into doing what I want. The trick with cheesecake is to make it in 3 inch ramekins, and then serve one to each person! Tried it during my fancy Monday night dinner party and everyone finally ate a portion of cheese cake! Best part being that I didn't have to change my recipe at all.

Which means you can either be cool and make 6, three inch ramekin cheese cakes, or be traditional and use a 6-8 inch spring form pan. Either way the instructions are the same and easy!

Also this is a New York style cheese cake, but I make the bottom the same way as my mother so its a special surprise. No graham cracker crumbs in this recipe. Served with fresh prepared blueberry sauce, because fresh blueberries were scandalously cheap this week at the grocery store. You can use whatever topping you want, or make you own alternative fruit/berry sauce.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Parsnip Chips

Parsnip Chips

Ingredients:

Parsnips
Butter
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

Trim the parsnips of any ends which are smaller in diameter than about your middle finger. You can use the trimmed ends in something else like a stir fry, or soup, or grate them and make fritters.

Peel the parsnips and either steam or poach in boiling water for between 10-20 minutes or until just tender. Dry and cool the parsnips for a few minutes, until they don't burn you when you handle them.

Slice the parsnips into dollar chips that are about 1 centimeter in width.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, and melt some butter in the pan, enough to coat the entire bottom of the skillet.

Add the parsnip chips. Season lightly with salt, heavily with pepper. Lots of pepper. Let cook on one side until golden brown, adding more butter to the pan as needed, there should always be a little in the pan, right up until they are pretty much finished. Turn and cook the other side to golden brown.

Serve right away.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Parsnip is an odd vegetable to me, there really aren't that many vegetables that I really enjoy but this is one of my favorites. The strange thing is that no one I know outside of my close family seem to eat them or know what they are really. Parsnips are kind of like a white carrot, or a carrot shaped potato, in a way anyways, but with a nice mild sweet taste and smooth texture.

My favorite way to serve parsnips is as a side with dinner using this recipe. It is really simple and pretty much fool proof. My dinner party friends are always excited when I have it on the menu, and was always popular back home for family dinner on Sundays.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Turkey BLT Soup

Turkey BLT Soup

Ingredients:

1 Small Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic
About 1 1/2 Cups diced roast turkey meat
2 Carrots, peeled, and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 Can diced tomatoes, and juice
About 6-8 Cups Chicken or Turkey Stock
Pepper
2 Tablespoons Marjoram
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoons Oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 Slices Bacon
1 1/2 Cup dried Egg noodles
1/4-1/2 Cup Lentils*


Instructions:

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring often until cooked and beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook additional 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock to the pot and simmer 5 minutes. Add the marjoram, basil, oregano, and season well with pepper. Rinse and strain the lentils, and add to the pot. Stir well.

Add the carrots, parsnips, and zucchini. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, About 25-40 minutes depending on how large your diced pieces are.

While the vegetables are simmering, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels Cut into bits. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions and set aside.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add the diced turkey, bacon, and can of tomatoes and the can juices. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the noodles, stir well.

Soup is ready!

Enjoy!

Notes:

Or Turkey bacon, lentil-vegetable, tomato soup! Since I recently made a rather large sized turkey and due to weather issues some dinner guests couldn't make it, I have a lot of roast turkey meat in the fridge that needs to get eaten! A few healthy sized hot-turkey sandwiches really hit the spot but I needed some other way to eat turkey.

I never really was a huge fan of turkey n' rice soup like my mom used to make, but this came to me in a dream pretty much. Just tested it out in real life and it was awesome! Lots of flavor without being too heavy and the bacon makes up for the fact that I never added any salt to the recipe.

So if you have some left over turkey, or chicken I suppose, and are trapped in an Polar Vortex of cold miserable winter hell, I suggest some hot soup to cure the blues!

I made mine with my own homemade turkey stock that I made right after I finished carving the turkey, but if you don't want to do all that, or don't have the turkey bones you can use store bought chicken stock. Also if you don't have lentils, don't really worry about it, they just add some extra protein and iron, but not much flavor. I just wanted something that started with L so I could keep my pun.

Ps: Be warm and safe in wintertime!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Easy Chicken Pomodoro Casserole

Easy Pomodoro Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:

Two boneless Chicken Breasts, or four thighs
About 2 Cups pasta noodles, your choice. I like spirally ones.
1 Zucchini
2-3 Clove garlic
1 796ml Can crushed tomatoes
1 Bell Pepper
1-2 Tablespoon Basil
1-2 Tablespoon Oregano
Black pepper to season
About 1 Cup cheese more or less. . .

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with tin foil, and either lightly drizzle with olive oil, or use a kitchen cooking spray to grease the entire surface.

Place the Chicken on the tin foil in the center and Lightly season the chicken with pepper, and other seasonings if desired.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the noodles according to their package, drain and set aside.

Place in preheated oven and bake for about 25- 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer says good, or middle is white and no longer pink. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes.

While the chicken cools, chop the zucchini and bell pepper. Mince the garlic, and the basil and oregano if you are using fresh herbs.

Once chicken doesn't burn you when you touch it, roughly chop it into bite sized bits.

In a large casserole dish, add the can of tomatoes, minced garlic, your herbs and season with pepper. Stir well to evenly mix everything. Stir in the chicken, zucchini, and bell pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Use any variety you like, I usually do a mix of 3:1 mozzarella to cheddar.

If you are making this ahead of time, stop now, and cover your casserole and chill. Until about 20-30 minutes before you wish to eat. Let the sit at room temperature before putting in the oven to prevent your dish from cracking. Unless you have a magic casserole that wont break when subject to extreme temperatures.

Bake in the oven at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes. Let stand in casserole about 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Notes:

So a girl at work is trying to be better in the new year, no surprise really. However she was looking at a recipe at work, from Weight-Watchers of all places for some kind of mushroom chicken recipe that they were calling healthy and satisfying. I don't mean to speak ill but I doubt the recipe on both these claims because it was made with a lot of milk, and two cups of condensed mushroom soup.

Condensed Mushroom Soup.

It is the single worst ingredient in a recipe to me. It is heavy, and thick, and does not have a great flavor. This is the ingredient which haunts my childhood, going to family pot-lucks and always there would be some casserole made with this and it would be forced upon me because so and so's kid loves it. It's a lazy ingredient and I will not have it in my house!

Sorry if you love cream of mushroom soup, or any of the many derivative recipes. It's just not for me. Though I do occasionally when I am sick, still crave a bowl of the Campbell Cream of chicken soup with soda crackers. So if you love your cream of mushroom, you go on loving it. Just know we have agreed to disagree.

So, instead how about a light, fresh, Italian inspired casserole, with fresh diced chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers? Topped with some Cheese? Oh yes, that sounds much better.

Goes great with Garlic Fingers. . .  if you aren't trying that hard to sculpt a better you this year.

PS: I have no idea how weight-watcher creates their point system but I know this recipe has about, 4 servings of dairy, 4 servings protein, 8 servings of vegetables and about 4 grain servings if you use a whole wheat pasta. Which is a balanced yummy meal for four lovely friends to enjoy together. 

Simon and Garfunkel Chicken Noodle Soup

Simon and Garfunkel Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:


About 2 liters of Chicken Stock
1/3-1/2 Pound cooked and diced chicken
3 Celery stalks 
1 Carrot
1 Potato
2 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Sage
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Thyme
3 Bay leaves
About 1 1/2 Cups egg noodles, cooked

Instructions:

In a large pot pour in the chicken stock, and gently begin to heat over a low-medium heat. Chop the celery, potato, and carrot into bits sized how you liked them in soup. Add the chopped vegetables to the stock, along with the salt, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay leave. Gently simmer, not boil until vegetables are cooked and tender. Or cooked to however you like your vegetables, I like mine really soft so i cook them for about 30 minutes. 

Remove the bay leaves from the soup, add the noodles, and chopped chicken. Let simmer ten minutes. And your soup is ready!

Enjoy!


Notes:

Chicken noodle soup, it will certainly cure what ails one in the cold bitter winter months. So in honor of my lovely province of residence getting a record amount of snow this December, and record number of bitterly below average cold, let's share a recipe for some more traditional soup. A lovely Grandma kind of chicken noodle soup to be precise.  But I can hear you wondering why on earth I would want to name a soup after a music group? Well they have a lovely little song called Scarborough Fair, where they sing a line "Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" throughout the song. Which are going to be the main herbs and flavors in the soup. So it does make sense, once you know the whole story.

Also this is a recipe one of my first roommates taught to me and she always called it Simon and Garfunkel soup, so I will keep the tradition alive.

Home Made Stock

Home Made Stock

Ingredients:


Your Stock base (See the above descriptions*)
6 Cups water
3 Stalks celery
1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Shallot
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
2 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Sage
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Thyme
3 Bay leaves

Instructions:

Roughly chop the celery, carrot, onion, shallot, and garlic. If you are using fresh herbs, also give them a rough chop. Place your Stock Base in a large pot, that has a lid, add the water, herbs seasonings, and chopped vegetables. Turn pot to a low-medium heat level and over with the lid. Keep an eye on the stock, you do not want it to ever come to a boil, just a very very gentle simmer.

Let the stock gently simmer for about 60-90 minutes. If you used raw chicken in your stock base, ensure that the chicken has at least fully cooked before removing the stock from the heat. If your stock has a bright yellow clear layer on top, use a large spoon to scoop that out. It's pure chicken fat and while a little bit is good, a lot is not.

Also if you are making stock with something large, like everything left over from a turkey dinner, it might take longer to get it to break down all the way. Basically just keep gently simmering until it basically falls apart.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to air tight containers to store. Will keep for about 2-3 days in a cold fridge for 2 months in a freezer. After that the freezer-burn demons set in too badly to use it any longer.

Enjoy!

Notes

Since it is winter and we will all be needing lots of soup to keep us warm and healthy, how about I share a recipe for making your own chicken soup stock! Plus a vegetable stock, because while I hope to eat a variety of interesting game-meat in the next year; I think of those who want to leave more for me eat

Now there are several ways one can go about making their own chicken stock, in my head anyways. Below I will describe the ways I do it, each method will be known as "Stock Base"* in the recipe. Just so we are clear, I do not meat the bought chicken flavor packages. This is an all home made stock recipe!

The first stock base method, is to make a roast chicken, carve it up and hold onto all the bones and the non-palatable bits left over after eating a roast chicken. Use the leftover bits to make the chicken stock. This is how my grandmother did it. Every week after doing a roast chicken, the next day was stock-making-day. Even if she didn't have plans to use it right away, jar it up and freeze it was the motto, "If you always make stock after having a chicken then  have some on hand for when you need it" so says grandma.

Plus if we are good little grandchildren and listen to our elders, then we will also be able to impress our more modern friends with our traditional and awesome skills. Moral of the story, this is the traditional old school, save everything and use everything kind of recipe.

Next if you aren't the type of person who wants to roast a chicken, then fear not because there is a method of getting a stock base for you. Still traditional at heart but you can get either roughly 1/3-1/2 pound of chicken wings or thighs. If you get thigh meat, I would carve off most of the meat from the bone, leaving about 1/2 inch of poultry meat around the bone. This way you can use the chicken thigh meat to make something for supper one night and maybe a soup the next with the stock you will make. If you get wings, you can either use whole wing bits, or just the wing tips. But you will need a lot of wing tips, and they are very fatty so that will affect the final flavor of your stock. Everything else is the same for the recipe.

Or, if you happen to have on hand a fresh whole chicken, but really aren't in the mood to have a whole chicken you could be adventurous and cut up the chicken yourself then after you finish you will have created your stock base. It's really not that hard, all you need to have is a decent knife with a point, and kitchen shears. First remove the neck and giblet bag from the cavity, hold on to the neck and throw out the giblets. Cut off the tail, the fatty pointy bit on the backside of the cavity, and the wing tips, set aside. Use the shears to snip along either side of the back bone and set it aside. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin around the thigh, near the body of the bird, carefully cut the meat where the thigh meats the body and use the point of the knife to separate the bones, leaving you with a separated leg. Repeat for the other leg. Next I usually use the shears to snip to either side of the breast bone, leaving me with two even breast portions, with the wing-let attached, and then snip of the extra skin, and a bit towards the back of the body where it is mostly bone. Put everything snipped aside with the other parts. Now you should have two legs, and two equal breast portions, and a bunch of random bits in a bowl to the side. We will be using the random bits to make stock.

It's up to you what you use your perfectly butchered poultry legs and breast for. Maybe check out some chicken recipes?

Ok finally, if you are looking for a vegetable stock, simply make your stock base with about an extra 1/3 pound of vegetables roughly chopped. Any vegetables pretty much. So be creative with what you use, just think of the vegetables you like to eat together.  Or be like me and throw what ever vegetable you happen to have in the fridge at the time in the pot. It'll be ok.


Alright so the rules a little bit different for people making the vegetable stock. You will in an ideal world still have all the vegetables listed in the recipe, on top of the extra 1/3 pound of what ever other vegetable you have. You don't want to overwhelm the stock with just one vegetable flavor, more flavor is better flavor. 

Well I thought this was going to be an easy recipe, but I guess it was a bit more than I intended. But here we go!

PS: You can also do this in a slow-cooker over night on a low setting. Best part of a slow cooker is that it wont likely bring the stock to a boil at any point. 

PSS: Boiling doesn't ruin the stock, it just makes it cloudy and less pretty. I prefer to eat pretty things.