Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious!

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

There’s something magical about making homemade chicken stock. Or broth. Turns out they are actually different things. For better or for worse, I use broth and stock interchangeably. At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. It might just look like some liquid in a jar, but guys…? It’s much, much, more than that. You’re making SOMETHING out of (practically) nothing. Or nothing edible anymore, anyways.

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

In my opinion, homemade chicken stock is one of the easiest things you can make. All it takes is chicken bones and/or a carcass, vegetables and/or vegetable scraps, water, and a crock pot. And time! Let this simmer for as long as you can. Everything used for this homemade chicken stock is something I would otherwise be throwing away so this recipe is also crazy frugal. That’s all well and good, but the deliciousness of this homemade stock is something that cannot be understated. It’s wayyy better than anything you could buy at the store. It’s absolutely delicious. Whether you use it as the base for soup, for adding flavor to rice, in sauces, or even just sipping by itself (yup!), this homemade chicken stock is the BEST.

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

Please start saving your veggie scraps (I just save mine in a gallon size ziptop bag in the freezer) so you can try this recipe asap! Then, when your bag is full, just roast a chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken so you can make your own homemade chicken stock. It’s one of my freezer essentials and I use it alllll the time. Enjoy!!

one year ago: Simple Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
two years ago: Apple Cranberry Relish Salad
three years ago: Chewy Ginger Cookies
four years ago: Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac
five years ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
six years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
seven years ago: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

  • Servings: 12-13 cups stock
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Ingredients:

  • bones and carcass from 1 roasted chicken (homemade or store-bought rotisserie)
    • note: for food safety reasons, carve the chicken before serving… do not use bones that have been on a plate in your stock
  • 1 gallon-sized bag full of vegetable scraps, saved over time in the freezer… basically the stuff you would otherwise throw away such as:
    • carrot ends and peels
    • onion ends and skins
    • garlic skin
    • celery ends and leaves
    • bell pepper pieces
    • stems or ends of herbs, green onions, or mushrooms
    • apple cores
    • citrus rinds
    • don’t include: lettuces/greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) or anything dirty or moldy… but veggies past their prime are totally fine!
  • water
  • splash of vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper and salt
  • dried herbs as desired: parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, bay leaves, etc.

Directions:

Place chicken bones and carcass at the bottom of a large crockpot. Cover with veggie scraps. Add a splash of vinegar, a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and salt, and some dried herbs if desired. Fill crockpot nearly to the top with water, then cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours, preferably 12 or more.

At the end of the cooking time, unplug and remove lid. Allow to cool briefly, then skim off any film or foam. Use a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl or liquid measuring cup to strain out solids to discard. You can strain again with cheesecloth for clearer stock, if desired.

At this point, you have two options:

  1. Divide into desired portion-sized containers – I like using half pint and pint mason jars – allow to cool completely, then refrigerate or freeze. If freezing stock, be sure to leave head space so the jars don’t break. With this method, each jar will have a layer of thickened chicken fat on top that you can use or discard when you use the stock. The jars may also have some residue or grittiness at the bottom of them, as well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate bowl(s) of stock overnight. Scrape the thickened chicken fat off the stock and discard/save as desired, then divide into desired portion-sized containers and freeze. This method eliminates most of the excess fat and residue or grittiness, as most of it rises or falls and can be discarded before freezing.

Notes:

Stock can be frozen indefinitely, but should be used within a week if refrigerated.

There are lots of ideas online for alternate freezing methods based on your cooking needs, freezer space, etc. such as: in plastic ziptop bags, ice cube trays, or muffin tins (maybe even try the silicone ones!).

To defrost half pint or pint sized glass jars of stock, it is easiest to defrost in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours before use. If you need it sooner, submerge in a bowl of cold water (hot can make frozen containers crack!) until you can defrost it enough to transfer to your pot to melt all the way. Or remove lid and microwave jar on 50% power until you can pour it out.

This stock is not concentrated per se, but I do find it to be more flavorful than store-bought broth or stock. So I often will use a little less in recipes and make up the difference with water. Experiment to find what works for you!

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Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

At first glance, this is an unlikely soup. Apples, cheddar, and bacon? “Pass!” you might be thinking. But hold up just a minute… cheddar and bacon is a classic combo, right? And you’ve heard of the whole cheddar cheese with apple pie thing, right? And applewood smoked bacon is totally a thing. So let’s put it all together–apples, cheddar, bacon. Not so unlikely after all! (And pssttt… I made a fabulous Maple Apple Pie Crisp with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Crumb Topping a couple years back!) And if you need further convincing, just think of it this way: this soup has the sweet and salty thing down pat.

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

And it’s utterly delicious. Next time you’re in the mood for an interesting new soup recipe, check out this one! I’m sure you’ll love it. 🙂

one year ago: Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet
two years ago: Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
three years ago: Strawberry Yogurt
four years ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
five years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
six years ago: Best Egg Salad

Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

  • Servings: 4
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from What Megan’s Making

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped (about 2 medium)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups no-sugar-added apple juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices sourdough or rye bread, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard

Directions:

Cook bacon in a large stockpot set over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, remove most of grease from pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.

Combine the onion, apples, and potato in the stockpot and saute over medium high heat until onion and apples are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and apple juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with pepper, then stir in almost all the cheese, reserving 3 tablespoons. When cheese is melted, use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Spread the toasted bread with dijon and evenly divide reserved cheese between slices. Broil–watching carefully!–until cheese is bubbly and melted. Remove from oven, cool for a couple minutes, then slice into bite-sized squares. Serve soup with bacon, cheese croutons, and lots of black pepper. Enjoy!

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!
Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Curried Lentil Soup

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup…this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

I already showed you the soup along with this fabulous hearty Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread… and now here’s the recipe! This Curried Lentil Soup is also fabulous. Why would I share anything less than fabulous? Ha! Lentil soup is always a go-to vegetarian soup because it’s filling and flavorful without meat. This time, we’ve taken a regular ‘ole lentil soup and added red lentils and a south Asian flavor profile to  make something extra special.

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

If you’re a fan of dal, you’ll like the soup. The flavors are incredible–garlic, ginger, onion…and of course, curry! There’s nothing better on a cold night, especially when served with some hearty bread. Mmm! The fact that this soup is made in about 30 minutes, thanks to the magic of the microwave [Iiiiiiii know–I never use the microwave in cooking, but it’s magic here], is an added bonus. Perfect for busy weeknights! Hope you guys enjoy!

two years ago: Honey Cornbread
three years ago: Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw
four years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
five years ago: Peach Shortbread
six years ago: Tropical Granola

Curried Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cilantro, chopped
  • plain yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, microwave lentils and half of the broth for 10-12 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed

In a stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Season with pepper to taste, then add garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the microwaved lentil mixture to the pot, then add the remaining broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, seasoning with pepper as desired.

Serve with cilantro and plain yogurt.

 

Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup reminds me of chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken and add the meatballs. This version has tiny turkey meatballs and is SO tasty!

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

I feel like every other recipe I’m making and sharing this winter has been soup! But it’s just so good this time of year so I can’t resist. 🙂 Before making this Italian Wedding Soup, I’m not sure I had ever really had it before. I just saw the recipe in a magazine and thought it would be good! Guess what? It was! Ha. Big surprise there, right?

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

Since I don’t have a family version or favorite restaurant version to compare this to, I can’t really say that this is the best Italian Wedding Soup of all time or anything like that. But I can say it’s incredible! And why wouldn’t it be? It really does remind me of a twist on chicken noodle soup. You have the same basic base: chicken broth, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, pasta… and then you add in some cute ‘n tiny meatballs [with a twist of lemon for some extra tasty oomp!] and some spinach. Then BOOM! You’ve got a tasty and interesting soup, hearty enough to eat alone, with some crusty bread and a side salad or a tasty sandwich. Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice
two years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
three years ago: Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites
four years ago: Sunrise Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Italian Wedding Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
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from September/October 2014 Taste of Home

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey

for soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta [like acini di pepe, orzo, or ditalini]
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • additional Parmesan, for serving

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well–your hands are going to work best! Roll into small, 1 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Next, begin on the soup. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add celery and cook another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in chicken broth and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Gently drop in meatballs. Allow to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add pasta and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until meatballs and pasta are fully cooked. Stir in spinach, then serve, topped with more Parmesan. Enjoy!

 

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili

Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it’s a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

It’s another chilly week! Ben and I are certainly learning about good insulation versus bad insulation throughout this first winter in our house. Fortunately, winter in Nashville isn’t that intense. But unfortunately, when it is cold, I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars in heating costs. So I do the next best thing–warm up from the cold with a hot ‘n hearty dinner! One of my long-time favorites that I somehow haven’t shared on the blog is this wonderful Chicken Quinoa Chili! It is so full of flavor, so simple, and so tasty. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you–this dish can be made in the crockpot so all you basically have to do stir together, live your life, and come back for a tasty dinner. 🙂

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

This easy crockpot meal basically combines all the good stuff–chicken, spices, quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, corn, green pepper, onion, and garlic–with a little chicken broth to make an incredible Chicken Quinoa Chili. It’s seriously a Mexican-style soup/chili on steroids! And each bite is made better by the mass quantities of toppings. You can basically add any sort of taco, chili, or soup topping you like… but my necessary Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili toppings include: cilantro, cheese, and sour cream. If I have some diced avocado too, even better! #goodstuff The toppings just take this chili to the next level… but it’s still fabulously filling and delightful.

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!Before we go, can I let you in on a secret? Even though this chili is made what it is by the quinoa, I’m a little quinoa-ed out. For a long time, I was convincing Ben that it was the BEST-THING-EVER and I put it in everything. I think the rest of the internet did too. 🙂 But now… I don’t use it very often so when I do, I want to make it count. And this is the type of dish where it really does count. Adding quinoa to what’s basically a chicken tortilla soup kicks it up a notch into a fabulous chili. Mmmm, tasty stuff! Hope you enjoy this awesome meal as much as we do. 🙂

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili: Quinoa meets chicken tortilla soup for a kicked up crockpot meal that is filling, delicious, and perfectly spiced. Plus, you can top it with everything from tortilla chips to cheese to avocado so it's a customized dinner that your whole family will love!

one year ago: Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties
two years ago: Quick ‘n Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice
three years ago: Buffalo Pretzels
four years ago: Camp Tecumseh Baked Oatmeal
five years ago: Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
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slightly adapted from Boys Ahoy

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts [about 1 1/2 pounds]
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 cups black beans, drained and rinsed [or 2 – 15 ounce cans]
  • 1 – 16 ounce package frozen corn
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • shredded cheese, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving
  • avocado, for serving
  • green onions, for serving
  • crushed tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

Place chicken at the bottom of a large crockpot. Sprinkle with cumin, crushed red pepper, and chili powder. Season with pepper. Top with quinoa and pour chicken broth on top. Then add tomatoes, black beans, corn, green pepper, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.

When finished cooking, remove chicken and shred with a fork, then return to crockpot and stir to combine. Serve with cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions, and tortilla chips as desired.