Kitchen Happenings (the equation edition)

Every now and then, I share bits and pieces of what happens in my kitchen. Because the kitchen is where a lot of frugality goes on. ;)

Scraps + Water + Heat = Liquid Gold

(Ok, maybe it’s not gold, but it IS yellow.)

I’ve become slightly obsessed with making my own chicken broth.

homemade chicken broth

It’s very easy, costs almost nothing, squeezes out nutrients from what would be trash, and tastes a whole lot better than the stuff you can buy.

Ooh, and it’s zero-waste, because I put it in Mason jars and freeze it. Whee!

What is not to love??

Shrinkydinks + Oven = Entertainment

It’s so much fun to watch them curl up and then flatten out.

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Bread + Jam = Heaven.

If there’s a better pairing than fresh bread and jam, I’ve yet to find it.

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Of course, I think that when i spread jam AND cream cheese on toast.

Or when I eat an apple with cheese.

Or when I spread peanut butter on a banana.

Or when I eat fresh basil with fresh mozzarella.

Or when I eat cream, whipped or not, with almost anything (Oh, how I love cream!)

There are just so many ridiculously simple and delicious things to eat, aren’t there??

Lisey + Baking = A Happy Girl

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It’s a sure-fire way to cheer her up if she’s having a bad day. ;)

Speaking of which, she and I made a delicious Dutch Baby (that link will open in a new window, so you can click it and still finish reading this post!)

Hot Pizza Stone = Really Good Homemade Pizza

Learning to use a pizza peel to slide dough onto a preheated stone has been the single most helpful pizza-making skill I’ve come across. It’s taken my pizza from meh to delicious, and since I learned this years ago, I haven’t done it any other way.

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Planning Fail = Improvisation

When I made my last batch of homemade yogurt, I sent Joshua down to the laundry room to get my cooler, which I use to incubate the yogurt.

He couldn’t find it, and I was about to give him a speech about looking a little more carefully when I remembered that it really wasn’t there. You see, Mr. FG had had to go out of town for some training, and I’d packed some meals for him in the cooler.

Oops.

Fortunately, we do have another (larger) cooler, so I ran out to the shed, brought it inside, dusted it off, and put the jars in. I had to add a lot more water to fill it up, but it did work fine in a pinch.

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And finally…

Cooking = Dishes (duh!)

Sometimes more than can fit in the dishwasher.

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Joshua’s 365 post: Tangly Trees

Comments

  1. Maureen says

    So how do you use a pizza peel to slide dough onto a preheated stone? That is where we have difficulty and our pizzas often times, do not turn our round because of this. Thanks!

  2. Elizabeth says

    So what kind of “scraps” will you put in your liquid gold? Mine always tastes like onion flavoured water!

    • WilliamB says

      If I may join in…

      Two questions:
      1) Are you using bones from cooked chicken, raw bones, or raw bones that were roasted before making stock? Best is the last, wimpiest is the first. If you roast bones, add a quartered onion, and 1-2 carrots and 1-2 stalks celery to the roasting pan. Then be sure to scrape the drippings into the stockpot!

      2) How much stock are you making from the bones? The usual rule of thumb is 1 lb bones = 1 qt stock, but for soup I use 1 lb = 1 pint.

      Finally, there’s a labor-intensive method that makes stock that’s out of the world. From Cook’s Illustrated, of course. Chop 3 lbs raw chix wings or thighs into 2″ pieces (that’s the labor intensive part) (not cheap, either). Brown then sweat the chix in a large pot, remove but don’t clean the pan. Sweat 1-2 onions in the pan. Add back the chicken and any accumulated juices, 3 pints water, and the spices you want in your stock. Simmer 20-30 min. Strain. In theory this should be good with chopped raw bones but I haven’t put it to the test.

      I use my stock for both Asian and European stock so I make a Universal version – I use onion, celery, fresh ginger, and peppercorns. No carrots because they make the stock too sweet for me; YMMV.

      • Kristen says

        Yeah, that’s the method Cook’s uses for their Chicken Noodle soup, which Mr. FG has declared to be out of this world good. I kinda hate hacking up all the chicken, though! It’s sort of time consuming.

        • WilliamB says

          If you buy chicken parts from a store that cuts chicken, and they’re not crazy busy, they may cut the chix for you. But that’s a lot of caveats.

  3. Melissa says

    Check out the “Super Peel” for transferring your pizzas. We love it at our house, works great and is made in the USA. (We are not affilated with the company in any way.)

  4. Lisa T. says

    I’d *LOVE* a more detailed post on your pizza making – especially if you have homemade dough and pizza stone tricks! I’ve been using pre-made store bought crusts, and it’s OK, but not as good as I imagine homemade crust tasting. And I’m sort of intimidated about using a pizza stone. So just a thought! Thanks! :-)

  5. says

    It`s amazing how some basic kitchen skills can save you so much money!
    I`ve been making this italian pizza with ham, mushrooms and mozarella, which I`ve perfected over a couple of times, and now it`s just so delish I want to make it every day!

  6. Malika says

    Let me say that I love your blog. Many tip have been implemented in my home. Anyway, I don’t have a pizza stone. When I originially researched buying one I got a little frustrated because it was an investment and all piza a stones did not seem equal. Can you recommend a pizza stone? Thanks for all you share.

  7. says

    I’ve just started making my own chicken broth recently (after being vegetarian) and I’m loving it. It’s so much better for you than the stock cubes and is free to make :) Because I live alone, I just save all of my chicken bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch.

    I had to google shrinkydinks, but I remember doing something similar with chip packets as a kid, it was great fun.

  8. says

    I love homemade chicken stock for soups and sauces. I roasted a chicken this week and cooked the bones into stock yesterday. I didn’t add any veggie scraps, but added pepper, salt and dried herbs. I slid the whole pot into the fridge and need to pick the remaining meat off the bones this morning.

    Has anyone else heard this before, but you can use US recycle no. 5 for homemade shrinky dinks?

  9. KimN says

    I agree about the pizza stone! I’m so thankful that you blogged about how great they are because they really do make all the difference. Thanks! I also agree about the chicken stock, which reminds me I should make some.

  10. Donna says

    One quick note about the stock — I’ve been making my own for ages, but now I make mine overnight in our crockpot. I keep a “stock bag” in the freezer for bones, bits of corn/leftover vegetables/celery tops/etc. It cooks overnight (usually on a Friday or Saturday), so that I can either can and freeze the next morning or make soup early to boil and simmer until lunchtime.

  11. says

    Hell-to-da-yeah on the pizza stone! I have NO idea how I have survived making pizza AND bread for that matter without one. It stays in my oven 24/7/365.

  12. says

    This whole post is making me hungry. I attempted making pizza on a stone the other day, but mine resulted in half the cheese falling off onto the bottom of the oven…do you keep your parchment paper under the pizza the whole time? This may have been my problem.

    • WB says

      I roll out the dough on parchment, then slide the dough and parchment onto the stone un-topped to bake for about four minutes. I take out the dough and parchment, then flip the dough and top it. I then use the parchment to slide the dough only back on the stone to finish up the pizza. But you could do it all in one step leaving the parchment under the dough the entire time.

      IF you make smallish pizzas you can use a ‘cake lifter’ instead of a pizza peel. They take up less room in the kitchen and are thinner than wooden peels I’ve seen. I have this 12 inch ‘oven spatula': http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E22RS4/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  13. Jen says

    Yes, I make both chicken and vegetable broths in the crockpot with leftover bits. Makes homemade soup taste much better than using stock cubes. And it’s a lot cheaper than canned broth.

  14. WilliamB says

    “Because the kitchen is where a lot of frugality goes on.”

    So true! Which makes me wonder, what other spaces are frugality-dense?

  15. Jaclyn says

    I also make my own chicken stock. I use the crockpot and then freeze using muffins tins! Makes it easier to just grab a small portion of stock when I only need a cup or so.

  16. Stef says

    WOW someone has been busy! I too, by-the-way! When do you have YOU* time and what do you do? Besides blog and post* achem…

  17. Jasmine says

    Great post, love “stocking up”. I’ve just started making my own vegetable stock by roasting celery, carrot onions, mushrooms and toms in the oven for 30 mins and then simmering with some thyme and bay leaves for 40 mins.

    Have been freezing them in silicon muffin trays and then transferring to snap lock bags.

  18. Karen says

    I’ve thought about using a pizza peel, but I have a Pampered Chef pizza stone and they specifically say “do not preheat”. I’ll be contacting them to ask why not.

    • Renee says

      I strain the broth from the pot through a regular strainer into a pitcher. Then it’s easier to pour through a finer tea strainer into jars.

    • Karen says

      FYI, Pampered Chef replied to me and said that the temperature difference between a preheated stone and the food going onto it can make it crack.

      • Kristen says

        I know that’s a concern when you’re putting, say, a frozen pizza onto a hot stone, but I have never had an issue putting room-temperature homemade pizza onto a very hot stone (and I’ve made somewhere around a bajillion pizzas on my stones!)

  19. says

    I have one shelf of my oven lined with unglazed clay quarry tiles. They serve as my pizza stone and since they cover the whole rack I don’t have to worry about getting it on just right:)

    • says

      *jealous* I wouldn’t even BEGIN to know where to look for quarry tiles that are unglazed in my area. I saw that one Alton Brown and have been pseudo looking. I’d LOVE to do those instead of the large stone I have, but it works.

      LOVE baking bread on it, too. Just gives it that nice artisan crust! nomnomnom

  20. Leah says

    I’ve made yogurt for years, and I just wrap mine in two layers of heavy towels and leave it on the kitchen counter overnight. In the morning, it’s perfect. Using a cooler probably makes for more consistent results (when my kitchen is cold, sometimes the yogurt it a little runnier), but should you ever find yourself completely cooler-less, all is not lost. :)

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