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Making chicken stock from scratch is not a novel idea. My mom, in fact, makes her own frequently. But, it was just never on my to-do list. While I enjoy cooking, I’m not much of a baker; I don’t tend to make things that require lots of stove time. I like to see quick results from my effort, although there is a standing joke in our house involving 30-minute-meals, as in “is dinner almost ready or is this another one of those 30-minute-meals?” So, I guess it’s no surprise that I would much rather buy a box of stock at the store than sweat for hours over a big pot on the stove. (I always buy an organic, low sodium version. Trader Joe’s has a great option for a decent price.)

But, then I started seeing ideas for soups in the crock pot. Would it be possible to make chicken stock in the crock pot? That would take the simmer time out of the equation. But what about all the ingredients? It always seemed daunting to buy all the fresh ingredients to make something that just goes into something else.  Then, I saw this post about kitchen scraps. Now, that’s a great idea! Kind of a twist on Rachael Ray’s garbage bowl, but instead of throwing it in the trash, toss it into the freezer.

What about the chicken? Was there a way to be resourceful on that front as well? Sure enough, there was according to this other post.

So, I could make a stock using all “recycled” ingredients and my crock pot? I’m in!

It took me no time at all to store up a chicken carcass (thanks to Hubby’s beer can chicken!) and a bag full of veggie and herb scraps.  It really is less depressing to throw unused herbs and other extra veggies into the freezer for a later purpose rather than just tossing them into the trash.  I think the end result turned out pretty tasty.  It was easy, cheap, and I know exactly what’s going into it.  It has definitely turned into a staple in my kitchen!


Freezer Bags

I’m now in the habit of keeping a Ziploc bag (or two) in the freezer.  Anytime I chop a vegetable and have skins or peels or leftovers, I throw them in the bag.  If I’m cleaning out the fridge and notice some veggies starting to go bad, I’ll throw them in.  You don’t want to use anything that has already spoiled, but anything on the verge that you know will not get eaten before it does go bad is fair game!  Peels and skins are fine because you are going to strain it after it cooks, and they can add just as much flavor as the “meat” of the vegetable.


Chicken Stock just before the crock pot lid went on!

Dump your chicken carcass and veggies into the crock pot.  Fill with water almost to the top.  If you happen to have some fresh herbs on hand, thrown some in as well.  Then, set your crock pot to low for 8-10 hours, and let it do all the work!  Skim off the layer of fat on top, remove any large chunks with some tongs, and then pour through a strainer.  Store in the fridge or freezer.  Plastic Chinese food containers are great for storing stock and other soups in the freezer.  Just be sure to leave a little bit of room at the top for expansion.

Eighth Bucket List Item:  Make chicken stock from scratch.  Check.

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