Click here to read their spotlight on Delightful Country Cookin'.
In honor of this wonderful occasion, Gooseberry Patch has donated a free cookbook for me to give away to a lucky reader!!!
I'm giving away Dinners on a Dime, one of Gooseberry Patch's newest cookbooks (and one that I personally can't wait to own). This cookbook contains over 200 hearty (and yet inexpensive) recipes, such as batter-topped chicken pie, honey wheat bread, do-it-yourself onion soup mix, Amish fried chicken coating, cider apple butter, and watermelon pickles! There are chapters on slow cooker recipes and canning, and scattered throughout are also handy tips to make your cooking experiences a success.
There are two very simple ways that you can enter to win this contest. First, visit Gooseberry Patch and then leave me a comment telling me which cookbook you most want to own and why. Second, become a fan of Gooseberry Patch on facebook (and leave me a comment telling me that you did). As soon as they reach 40,000 fans, they are giving away a free download of 25 of their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes...let's help them hurry up and get there! Winner will be announced next Friday, May 28.
To celebrate this cookbook giveaway, I'm going to share with you my own "dinner on a dime" tip - homemade chicken stock.
When a recipe calls for chicken broth or chicken stock, most of us go out and buy a box of Swanson. But did you know it's cheaper...and healthier...to make it yourself? And it's incredibly easy, especially if you use your slow cooker.
To start, you are going to need one of these beauties...
Yep, that's a chicken. A whole chicken.
I'll admit, I'm a little grossed out by raw chicken. Actually, I'm really grossed out by raw chickens. I usually feign a sudden onset of weakness so that my husband has to be the one to take it out of the package, rinse it off, and put it in the pot. I'm a baby like that.
For you, though, I touched the chicken.
Here, I used a 5 lb. chicken, but I normally use a 3-4 pound one. If you send your husband to pick one out in the store like I did, make sure you specify the weight you want. Otherwise, your bird might not fit in your slow cooker...mine barely did.
Rinse off your bird, making sure that you check the inside. Sometimes companies will put the giblets and other organs in there - you don't want those. If you see them, discard them.
Once you've got your bird rinsed off and nestled inside your slow cooker, you add a few items for flavor - a few onions, a few carrots, a few celery sticks, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, about 2 teaspoons of salt, and 10-15 peppercorns. (Be sure to chop your onions, carrots, and celery into large chunks to make them easy to remove later on.) Why am I being so vague? Well, because you don't really need to be exact. These veggies and seasonings are for flavor, which means you just add what you have (and what you have room for) and don't worry about what doesn't go in. In fact, you could even add other herbs like fresh thyme or basil. That's the fun of it.
Arrange your extras over your bird...
...and then pour water over everything until it covers the chicken. I managed to get about two quarts of water in my slow cooker (I did have a large chicken after all), but normally I add 3-4 quarts. The amount doesn't really matter, though. The more water, the more broth. The less water, the more concentrated the flavor. Either way it's a good thing. :-)
Cover and cook on high for about 6 hours (your broth needs to be at a rolling simmer for about 2 hours to ensure that the chicken is cooked).
By the way, your house will smell amazing. I just wanted you to know.
When your chicken is done, first remove your chunks of vegetables with a slotted spoon. You can either save these to eat at dinner or just discard them.
Then, still using the slotted spoon, remove your chicken and put in a separate dish. The chicken should be so tender that it just falls apart.
All that liquid that's left over...well, that's your chicken stock! Before you use it, you'll want to do a couple of things. First, strain out the bits of peppercorn and chicken that may still be floating around.
Then, refrigerate your broth for several hours (preferably overnight). When it cools, the fat will rise to the top, allowing you to skim it off later.
Just a tip - don't drop a big glob of fat on your kitchen floor right after you've mopped. And then don't step in it...with bare feet. Not that I have experience or anything...
After straining and skimming, your stock is ready for use. You should have quite a bit of it! I generally measure mine out into freezer bags and freeze for future use. This stock is perfect for anything - soups, casseroles, etc., and you'll find that your budget thanks you.
Oh, what to do with all that chicken, you ask? Well, use it! Chicken that has been cooked this way makes the best chicken salad sandwiches, soups, enchiladas, casseroles, you name it! It's incredibly tender and tasty.
Refrigerate your cooked chicken until it's cooled off to the point that it won't burn your fingers. Don't refrigerate it so long that it gets cold...it's harder to bone at that point. Once it's cooled off, get out two bowls. Put the yummy stuff (the meat) in one bowl and the gross stuff (skin, bones, etc.) in another. It's as simple as that.
Yummy (eat this):
Gross (throw this stuff away):
Thanks for visiting Delightful Country Cookin' today, and make sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of Dinners on a Dime! I heart Gooseberry Patch!
This post has been linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday , Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table Foodie Friday and I'm Lovin' It!