Monday, November 17, 2008

  {cooking the trash}

**WARNING! This post is very wordy, but SUPER helpful with saving you money!!!!!!
LOL! I thought I would get your attention with that title! Let me explain...I have been on a quest to save my family as much money as possible in the food department. So, while I was making a recipe the other day, it donned on me that I waste a TON of food when I cook, and I don't even notice. I also purchase things at the store that I could easily make myself for just pennies, but end up buying them out of sheer laziness. But no more!

Which takes me back to the title, cooking the trash. I decided to dig up some of my old restaurant habits and apply them to my home to save some $$! First up, chicken stock...

Now, a box of chicken stock is about $2.50 here and contains around 4-6 cups depending on the brand. So that's roughly about $0.42 a cup.
That's way too much in my opinion. Especially when I go through 2-3 boxes A WEEK!!
So how did I make 3 GALLONS of stock for FREE? Simple...I cooked the trash!
Whenever I make dinner, if I cut up veggies like onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, bell peppers, etc. I take the part I would normally throw away, like the tops of the carrots and the skin that you shave off, or the top and bottom root ends of the onion (minus the paper and "root" part that I just BARELY slice off, or the center of a heart of celery and the leaves too as well as the ends that you cut off when serving it. All of these things get tossed into a HUGE ziptop freezer bag after every meal I prepare. When the bag gets full, I make stock.

So this week, I had a chicken that I roasted, so I took all the meat off the bones and threw that in a pot along with all of the STILL FROZEN leftover veggies, an entire head of Italian flat leaf parsley that was about to go bad, fill with water to the top, Italian seasoning, and 1 head of garlic, and let it boil to town for a few hours, until all of the veggies were about to fall apart.
Then you just drain all of the liquid into another pot and let it cool. Then, pour the cooled liquid into ice cube trays and allow to freeze. Next, take the cubes (enough to equal 2 cups) and put them in freezer safe bags with a label. The next time you need chicken stock for a recipe, just pop the cubes into a small sauce pan over high heat until it's melted!

I also made breadcrumbs, which I use in SO many dishes! I make Lagan a peanut butter and jelly sandwich EVERY DAY! lol She LOVES them, but I always cut them into fun shapes with my gazillion cookie cutters. So I take the extra bread and throw it in a zipper bag, and freeze it. (I also throw in the leftover bread from all of our meals.) Again, when it fills up, I chop it up into small cubes and toast it in the oven for a few minutes. Then I grind it up the the food processor until its in crumbs, then stick it in a air tight ziptop bag, label it, and throw it into the fridge for safe keeping.

So what do you do to save your family money in the kitchen? I would love for you to share your ideas!!

Oh...and here is a little preview of a project I will be sharing very soon! Any guesses what this humble little frame I built will become?....

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***Ohhh...and dont forget to keep entering the Contest below until Thursday to win a 1 year subscription to Womens Day Magazine for FREE!!


Tami said...

I love any idea that saves money, thanks! I try to plan a two week menu starting with what I already have at home then I make a grocery list for the rest. It really helps!

Ashley said...

So resourceful! Good thinking!

JANE said...

I don't know about the frame but girl I love your fabric on your couch/chair!!

AJ said...

Girl, you are too good:) Someday I'll reach your status♥
Are you making a chalkboard? A chalkboard menu? Hmmm...the possibilities☺

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Yep - I love some trash cooking. :)
I made a turkey and my sweet hubby put it in the fridge for me. I woke up to find out that he had not poured any of the broth in, and it sat out all night...I went back and forth whether I should use it. It would be such great gravy as well as make soup for the day. I decided to toss it since my mom gave me a lecture on all of my kids getting

HeathahLee said...

Okay, I have a question: did you use leftover meat or did you throw the whole leftover chicken (skin and bones, too) in the pot?

I love this idea!

Honey Mommy said...

Wow! Making your own chicken stock and breadcrumbs. Now that is being frugal!

Blissful Nikki said...

Thanks so much Ladies! :)
HeathahLee, thats a great question!! I acutally cooked a chicken for dinner and stripped it of all of the meat and skin then threw the bones into the stock, nothing else.

If you use meat and skin it acutally becomes "Broth" not "stock" :) Thats the only difference. Thats why broth has a higher fat content and less flavor. All the flavor is in the marrow of the bones!! :)

Susie Harris said...

MMMM... that trash sure sounds good~

Kitty Scraps said...

This is where a crock pot comes in handy, toss it all in the night before on low and by morning you have a crock full of stock! I do this especially Thanksgiving night for all those leftovers.

Pam Hawk said...

My Deaf Chef hubby just gave you a thumbs up, a wink, and then made a gesture meaning "lotta money" by rubbing his thumb against his fingers.

We make stock by roasting leftover bones (enhances the flavor) then simmering them with veggie scraps. I also freeze all the leftover bread, mostly heels, then make them into bread crumbs and croutons. I also get old bananas for half price and freeze them until it's banana bread making time. Leftover rice or pasta freezes well to be added to soup later. Ditto for some leftover veggies.

I realized that if I want a nice meal, it's cheaper to buy steak and grill it at home than to go out for an average meal at a so-so restaurant. It's also way cheaper to cook from scratch than to use pre-made stuff, so we cook from scratch most of the time.

It's frugal, but you're right - these are all tricks that restaurants use to keep the food costs down.

Pam Hawk said...

Oooh, BTW... I nominated you for an award! Stop by the Pass It On Plates blog when you have a minute and check it out!
Cheers -

Shannon said...

Chicken stock idea is pure genius in my book. :)

Can't wait to see what you do with the frame!

Rachel said...

Collecting the vegetable trimmings in the freezer is a great idea! I hadn't thought of that before.

Sarah @ ThriftyDecorChick said...

So you know how to cook??? I may be asking you a few questions. I know HOW...I just don't do it very often. I'm trying to get better at it.

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