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One of my favorite tricks of the kitchen trade: Buy a whole chicken and get the butcher to cut it up for you. Ask him to include the bones and the kidneys. I’m not a fan of kidneys, but the furry friends like them. When you get home, separate all your chicken pieces. I have a bag in the freezer just for back bones for making chicken stock … another one just for thighs, just legs, and so on. You may not want to do this extra step, but it saves TONS of money. And who can’t use mo’ money in their pocket especially during the Holidays?
The other money saving tip I have is growing your own herbs. I’m not a gardener AT ALL. My grandma and my mom were/ are amazing gardeners. Me? I did not inherit their green thumbs unfortunately, but I can grow herbs. In the backyard, I have thyme and oregano. I’m a bit worried about my oregano plant, though. It seems to be dying. Might be the unusual cold winter weather we’re encountering in San Diego right now. Don’t plan your next ski trip to San Diego just yet, folks. The pigs are not flying… yet. Lol. The rosemary is store bought, and I seem to buy it a lot more in the winter months for rosemary bread, rosemary chicken, even for decorating.
Next money saving tip: make your own chicken stock. Remember those chicken back bones? Pull them out of the freezer and make chicken stock. When my store-bought rosemary is about to die and I am not going to use the rest of it in another meal, it’s time to make chicken stock. Little leftovers of onions and the last of the carrots, make great addition to the stock pot. The BEST part about making your own stock is that you control the amount of salt. If you’re not into collecting chicken bones, make an herb stock.
Then when it’s done, put them in ice cube trays and use as needed. If you know you’re going to use it soon, store it in a jar with a lid. It will last 3 days in the frig or in the freezer for 3 months. The flavor … I can’t stress this enough … the flavor of your food will be a million times more delicious.
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Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 chicken carcass or back bone.
- ½ onion quartered
- 1 celery rib chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic halved
- ⅛ teaspoon black peppercorn
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 sprigs of oregano
- 4 quarts of water
- Salt as desired
- Bring all the ingredients to boil in a large 8-qt stockpot. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours.
- Skim foam occasionally.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Press to get all the stock. Discard solids.
- Note: Stock can last up to 3 months in the freezer or 3 days in the refrigerator.
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