Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Using What I Have: The Chicken Stock Dilemma

I have been making an effort lately to try and use what I have on hand rather than running to the store for some solution. As I have mentioned before, I make my own chicken stock in my Crock Pot whenever we have a whole chicken, which can be as often as once a week. I recently hit two snags with my stock making that I have satisfactorily resolved by using items I already have in my home.

First, I no longer use paper towels, which I used to use in my strainer to strain the stock. I tried paper napkins, but those don't work well at all and since I'm getting rid of those as soon as they run out (switching to cloth), they don't really fix the problem. I then tried cheese cloth, but it is a bit expensive and hard to work with (it kept rolling over on itself leaving holes in the strainer exposed). Tonight I tried a brand-new, clean ShamWow. BINGO! I'm telling you -- those things may not live up to their claim, but they sure are handy. Anyway, it worked perfectly. I just dumped in the stock and then squeezed the ShamWow and all the good stuff came out and the nasty stuff stayed in. Perfect.

Second, I had a hard time finding containers for my stock. I tried plastic bags, but they stuck together and ripped thus rendering them useless for a second use. One evening, in a fit of desperation, I dumped the stock in to plastic Ball freezing jars that I use for jam. Perfect! The only trick is to get them in the freezer standing up while they freeze. Once they are frozen, though, you can stuff them in to any nook or cranny.

I am so proud of myself for being creative and using what I had on hand to solve my stock making dilemma!

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