Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chicken Broth and Makin’ Do

Good Morning to you.

Last evening, Jim had to work. And I had about 10 pounds of chicken thighs and legs in my freezer that were taking up space. I had gotten this chicken on sale for, I think, 39¢ a pound. This summer, the kids were here a lot and so I would have used this chicken right up but with the winter months, I just haven’t used this chicken. Jim ain’t all that crazy for chicken.

But, anyway, I got out my big turkey roaster and put all the chicken in it. Then I put it in the oven with water half way up. When the chicken was all about half done, I took some out for B-B-Q chicken for our meal that evening. Then I left the rest in the roaster and let it cook to make a broth. I put in a lot of onions and garlic. Parsley, celery seed, black pepper and, of course, salt. I let it all cook for about 2 hours with the lid off on a low temperature. Later, I took out the chicken pieces and put them in plastic bags for different meals and put them in the freezer. Then I put the broth in a big pan and put it on the porch to stay cold. The fat will go to the top and I will skim it off and save this to make biscuits or gravy or whatever.

The broth I will use to make a chicken soup or chicken and dumplings or noodles. Jim likes the soup and homemade noodles. But I won’t be able to have this right away. Jim will eat chicken at intervals, but not a lot.

Now, when ya go to use the broth, if it needs some extra taste you could add a can of chicken soup from the store. But the broth is good to use for a lot of things. Like when you make fried potatoes and they are brown but not done? Just put some broth in the potatoes and put a lid on them and let them simmer a bit. Or make a gravy or biscuits with the broth. Instead of puttng in the milk for your biscuits, just use the chicken broth. You could pressure can your chicken broth, too. But in the winter, I put stuff on my closed in porch and it stays good. I will use my broth pretty quick … within a week. But if ya plan on keeping the broth a while, you should either freeze it or can it.

Really, it is better to cook the chicken broth all day with the chicken in it. But I didn’t because I needed my oven space for the B-B-Q chicken I made for supper.

Also, I just fill the water up in my roaster about half way … it barely covers the chicken … and then I don’t put a lid on it. This way, the broth is more concentrated. You need to bring the broth to a boil in the oven and then let it simmer a few hours.

And, ya know, around our area, the ground beef is way over priced. At this time last year, I was buying ground beef for 59¢ a pound. I would go to this one grocery store early in the morning and buy the day old hamburgar that the restaurants would buy if they got there before me. But, often, I beat them to the punch. Now this store has closed. RATS! And now the stores around here are so expensive and the ground beef is almost 3 bucks a pound.

Ya know, I was so happy last evening to cook up all that meat and have it on hand to use. I was frying up ground turkey with the hamburger to make the beef stretch, usually half and half. But even at that, it seems like a lot to spend on ground beef. Most of the things I make for the family has ground beef in it. When I go to the market I tell Jim as we walk through the store, “How can growing families afford these prices?” It breaks my heart when I think of them.

And, ya know, when I had most of my happy brood at home, I think I started out every meal with a pound of hamburger. I made spaghetti and casseroles and chili and vegetable soup with hamburger. Well, it was the cheapest meat you can buy around here. Then when the ground beef went up, I mixed it with turkey and the turkey is only 89¢ a pound or less in our area.

One thing I did is take a big skillet and put in a few pounds of ground beef and a few pounds of turkey and cook this up with a lot of seasonings. Then, after it cooled, I would package this up to use for soups and stews and casseroles. I would cook green peppers and onions in the meat, and garlic and black pepper. This way, it disguised the turkey. But this is fun to make up this ground meat mixture and it comes in mighty handy when you are in a hurry.

I think in our store, the ground pork may be on sale. One thing I have done with this is to buy a pound of hot sausage and mix it with fresh ground pork. This way, you get 2 pounds of sausage for cheaper. Add more of your own seasonings if it isn’t spicey enough.

But, ya know, all of this takes time. And you have to just think of it as a project and go do it.

Also, to make the milk stretch, I mixed my whole milk half with instant milk. And I always made a lot of yogurt and had this on hand. I made it in crocks. I would go to the store early and buy outdated cream and I made the yogurt with cream. I would get the pints of cream for sometimes 10¢ a pint. I didn’t make the yogurt until I got the cream on sale. But I would use the yogurt in my baking. David loved my yogurt and it was so good. Mine was a cross between a thick cream and yogurt. It was very rich and was good on desserts.

I bought buttermilk when I got it on sale and I would make it last for months. When it got down to about half full, I would put fresh milk in it and let it set out overnight on the kitchen cabinet. And this made a quart of buttermilk again. Buttermilk has cultures in it, like yogurt. And, just as you make yogurt from a start of fresh yogurt, you make the buttermilk the same way with a start of buttermilk. Each has a culture in it and when it is set in a warm place it will grow, like yeast grows.

Also, back during the Depression, the old time Mothers used a lot of the canned milk, as it had become popular … they used it in place of cream. And one recipe that came out of this era was a way to stretch your butter. You take a pound of butter and let it go to room temperature. Then mix this with a can of canned milk. Then mix this up with your mixer until it is all mixed together and creamy. Now, I used this recipe a lot and it makes 2 pounds of butter. I had a lovely old time crock I used to put my butter mixture in. And I just kept it in the fridge and took it out for meals.

I tried to just cook and bake from scratch … it takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it. I had to cook and bake for my family. I had no choice. By faith, we had all the 6 children and I knew the Lord wanted us to care for them. I had a lot of anxious moments. But the Lord always pulled us through.

And, oh, I had so much laundry and some of the time, I made my own laundry soap. But, ya know, for your dark clothes you can use any cheap soap? And then, if you want to brighten up the whites, just use the more expensive laundry soap, if you must. But I still use cheap soap for the dark clothes. And for the white socks and underwear you can put in a cup of bleach. But one doesn’t need Tide for dark clothes. If you can afford Tide, it is nice for the colored clothes and the whites. If I see Tide on sale I will buy it, just for special light clothes. And when I could I hung my clothes outside on the clothesline. And in the winter I hung them in the house if my dryer was down. But, oh, those dryers take so much electricity! I just hooked up a clothes line in my dining room and hung clothes on it at night.

And, ya know, around here, catering to the man of the house, I run out of brown sugar a lot. Jim loves baked beans with brown sugar and sweet potatoes. And with the baking of cookies and desserts that call for brown sugar I run out. So this is what I do. I just use white sugar and I put in a tablespoon or 2 of molasses. A jar of molasses lasts a long time for me, and I usually have it on hand. But Jim has never been able to tell that I am using molasses and white sugar instead of brown sugar.

And in the old days, I would run out of powdered sugar. And I would just put the regular table sugar in the blender with some white flour and blend it up to powdered sugar. This makes a wonderful icing for cake. To make a butter frosting with this, just put the butter in a pan and melt it … then add the sugar-flour mixture and stir with milk. It makes a nice frosting. Add about 2 tablespoons of flour to 2 cups of plain sugar to blend it in the blender. But the plain sugar will grind to a powder and it looks like powdered sugar.

I do buy the brown sugar and powdered but if I run out of either, I don’t worry about it. I want to stay home and not be running back and forth to the store.

Another thing I did to get more sweetness to the baked beans without using all the brown sugar is that I added a diced apple to the beans. Jim really liked this dish. I put in the ring baloney, sliced, and an apple, a few onions, the molassses, and the white sugar. And, of course, salt and pepper. The left overs, I put in the fridge and made a sandwich out of this. During the Depression, this bean sandwich was popular, as meat was rationed. So the beans were the protein and not always meat. You just spread the cold baked beans on homemade bread and put on mayo and a slice of tomato and lettuce. This is probably my favorite sandwich.

I love vegetables. And Papa loves baked beans, so we are a team.

I noticed in the new Crowned with Silver magazine that they have a place for writing about ways to lower your food budget.

Many of you young Moms probably don’t have the really big pans to cook with. Ya know, sometimes you can pick these up for a song at the Salvation Army or at garage sales in the summer.

The good enamel pans that you can get from the stove top to the oven are so handy. When you are busy with the children it’s hard to watch the soup on the stove. If you can just take the pot and put it on a low temperature in the oven, then you don’t have to watch it so close. It can simmer in there and be out of sight and off the stove top for a while. I know sometimes I would have a soup goin’ on the stove early morning and need to fix breakfast for the family. I needed my stove top but needed to get the soup done for lunch.

Most of my pots and pans are old fashioned and I love them like that. I have a neat collection of cast iron that I use a lot. And I hate the plastic containers but use the baggies or glass jars to store things in. The big plastic containers I think are so bulky and take up a lot of space.

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