Always Boil Your Bones

Say What?
No, I’m not kidding! Nothing contributes more to the flavor of home cooking than stocks and broths. And homemade is best. It’s kind of a joke around here, but I throw nothing away. Well, OK, I usually throw away the fat I trim from meat or skim from broth, but that’s about it. Almost all the trimmings from veggies go into the freezer until it’s their turn in the stock pot. Ham bones and chicken carcasses are prized possessions, and I must confess, I’ve even paid good money for beef bones. Reading all this, you may think I’m really odd, but think about it. Other than buying an occasional beef bone, all my broth is cost free and 100 percent quality controlled. No additives, preservatives, or excess sodium, and as fat free as I can produce.
Still think I’m crazy? Give these recipes a try. They were originally written for the stove top, but I’ve recently started making them in a large slow cooker for the sake of convenience. I transfer the broth minus the solids to a Dutch oven and then to the fridge to cool so I can remove the chilled fat.  The recipes for Rich Chicken Stock Rich Beef Stock,  and Fat-Free Ham Broth are available here, but you can use these same principles to produce any type of broth from vegetable to fish.  Once I’ve made a pot of broth I divide it into one and two cup portions and store it in the freezer, ready to go.  The costs and hands-on time are very little, but the rewards are huge.
Now, on to the past week. I’ve had back to back appointments keeping me busy, so the week has been a bit of a blur for me, as well as making my postings late, but anyway…
Father’s Day was a quiet one for us. Emily had to work and suggested we put off the celebration with her dad till the next week. Aaron’s wife, Jen, recently had surgery, so travel was out for them. That left it up to our four legged children to host Michael’s Father’s Day appreciation which they happily did with CHICKEN LIVERS! Oh Yeay! You know my thought on that subject. Well, it wasn’t my day, it was his. Chicken livers always make him happy, and the animals are always happy to share. It was a good day.
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Father’s Day wasn’t quiet for everyone, though. Our good friends, Carol and Randy, welcomed their second grandchild early that morning. They are wonderful grandparents!
Meatless Monday it was back to the work week, (yes, we retired folks do work, although not for pay), and straight to the freezer for a batch of Vegetable Lasagna Rolls. That recipe is so versatile. It’s really up to you which vegetables to include, and the fat content depends on how much cheese you pile in. Now if you ask my husband, the more cheese the better. I try to create the illusion of more cheese by adding an extra egg to the ricotta blend, which incidentally ups the protein factor as well. What you don’t know won’t hurt you.
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Tuesday’s dinner was all American. Michael grilled Two Part Chicken and I whipped up a bowl of UnPotato Salad as one of the side dishes. I do like that recipe. It’s one of those things that’s the best of both worlds. Cauliflower makes up the bulk of the unpotato salad, but a russet potato gets mashed into the dressing, imparting that real potato flavor without adding too many white carbs. The recipe does have one flaw, though: It’s hard to make just a little bowl of that stuff and you sure can’t freeze it, so you better plan on leftovers!
Wednesday was more comfort food, Country Style Pork Cutlets. My favorite local grocery had pork cutlets on sale this week, so dinner for the two of us cost a whopping $1.34! (The meat, that is.) Who can beat that? On a side note, WalMart just opened a new store right down the road. I don’t mind buying non-grocery items there, but I’m going to do everything I can to support my independent grocery store. They’ve supported this little community for a long time, and now it’s their turn to get the support they deserve. I know it won’t do much good, but I can try.
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When Michael grilled Tuesday’s Chicken he threw extra on for Thursday’s Smoky Chicken Barbeque Sandwiches. My biggest downfall as a cook is that I always misjudge how much food to cook! Once again, we ate more than we should and there was still enough for another meal or two packed up for the freezer and another day. I guess I’ll never learn. Blame it on the chicken. It’s just too darn big!
Friday was grilled again, a recipe we’ve made over and over again, Spicy Tuna Steaks. I did absolutely nothing different this time, but Michael though they turned out better. It must have been the grill master…Him!
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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