Food waste in the United States has become one of the country’s biggest issues. Having been to a 3rd world country, where a family’s income is on average $1 a day in 2011, wasting food in our home is just not tolerated. 219 pounds of food per person, is wasted in the US each year according to rts.com. What is one way our family combats food waste? I use those scraps to make stock! Making Chicken Stock from scratch is one way our family has recently found to help cut down on food waste in our own home.
Published March 3, 2022
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Before you think this post gets too environmental or eccentric, please understand that our family is living off of one income with six people. Food waste is a big concern, not only in our home but to my husband and I in regard to saving money. Instead of throwing out food scraps, save them in a special bag or container in the freezer to be used for Homemade Stock at a later date. There are ways you too can help eliminate food waste to help cut down on the wasted 40% of US food supply.
When I am cutting vegetables like carrots, celery, garlic or onions, I save the scraps in a bag that goes in our fridge. Any scraps will do! For this recipe I used peelings from a carrot, the tops of onions, garlic chunks and celery. Additionally, read till the end to find my list of favorite kitchen things, those amazing items I use every day in my Scratch Kitchen.
Why buy in bulk
Recently, our family wanted two separate meals that used chicken. On Tuesday I made chicken enchiladas and two days later I made homemade chicken noodle soup. Instead of buying individual pieces, I bought two whole chickens with the intention to use them to make these two meals. This is one way to combat food waste. Instead of buying materials from the meat counter with plastic wrap and Styrofoam, buy a whole chicken instead and use the scraps to make a Chicken Stock. I was able to make 6-Quarts of chicken stock out of leftover vegetables and the scraps from two chickens. When planning for meals, we like to combine days to make the grocery shopping either easier or more efficient. In doing so, buying two whole chickens helped to cut the cost of our food budget and stretched two meals into three.
Alright, enough of the statistics.
When we sat down to meal plan for the week, our family wanted enchiladas and Chicken soup. Being the fancy mom that I am, I thought about how we could hit two birds with one stone. Figuratively that is.
We knew there was going to be a super cold snap in Wisconsin this week, so I recommended chicken noodle soup, and on Taco Tuesday to have chicken enchiladas. This would allow me to cook two whole chickens, debone them, save the scraps, and make Chicken Stock and soup at a later date. Get it? Two birds with one stone? (Chuckle…) Making soup is one of my favorite things to do, as you can literally change it every time for flavor or food on-hand. However, this was my second time making stock from scratch out of food scraps.
Now we do not have an InstaPot, which I have heard can make stock in five minutes. Is it five? Maybe twenty? Call me old fashioned, but I do not want to spend money outside of our budget on another kitchen gadget. At Christmas, an aunt gifted me with this large pot with a lid. It is huge. I love it. Thanks aunt Kelly! And yes, that is homemade pasta in the bowl ready to go into the soup. Stay tuned for my recipe for homemade pasta you can make for chicken noodle soup!
I did not follow a recipe to make this Chicken Stock. Really. I have seen it done a few times on PBS cooking shows, and I thought I’d give it a go. It was really easy to do, not a whole lot of work, and actually turned out so delicious! Sometimes cooking is like that, just throw a bunch of food in a pot and see how it goes! Sometimes the recipes will be a win and sometimes the people at the table will, hopefully, kindly ask to not have that meal again anytime soon.
Chicken Stock Recipe
Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients
1 tsp oregano
8-12 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp pepper
Chicken Stock Directions
1. If you are planning to make chicken stock, you need the bones from a cooked chicken. For this specific recipe I cooked two whole chickens, cutting them at the breastbone, fileting them in half and cooking in the oven at 350 degrees until the temperature reached 165 degrees. When they cooled to the touch, but not cold, debone the chicken and set all scraps aside. Then, pour all of the juices from the baking dish and save that to make Chicken Stock. Consequently, I made the chicken noodle soup two days after the chickens were cooked and deboned.
*Pro Tip* The easiest way to debone a chicken is to place the whole chicken, fully cooked and cool to the touch, on a rimmed baking sheet. Then, using your hands, remove the meat from the bones, setting the meat on the baking sheet and the bones on a separate bowl or dish.
2. In a large pot, I recommend 6-Quart or larger, place the bones and saved juices. In this container was the juices saved from the bones while the whole chickens were cooked. I poured the juices into this container straight from the baking dish after the chickens were done cooking. After the juices cooled, the container was then stored in the fridge for two days. During that time in the fridge, the fat floated to the top and solidified in the fridge. I then used a spoon to scrape the fat off of the juices and discarded it.
3. Wash carrots and celery and set them on a cutting board.
4. Dice the carrots or cut them into pieces and then place them in the pot. The carrots do not need to be small as the chunks are going to be added flavor for the Homemade Chicken Stock.
5. Cut the celery into a few pieces and then place them in the pot.
6. Cut an onion in half, remove the skin if desired, quarter the onion and then place it in the pot.
7. Smash a few cloves of garlic, removing the skins, and then place the garlic into the pot.
8. Add 2 bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper to the pot.
9. Use a large measuring cup to add 8-12 cups of water to the pot, or just enough to cover all the food, then cover the lid and bring it to a boil.
10. Reduce the heat to low and then cook on simmer for 4-6 hours.
11. Once the Chicken Stock is done, place a large sink colander over a large bowl and CAREFULLY pour the contents of the pot into the strainer while collecting the stock in the large bowl.
You have just made homemade chicken stock! The vegetables and bones can be now tossed when they are cooled. This is is why saving the bones and vegetable scraps is so awesome because food scraps that would have been tossed can be used to make delicious stock! If you do not want to use whole or fresh carrots and celery, save the peels, tops and scraps from other meals in the freezer, then, when you do want to make a stock, you have a bag of vegetables in your freezer ready to be used and not thrown out right away.
Another way to make stock with very little food waste is to use the carrot peels, carrot tips, celery tops and bottoms, and onion scraps to make your stock while reserving the rest of the carrots and celery and onion to make your soup.
If you are using the Chicken Stock for soup, return the stock to the pot and begin your soup.
Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
Chicken Stock made from Scratch
- 6-Quart Pot with lid
- Cutting board
- Sink Colander
- Large Measuring Cup
- Chicken Scraps
- 8-12 cups Water
- 1 Onion
- 4 Carrots
- 2 Celery Sticks
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
Cook the Whole Chicken
- For this specific recipe I cooked two whole chickens, cutting them at the breastbone.
- Next, filet them in half and cooking in the oven at 350 degrees until the temperature reached 165 degrees.
- When they are cooled to the touch, but not cold, debone the chicken and set all scraps aside.
- Then, pour all of the juices from the baking dish and save that to make Chicken Stock.
Prep the veggies
- In a large pot, I recommend 6-Quart or larger, place the bones and saved juices.
- In a sink colander, wash the carrots and celery and then set aside. There is no need to peel the carrots.
- Dice the carrots or cut them into pieces and then place them in the pot. They do not need to be small.
- Cut the celery into a few pieces and then place them in the pot.
- Cut an onion in half, remove the skin if desired, quarter the onion and then place it in the pot.
- Smash a few cloves of garlic, removing the skins, and then place them into the pot.
- Add 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp oregano, salt and pepper to the simmering soup.
- Add 8-12 cups of water to the pot, or just enough to cover all the food.
- Cover the lid and bring to a boil.
Simmer the stock
- Reduce the heat to low and then cook on simmer for 4-6 hours.
- Once the stock is done, place a large strainer over a large bowl and CAREFULLY pour the contents of the pot into the strainer while collecting the stock in the large bowl.
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