Chicken Stock made from Scratch

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.

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.

food waste statistic image
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Published March 3, 2022
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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.

Cooked chicken stock in a large metal bowl

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.

Chicken Noodle Soup in bowl with grilled cheese

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!

Large red pot covered with small bowl of pasta sitting next to it

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

Chicken scraps
1 tsp oregano
8-12 cups water
1 onion
4 carrots
1 tsp salt
2 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp pepper

all ingredients needed to make Homemade Chicken Stock

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.

Large red pot on stove with chicken bone scraps inside to cook Chicken Stock

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.

Large red pot with Tupperware container of chicken drippings sitting on stove to make Chicken Stock

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. 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.

completed Chicken Stock in large red pot

11. Once the Chicken Stock is done, place a large 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 Ingredients

Chicken scraps
8-12 cups water
1 onion
4 carrots
1 tsp oregano
2 celery stalks
1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp pepper

Homemade Chicken Stock Directions

1. If you are planning to make chicken stock, you need bones. 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 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. Additionally, 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. Next, 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.
3. Wash carrots and celery and then set aside. There is no need to peel the carrots.
4. Dice the carrots or cut them into pieces and then place them in the pot. They do not need to be small.
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 them into the pot.
8. Add 2 bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper to the simmering soup.
9. 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.
10. Reduce the heat to low and then cook on simmer for 4-6 hours.
11. 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.

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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