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When making a batch of turkey stock the other day, I needed a large glass container to put it in to allow it to cool. The only one I could find was my old sun-tea jar - a very happy accident! It turned out to be the perfect stock-separator: large enough to hold all the stock from my 8 quart stock pot, and it's made of glass, so no yucky plastic-chemical-leaching. I used a basket strainer and poured the stock in through it. The design of the jar (being for dispensing beverages) means the stock can cool in it (I put it in my sink in a cool water, followed by ice-water bath) and this allows the fats to separate and rise to the top.
The dispensing spout sits about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the jar, which allowed the sediment to settle, and is not released when I turned the spout to "open" to fill my quart containers that go in the freezer. (I also rubber-band a paper coffee filter over the the spout to further filter out any fine impurities.) I just turned the spout to "off" when it got close to the fat layer. It used to take so long to scoop off the fat, strain the stock, etc., so I was very happy to discover this little trick, and I just had to share!
By Kimberly from Jax, FL
During my maternity leave we had only one income and I looked for ways to cut back on food bills. I kept cut-off tops/bottoms of carrots, asparagus, potato peels, cabbage cores, and any other veggie I used and placed them in the freezer. I served chicken on the bone and before serving the chicken, I de-boned it and saved the bones in a bag in the freezer as well.
When I had enough veggie tops and bones, I made soup with them. I simply added rice and an egg and we had two meals from it. We loved soup and had it for a meal once or twice a week with a salad and crusty bread.
By Marie from Toronto, Canada
Bouillon cubes are basically flavored squares of salt, whereas the paste bases are not as high in salt, and impart a much better flavor. You only use one or two tablespoons and the bases come in beef, chicken, mushroom, lobster, etc.. You can find them in the soup aisle, usually on the top shelf in small jars. You'll notice a big difference in flavor!
Source: Heather McPherson, Orlando Sentinel
By av8rs3 from Eustis, FL
I like to cook large batches of stews, chili, soup, etc. to eat, freeze, or give to friends. For this I use a large stock pot. When I decided to buy one years ago (stainless steel; I'll settle for nothing less) I discovered they were all very expensive or very thin.
So I bought a thin one for $15 (on sale), went by a scrap yard and picked up a piece of scrap 1/4 inch aluminum large enough to cover the entire pan bottom ($3 or $4), and cut it down to fit. Then I'd just sit the aluminum on the burner and sit the pot on it. This helps greatly to dissipate the heat evenly under the pot, thus avoiding hot spots and burnt food without spending a fortune for a thick-bottom pot.
One caveat: aluminum is the very devil to cut. Being soft, it gums up hacksaw blades, cutting wheels, etc. Measure the base of your pot and try to find a piece of scrap as close to size as possible.
If you make your own consomme out of meat stock, boil egg shells in the finished stock for half an hour, and then strain. The shells clear the cloudiness wonderfully leaving you with beautiful, translucent liquid consomme.
Source: This is a tip from an Edwardian cookbook
By Lucy L. from England, UK
When making homemade chicken broth, after it cools down, freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then when frozen, take the cubes and put in freezer bags. This is handy when you want to add a small amount to rice, mashed potatoes, and noodles. Its flavor enhances so many different foods, and easy to add.
By Gayle C. from Tallahassee, FL
With all the cold weather we have been having, a bowl of steaming soup brings us back to our mother's and grandmother's kitchens. Soup is a labor of love. Even if you don't like to cook, most of us can heat a can of soup and magically be brought back to that time and place.
I save all veggie peels, cooking water, cores, meat bones, etc., and always have a pot simmering on the woodstove. I am assured of having homemade soup stock on hand at all times. However, as much as we love it, my finicky teenaged daughter refuses to sample my soups du jour.
Make a joint of meat (or a turkey or chicken) last a week by boiling the bones to make stock for soup. Just cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for two hours.
Chicken stock is not hard to make and it creates a perfect base for endless soup variations. This is a guide contains an easy homemade chicken stock recipe.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I made homemade chicken noodle soup. After storing overnight in the refrigerator, I noticed the noodles had absorbed most of the broth. How do keep this from happening?
number9 from North Carolina
All pasta does this because the rehydration process does not stop when you stop cooking them. To prevent it you just boil enough noodles for the amout of soup you are serving and add them as you serve each bowl. I actually boil my noodles in the soup so it does absorb the broth for flavor.
I agree with Makata. I make large batches of chicken soup and freeze meal sized containers. When I'm ready to use it I add some noodles and only cook until done.
We NEVER add our noodles to the soup until later. We store in a separate container and only add noodles to soup once it has been reheated
The heat of the soup warms the noodles. Great soup every time.
Yes I agree with others who keep their noodles separate, this is an old trick. I have found if I buttered the noodles and put a bit of oil in them they so they separate easier, if they are cooked already and ready to add to the soup base.
Agreed with the previous posts! When I cook spaghetti I keep the sauce and pasta separate until re-heating time. I just can't resist sharing a funny story about cooked pasta because of the 'wet noodles' question. Hope it gives you a laugh :-)
When I was in my mid-twenties I gave a dinner party. The main dish was Greek spaghetti and meatballs. Anyway, by the time company left I was too tired to do the dishes so just gave them a quick rinse and set aside. In the morning I went to wash them and when it came to the pot I cooked the spaghetti in there were still a few noodles dried to the bottom of the pot. I had recently cut my fingernails (which I usually used to scape food particles with) really short.
Well, I proceeded to vigorously scrape the dried spaghetti out and guess what happened? One piece of dried spaghetti went shooting in between my thumb and thumb nail almost to the cuticle :-o To make matters worse I immediately tried soaking my thumb in water thinking it would help get it out :-o Wrong!
What happened? The spaghetti expanded and made the pain even worse :-o Talk about the old fashioned Chinese Bamboo Torture Treatment ;-) To add insult to injury once at the emergency room the nurse was giggling and asked the doctor, "How do you get a noodle out from under a nail?" I can tell you it wasn't fun ;-) It was horrifying at the moment but I laugh at my stupidity now ;-)
Anyway, noodles absorb and expand when wet :-)
Thank you all for your responses. Now I know how to prevent this from happening the next time!
Deeli: OUCH! But please do tell us, what is "Greek spaghetti"? Sounds intriguing!
Have you tried cooking in a pot separate.If you want them to have some flavor, add chicken bouillon to the water. This way they have soaked up most of what,they are going to.
Thanks for asking, Jan :-)
My paternal grampa immigrated here from Greece in 1917. Here is our family recipe :-) I make extra because the sauce and meatballs freeze well :-) Hope you all will try it and let me know what you think :-)
Tampourlos Family Greek Spaghetti & Meatballs
1 lb Hamburger
2 tbls diced onions
12 saltine crackers, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbls grated orange rind
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
28 oz can tomato sauce
Combine all ingredients, except pasta, and 'round' into dollar size balls. Brown meatballs in a skillet on medium heat. Transfer the meatballs, and the hamburger grease from browning them, into a baking dish. Add the tomato sauce. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cook your choice of pasta "al dente" and smother with sauce and meatballs.
Serve with Greek Salad (tomato, cucumber, red onion all cut your favorite way; tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, crumbled Greek feta cheese and pitted Kalamata olives). Also serve with a side of feta cheese, Kalamata olives and French bread with room temp unsalted butter.
I love noodles that absorb more flavor, why stop that, just add more broth, and so good you don't want to stop. Makata has got it right, I boil the noodles in broth so it does get in the noodles.
I've worked is a lot of restaurants and we always kept the pasta separate. Just cook pasta toss with a little oil store it in an air tight container in the fridge. Put small amount in your bowl pour hot soup over pasta. No need to reheat pasta.
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My mom taught me how to save quite a lot by adding leftovers to a zip lock freezer bag until it was full and then later thawing it out in the soup pot. The fluid from cans of vegetables goes into it too,as well as leftover gravy and meats cut into small pieces. Pork goes well with the beef.
I have shared this way of soup making with several people and have given the frozen bags away. Everyone loves it. If you like noodles or pasta, add it too! It's a fun way to use leftovers or clean out the ice box before food goes bad.
I like adding a little BBQ sauce for a zesty flavor. For people who don't have a lot of time to make a nice soup, this is wonderful! I have a bag of it in my freezer now that I started with leftover bite sized red and yellow Bell peppers I cut for my son but didn't get eaten.
I was at a diner not too long ago and their gravy was awesome so when I was asked if I wanted more, I said I would take it in a TO GO box! I explained my plan for it in my soup. When I got home I emptied the little dish of gravy into the freezer bag. I got my BIG HA HA about being so frugal with my diner take-out of gravy enhanced soup.
By Melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO
Place your zip lock baggie into a loaf pan after filling it with left over soup. Freeze it this way, and the next day pop the baggie out of the pan. Now you have a nice "brick" of soup that will be easier to store in your freezer. (10/10/2009)
My sister had a rather tall tupperware container wherein she poured the liquid from boiling potatoes to mash. This was frozen along with leftovers. Lots of nutrition there. That woman could make some soup! mmm mmm! I have started adding half cup of instant mashed potatoes to the soup after it is almost done. (10/11/2009)
I take all the leftovers (steak, chicken, ham, meat loaf, broth, etc.) that there aren't enough of for another dinner and put them in the bucket (I use an old ice cream bucket but you could use tupperware). When it looks like there's enough (4-6 cups) I put them in my crockpot with a jar of spaghetti sauce (the cheap 99 cent kind) and whatever herbs and seasoning I feel like. For example, a couple of bay leafs and maybe some onion soup mix. Before I had a crockpot, I just simmered this in a pot for an hour and 1/2. This usually makes 2 to 3 meals for my family of 6. Happy eating!
Your recipe sounds delicious! I used to do a version of this. I'd keep 4 tupperware containers in the freezer door: 1. Leftover bits of chicken 2. Leftover beef bits 3. Leftover pork bits 4. Leftover veggies, a teaspoonful here or there adds up over time. These containers are wonderful for stir fries, for soups, for omelets, for (combining the beef and pork, yum!) barbecue which is delicious on buns.
This wasn't my original idea; I found it in a wonderful budget cookbook I don't have anymore but I'd give the world to find again. Those teaspoonfuls you'd otherwise throw away will add up to many "found" and delicious meals over time.