Saturday, November 22, 2008


Or, as they're now known around here, "Pizzas with Hats" or also just "Hats." Mexican food wasn't often on the menu around here growing up, especially not anything more than the standard hard-shell tacos. I'm quite embarrassed to admit that in my now 31 years of living, tonight was the first time I had made quesadillas! AND THEY'RE SO EASY TO MAKE!!!
I won't list a recipe here, but I will give you the link to where I found the recipe I used. It is a wonderful recipe and very easy to follow:

Some hints I will share that made this easier for a newbie:
1) I did use a cast-iron skillet. If you don't have one, do yourself a favor and go get one (
2) Have your ingredients ready. Just like you see on cooking shows, we mixed up our beans & corn ahead of time and had them in a bowl, ready to add when needed. Justin wanted freshly picked hot peppers (courtesy of Shannon) and onions in his, so he chopped them up and had them ready when I was ready for them. This saves a lot of "oh crap!" moments.
3) Do let them cool for a minute before eating. This not only saves on "shit, that's hot!" but also gives the ingredients a moment to set.
4) Don't be afraid of adding fun ingredients and spices!
5) Definitely have some "dippers" ready. Tonight we just used sour cream, but even the kids demanded they're own.
6) Don't think this is a hard dish to make. Like I said, I'm horrified that I have waited this long to make them. They are so much better, as most dishes are, when homemade. Even little kids like them, as they're nice and finger friendly!

Tristan & Shannon, who were very happy to get "Hats" for dinner & each gobbled it right up!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Homemade Chicken Stock

I can't imagine actually buying chicken broth anymore, much less ever thinking anything store bought was good!! I was absolutely AMAZED to find out how easy it is to make and so have to share:
~Chicken Carcass (leftover bones, meat, this is especially easy after you've had a roast chicken)
~Leftover scraps of celery, garlic, onions, carrots, and herbs (I've even added potatoes).
Put all of these together in a large stock-pot, fill with water, bring to boil, then turn it back and let it simmer. I usually let it simmer most of the day. Once done, I drain off the stock and begin either freezing it or getting it ready for canning.
Obviously it is a ridiculously simple recipe. The amount of "scraps" I use depends on how much chicken is in there as well. More chicken carcass = more veggie scraps. In the photo you can see the peel of an onion resting on the spoon and also a celery stalk. What you can also see is the beautiful golden drops of fat.
The chicken in this stock is one of our Speckled Sussexes. It was raised naturally and "on pasture" (also known as our backyard). The fat in this chicken is high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is known for, among other things, being an immunity booster. It is an anti-oxidant with anti-cancer properties and also can help reduce body fat. Here is a great link for more info on CLAs:
SO, this is the reason chicken broth and chicken soup are so good for you! It is easy to make, helps find new use for leftovers or scraps that would've otherwise gone to waste, and it boosts the nutritional content of whatever you use it in.
Here are some ideas for uses:
1)In place of water in such dishes as grits and rice, and even mashed potatoes!
2)As a broth on it's own ~ great for cold days, or colds in general!
3)The classic chicken noodle soup: just cook up some noodles in it and add some fresh veggies and chicken!