Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chicken Stock

Wonderful ideas for Chicken Stock!
25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock
Posted: 29 May 2012 03:24 AM PDT
woman stirring pot
Chicken stock is one of those ubiquitous bases for soups, sauces, stews, and more. I’ll bet, however, that I can impress you with at least one new use for this versatile ingredient. (See also: 25 Things to Do With Rotisserie Chicken)
Before we get started, though, let me clear something up — chicken stock is different from chicken broth. Both are made from chicken, but stock is made from the bones, which gives it a richer mouthfeel (that’s a legitimate word, I promise). Broth, on the other hand, is made more out of meat. If you have time to make homemade stock, try this great chicken stock recipe. If you’re more pressed for time, you can even make chicken stock in your crock pot. If you’re like most of us and have trouble finding time to prepare food at home, let alone extras like your own chicken stock, just go for canned chicken broth (low-sodium, of course, is healthiest). You can imitate stock by simmering canned broth with carrots, onion, celery, and spices such as dried parsley, a bay leaf, and pepper.
And for all you vegetarians out there, you can substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock in all of these uses. Try this recipe for homemade vegetable stock.

Rice & Grains

Grains are an important part of any diet because they provide the carbohydrates that serve as the body’s main source of energy. Increase the flavor of these tried-and-true carbs by including chicken stock as you cook.
1. White Rice
Add flavor and dimension to plain white rice by substituting chicken stock for water. The general rule for cooking long-grain white rice is two parts liquid (water or stock) to one part rice. Bring the stock to a boil, add ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon butter (optional), and 1 cup rice; simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
2. Risotto
Risotto is rice with a lot of liquid. More specifically, it is usually Arborio rice (although there are a few more-expensive varieties you can use), into which you stir large quantities of stock to coax out the rice's starch. The resulting mixture is creamy, delicious, and ready to receive any number of ingredients ranging from goat cheese to mushrooms to shrimp. The possibilities are endless!
3. Couscous
Couscous is actually a form of wheat pasta (known as semolina) traditionally served as a bed under stews. It originated in North Africa. All couscous I’ve seen sold in the U.S. has been pre-steamed and dried, meaning it takes literally only minutes to prepare. Make this wonderfully textured dish even tastier by substituting stock for water. Boil 1½ cups stock, add 1 cup couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Wait five minutes, and voila! Substitute stock for water in any one of these 12 recipes for couscous from Real Simple.
4. Polenta
Polenta, which is essentially the same as the grits found primarily in the southern states of the U.S., is simply ground cornmeal boiled in water. Substituting chicken stock for water gives this versatile side dish just the nudge it needs to make it irresistible to all. Try this super-easy polenta recipe from Foodnetwork.com, substituting stock for water. Or try this recipe for fried polenta, which calls for stock in the original recipe.


A good sauce is like a striking accessory — it has the potential to make a plain-Jane dish into a to-die-for entrée. Dress up your dishes with one of these basic sauces. The potential variations are endless!
5. Velouté
I have actually been making versions of this as a sauce and a soup base for years and have just recently learned the name. I can’t honestly say that I know how to pronounce it, but I can say it is one of the most versatile things in the grand world of food. Making velouté begins with a basic roux (flour and butter), which you then thicken with stock. That’s it. Once done, you can try any number of variations, including adding white wine, pureed tomatoes, or vinegar to suit your taste.
6. Bercy Sauce
A Bercy sauce is one of those variations on velouté I mentioned above, but this one is perfectly suited for fish and other seafood dishes. It’s also lighter tasting than a basic velouté sauce. There are a lot of variations on the Bercy sauce recipe floating around on the interwebs, but my favorite consists of ¼ cup flour, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 minced shallots, 1 cup of chicken stock, and 1 cup of white wine. Add stock and wine to a saucepan, and reduce by over half (this will take about 40 minutes). In another saucepan, make a roux by mixing your flour and butter on low heat. Stir frequently; add shallots after 20 minutes, and continue stirring. Once your stock and wine is reduced, add the roux. Season to taste, and enjoy!
7. Low-Fat Alfredo
This light version of a classic Alfredo sauce also looks a lot like the velouté described above (See? I told it was versatile!), but includes milk and Parmesan cheese, so it’s creamier than velouté. The light Alfredo is also incredibly easy — simply combine milk, stock, flour, salt, and pepper, and heat over low heat. Add in the cheese, and you’re ready for anything. Anything that entails eating Alfredo sauce, that is.<

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade Body Scrub - Martha Stewart Crafts

Homemade Body Scrub - Martha Stewart Crafts
  Love Martha Stewart Crafts.  Hannah made a scrub like this for me once and it was wonderful!!!!!

Homemade Body Scrub


Slough off dry winter skin with an invigorating homemade body scrub. It's easy, all-natural, and so inexpensive, you'll want to make enough for gifts.
Tools and Materials
Homemade Body Scrub How-To:Combine 1 cup of body oil with 2 cups of Epsom or sea salts or organic cane sugar (depending on how fine a grain you like). We added lemon zest for color and fragrance. Package in jars (plastic is safest by the tub).