Stretching Your Kitchen Stock to the Max
When meal planning there are some kitchen items that use often to help me maximize my productivity. As an affiliate marketer I am sharing some of those items here in my post with you my reader. If you link to the external site and choose to purchase those items, I earn a small commission. This is just one more way that I help to provide for my family.
Waste Not. Want Not. A penny saved is a penny earned. A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. I know these are platitudes but they stem from a reality. We live in a fast-food, throw it out, one time use kind of world. But just a during the homemakers became very frugal, very savvy at stretching their food supplies to their maximum.
Maybe you are thinking that was more than a couple of generations ago. But the reality is the Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939. During that 10 year period, my parents were born. Their mothers and grandmothers were brides and homemakers working hard to stretch their $ and their food. They also had quite a few mouths to feed. My dad was the youngest of 9 children.
So they learned the hard way. They taught my parents from their reality how to use every part, not to waste a thing. My mom says that her grandma could peel a potato paper thin. Then use the peelings to add flavor to a soup, while cooking the rest of the potato for a completely different meal.
So let’s get started.
I buy whole chickens. For about $7 – $8. I can stretch a chicken to feed my family of 3 about 5 times.
- Split the breasts, legs and wings. Carefully remove the tenderloin from the breast. I also trim close to the breast bone.
- Use the breast for one meal. For my family of 3 I cut the 2 breasts off the bone, split the meat into 4 pieces. 3 are used for one meal.(Obviously if your family is larger you have to use more meat per meal but consider every possible use of the meat and think of ways to extend that.)
- I use the tenderloin meat, the trimmed from the bone meat and the reserved portion of breast in recipes that called for Cubed chicken. I cut those pieces into cubes, cook them quickly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then reserve them for a quick and easy throw together mea. Such as Cheesy Chicken & Rice, BBQ Hawaiian Chicken taquitos, Chicken Fajitas or burritos, BBQ chicken pizza. The possibilities are endless.
- Place the bones in a pot cover with water with salt. Many people add veggies to the pot, I prefer my broth without the veggies. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, let simmer. The longer you simmer the more concentrated the broth becomes. Remove the carcass. Strain the broth. You can then freeze the broth for several months. I use the broth to make Chicken and Noodles, Dumplings, stuffing and more.
- Don’t just throw away those bones. Take a closer look. There is some good meat on those bones. It’s so flavorful! Go ahead and pick those bones clean. I know! It’s a mess. But it also makes the most delicious chicken noodle soup ever! It also makes a delicious chicken salad sandwich or throw it in with some alfredo sauce for a quick, chicken alfredo. They key is don’t waste that meat, instead put it to good use for a delicious meal for your family.
- I haven’t forgotten, have you? That I trimmed off the legs and wings. Those I use for fried chicken. You can just make fried chicken with the breasts and legs if you prefer and use the wings for just wings.
You also can roast your chicken, then split the meat in a similar way. Never throw out a carcass without cleaning the bone, to do so is wasteful. The key is to take that whole chicken and stretch it to the maximum possible use. This is one way that I maximize the blessings the Lord brings into our home.
- You can buy a larger than needed roast and trim off a few steaks before using the rest for a roast. Better yet, find a buy one get one sale, use one for just steaks, cut in even portions, you may have some extra which you can cube for stew. Then use the second roast for pot roast.
- Got left over pot roast? Besides sandwiches which are delicious, consider using it for a quick and easy philly cheesesteak by adding onions, mushrooms and cheese. YUM!
Using Replacement Food Items
- What if a recipe calls for “cottage cheese” but you don’t have cottage cheese. Do you run out and buy a pint? Instead think outside the box. Instead of cottage cheese, try Ricotta, or sour cream mixed with cream cheese. Many times, if these items are blended into a casserole or mixed recipe, the flavor difference is mild and not too noticeable.
- What if you realize you are out of eggs after you’ve started a recipe that calls for eggs? Oh No! Eggs are so useful and versatile and a staple to most American diets. They are used in everything from cakes to salads, sandwiches to meatloaf. So what do you do if you run out of eggs? Well, I grab the jar of mayonnaise. Yep! That is right. A heaping table spoon of mayonnaise is about the equivalent of one small egg. Why? Mayonnaise is a mixture of eggs and oil. So if a cake recipe calls for eggs and oil and I’m out of eggs, I use mayonnaise, and you would NEVER tell the difference.
- Switch out any one pasta for another that you have on hand.
- Applesauce can serve as an oilreplacement in baked goods.
- Out of buttermilk? No problem, just add a 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar to milk to make sour milk. (lemon juice is best). Out of milk entirely, no problem, just mix a little water into some sour cream stir well till you get a milky consistency for your baked goods.
- If you reach a point where you feel you have exhausted your pantry, there simply isn’t enough on the shelf, in the fridge or freezer to pull together a meal. Chances are you may have bits of food, small amounts of leftovers that by themselves would not feed 1 person let alone your family. That is where it’s time to make stone soup. Well not really stone soup, but as a homeschooler I couldn’t resist the analogy. Grab those bits of leftovers and put them in a big pot with water and spices and in about an hour you will have a delicious and filling meal. If you happen to have a reserved bread dough in the freezer, all the better.
There have been many times in my married life where finances were tight, or the next paycheck was a few days away and I have had to stretch. I could sit and worry over our meal or I can trust in the Lord to provide. He always does if we trust in Him. Sometimes it’s through the blessing of an unexpected giftat just the RIGHT time and at other times it’s finding a forgotten package of meatballs in the back of the freezer. Sometimes it is through the creativity and flexibility of a homemaker, trying to their family budget, and kitchen stock to the maximum possible potential. But He does provide.
“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seenthe righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:25