Back to Basics: Homemade Chicken Stock

Ever wander through somewhere, pick up a certain smell and immediately find yourself lost in a sea of memories? You’re not alone. The human brain’s anatomy is designed to link your sense of smell to the parts of your brain linked with memory (Interesting read https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-babble/201501/smells-ring-bells-how-smell-triggers-memories-and-emotions). For me, the smell of chicken stock immediately reminds me of winter at mom’s house. Mom makes some of the best chicken noodle soup out there and always makes her own chicken stock from scratch. The smell of it bubbling away brings me back to memories of slurping away at soup over dinner or the one time I ate 7 bowls of it in one sitting and instantly cured the bronchitis I had been suffering from. Knowing how to make your own stock will help you waste fewer food scraps, improve the depth of flavor in any dish you’re making, fill you with a sense of self-sufficiency and fill your home with some wonderful smells.finished

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Cozy Chicken and Dumplings

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When you’re searching for a great comfort food on a chilly night, look no further! This chicken and dumplings recipe brings together all the flavors you love from chicken pot pie into a lighter stew, topped with a fluffy dumpling! And really, what isn’t better topped with a fluffy dumpling?

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Grilled Chicken Legs and Broccoli Cakes

I have a confession, grilling chicken scares me. I constantly worry about turning what could have been a lovely dinner into the nasty, hard, dry chicken we all know and hate. In the past, I’ve over-turned it (no grill marks), under-cooked it (who’s up for a round of Salmonella?) and just given up. I was on the path of snubbing grilled chicken completely until our little grill entered the scene. Now, the possibilities are endless! After about 3 hours at Home Depot comparing tiny grills, we finally decided on the Brinkmann portable grill. We were extremely skeptical at first; the grill is small, only provides 7,000 BTUs (for comparison, your average propane grill burns at 32,000 BTU) and has legs that closely resemble the walking carriage out of Beauty and the Beast.  The grill is really more of a smoker and flames up ridiculously whenever you put any sort of grease or oil on the hot plate that is located about 1/2″ from the grill grate (not the best design), BUT we have had amazing results.

 

chicken and cake

So far, we’ve had sweet and succulent grilled pineapple, perfectly charbroiled hamburgers filled with bacon, jalapenos and cheddar, juicy pork chops and, most recently, perfectly grilled chicken legs. My fears have been quelled. These marinated drumsticks turned out wonderfully with a great crust and juicy, smokey meat inside. Served with a couple of broccoli cakes, these drumsticks made for a tasty, and triumphant, summer dinner.

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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Growing up in Colorado I’ve developed a love for great Southwestern food. I’ve been totally spoiled by farmer’s markets with roasted Hatch chilies and homemade salsas made with chilies plucked yesterday, not to mention the great hole-in-the-wall restaurants that just happen to have incredible tamales or chili rellenos. In my own kitchen, I love to incorporate all the deep flavors of the Southwest in simple dishes. I recently made rolled enchiladas, and they turned out OK, but this casserole version of the classic dish is a much easier way to get all the yumminess with half the work. Perfect for a Sunday dinner or a potluck lunch, this enchilada casserole is sure to become a favorite! Continue reading

Chicken Pot Pie

I had been looking for a great chicken pot pie recipe for a while and I think I’ve finally found it! This recipe has all the creamy goodness you want out of chicken pot pie and is loaded with veggies, lean white meat chicken and low sodium chicken broth. This pot pie is yummy comfort food you can feel great about! Continue reading

Chicken Fricassee

This dish was originally inspired by a Robert Irvine recipe that used all sorts of heavy cream and butter to create a wonderfully indulgent and guilt-ridden chicken dinner. I decided that it could be lightened up and be just as enjoyable. Because the chicken cooks in its own sauce full of rosemary and thyme, the meat stays incredibly tender and falls off the bone. This time around I also added some pancetta to the mix for a salty counterpoint to the roasted chicken flavor…oh my!

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