Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don't throw that out!

Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week...when your husband is a surgery intern! So tonight I am using browning bananas to make muffins and rotisserie chicken remains to make chicken stock for soup.

10 Minute Banana Muffins (adapted from bread recipe below)
Banana Bread
Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves
Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl, combine:
1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened

2 eggs

2 or 3 very ripe bananas

2/3 cup sugar
Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.
In another bowl, combine:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.
Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes. (For muffins, I checked them at about 30 minutes - I was using a 6 pan muffin so they are pretty big).
Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.
After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.
The recipe only makes about 5 large muffins - I added chocolate chips to a few of the muffins for me!

Chicken Stock...
Whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken from the store or roast a chicken at home (or turkey), my mom always reminds me to make stock for soup. It is so simple and is a great way to save money and make delicious soup!

Take the chicken (after you have enjoyed most of the meat - this is right when you are thinking you should toss the remains but don't!) and remove as much skin as you can.
At this point also pull off any good looking meat - this will be used in the soup, just stick it in the fridge
Discard skin/fat
Fill a stock pot with water
Put the chicken bones in the pot
Cut a small onion into quarters and put it in the water
Take some celery greens (leafy tops) and put add them to the water
If you have some fresh herbs, add a few sprigs to the water (rosemary, parsley, etc.)
Add some salt and pepper and put the pot on about low-medium heat
Simmer the stock for a few hours (about 2 to 3), after about an hour your kitchen is going to smell wonderful!

Tonight, I didn't have any celery so I added a few fresh basil leaves, sprigs of rosemary, 3 bay leaves and a small bunch of parsley to the stock.

After you have simmered the stock for a few hours, use tongs to remove the chicken bones, celery, onion, etc. Take the remaining stock and pour it through a strainer into a bowl or pot. Cover the strained stock with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. I typically refrigerate the stock overnight, as you need about 6 to 8 hours to chill and settle.

This next part is a little weird, but must be done. When you remove the stock from the fridge - take a spoon and skim off the fat from the top of the liquid. Once this is done, you are ready to make soup! Find your favorite soup recipe and get to town with your homemade stock. 

I typically make a chicken corn noodle soup with spaghetti, corn, carrot, onion and celery. Yum! 

Night all! I am going to eat a muffin and a watch a movie.

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