Soup’s On…..Bone Broth

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Chicken Soup.  You know how they say it’s good for the soul….I think it is.  Of course with how busy we are in life, keeping boxes of organic chicken broth or stock in our cupboards is the way most of us go, it’s easy and convenient to have it on hand.  I admit to having a few cartons on hand year round, but if you get the chance to make chicken stock from scratch it is well worth it I assure you!

Now that the monkey’s live up in Brooklyn, I have much more free time to cook. Of course I have fewer people to cook for which makes me a bit sad, but I will consider it a good time to practice new and old recipes alike so that when I am with them again, I can fill their bellies with all kinds of yumminess. Bone Broth is one of those things that once you make, you can freeze and enjoy in many ways throughout the season.

There are many different recipes and techniques to making a solid bone broth.  You have options of beef, chicken or even fish, but because chicken broth is the most versatile and popular for non-vegetarians I will be using that as an example.  That and because I was planning to roast a chicken anyway, therefore making it very convenient. Some recipes call for using one or more roaster chickens in the raw to make this delicious stock.  I have never done that simply because I can’t afford to waste an expensive roaster chicken without the benefit of enjoying the chicken first.

Let’s talk Roast Chicken first.

Everyone has their own preferred method or way of roasting a chicken, including myself although on this particular instance I had to make some adjustments due to my lack of fresh herbs available in my house and I was unable to get to the grocery store so I used what was on hand and made the best of it. Here is my general method for you:

1. As I was planning to make bone broth afterwards I bought an organic, all natural roaster chicken from Fresh Market to start. (In hindsight I should have bought the herbs, but I thought we still had some in mom’s porch herb garden). In all honesty as we don’t do a whole roast very often, I like to splurge on the highest quality when we do.

2. When preparing to roast I like to bring the chicken to more of a room temperature, I remove it from the refrigerator,rinse the inside and out well, pat to dry and let sit on the roasting rack for a bit to get rid of the chill.

3. Normally I stuff the cavity with a bundle of fresh herbs, but as we know I didn’t have any. Instead I seasoned the inside with Borsari Season Salt, pepper, dried thyme and Herbs de Provence. I then add a small onion peeled and quartered, a few cloves of peeled and smashed garlic and a quartered lemon.

4. At this point many people tuck the wings and tie the legs together.  I actually turn the chicken breast side down, the legs and wings stay tucked under the bird this way.  I also think that the juices that naturally baste the chicken flow down through the breast and make for a moister chicken.  No scientific evidence in this, but it works for me.

5. I then separate the skin from the bird and put truffle butter in there, massaging it until it’s spread out all over the bird back/thighs. I then season the outside with the same herbs and actually sort of “crust it” with sea salt, the un-ground kind.  I finish by drizzling some olive oil over it.

6. I put it in the oven, lower rack, at 450° for 75 – 90 minutes depending on the weight of the bird. I don’t bother basting the chicken at all and the end result looks like:

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I know it looks a little funny upside down, and the skin on the breast side is not as crispy, but the meat is so juicy and tender it’s unbelievable!  After letting it rest for about 30 minutes I carved it (remember it is upside down so your normal carving method will not work unless you flip it right side up) and served with steamed asparagus and some homemade french fries.

I made these with Organic Russian Banana Potatoes cut in strips, dried (most important step to crispy potatoes is getting them very dry first), seasoned and then tossed in a bit of olive oil and some of the drippings from the chicken, back in the 450 oven for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through!

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So So SO good! Afterwards I removed all the yummy meat to make a chicken salad the next day, and I saved the entire carcass for the bone broth.

 

Ok, now on to the bone broth.

Ingredients:

Chicken Bones
1/2 Cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
4 quarts filtered water
Organic Celery and Carrots, washed and halved
3 small to medium onions peeled and quartered
Handful of fresh Italian Parsley
Sea Salt to taste

In a large pot add the water, apple cider vinegar and bones.  Let sit for about half an hour so that the ACV can help leach the nutrients from the bones.  Meanwhile chop your veggies.

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Add the veggies to the large pot, bring to a boil and then skim the scum off the top.  This is the one step you need to be careful with, if you walk away and it boils for a bit, the scum that comes to the top boils back in, so you want to stand there while it starts boiling to skim it off the top.

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When this part was finished, I poured the entire contents into the slow cooker, put the lid on, put it on low and let it simmer for 2 days.  You can do it for 24 – 72 hours depending on your schedule.

The last 10 minutes or so I added a large bunch of fresh italian parsley.  Then turned the slow cooker off.

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Finally, strain the broth, add Sea Salt to taste, let cool and package up for the freezer.

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I make sure to label the lid with the date so it doesn’t end up in the freezer abyss. I think the color is due to roasting the chicken first but I am not sure, all I know is that it is rich, tasty, chock full of nutrients and ready to be used as a base in soups this winter!

Check out the nutritional value of Bone Broth:

Top Reasons to Eat Bone Broth according to Dr. Mercola of mercola.com

There are many reasons for incorporating good-old-fashioned bone broth into your diet. The following health benefits attest to its status as “good medicine.”

Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc.: A study published over a decade ago found that chicken soup indeed has medicinal qualities, significantly mitigating infection.

Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects.

Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better.

Promotes strong, healthy bones: Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth.

Nothing but good for you! I hope you enjoy!

Nom Nom

Check out Zia’s Kitchen on Facebook to learn what I used for the chicken salad that got rave reviews at a luncheon I “Catered” for my mom in the following days!

 

 

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Naked Burrito Bowl

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Regular Burritos are not Gluten Free I am sad to say. Those lovely large tortillas they use to wrap all the yumminess up all snug and then warm, are made with flour.  I have found a nice Gluten Free wrap I use to make quesadillas, but they are to small and not pliable enough to achieve an authentic burrito, hence my burrito bowl…or “Naked Burrito”.  Frankly I love this even more and hardly ever miss burritos anymore.

Hardly.  … 

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Grilled Greens With Shrimp And Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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Grilled Shrimp, Romaine and Pineapple Salsa Salad

Summer Summer Summertime…….time to kick back and……well I will let you insert your favorite activity. When I was growing up in the Northeast, summer was my favorite season which may explain why I moved to Southern California the first chance I got!  Summer in my childhood meant two things.

1. Downthashore.  Translation for those not from New Jersey or Philadelphia… it means: Going to the beach. If you are from the garden or keystone state, this must be said as if it is one word: Downthashore. It’s a rule.

2. The foods of summer!  Jersey tomatoes and corn, crabs and lobsters, salt water taffy and ice cream, and of course cooking on the grill…. 

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Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins

 

 

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Gluten Free Baking. It’s one of the more difficult areas of gluten free living for sure, and most of the recipes you have seen me tackle have come from my trying pre-made mixes.  While there is nothing wrong with that, we all want to know which mixes are worth the money or not when it comes to gluten free….if I am going to profess to be a “real” gluten free cook on this blog, I am going to have to start trying baking recipes from scratch and using GF alternatives to flour right?… 

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The Heart of Romaine

 

Smoked Salmon Lettuce Wraps

Smoked Salmon Lettuce Wraps

(Originally Published Memorial Day Weekend May 27 2014)

So this month when Organic Girl sent me their wonderful Hearts of Romaine to play with, I honestly didn’t even take the kids into consideration.  I knew I didn’t want to hide the sweet crunchy tender hearts, I wanted them to be front and center….but they are of course, GREEN in color….so the monkey’s were out of the tasting equation.

These lovely greens come in their brand new “Protect Pack” with a easy to “re-seal” top and a wide bottom.  Perfect!!  I decided I wanted to use them in other ways then just a salad (but I did make several yummy salads as well).  So here are just a few of the ways I enjoyed them…. 

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Summer Fruit Cobbler

Blueberry Cobbler

Organic Blueberries

Organic Blueberries

I am going to start this one off by being completely honest.  This is NOT low-calorie, NOT low sugar and NOT low fat.  It is however Gluten Free, incredibly simple and ridiculously delicious! When you see the ingredients you will know why.

Making tasty gluten free baked goods is a definite challenge, a lot of misses to get a hit here and there.  This Summer Fruit Cobbler (I call it that because it is so versatile – you can enjoy it with many different kinds of fruits) is one of my favorite discoveries.  I found a this recipe online about a year ago, however it was NOT gluten free.  I of course altered to GF but the first time I made this it was WAY to sweet, so after a little experimentation I found the sweet spot….so to speak, and today I will share it with one of my favorite fruits  – blueberries…. 

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Drink Your Greens Contest

Organic Smoothie Ingredients

Organic Smoothie Ingredients

It’s June ALREADY?!?!?!  Wow, I can’t believe how fast this year is flying. Summer is here and that means…..Smoothie’s! (Well if you live in Florida it’s also synonymous with living on the outskirts of hell…weather wise). Wherever you live, you probably drink more smoothies in the summer than you do in any other season, so it makes sense that this month Organic Girl Greens are promoting smoothies with the “Drink Your Greens” Contest!

To enter the Organic Girl Drink Your Greens Contest, snap a photo of a smoothie (or juice) that you have created with one of their good clean greens, include the photo of the clamshell of greens and hashtag #drinkurgreens.  You can do this on Instagram @iloveorganicgirl.  I would post it on Facebook and Tweet it as well…but thats just me!

The winner will receive a new Vitamix® blender and ….are you ready?   FREE Organic Girl Greens for a YEAR!!!!  Sweeeeeeet!  As I am lucky enough to be a recipe creator/blogger for Organic Girl, I can’t win….but YOU CAN! … 

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Ratatouille by Julia Child

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

Honeybrook Farms, NJ

For someone who loves to cook, I don’t often follow recipes exactly.  I mean I use them all the time, but I tend to have a rather loose manner with them, altering them to my tastes or using my own experiences with a dish.  Except of course with baking.  Baking is a science and experimenting with it can have disastrous results. But in cooking I feel a bit more confident, and use recipes more to educate myself on a technique, or flavor ideas. There are exceptions to this rule of course, and one of them is trying to cook a specific dish from “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child.  You don’t mess with Julia’s way of doing things…. 

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Salad Pizza

Zia's Kitchen Salad Pizza

Zia’s Kitchen Salad Pizza

So my love affair with pizza continues and I do believe it will never end now that I have found Cup 4 Cup Pizza Crust Mix! It continues to deliver every time! This time around I even used leftover dough to make cheesy bread sticks as you can see on Zia’s Kitchen Facebook page.  The entire family, Mama Sis, Nonna, Ladybug AND our resident picky eater Littledude loved them so much I have a feeling they will be requested in the future.

I do wish that gluten-free items and mixes were not so pricey, the Cup 4 Cup Pizza Crust Mix is a bit expensive so we can’t really afford to have it that often,  however I must say it really is worth the splurge when we do!

This month the great people at Organic Girl Greens sent me something I have never seen at my local Publix, a Fresh Herbs and Greens mix. After munching on a bit of it raw I have to tell you this is one of the tastiest salad mixes I have ever had!… 

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Gluten Free SuperGreen Calzones

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I don’t even know where to begin I am so excited.  I have posted many times about my search for gluten-free pizza crust that was more then just “it’s not bad, it’s ok”.  I was just hoping for taste, I didn’t even dare to dream about ease of preparation! I mean gluten-free dough is always difficult to work with right?

Oh no….no no no no no.  I appears I have found it.  The Pizza Crust Holy Grail!

I must pause and catch my breath…. 

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