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Favorite Simple Chicken Stock

Hi friends,

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Warning: this is not a glamorous post. I’m literally about to talk to you about broth. Not even soup! Broth. Good ol’ broth. Chicken stock is among my favorite things in the universe–that is, when it is made well. It makes my tummy happy, it feels like an elixir of life when you’re sick, it makes your whole house (nay, apartment) smell awesome…essentially it’s just the best. I have my mama to thank for my broth-making tendencies.

Now, making your own chicken stock is not for the faint of heart. For some reason or another, my past two roommates have been vegetarians and I always feel extremely guilty when they are/were present for my meaty excursions. Chicken broth is probably among the worst undertakings for a veg girl/guy to watch. I literally dig my hands into a bowl of steaming chicken bones and pick all the goodness off with my fingers. You can’t even really be a squeamish meat-eater to do this, ladies and gentlemen. But believe me, it is beyond worth it if you can stomach the process.

1 whole chicken carcass (rotisserie/roasted/previously cooked in some way), most of the meat removed
Chicken giblets, if you have them and have not thrown them away yet (yum!!!! …trust me, okay?)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 carrots, coarsely chopped
A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional, but if you have any this is a lovely addition)
A hearty dash of salt (himalayan pink salt or celtic sea salt, preferably) and pepper

Put your ingredients all together in your stock pot and fill with water until the entire chicken is covered. Turn the heat to medium-ish (lower is better, higher if you are not so patient) and wait until it comes to a light boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for a loooong, long time. We’re talking around 6+ hours. The longer the tastier, but 3-4 hours will do if you must. Once your home smells unbearably delicious and you cannot wait a moment longer, remove from the heat and pour the entire contents of the pot through a metal colander into another heat proof container (I use a metal bowl, but another pot would work if you have one). Now here’s the fun/gross part. Pick all the meat you want (or can bear to before you get too grossed out) off of the bones that are sitting in your colander and toss it into your stock. Be careful of your fingers–it’s going to be suuuper super hot! I’ve burned my fingers many a time doing this. Once you’ve meat-picked to your heart’s content, transfer to your storage containers (I use mason jars) and some to your soup-sippin’ mug to try your creation. Delicious. Now you can toss all the bones and icky stuff left behind and enjoy the yumminess you made.

You can use this stock as the base for tons of soups or on its own–just reheat on the stove and simmer some veggies in it or whatever you’d like! It’s a good recipe to have in your homemade arsenal. Seriously, store-bought stocks don’t even begin to compare. This should stay good in the fridge for up to about a week. If I’m not going to use it within 5 days or so, I usually freeze it. It’s always nice to have some on hand.

Aaaand just like that, it’s October. My absolute favorite month. Happy October, fellow fall-lovers.

Love,
Emily

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Black Bean, Salsa and Guac Chicken

Hi friends,

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How great are crock pots? I know I’m not even 20 yet (or married, or living by myself, I know I know) so I’m not really allowed to complain about how it tedious it gets making dinner every night, but let’s be real. It does! Sometimes you’re just not in the mood. That’s why the crock pot is one of the best things ever invented for the occasionally-lazy-food-enthusiasts of the world, such as myself. Honestly, all you have to do is throw things in and let them sit for a couple hours and you have yourself a meal. Delicious things with minimal effort! Ideal, in my opinion. Now don’t get me wrong, I really do love to cook. But sometimes when I’m not feelin’ it, I know my good friend the slow cooker has my back.

Okay, disclaimer: I know you guys are thinking that the chicken mixture on that plate looks a little bit like vomit. And if you weren’t thinking that, I am so sorry if I ruined it for you. But please don’t let that discourage you! This recipe is delicious, I promise. My family loved it. Even my picky younger brother expressed his reluctant approval, which is saying a lot.

Oh and I forgot to mention! This is another double recipe post (probably due to my excessive guilt from not posting in like ten days before this); as promised, you guys get to learn how to make my guacamole. Now I don’t really know why I am so proud of my guacamole-making skills. It really isn’t that difficult at all. But I will admit, I do regard my guacamole probably more highly than I should. But it’s delicious, OKAY?

Guac:

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2 avocados, mashed

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. lemon juice (or lime, but I had a fresh lemon on hand and personally, I love lemon juice in guacamole)

1 tbsp. mayo

1 tsp. chili sauce (optional, but it adds a nice kick)

salt and pepper to taste

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I guess I don’t really have to tell you guys this, but basically all you do is cut up the avocados, mash them with a fork, and combine all these things in a bowl and you have some lovely guacamole! Isn’t it beautiful? I would probably live exclusively off of guacamole if it was humanly possible/if I was given the opportunity. I could eat it by the spoonful. Okay enough about my guacamole love-affair, it’s starting to get mildly creepy.

Now for the chicken:

1 package chicken breast tenders (or whole chicken breasts, if that’s easier. It was a little over 1 lb.)

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained

1/2 c. salsa of your choice

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

Toss the chicken, beans, salsa, and chopped tomatoes into your slow cooker and combine. Cook on low for at least 4 hours, adding the cream cheese on top for the last half hour or so. When you’re ready to eat, stir the cream cheese into the rest of the ingredients (this is when it’ll start to look pukey, sorry guys) and serve topped with a dollop of that lovely guacamole you just made!

I’m sorry I just used the word dollop. That is a truly ugly word. It just seemed appropriate.

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This recipe is rather reminiscent of that awesome seven layer dip that you always want but only ever get to eat at the occasional (usually sports-related) party, “dinner entree” edition. It’s rather rich…the cream cheese doesn’t really make it the healthiest (oops), but it sure is delicious. I’d definitely make it again.

Happy eating!

Love, Emily