This week, we picked up chicken leg quarters because they were on a good sale. Not that long ago, we wouldn’t have bought it because my family isn’t a fan of bone-in chicken. But now that we have a pressure cooker, I’m putting my food to work for me in a big way! I’m saving time by cooking my chicken ahead of time and then adding some things to the pot along with the bones to get even more out of the chicken.
Cook the Chicken
Sprinkle the skin of the chicken with kosher salt. How much you use depends on your personal preference. Place in the pressure cooker along with 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of peppercorns. Because of how you’re cooking the chicken, peppercorns work better than ground pepper.
Close the pressure cooker and bring to 15 pounds of pressure. On my Fagor pressure cooker, 15 pounds is setting #2. Once the cooker is to pressure, cook for 5-7 minutes at pressure for bone-in chicken pieces or 12-18 minutes for a whole, thawed chicken.
Release the pressure and remove the chicken from the pressure cooker. Allow the chicken to cool and pull all meat from the bones. Place the bones back into the pressure cooker. Take the cooked chicken you’ve pulled from the bones and portion one pound at a time into freezer bags. I do one pound to make it easy for using in recipes. Yes, this does mean we use a little bit more chicken than we would if it was precooked pounds, but that’s okay by my meat loving men.
I don’t put anything other than salt and pepper on the chicken at this point because I want it to be as versatile as possible later. Also, if I used specific seasonings (for example, most of today’s chicken will be going to enchiladas, so I could have used traditional Mexican seasonings) it wouldn’t be great for the next step…
Back in the pot
Now that your bones are back in with the water, go to the fridge and see what vegetables you have. Today, I’m using onion, celery, one green pepper and two small hot red peppers. Normally, I would put a couple of carrots in the pot as well, but I don’t have any in the kitchen and it’s all about keeping things simple. Add 2 more cups of water, garlic another teaspoon of peppercorns, a teaspoon of sage and one bay leaf into the pot.
Cover the pot and bring back to 15 pounds of pressure. Let the stock cook under pressure for 55 minutes and release the pressure. For the first strain, I simply dump everything into a strainer over a large bowl. This will get rid of all of the big pieces. Then, line your strainer with a cheesecloth and strain again. This will get the small bits, including any tiny bones, out of the stock and give you a clearer chicken stock.
The pressure cooker is quickly becoming my favorite household gadget. To me, it’s a must-have for busy moms!
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What is Better then Coffee? How about FREE COFFEE!
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Mama’s Homemade Salsa
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- salt to taste
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (we like things spicy, so we doubled this)
It really couldn’t be any simpler! Mix everything together, let it sit for about 30 minutes so the flavors all slide together and serve! Have you tried the Salsa Chicken that we posted a while ago?
Ever had one of those days where breakfast might be the only answer, even at dinner time? That’s the type of day it is here today, and this is one of my favorite breakfasts for any meal! It may be known to some as a sausage breakfast casserole or an egg dish, but if you were raised a Lutheran girl in Wisconsin, it’s church basement casserole.
You see, when I was younger, this was Easter morning breakfast every year. Women from the church would each make their favorite recipes and bring them to the church early on Sunday morning. We’d have to sit through the early morning service with the smells of bacon, sausage, eggs and cheese wafting up through the stairwell and filling the sanctuary. After the service was done, it looked like the running of the bulls as everyone descended for their slice of the ultimate breakfast dish.
Unlike many of the recipes I saw as a child, this one can be made easily in a few minutes, it doesn’t require soaking overnight. I’m sure it’d still be great if it did soak overnight, but we aren’t patient people in this house!
- 1 package breakfast sausage
- 10 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups cubed bread
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I use whatever I have on hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
- Preheat oven to 325F. Cook sausage over medium high heat, cooking until no longer pink. I typically add my onion and green pepper when I’m cooking the sausage because my guys won’t eat them if they’re still crunchy at all.
- Combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt in a large bowl. Beat everything until the mixture starts to foam a bit. This will give your finished product a nice, airy consistency.
- Place half of the bread cubes into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half of the cheese and half of the sausage mixture. Repeat with the other half of ingredients.
- Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole. Let sit for 10 minutes so the bread absorbs the eggs.
- Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes or until eggs are set. If the top begins to brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, but do not seal.
I hadn’t made this in a long time, until I was digging for recipes to put on the site. If that keeps happening, my family is going to LOVE me! We love this creamy sausage pasta, it’s a quick meal that doesn’t taste quick!
Creamy Spicy Sausage Pasta
- 1T olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Newman’s Own tomato sauce (I used the roasted garlic)
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper (don’t let the 4 year old help with the pepper!)
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Cook the sausage, then add cream and tomato sauce. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add peas and cook until peas are hot. Boil pasta according to directions and add to sausage and sauce mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese and cover to let cheese melt.
With using salt, pepper, and cheese that I already had on hand, I was able to make this meal for 5.97 and it easily could have fed 6 people. My husband, one of the biggest eaters I know asked why I made so much, and he only saw what was left after I had some and after Bug had 2 little bowls.
Admin Sarah here, and I wanted to take the time to mention how AMAZING House Party is, and how generous their sponsors are. About a month ago, I was accepted for the Fisher Price Playdate House Party.
THE PARTY PACK
I got an email stating that my Party Pack was on its way. Imagine my surprise when a very large, very heavy box shows up, packed to the brim with OVER $350 worth of toys!! I was just blown away, they went above and beyond anything I had imagined. They had also shipped out the Party Favors, for me to give to the guests, and even those were very generous. The guests each got a coloring book, a Wheelies vehicle, a dvd, a cd, a $5 off $25 coupon, and more. They even sent the gift bags and tissue paper!! My daughter, because of her age(26 months), received the Toddler pack. This included the Disney Princess Little People Songs Palace, along with two Figure packs, the Little People Wheelies Loops N Swoops Amusement Park, and the Servin Surprises Kitchen & Table set, along with 5 Accessories, including the Tea Party Set, the High Chair Set, the Birthday Set, the Ice Cream Party Set, and the Barbeque Set. On top of all this, they also sent 14 AA batteries!! I was just astounded at how much they sent, and amazed that they would be so generous!!
So this past Saturday, we had our Party, and the kids LOVED it!! My boys, 5 and 7, were playing with the Wheelies set all day, they loved the full loop the cars made going down the steep slide. My daughter and her friends played with the Princess Castle, which I think is amazing, when you set a Princess on the pedastal and push down, she says her name, a phrase from her movie, and then sings part of a song from the movie! My favorite is Ariel, who sings “Part of that World”, can’t wait for The Little Mermaid to come out of the vault in Fall of 2013 so I can buy it in Bluray! My nephew, who just turned 1, mostly played with the Wheelies cars, he was too cute, driving them around the bottom of the Rampway and Amusement Park, making his little motor sounds. They were not too interested with the Kitchen, but I have no doubt that as my daughter gets older, she will definitely play with it. It was so cute to see all these kids crammed into my daughters’ bedroom with all the toys. We have been Fisher Price customers for a long time, so on top of the 2 Little People sets they sent, we set up a “village” and added them to my daughters’ Castle, Zoo, Farm, House, and Rampway that she got for her 2nd Birthday.
When I was little, my parents invested in all of the Little People sets, and my sister and I would be out on the living room floor bright and early setting up our village, we played with those sets for hours!! When she was first learning to talk, she referred to them as Peepios, and the name stuck! Our parents would lay down on the floor and play with us, driving the little cars around our town, taking kids to school, the park, the swimming pool, the grocery store, etc, and we were so happy that they were playing with us!
A MILLION THANK YOU’S
So I want to thank House Party and Fisher Price, your generosity truly amazed me, and I am absolutely thrilled that I get to carry on a great part of my childhood, and repeat the playtime with my children. I am almost 30, and still enjoy those “Peepios” just as much as I did when I was 5!!
For those who don’t know me, I’m not Micki. I’m her friend, Heather, aka the web designer in these parts. Thanks to the constant encouragement from Micki, I’ve decided to giving couponing a shot. Again. I never used them on a regular enough basis to feel confident and haven’t used them at all in over six months…
So, yesterday was the big day. I spent two hours Friday night getting ready to tackle one store on Saturday. I can’t say my anxiety eased at all while I was getting ready to leave. In fact, in hindsight, I wish I had done everything on Friday night because when you’re trying to cut coupons and sort them with two bored kids running around, there may or may not be a 100% chance that you’re going to leave a Halls coupon uncut on the dining room table. And you may or may not realize it until you’re into the fourth transaction and you’re getting your coupons ready to hand over to the cashier… oh well, lesson learned.
I felt even more pressure because I had been rambling incessantly to my roommate about how amazing this shopping trip was going to be. He offered to go with to help me keep an eye on the kids while seeing what I was doing and how. We are very much a family in this house and there is no “his food” or “our food,” it’s all “the family’s food” and that includes him. It’s nice having someone who’s interested in learning how to use coupons, even if it is from me with my limited knowledge, so I was glad to have the company.
When we got home, my husband made a comment about how the stores put the amount you saved on your receipt to make you feel better for their high prices. Well, not in those words, but this is a family friendly blog, so I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks. Our roommate corrected him and told him that while that may be the case sometimes, we were NOT on the losing end of this transaction.
Three things this trip taught me
- Things are going to not go according to plan. Our store didn’t carry the Sara Lee lunch meats I was going to get and they were out of the Totinos pizzas. This meant I had to reconfigure transactions on the fly.
- Don’t shop with the kids. Yes, I know this won’t always be possible, but as often as possible, I think I’ll be leaving them home. I wound up getting distracted too much and they kept asking for things.
- Keep your eyes peeled for coupons in the store. We wound up getting an amazing price on our Silk Coconut Milk because there was a blinkie on the shelf. With the 3 coupons we couldn’t use because of out of stock products, we were able to get those coupons doubled and paid under $2 per half gallon.
I’m not sure what next week will hold for me, but we’re going to make it a habit to hit the stores for every sale day so we can make this a lifestyle change, not just something we do when we remember.