There is no easier dinner for me than plopping a chicken in the crockpot and letting it slow cook for 5 hours. I love the blog, "100 Days of Real Food," and this is by far the easiest recipe on there. Sometimes, I get a little more ambitious, take the recipe one step further and make my own chicken stock. As you can see, after the chicken is finished cooking, wonderful, chicken juices remain.
Chicken stock is also amazingly simple. Eat the chicken. Leave behind all the bones and juices. Cut up some veggies, throw in some spices and fill the crock pot to the top with water. Let it cook on low overnight and then strain. Easy! And saying that I make my own stock makes me sound a lot more ambitious than I actually am.
I made the chicken on Sunday night, which meant that the stock was ready on Monday morning. I woke up a 5:15 to strain and store the stock, leaving me time to still make it to the gym. As I was straining the stock into a Tupperware container, it occurred to me that I had no recipes planned for the week. The stock would spoil unless I froze it.
Perfect, I thought. I have plastic freezer bags. Lisa Keane, of "100 Days of Real Food", says that she puts the stock in ice cube trays and then transfers it to freezer bags for easy-to-use portions. The time was already 5:30 and I couldn't find any ice cube trays. The bags looked sturdy. I would just put the hot chicken stock directly in the bag and freeze it. I labeled all the bags with black Sharpie and carefully measured 2 cup portions for each bag with my liquid measuring cup. I pressed my forefinger and thumb tightly together as I sealed each bag. Since I was placing these on the counter, I wanted to make sure that I didn't do something as stupid as forgetting to seal a part of it and have chicken stock everywhere.
As I was transferring the third bag to the counter, a blast of hot liquid hit the side of my left thigh. Oops, this bag sprung a leak. I quickly placed it in the sink. Suddenly, I'm aware that drips of hot liquid are starting to saturate the tops of my running shoes. As I turn to investigate, I see thin streams of chicken stock running down the front of the dishwasher. All the bags have leaks. It was then I learned an important lesson.
You can not place hot liquid in plastic, zip-loc bags.
I dumped the stock back into the Tupperware. I managed to save a lot it. However, I now had to improvise my storage method. Thus, chicken stock popsicles!
Added benefit: each popsicle is a perfect 1/2 cup portion which helps measuring for recipes.
These endured the freezer bag much better.