Salads in a Jar

Salads Long

Mixing Mason Jars with salad? This just sounded like something made for me and this blog. We are a big fan of both around here! I designed two different versions to try out this week, and both turned out pretty darn fantastic. Can’t complain about having lunch ready in less than 2 minutes on a busy week day. I will definitely be making these again and again.

The Salads in a Jar Rules are:

  1. Use wide-mouth quart jars for optimum size.
  2. Dressing and beans must be on the bottom.
  3. Then crunchy harder ingredients.
  4. Then softer ingredients.
  5. Then lettuce (be sure to use enough, this is a salad after all!)
  6. Top with seeds or nuts if you’d like.
  7. They appear to be able to be consumed for 3-6 days depending on how fresh the ingredients are and which ingredients you have chosen to use.

Here are my first two creations!

fiesta salad

Jar #1: Fiesta Salad (from bottom to top)

  • Non Dairy Creamy Herb Ranch (2-3T)
  • Black Beans (1/2 cup)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (a few)
  • Corn (1/4 cup)
  • Salsa (1-2T)
  • Chopped Green Onions (2T)
  • Cubed Avocado spritzed with Lime Juice (1/4 of an avocado)
  • Chopped Romaine (fill up the jar, pack it in!)
  • Pinch of Pumpkin Seeds or Sunflower Seeds

italian salad

Jar #2: Italian Salad (from bottom to top)

  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (2-3T)
  • Cannellini Beans (1/2 cup)
  • Chopped Artichoke Hearts (1/4 cup)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (a few)
  • Chopped Cucumber (1/4 cup)
  • Chopped Roasted Red Bell Pepper (2T)
  • Broccoli Sprouts (1T)
  • Thinly Chopped Basil (1T)
  • Spinach (fill up the jar, pack it in!)
  • Pinch of Pine Nuts

These are what I came up with based on what I enjoy eating in my salads. Make it your own and tailor to what you like in your salads. You can add in baked meat/tofu cubes (I added chicken to the top before serving), grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc), broccoli, carrots, etc…

Looking for a few new easy varieties of salad dressing? Here are two of my recent favorites.

Balsamic Vinaigrette: Blend 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2t Dijon Mustard, clove of garlic, pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Taste and add salt until it sparkles. You can add a little water if you’d like it thinner.

Non Dairy Creamy Herb Ranch: Blend 1/2 cup cashews, 1 cup chopped celery, clove of garlic, 1/2 cup water, 2T freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2T red wine vinegar, 1/2t salt, a few grinds of black pepper, 1/2-1cup of various fresh herbs (I used chives, parsley, basil). Taste and add salt and extra lemon juice until it sparkles.

Do you prep salads ahead of time? What are your go to ingredients?

It’s October. Let’s Enjoy Treats, Not Mindlessly Gorge on Them. We Can Do This!

pumpkin blog ready

Welcome to October. This past week I had a little a-ha moment and wanted to share, in case it resonants with you as well.

Last weekend I made a few homemade treats for my husband’s birthday. It was so fun and so easy because I used ingredients that included sugar, flour and cream. With these ingredients everything was basically guaranteed to turn out dreamily (and it did!) I made brownies, cookies and chocolate ice cream – all the birthday boy’s favorites.

Then we had a few people over and we ate them. The end.

It should be the end, right? That’s how treats work in the perfect world:

  • There is something celebratory going on.
  • A person lovingly makes a special food using pronounceable ingredients.
  • A group of people come together and enjoy the treat in accompaniment with other fun activities.
  • And then we move on in our lives back to nutrient-rich conscious eating for our health.

But this is October, so that’s not how treats will roll out for most of us.

  • We will be bombarded with little packaged candies in every house, school and work cubby,
  • Pinterest-worthy Halloween themed treats will be at every event (big or small), and
  • Pumpkin spiced sugary hot drinks will somehow be desired and easily obtained every day.

I encourage us all to make this October the month we evaluate our mindless treat eating and drinking habits.

  • If you don’t feel like your energy is as high as you’d like it,
  • if your immunity is not as strong as you would like it,
  • if your belly is not as tight as you would like it,
  • if your mood is not as peppy as you would like it…

… then you may wish to experiment with turning treats back into what they were designed to be: a special celebratory accompaniment to other fun activities made and consumed with happiness and love. If consuming a treat won’t make you feel wonderful in every way, then SKIP IT!

If you love baking, hot sweet drink consuming, and the smell of pumpkin spice, then use your powers for good and make beautiful, autumn-y, cleaned-up, nutrient-rich, real foods using ingredients that build us up and power us forward. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins from the Gracious Pantry — I use whole eggs or flax “eggs.” Egg whites are so 2000.

Pumpkin Spice Granola from Sally’s Baking Addiction — I say ditch the egg whites and use two extra tablespoons of coconut oil.

Upside Down Apple Tartlets from Elana’s Pantry found on Rubies and Radishes — Just go look at these. They are beautiful!! (I haven’t made them, just drooled on my computer over them.)

Pumpkin Spice Creamer from Coconut Mama — I don’t even like coffee and this looks yummy. I’m going to add it to my Chai tea!

Healthy Halloween Treats on Pinterest — There are SO many great ideas for ways to incorporate Halloween into your food without sky-diving out of a plane into ProcessedFoodTown and/or SugarVille. If you have the time, energy and creative spirit to throw a little holiday fun into your October, then I say you do it! And this Pinterest link leads to hundreds of ideas to get you started.

candy rain This is what SugarVille and ProcessedFoodTown looks like when the candy rains down. ;)

Enjoy October everyone!


Interested in the Lean.Green.Kitchen’s Halloween Manifesto? You’ll find it here:

Halloween Manifesto  Halloween Manifesto

Nectarine Ice Cream (non dairy, refined sugar free)

nectarine ice cream The first month with our new ice cream maker (affiliate link) was so much fun. I made fantastic vanilla, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip ice cream and wooed my friends and family. It was so splendidly summer, but once you have a little homemade ice cream, you then want it all the time. And there it was in the freezer calling my name each overly warm evening.

So I came up with this EASY recipe to clean up my ice cream act and celebrate the nectarines all around me without all the sugar and cream! It’s especially good with a few chocolate chips on top!

NECTARINE ICE CREAM (non dairy, refined sugar free)


  • 6-8 super ripe nectarines (the one’s you can get at the farm stand for super cheap because of their ripeness), roughly chopped
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk


  1. Place the chopped nectarines in a bowl or Ziploc bag and squeeze the lemon juice over them. Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Puree nectarines with maple syrup and coconut milk in blender.
  3. Refrigerate puree.
  4. When chilled, pour into ice cream maker. Soft serve consistency was achieved after about 25 minutes in the ice cream maker.
  5. Enjoy at soft serve consistency or place into the freezer for harder ice cream texture.

I would guess this would work with peaches and apricots as well. And you could play with add-ins too, like chocolate chips, nuts, shredded coconut, etc. Report back if you make something great!

nectarine ice cream

Salad Spree Round-Up

Woo Hoo! Spring is here and everybody is eating salad again. As I was pulling up an old salad recipe from my blog, I realized that with so many of you new to the Lean.Green.Kitchen site, you may not have seen all the salad recipes posted a year ago. So I’ve gone ahead and linked them all up into this Salad Spree Round-Up. May they give us ideas now that the days are getting warmer!

Mexican Caesar Salad Mexican Caesar Salad recipe

Spring Pearl Couscous Spring Pearl Couscous Salad recipe

Beet Orange Stack-Ups Beet Orange Salad recipe

The Simplest Salad The Simplest Salad recipe

Confetti Pasta Salad Confetti Pasta Salad recipe

Cherry Chicken Curry Salad Chicken Curry Salad recipe

Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad Red White and Blue Quinoa Salad recipe

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint recipe Do you have a favorite??

Looking forward to posting some more salad recipes soon!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar Salad

It is April and about time to roll back the soups and dial in the salads! Here is our first salad recipe of 2014 and it is a beautiful colorful one that will serve you well all spring and summer. This Mexican Caesar Salad is a twist on the original Caesar Salad, with bright colors and flavors – such as diced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, crumbled blue corn chips, and a green cilantro dressing. To pile on the nutrients, the dressing uses pro-biotic-packed kefir and pumpkin seeds for the creamy base. Plus romaine lettuce is a powerhouse all on its own!


Mexican Caesar Salad

Recipe: Mexican Caesar Salad


  • 1 head of romaine, chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers (a variety of red, orange or yellow), small dice
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup blue corn chips, crumbled
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • fresh ground pepper (for topping)
  • minced cilantro (for topping)
  • a few blue corn chips crumbled (for topping)

For Cilantro-Kefir dressing (makes a little more than you will need):

  • 1/2 small can of diced mild chiles
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (raw or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cloves garlic (roasted for a smoother flavor)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 3 T Cotija cheese
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro (I used leaves and stems)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (can sub with mayo if you must)
  • water to thin if needed


  1. Toss all salad ingredients together.
  2. For the dressing, blend all ingredients except the cilantro and kefir until smooth. Then add cilantro and kefir and blend again until smooth. Taste and add salt for more sparkle and water for thinning if necessary.
  3. Toss salad with dressing. Crank a little fresh ground black pepper over the salad and sprinkle a little minced cilantro and blue corn chip crumbles over the top for presentation points.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


Okay, I can’t help it. I’ve got to share this beautiful colorful fruit salad too. It’s so easy and makes a great addition to any fiesta!

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint

 Recipe: Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint


  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 1 basket strawberries, sliced
  • 2 oranges, cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 5 mint leaves, chopped fine


  1. Toss the cut fruit with the lime juice and mint and serve. Tastes even better if you let it hang out together in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Looking for more salad ideas? Here are a few:

Confetti Pasta Salad with text  Confetti Pasta Salad

Pearl Couscous  Spring Pearl Couscous

Beet Orange Salad  Beet Orange Stack-Ups

Simplest Salad  The Simplest Salad

Recipe: Greens and Beans Soup

Greens and Beans Soup Recipe

Here is my contribution for all of you taking care of yourself and others during this cold and flu season, while still holding tight to new year’s resolutions and fresh starts. This nutrient-packed Greens and Beans Soup recipe is easy, inexpensive, vegetarian, nourishing and very satisfying. It is chock full of veggies, beans, herbs and spices. We like to enjoy it as the main meal with a loaf of rosemary sourdough from the farmers market (dipped in extra virgin olive oil), but it could be paired up with lots of things or even used as a starter. The leftovers are awesome for lunches all week-long. In fact I think, like most soups, it gets better on day two.

Greens and Beans Soup Recipe


  • approximately 1-1.5 quart stock (your choice – veggie, chicken, or beef)
  • approximately 15-20oz of chopped tomatoes
  • 2-15oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed (mix it up, I like using kidney and cannelloni beans)
  • 2 cups chopped kale (chopped very small)
  • 1 cup chopped chard (chopped very small)
  • 4 carrots (chopped into small rounds)
  • 4 celery stalks (chopped into small crescents)
  • 1 small head of broccoli (chopped small)
  • 3 small potatoes (medium dice)
  • 1 medium onion (small dice)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 jalapeño (minced)
  • 1T butter or EVOO
  • 1T dried thyme
  • 1T dried oregano
  • 2T fresh parsley or basil (chopped fine)
  • 2t sea salt (more to taste)
  • 1t pepper (more to taste)
  • 2T red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
  • Parm cheese (grated) – optional topper


  1. Saute onion, garlic, jalapeño in olive oil or butter to soften.
  2. Add carrots and celery and sauté until onions become translucent.
  3. Add in all other ingredients except vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until potatoes and carrots are soft.
  5. Splash with vinegar and begin tasting. Using extra salt, pepper and vinegar (the amounts needed depend on what kind of stock you are using and your taste preference) taste and adjust until the soup tastes delicious and the flavors pop!
  6. Serve with a little grated Parm cheese on top or fresh herbs minced fine.

Notes: You can mix up the greens and use collards, spinach, beet tops, bok choy in any ratio. You can use dried beans, you just need to prepare them ahead of time, because the tomatoes in the soup will slow down the softening process during cooking. You can use extra jalapeño if you’d like the soup to be spicier. The amount used in this recipe adds flavor, but not much heat. You can play with the vegetables included in the soup as well. Use what you have that sounds good, such as zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8


Looking for other soup recipes? Check these out:
IMG_7863  Simple Squash Soup

IMG_7820  Easy Peasy Chicken Soup

IMG_7784  Crock Pot Taco Soup

IMG_5159  Summer Gumbo

IMG_4971  Minestrone

Chicken Eggplant Parm  Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana

The Ultimate Party Appetizer: Hummus!


I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the holidays are upon us. It’s about time to put our pencils down and snuggle up with family and friends, wonder and awe, and tidings and joy.

And you may just need a potluck item in the next six weeks – call it a hunch. So I bring you my go-to appetizer plate addition, hummus! Dairy-free, gluten-free, nutrient-rich, tasty and filling, this work-horse of a dip can sustain you for mega-mingling and hustle-bustle.

Recipe: Hummus


  • 1/4 Cup of Tahini
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Juice from a Lemon (2-4T) plus 1t Lemon Zest (zest is optional)
  • 1/2 – 1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 -1t Cumin
  • 1/2t Sea Salt
  • 1/4t Pepper (freshly ground is best)
  • 15oz Canned Garbanzo Beans, drained but save the liquid (I recommend Eden Organic, they use BPA free lined cans)
  • A few crackers, corn chips or carrots for tasting for seasonings
  • Optional add ins (choose one): 1 Piece of Roasted Red Bell Pepper, 1T Pesto, 3 Roasted Garlic Cloves


  1. Put the tahini, 1 garlic clove, 2T of the lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2T EVOO, 1/2t cumin, sea salt, pepper and the garbanzo beans in a high quality blender (or food processor).
  2. Blend until smooth. Add a little of the liquid from the garbanzo bean can if needed to make it your desired consistency. I like it to be just barely pourable.
  3. Toss in the optional add-in and blend again to smooth.
  4. Using your crackers, chips or carrots give it a taste. Now is your chance to play with your food! If it needs more “zing” add more lemon juice. Needs more flavor, add more cumin. Needs velvety texture, add a dash of EVOO. Needs more garlic, add another garlic clove. Needs more sparkle, add more salt.
  5. Serve with veggies, corn chips, crackers, pitas or flat bread. Or use as a spread on a sandwich or a wrap.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Let’s talk crackers real quick. Make attempts to find high quality crackers with minimal ingredients, all of which you can identify. I like Mary’s Gone Crackers (gluten-free, organic, multiple flavors) and Ak Mak 100% Whole Wheat crackers. I’ve also heard that you can find whole wheat Matzo crackers that are made with just whole wheat flour and water. You can make your own crackers, but something tells me most of the Lean.Green.Kitchen community is going to be a little busy over the next few weeks for cracker making. Here’s two recipes I want to try for those of you with some extra time. From Mommypotamus. From Elana’s Pantry. Please report back. :)

Now let’s talk appetizer trays. There is no better assignment for a real fooder than the appetizer tray. We can use beautiful, local, seasonal produce, accommodate all kinds of eating preferences and pack in the nutrients for the guests before they even get to the main meal. It is always shocking how much “rabbit food” (as my uncle once called it) that people (especially kids) will eat if it is just on the table as they walk by.

A five-star winning appetizer tray has the following, in my humble opinion:

  • 3-4 seasonal veggies (carrots, celery, roasted or boiled red potatoes, cooked beets, blanched green beans, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, etc)
  • 1 dairy free dip (hummus, anyone?!)
  • 1-3 cheese selections (cheese ball, cheese chunks, baked brie, cream cheese with home-made jelly on top)
  • 1-3 crackers or baguette slices options
  • 1 hot appetizer (stuffed mushrooms, mini-quiches, bruschetta, etc)
  • 1 seasonal fruit (strawberries in the spring, cherries in the summer, apple slices with squeeze of lemon in the fall, orange slices in the winter)

Here’s my platter from a family dinner last spring, so it’s extra spring-y. Please don’t bring asparagus and strawberries to Thanksgiving, if you have a farmers market within 20 minutes of your house. There is just too much glorious autumn food begging to be on your table!


There are a bunch of veggie options hiding behind the crackers basket. That’s a warm artichoke cheese dip in the bowl. There’s the humus trio in the background.

Can’t wait to post pics of my Thanksgiving platter!

Enjoy that hummus…

Humus Side

Simple Squash Soup


Nutrient-Rich * Vegan * Paleo * Delicious * Beautiful * Easy * Quick

Recipe: Simple Squash Soup


  • 1 Qt Homemade Veggie Stock (can use Chicken Stock if that’s what you have)
  • 2T Favorite Sauté Fat (Coconut Oil, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, etc.)
  • 1 Organic Carrot, chopped in chunks
  • 1 Organic Onion, chopped in chunks
  • 2 Organic Celery Stalks, chopped in chunks
  • 4 Cups Peeled and Cubed Fresh Squash (Butternut, Acorn and Pumpkin have all been used successfully)
  • 1-2t Fresh Thyme
  • 1t Sea Salt
  • 1/2t Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs, Parmesan Cheese, Bacon Crumbles for possible toppers


  1. Heat fat in a medium saucepan (needs to be able to hold 4 quarts) on medium high heat.
  2. Sauté onions, carrots, celery and thyme until onions soften.
  3. Add veggie stock, cubed squash, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
  5. Blend in batches in a high quality blender or use an immersion blender in the saucepan to make a very smooth pureed soup.
  6. Test for seasonings. Add salt and pepper until it has the heat (from the pepper) and the sparkle (from the salt) you desire.
  7. You can also play with the thickness of the soup by diluting it with additional stock. I often have extra squash, so I just use it all and play with the seasonings and extra stock at the end.
  8. Top with fresh herbs and/or freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/or a small bacon crumble.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 – 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Squash Soup

I love to serve this soup as a starter for a beautiful autumn/winter dinner party in small tea cups. It’s beautiful color and rich flavor make it a crowd pleaser for all, which is really saying something these days with all the different food choices people make.

At the other end of the continuum from a lovely dinner party with soup in tea cups is my quirky family of four eating dinner on a harried evening. This soup comes through for that as well. My Paleo-ish husband, vegetarian-ish daughter and adventurous-ish son will all eat a big ol’ bowl of this soup after I’ve thrown it together in record time and ask for seconds or thirds. And sometimes the bowls we are using even match.

FYI that this is one of those soups that tastes even better the second day, so making it ahead of time is a BRILLIANT idea! Enjoy.

Looking for other soup recipes? Here are a few:
IMG_7822   Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

IMG_7784  Crock Pot Taco Soup IMG_5159  Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo

IMG_4971  Minestrone

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at!

Read more:

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Veggie Stock

Veggie Stock Ingredients

This is week two of our three-week make your own stock series. Last week we made our own chicken stock, and this week we are making veggie stock. By the end of the series our freezers will be filled up with nutrient-rich stocks without breaking the bank on cans/boxes of the store-bought stuff. Like squirrels, we are stocking up the kitchen to get us through winter!!

Veggie stock is CHEAP! I mean really really inexpensive to make. Such a bargain that you will feel silly buying it from the store ever again after making just one batch. If my marvelous math is correct, this stock came out to less than a dollar a quart. And I used beautiful organic veggies, you know the ones everyone says will break the bank.

Veggie stock is DELICIOUS! There is just something about simple food, made with love in your own home with all your own ingredients that makes food better. This rich stock makes such a wonderful foundation for soups and sauces, it really enhances all dishes with a beautiful depth to the flavor.

Veggie stock is CHOCK FULL OF EASILY DIGESTIBLE VITAMINS AND MINERALS. It adds a nutritional base to your meals, nourishing your body while jazzing up your meals.

So let’s get started!


Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold enough liquid to get the most out of your efforts. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker


  • 2T of a Sauté Worthy Fat (Coconut Oil, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, etc)
  • 2 lbs Organic Carrots – Chopped up chunky
  • 2 Organic Onion – Peeled and chopped in quarters
  • 2 lbs Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Leek (optional) – Sliced in chunks
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 1T Sea Salt
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme and/or Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Organic Tamari (Optional, but highly recommended – it really adds to the depth of the stock and the color)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water
  • Optional: Any other veggie bits or scraps you may have around. This is a great way to purge those veggie drawers!


  1. Heat the fat in the large stock pot. Toss in the onions and lightly sauté.
  2. Put in the carrots, celery, garlic, leek, salt, and peppercorns in the pot and cover with the cold water. (Add your optional veggie bits and scraps here too.)
  3. Add in the Liquid Aminos, parsley/thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  4. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
  6. Turn the heat off and leave in the pot to cool slightly.
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  9. The next day: Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: VEGGIE STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  10. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of veggie stock per gallon Ziplock.
  11. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  12. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.


Not too challenging, right!? You can do this and your house will smell amazing as it simmers along.

My stock hadn’t even cooled before I had it working away in this beautiful Simple Squash Soup. Check out tomorrow’s blog post for the recipe, it is divine and makes a perfect starter for all your holiday gatherings.



Rather use Chicken Stock? That’s great… link here for a recipe!

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Chicken Stock

Stock Pot

Today is the first of three weekly tip posts regarding making your own stock. Today we’ll cover chicken, to be followed by veggie stock and finally beef stock.

Let us start with some culinary terminology to get everyone on the same page – broth and stock. Most of us hear them and use them interchangeably, which is totally fine by me. But culinary experts all have their own definitions and the differences seem to fall into one of these two camps: Camp One: Stock is made with bones (usually roasted prior to stock-making), and broth is made with meat. Camp Two: Stock is the liquid before salt and seasonings are added (think of it as a foundation for something like a soup or a sauce) and broth is seasoned and can be enjoyed as is. So pick which camp you’d like to be in and use the correct definition as make sense for your life! Around here I just call them all stock until I’ll finished them and served them to people. Then I say, “come enjoy this steaming hot bowl of brothy goodness, my little sick chickadee.” Or something like that.

Making your own stock is:

  1. Really, really, REALLY easy.
  2. Much higher quality than you can buy in the store.
  3. Much cheaper than buying it in a store.
  4. Delicious and is packed with nutrients!

I am often asked what I always have available for last-minute meals, and ziplock bags of frozen stock in my freezer would be on the top of my list. I can defrost it and have a soup ready to eat in less than an hour. I can use it to add nutrients to quinoa, rice or couscous by substituting it for the water during cooking. I can throw it in the crock pot (sometimes still frozen!!) with a bunch of stuff and come home to dinner ready five hours later. I can defrost some for my family when they are under the weather and be confident that they are taking in high quality nutrients and not a lot of man-made chemicals found in canned or boxed brothy soups.

Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold much liquid after putting a whole chicken in it. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker


  • Whole Uncooked Organic Chicken OR an Organic Roasted Chicken with the meat mostly removed (and enjoyed some other way).
  • 1 Big Organic Carrot – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Onion – Peeled and chopped in half
  • 2-4 Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Leek (optional) – Sliced in half
  • 5-10 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 2-3t Sea Salt
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme or Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water


  1. Put the chicken in the pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Using the ladle, skim the foaming impurities off the top of the stock and throw away.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 3-5 hours.
  5. Turn the heat off and leave in the pot to cool slightly.
  6. Take out the chicken and place in a large casserole dish to cool. Then pick all the chicken meat off the bones and store in the refrigerator for all your shredded chicken needs. (Chicken soup, chicken salad, chicken pizza, chicken enchiladas, etc.)
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator.
  9. Sometime in the next few days, discard the layer of fat that has hardened on the surface of the stock. (I like to keep a little of it in the stock for flavor, but not so much that it will be oily.)
  10. Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: CHICKEN STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  11. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of chicken stock per gallon Ziplock.
  12. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  13. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.

Stock Container  This is what I store mine in to cool completely in the refrigerator. I made about seven quarts with this batch, and used a bunch right away and kept a quart in a mason jar in the refrigerator (for my sick chickadee).

Bagged Stock  You can store stock in freezer safe mason jars, but I don’t have the space or the comfort with that much glass in my freezer, so this option works better for me.

That’s all there is to it! I spend over $3.50 a quart on organic chicken stock from the store. This recipe makes 6-8 quarts ($21-28 worth) and cost me less than $15 to make. I buy my whole organic chickens from Costco, usually they cost about $12-13 each. In addition to the stock, I have several cups of shredded meat I use all week long in different quick meals.

Hope this takes some of the mystery out of chicken stock. Try it once to see if it is for you and your real food adventures! Your soup has never tasted so good, as with a beautiful foundation of nutrient-rich homemade stock.

Ready to turn this stock into some Brothy Goodness? Check out this post for the easiest soup ever that I load my family up on when we are fighting classroom plagues. It has super powers if you use your homemade stock as the base. :)