Do you find that sometimes your homemade stock tastes like tasteless, greasy water? (Even though we all know that homemade is superior to canned broth!)

Well, I was so happy when my friend Lisa M., who moved to the high desert a little over a year ago, reminded me of the rich flavor in “Roasted Chicken Stock!” She shared with me her absolute favorite cooking tip, and I have to agree that this method of roasting the vegetables first, is superior to making ordinary boiled chicken stock!

The flavor is so robust – it really puts “boiled” chicken stock to shame!

Last night, not only did I save time and money, I made the richest-flavored soup! And I attribute it to how I made my stock.

Now, the night before, I had little time to make dinner, and knowing I had a Costco Rotisserie Chicken in the fridge, I knew I could get two meals out of it – equaling $3.00 per meal (cost of the meat). I made my Easy Chicken Potpie the first night.

Then the next night I roasted the leftover carcass with veggies. Per Lisa, leave the skins on the vegetables, add whole garlic cloves, peppers, and toss in the onion – basically, clean out your veggie drawer! Lisa adds about a pound of inexpensive meat – but I added the Costco chicken carcass!

How did I start the roasting process, and make the most delicious Chicken and Rice Soup?

Fill a large, ovenproof pot with any combination of vegetables (good for roasting) and add either inexpensive thighs (with skins on) or a chicken carcass.

Add salt and pepper and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the mixture. Toss and roast at 450 for 45-55 minutes!

Strain off the juices

Get your rice cooker started (yummy Trader Joe’s brown jasmine rice)

Separate the meat from the veggies & cut up the veggies

Add cooked rice, meat, and veggies together in broth, and season with your favorite spices!

Serve with fresh parmesan cheese on top – Mmm, Mmm Good!

(Remember if you don’t make soup – pour off the broth into containers and freeze! Works perfectly for the next time your recipe calls for broth or stock!)

And what tastes the BEST with homemade soup?

Home-baked chocolate chip cookies!

Taking my former roommate Kelly B’s recipe from our single days (Kelly always made the best tasting cookies!), I changed the recipe around by adding granola!

Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soften one cup of butter in microwave. Add to the butter: 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder.

Mix well, and then slowly add 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of granola, 2 cups of chocolate chips!

Scoop and bake cookies at 350 for 11 minutes.

Perfect cookies!

Time around the table
One of my greatest memories as a child was sitting around our family dinner table. Last night, as we enjoyed the Chicken Rice soup and delicious cookies, I couldn’t help but notice how fast my kids are growing and how one seat was empty, as our oldest son has a job now.

It felt odd. It felt different. And it made me think how short this season of “parenting” really is.

As Paul and I were trying to explain some truths to our kids last night, my husband ended up drawing a diagram to explain it further to the kids.

Sometimes drawing what you are trying to say can help them understand and get the message across.

Maybe you’d like to try and guess what we were conveying to our children last night?

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