Yesterday, that is. I put my nose to the grindstone, but I got it done. 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. So I have 13 quarts and 6 pints of canned chicken. One of my quart jars broke in the canner. It was one of my grandmother's jars from 1949, so it lasted a long time. Two bad it took 2 pounds of chicken with it. I think I'm going to go through and weed those jars out and use them for dry food storage. There aren't many left, but I don't want to take that risk.
While I was canning those I had two Instant Pots filled with bones, water, and seasonings, making chicken bone broth. Pressure cooking for two hours is the equivalent of simmering on the stove for 24 hours or more, only you don't have to worry about evaporation and adding more water, just a bit of steam that comes out at the end. I didn't get as much as I should have because my son wasn't paying attention when I asked him to fill them up to the max line and instead he just covered the bones, which is what we do when we make a whole chicken, but not what I do when making broth, which he's never done. I should have checked, but I was so busy with other stuff, I didn't. Not really his fault. I know he has ADHD and was having a no focus day.
I still got a good amount of broth at 8 pint and a half jars and 8 pint jars, but I could have had almost double that. I have enough bones to fill both Instant Pots again, so will be doing that and canning it tomorrow. I was too wiped to do anything today. I went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 11:07 this moring, waking up once at 6:30. I was exhausted.
I did manage to get some of the dishes done. I had to soak 8 cups, though. I am not happy about that. They all had milk residue in the bottoms so I know it was one of the menfolk. Time for the rinse out your glass lecture. It can never be the womenfolk since we don't drink milk outright and only consume it in stew, gravy, or loaded baked potato soup, and I've switched to using broth as much as possible instead of milk in the first two.
And I'm up for making a real dinner tonight, even though I am pretty sore from canning. We've been going through my freezer dinners at breakneck speed. I'm pretty sick of baked pastas and baked casseroles and rice under enchiladas, etc. Today is just chicken, mashed potatoes (and gravy for those who want it, i.e. not me) and green beans. Simple, but really good.
Broth canning isn't near as time consuming as chicken canning, so tonight I will thaw out a bunch of ground meat and tomorrow while it is in the canner I will throw together some meatloaves and some meatballs for the freezer. I've been craving spaghetti, though, so I'll save out some meatballs for dinner either tomorrow or the next night. Depends on how early I get the canner going, because if the stove is full I won't be able to cook spaghetti.
I found out that a restuarant supply store currently has chicken breast on sale for a box at $76, works out to $1.90 a pound. I don't usually buy chicken breast, but I am out nearly out of the last batch of ground chicken I made, so I can grind it. I am not up for deboning anything again anytime soon. I just mix it in with my meatloaf and meatballs along with sausage and hamburger which have enough fat in them to counter the dryness of chicken breasts.
I can also make up my version of hamburger tater tot casserole, only I use homemade hashbrowns instead. I have a lot of hamburger left from our steer and I want to buy another one in June or July, so we really need to be using it up, not just because we have it, but because we need the space in the chest freezer. I can work tacos back into the rotation. I can also can hamburger. We haven't eaten very much pork from our half a hog either, so I need to work that into the rotation.
It's been forever since I made up a meal plan, just because we were eating takeout for so long and then freezer meals and crockpot meals that were basically pour and dumps, so I didn't have to think about real cooking. But since I am finally well and truly well after the broad spectrum "if you stay on it too long it can kill you and also burst your achilles tendons," antibiotic, I should get back to real meal planning, especially before I make my Winco run and go to the restaurant supply store.
I also need to go through my canning jars tonight and see what I have left. I keep taking my jars up to the kitchen and telling Mom they are for me to use the next day and then she keeps using them, so I will keep them down here until right before I can tomorrow. I don't want to run out of jars and have to buy more, especially with my wide mouth pints. She only has regular mouth pints, but when she runs out she takes mine. Oh, well, you can't argue with a stubborn 83-year-old. Or it's not worth it anyway.
I'm off to gather my jars, have dinner, meal plan and freezer meal plan and then tomorrow shop accordingly.