Now that my youngest daughter also has a weekend job, along with her sister and my DH, I am home alone on Sundays. So what do I do to fill my time. Well, I go to church on Saturday afternoon, or on Sunday morning as I did today. Then to the store, and back home to conjure up something in the kitchen.
We had company last week and I cut up a chicken to BBQ. I buy whole chickens on sale for .89/lb. and cut them up myself. And I have found that deboning a chicken breast is actually super simple. I save the necks and backs in the freezer so I can make chicken stock at a later date. As I searched through the freezer for my bag of chicken parts so that I could add the neck and back to it,I found that I had 3 bags of chicken parts hogging precious freezer space. So, today, I decided to make chicken stock. I will share my method in the near future.
While I was at the store, I picked up a pound of mushrooms to dehydrate. I would have like to have gotten more, but since I am out of work, I didn't want to spend extra money. We are taking a trip to the coast in a couple of weeks, and every penny counts. But my supply of dried mushrooms is very low and I wanted to take advantage of the sale ($3.98/lb).
I love to dehydrate mushrooms because the only prep work they require is to be wiped with a rag and sliced which I do with my egg slicer for quick, uniform slices.
I bought Crimini mushrooms which I think have a richer flavor than regular button mushrooms. I slice them up, put them on the trays, and dry at 95 degrees for 2 hours and then up the temp to 135 until they are dry, about 6-8 hours total. I have my previous batch of mushrooms saved in a canning jar, but I think this time I will put them up in a small seal-a-meal bag. I just realized, that if I do that, I can't open up the jar and smell that intense mushroom aroma. Oh, well...
We rehydrate the mushrooms in hot water for about 15 minutes and use on pizza, in spaghetti sauce, or soups. Here is a recipe to make up in a pint jar to have on hand for a comforting meal. I found it in The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader.
Mushroom Barley Soup
1/2 C dried barley
1/4 C dried mushroom slices
2 TB. dried minced onions
2 TB. dried parsley
2 TB. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Combine all ingredients in a 1 pint canning jar and store in a dry place until needed. To use, add ingredients in jar to 1 quart of boiling water in a 2 qt. saucepan, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 45 minutes, until barley and mushrooms are tender. Enjoy!
We bought our dehydrator last summer and I love it. I also like to dry potatoes to use in scalloped potatoes. Plus, a couple of weeks ago, we knew we had to use up what was left of our potatoes from last year so we dried some. Actually, I did all the labor, DH was at work. They are great in soup or my favorite, scalloped or au gratin potatoes. I will keep you posted with other adventures I embark on in the world of dehydrating.