The Best Ever Chicken and Dumplings!

CAUTION! Maybe I should put a disclaimer here. This is by no means a dieting recipe. It is a good hearty meal that goes over well all year round.

Every time I have asked my son Chuck what he would like for his birthday he always says Chicken and Dumplings. And now it is passing down to my grandson.

This is a chicken meal I came up with years ago when trying to create a different (for me anyway) way to serve chicken. It remains to be one of the more economical meals to feed a family.

It’s funny, I didn’t realize how endearing this recipe is to me. I hesitated posting on it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it. But here we are!

Whereas in the beginning I would buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself, now I purchase breasts, legs, and a few thighs already cut up. These are the pieces that are the main favorites.

Now, unfortunately, the chicken needs to have the skin on. I have tried using skinless and boneless and it just isn’t the same. However, if you start out using boneless and skinless chicken your family may not notice the difference. The gravy will still get you in the calorie count though.

I trim off any excess fat that I can before frying the chicken. I fry it in a little vegetable oil until it is browned. Then I drain off any grease that I can.

The pan gets put back on the stove with medium heat and I add enough water until it reaches about a half inch from the top. I’m old fashioned in that I still use boullion cubes, adding 8-10 of them to the simmering chicken. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a good 20 minutes, checking it to make sure it isn’t sticking and that the cubes are dissolving.

Also, at this time I add dry mustard. Now I know that may sound a little odd and I don’t remember what possessed me years ago to add it, but it works. It just punches up the flavor. I use a heaping tablespoon for a 12-14 inch pan’s worth. Salt and pepper also get added to taste. I also tend to add a little garlic powder here.

After checking the chicken for doneness I remove it and place it in a bowl nearby. Using a whisk, I stir the gravy to loosen anything stuck to the pan getting it ready to thicken. I use cornstarch but you can use whatever you like to create a good thick gravy. About a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch with a little water added to it first should thicken it properly. If not, repeat.

When it is good and thick add the chicken back to the pan, letting it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

It can be served from the stove or put in a large dish for the table.

The dumplings? Well, the recipe I use is one handed down to me from my childrens’ grandmother. She played an important role in my life. I would need to ask her family if it would be okay to broadcast her recipe. Any good dumpling recipe will work. Or mashed potatoes. Also, something that I have begun to use for another dish is frozen egg noodles. When cooked they taste similar to dumplings and are very much like homemade noodles.

Enjoy!
D.

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Old Apple Cake Recipe

This is an old apple cake recipe. Not a cake made from old apples, but a recipe that I have had for a very long time. Not really sure where I got it. I think it was some time around the time that I was a member of the West Chicago Mothers’ Club. I usually make it about once a year. It is not exactly a quick recipe but is so worth the time. It doesn’t take forever, it’s just that I am not a fan of peeling and chopping apples. But it is the thought of the results that make it worthwhile.

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Apple Cake

2C flour
2tsp baking soda
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp salt
2C sugar
1C shortening…(if using oil add last)
4eggs
2tsp vanilla
5C chopped apples (tart)
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1C chopped walnuts/optional

Cream sugar, shortening, & eggs (one at a time). Add rest of ingredients.
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Pour into greased and floured 9×13 pan.
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Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
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(Want a little decadence? Have a scoop of vanilla ice cream next to a warm slice of cake. Yum!)

As far as the apples go I usually buy whatever tart ones that happen to be on sale. How many make up 5cups? It varies depending on the size of the apples of course. I tend to buy a bag of them.

Sound easy enough? It really is. Just a little time consuming, chopping apples and all.
Every year at this time I get the urge to make Apple Cake.

It’s Fall again! Time for beautiful colors, cool mornings, and crisp apples.

Oh, yes, and a bit of news! My application to take part in the Morris Three French Hens Market on October 11th has been approved. Another great market to get ready for!

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Chalk Paint II

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Yay! Once again I am posting pictures! 4 hours later and a bit of frustration to mix. I am reposting the initial one with the photos added. A little update though, I have not heard back from the health food store yet as to whether or not they can order the calcium carbonate. I will call them this afternoon before I head to work. Also, Dixie, you had asked what type of brush I was using and I said my 2 1/2″ angled sash brush. I am still doing so for the most part but I did try a sponge brush for the flat surface of a piece and I was duly impressed by how smooth the finish came out.

So glad to be back to it! I am taking some new photos of some other pieces and will be posting on them shortly.

I have had the chance to work with the calcium carbonate mix of chalk paint and I must admit it wins hands down. Not to say that when in a pinch I won’t use the Plaster of Paris type. It is just that the CalCarb is much smoother. You hardly even know that it is mixed into the paint. It dries a little more slowly but not much. And it seems that there is less of a chance for brush strokes. Speaking of which this is another area I would like to address.
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I tried brushing the two different chalk paints on with two types of brushes. A sponge brush and my usual 2 1/2″ angled brush that I use for pretty much everything. The sponge brush wore out much more quickly than usual, especially with the PoP varity of paint. I think maybe the chalk dries it up. Both types of chalk paint went on just fine with my angled brush (I guess I should be calling it a sash brush) and it washed out quite easily as well.

The Calcium Carbonate is a little more expensive but you don’t use as much and I think it balances out actually. It didn’t come packaged like I thought it might. It was simply in a plastic bag. Not sure what I was expecting but that wasn’t it, lol.

Here is the recipe info for

Calcium Carbonate Chalk Paint

2 parts paint
1 part Calcium Carbonate
or
2T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 1T water and added to 1C of paint.
or
8T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 4T water and added to 1qt of paint.

The mix should be about the consistancy of pancake batter.

As with the Plaster of Paris mix, a flat finish paint should be used that does not have a primer already mixed in it. Once again, I want to mention that I had already bought paint that had a primer in because I didn’t have that bit of information. I am continuing to use it and have had no problem. Just know that ideally get the one without primer and be safe.
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The pieces shown here are ones I am working on for a market. The chair, painted in a cool gray and then glazed is getting an updated fabric for the cushion.
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The stool also has a small cushion that I am updating. I will be distressing this stool today.

You won’t believe the piece I got at Goodwill for $10.00. It’s a gem. I got it finished and will be photographing it today.

Oops, one thing I wanted to add – if when done painting for the day and you have extra PoP chalk paint, it will keep. You will most likely need to add a little water when you go back to it, but just stir again and it will be fine.

Have a good day!
Doris

Chalk Paint

Over the next few weeks I will be working with chalk paint alot. That is not the same as chalkboard paint although you can write on it with chalk. Chalk paint has been around a long time but has recently regained a popularity among decorative painters. It can be used on walls with some effort but it is mainly used on furniture. Why? You may ask. Well, it has excellent adhesion. So much so that you do not have to prime. It dries faster and sands more easily for sanding or making a chippy painted piece.

Now, you can go out and buy ready made chalk paint. And if you do so I highly recommend Anne Sloan products. It can be quite costly if you are doing a large piece or a number of pieces such as I am doing. Beside, I, of course, just want to make up my own.

There are a number of kinds of recipes for chalk paint. I am going to be working with two. The first one is made with Plaster of Paris which can be bought at Home Depot. It is quite economical and goes a long way. The other is Calcium Carbonate which is not that easy to come by. I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. I have heard of people getting it through there health food store which I will be looking into and maybe will know that little tidbit by the time I get to that kind of recipe. Getting ahead of myself a bit here. The cal carbonate won’t be in until next week and seeing as I have a deadline and am just itchy to get started I am going forward with the Plaster of Paris recipe.
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This recipe usually comes in second to calciumn carbonate one because it doesn’t always want to mix well supposedly and doesn’t keep its’ consistancy overnight at times. I will say, however, I had no problem getting it to mix to a smooth consistancy. I’m starting with the smaller piece just to get my hands dirty, so to speak. Remember the piece with the Christmas tree on it? It is perfect for a starting point and I know exactly what I want to do with it to transform it. The other pieces I am still playing with colors for them.
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The recipe for this one is::
Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint

3 parts latex paint, flat
1 part Plaster of Paris

Mix the PoP according to directions until it is a smooth contistancy.
Stir into the paint slowly. Combine until it is well mixed. You will know.
They say it should be the consistancy of pancake batter. Mine didn’t come out quite that soupy and tomorrow I will find out if that makes that much of a diffeerence.
Also, it is recommended not to use paint with a primer already in it. I didn’t know this tidbit until I had already purchased some of the paint. Again, supposedly it dries too fast using a paint with a primer in it. Personally I had no problem with it.
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I put two coats on and am letting it dry overnight before moving on to the next step.
Doris

Chicken Fajitas

Want a quick and easy fajita recipe? I should mention delicious too! Then this is one for you! I don’t remember where I got this recipe from and I have made my own adjustments along the way, but it is definitely a keeper!

Chicken Fajitas

1lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
2T vegetable oil
2tsp chili powder
1 1/2tsp cumin (I don’t add this)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4tsp seasoned salt (I use regular)
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel), well drained
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper

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400 degree oven.
Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
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In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
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Slice peppers and onions and drain tomatoes. I was using things up so this time I used a half of yellow and orange pepper instead of the red and green. Also, you will notice in the picture that I used 2 kinds of onion, not necessary to do this.
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Add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the mix and stir to combine.
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Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
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ENJOY!

Have a great weekend everyone!
Doris

P.S. I am thinking that tofu could be easily substitued for the chicken in this recipe. What do you think?

I am also thinking that they could work quite well in the homemade pitas that my niece makes. Yum!

Alice Adams Tea Cake

A Father’s Day treat, one of my mother’s treats…….call it what you will, this quick and easy little coffee cake really hits the spot. One of the best things about it is that it uses ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Alice Adams Tea Cake
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3/4C sugar
1/2C (1 stick) softened butter
1 1/2C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/2C milk, room temperature
cinnamon to taste

Mix first 4 ingredients plus cinnamon (I find about a level teaspoon is a good amount). Save 1/3 for the topping.
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To the remaining amount add the egg and milk. Beat until smooth. Pour into a square or round pan. Sprinkle the topping over it.
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Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
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I usually double the recipe and put it in an 8×11 pan. Of course, it will need to bake a little longer.

Enjoy!

And a Happy Father’s Day!
Doris