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.


Grandma’s Pierogis

I often think of my nieces and nephews (and there are plenty) when I think of my mom’s pierogis. I don’t know just how many of them remember them or had the chance to even try them. This is another dish that was made to feed a crowd at a low cost.

My mother was Irish but she married my dad who was Polish, and I think I heard that they had lived in a Polish neighborhood in Chicago when they were young. Maybe my brothers could give some input on this. My mom learned to make several Polish meals. They are a big part of my childhood memories.

The ingredients for the pierogis are pretty basic. The only things you may need to go out and buy are cottage cheese and chives.

I have the recipe in her handwriting and I thought I would write it out word for word.


4 cups flour
3 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2lbs cottage cheese
chopped chives
salt and pepper

To the flour add the eggs and salt and enough water to make dough easy to handle. (Oh, yes, when adding the eggs make a well in the flour, add them and stir into the flour). Roll out onto a floured surface. Use a saucer for pattern. (While you are rolling out the dough have a pan of water heating). Put some cottage cheese, (2T), on half of the circle, moisten edges. Fold over and press edges with a fork. When the water boils put no more than 3 or 4 at a time in the water. Cook gently about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon take out of the water and put on a large plate or platter. Then fry in butter or margarine.
(I just realized that it doesn’t mention that you mix the cottage cheese and chives together and you can add a little salt and pepper to taste).
Very filling! And not really that difficult.

Have a good day everyone!