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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Veggie Soup

It is cold and rainy here today. Sounds like a good day for a bowl of soup!

This is my version of an all time favorite of mine, the “free” soup from Weightwatchers. Years ago I started making this soup. My version is a little jazzed up and not exactly “free” because I choose to add a bean like cannelini or as today, butter beans. But really though, that is important only if you are in Weightwatchers. I would rather have it be a little more substantial. I also serve it with a hearty bread.

Another great thing about this soup is that it is pretty much fat free. The only fat is in the butter beans I used and that is really negligible. So…..

Veggie Soup
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Chopped carrots
Onion
Garlic
Using non stick spray, in a large saucepan heat the first three ingredients until softened. About 5-7 minutes. You will see from the photo that I use the baby carrots to cut and chopped garlic in a jar.
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Beef Boulllion or beef broth(you could use vegetable bullion or broth for vegetarians)
Cole Slaw mix
Green beans
Tomato paste
Butter beans
Basil
Oregano
Salt (optional)
Water if using boullion
Add all of these to the softened mix and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the green beans are softened.
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Zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
Add this to the mix and heat for a few minutes.
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It is ready to serve!
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How easy is that?
I know, I know, I didn’t give exact measurements. I literally just throw this together and taste it often to see what may be needed. I know I at least double the Weightwatcher recipe. Especially with the Basil and Oregano.

Hope everyone has been having a good week!
Doris

Italian Soup

Good Morning World!

I have a soup recipe for you today but I would like to give the story behind it. Now, I have to tell you that I have many really great clients and have done some interesting and fun projects for them. The one that comes to mind every time I make this soup I can’t help but think of the client and the project that went with it. And it always makes me smile.

I was hired by a client to paint a sports themed mural in their son’s room. It included a locker with a shirt hanging in it and some other things like a baseball bat and some sports shoes to name a few. It took me three days to complete. On the second day, midmorning, I was painting away upstairs when I began to smell a wonderfully fragrant recipe being made down in the kitchen. This doesn’t usually happen with me. I had to go out to my jeep to get something and when I came back in I noticed a woman at the stove. She said hello and we chatted for a minute about what I was doing. Then I couldn’t resist, I asked her what she was making. She said that she was the Grandma visiting and she was making their favorite Italian soup. She showed me what it looked like, I complimented her on it and when back to my painting. A short time later she came up and said, “Here is the recipe if you would like it.” I love to cook so I was thrilled. At the end of that day I said good bye and thanked her once again for the recipe. Anxious to make the soup I picked up the ingredients on my way home and made it that night. It was so easy I soon was sitting down to a fresh bowl of soup for my supper.

And so I would like to pass on my good fortune of receiving this delicious soup. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Italian Soup

Mild or medium Italian sausage (if using links at least 4 or about 1 lb)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic from a jar, (I like garlic, therefore, I use more)
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can beef broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Brown the sausage (if links, remove from casing) breaking it up into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread.

Enjoy!

BTW, my daughter and son-in-law are vegetarians and I often think of ways to change recipes into meatless dishes. I think if you remove the sausage, switch the broth to a vegetable one, maybe increase the vegetables by 50%, and add Italian seasoning this would be delicious that way too.

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