Monthly Archives: March 2011

Quick and Easy Chicken and Dumplings

I love comfort food and especially the kind that my mama used to make.  Whenever I got to request a meal, it was always chicken and dumplings.  I loved the cloud like dumplings, and the chicken, and the gravy…..YUM!  My mom’s standard way of making chicken and dumplings is to take a whole chicken, cut it into pieces, cook it with some veggies, thicken the gravy, cook the dumplings, etc.  It’s time consuming.  Delicious, but time consuming.

A couple of months ago I was in a time crunch for dinner, but I really had a hankering for chicken and dumplings.  So I did what I do best and improvised.  That experiment has become one of my go to meals!  The family loves it, and it goes together very quickly.  I don’t have specific measurements for this, so you’ll have to improvise a bit too.  🙂

First things first:  Make a roux in a big pot with butter and flour.  I usually use a stick of butter and 1/2 cup of flour. If I have onions on hand, I’ll chop one up and saute it in the butter before adding the flour.

Next, stir in chicken broth. I kind of eye ball this depending on how much gravy I want. I think I normally use about 4-6 cups, maybe more. Chicken base and water are my friends for this part!

Once the roux and the broth have been incorporated and thickened, throw in whatever veggies you might have laying around in your fridge and freezer and some cooked chicken or turkey. Whenever I make a turkey, I freeze most of the meat to use in meals such as this. For the vegetables, I’ll throw in any leftovers and whatever sounds good from the freezer. This is typically peas, squash, beans, and maybe corn. I don’t necessarily use every type of vegetable I can find, but I do throw in at least two different kinds. Let this cook for a bit, until the frozen things are no longer frozen.

Now it’s dumpling time! This is my mom’s recipe for dumplings. I’m not entirely sure where she got it, but I do know that I will never be without it!

Fluffy Dumplings

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs. oil

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Combine milk and oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Drop spoonfuls of batter atop bubbling stew.  Cover tightly; let mixture return to boiling.  Reduce heat (don’t lift cover); simmer 12-15 minutes.

We love dumplings so much that I usually double the dumplings!  So there you have a quick, easy one dish meal that everyone will love.

Advertisements

Love, Twue Love

Let me tell you something about love. In our home, love is a dress. Love is a tutu. Love is a pwiiiiiiincess. Love is pure, innocent, and sometimes comical.

Everyday, I have the honor of witnessing the love and admiration a little boy has for his big sister. If she speaks, he watches intently and repeats to the best of his ability whatever was spoken (or in some cases yelled in some crazy gibberish language). When an interesting ballet move is made up, he is right there behind, copying every move of her arms and legs. The way he studies, and desires to be just like her…..that is admiration and love.

So yes, love is a dress around here. My little lady hardly ever wears pants, and you better believe that if she wants to be a princess, so does he! My little train guy won’t be a pwincess (I wish you could hear him say that) forever, and in the meantime, I have plenty of opportunities for graduation and wedding photos. And I have to say, in his defense, that he is very much his own person with his own interests. He is unique, and I hope that one day, despite the difficult moments, his sister will be able to look back and see how very much she was loved.

Worms and Chickens

I have been inspired!  Last night I went to a viewing of the movie FRESH. It was a nice way to get out of the house, and I am passionate about making healthy food choices. I figured the discussion would be good. What I didn’t quite expect was the urge to go home and become a farmer. Actually, since I was a young girl, a big part of me has always wanted to live on a big piece of land and raise a bunch of animals. I still want that (somewhat), but I also have to face reality. The reality of my situation is that I live on a corner lot in our little town. Yeah….I don’t think that herd of cows, goats, pigs, and chickens is going to fit so well. Bummer!

I am, however, going to do what I can with what little I have. We already have a pretty rockin’ garden, so I need to look a bit deeper. Ah, yes! Deeper……the earth in which that garden grows! Vermicomposting is the solution. I have given this some thought in the past, but I think it’s time for action. As soon as the weather warms up a bit, I am going to find some worms (I still have to figure out where I might get worms) and get to composting. That worm poop (I mean, castings) is going to nourish or plants and, in turn, nourish our bodies!

The other thing I’ve been inspired to do is get some chickens. We have casually thrown the idea around, but I think maybe we should consider it a bit more seriously. We are lucky to live in a town that would actually allow chickens. So the first step is to research what we would have to do to make this a reality. My husband has had some experience raising chickens, otherwise I would feel a bit more intimidated. I am thinking that we need to figure out how many chickens we can actually have in the city limits, what kind we might be interested in, coop options, and feed options. I am excited about this! I think it will be a great way to teach our children a little work ethic as well as how to treat animals with respect. They do love eggs!

The snow and ice that we have had on the ground since the beginning of November seems like it might finally melt in the next few days. Spring may finally be around the corner! I am ready. I am refreshed, rejuvenated, and full of a million and one ideas! Here’s to learning and doing something new!

I challenge each of you to find something new to learn about and maybe even DO this spring. 😉

Dutch Oven Lasagna (sort of)

I hope you’re ready.  I’m about to post a recipe….or as close to a recipe as I can do!  I cook like this:  a little of this, a lot of that, hmmm…that looks good, oh a bit more of this.  The other night I actually did measure what I was throwing into the pot.  Why?  I’m not sure, but you get to benefit!

I was craving lasagna but was short of time and ingredients.  So I wung it.  Is that even a word?  Who cares!  This is what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • a couple shakes of oregano and basil (I didn’t say I was exact!)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (do whatever tastes best to you)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen swiss chard or spinach, squeezed dry and chopped fairly fine
  • 1 pint crushed tomatoes (these are pints because they were home canned)
  • 1 pint tomato sauce (I use this as it is for spaghetti sauce, so if you’re substituting something store bought, use spaghetti sauce or marinara)
  • 4 cups bow tie pasta (this was measured dry)
  • 2-3 cups water (I didn’t actually measure this)
  • 1 cup of mozzarella (another approximation)

Directions:

  • In a dutch oven, brown the beef with the onion and garlic.  Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the mozzarella.  Bring it to a nice simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are cooked to your liking.
  • If it’s looking a bit too dry as the noodles are cooking, add a bit of water.  Don’t stress about adding too much water.  The extra can be easily boiled off until the sauce is the thickness you prefer.
  • Turn the burner off when most of the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles and/or boiled away and when the noodles are completely cooked to perfection.
  • Stir in the mozzarella, and you’re done!  Sprinkle some extra cheese on top of each serving if you like extra cheesiness.

I wish I had taken a picture of this meal.  I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but after one bite, I knew I couldn’t just keep it to myself.  It was delicious.  It was beautiful.  And best of all, it was EASY!