Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comfort Food at its Finest

Just like everyone else, I get stuck in cooking ruts. I keep preparing the same types of dishes that are no brainers for me and it gets to the point to where I'm not enjoying cooking or eating as I normally do. In between lots of errands and working at Grant's school yesterday, I met Whitney for a light lunch (well, not so light-Mexican food. LOL). Whitney and I always have such a good time having lunch together and one thing in particular that we have in common is cooking. She casually mentioned that she was making chicken and dumplings for dinner which quickly sparked my interest. "I have never made chicken and dumplings before-and what a great night for it!". So, I listened very carefully to Whitney's instructions (and did have to call her while making the dumplings for clarification) and off I was to Publix to buy what I needed.

When Marty returned home from work and I excitedly told him that I made chicken and dumplings (and I know he smelled something good), he immediately said, "That sounds fattening".  I was thrilled to inform him that on the contrary, this recipe was low fat and healthy. 

One of the things that intrigued me about this recipe was that it's rustic. I don't have to finely chop my veggies and I don't even have to saute anything.  What a treat! Kitchen clean-up was quite simple, too.

My mother told me that she and her grandmother both made chicken and dumplings but I don't recall ever eating it for some reason. Even though I have heard of chicken and dumplings and new it was a classic, old fashioned one pot dish, I have never thought about making it. I do believe that I will be making this one on a regular basis throughout the winter months. It hit the spot more than anything else has in several weeks. Thanks Whit!

Not a very good photo and you can't see the chicken under the dumplings but you get the idea.

Whitney's Delicious Chicken and Dumplings

  • 2 cartons of low sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 cups of water (as needed)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5-6 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 stalks of celery, roughly chopped (include leaves)
  • 4 skinless breasts of chicken with ribs
  • 2 cups of Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup of skim or 2%milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • fresh thyme, several sprigs (or your favorite dried herbs for soup)
  • fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)
In a large pot, bring 2 cartons of chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, chop the onion, carrots and celery and add to the stock. Then, add the chicken, fresh thyme sprigs (you can remove the stems later) 2 bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Be careful with adding salt. Both stock and the dumplings will already have salt in them.  Once it comes to a boil, bring it back down to simmer and cover. After about 20 minutes, check the chicken to make sure it's cooked through. Then, remove all of the chicken off of the bone and place it back in the pot. 

For the dumplings, in a medium size bowl, mix 2 cups of Low Fat Bisquick mix with 2/3 cups of milk. Make sure it's thick-almost like pizza or bread dough. Spoon the mixture (small dollops, the size of cookie dough to make cookies) into the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Move the dumplings around slightly and then continue to simmer covered for 10 more minutes. Add fresh parsley at the end for added color, flavor, and nutrients.

*I served the soup with a mixed greens salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. 
*Noted by Whit-don't be afraid that you messed up this recipe when you see the dumpling mixture floating in the pot. She claimed that it will look weird but not to worry. She was right and I'm glad I was warned. 

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