Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Stew and Dumplings

This continued cold weather had me in the mood for something hearty and yummy. So, off to my recipe stash to find something to make! I came across and Chicken Stew with Dumplings from the Williams Sonoma One Pot Cookbook. This recipe is listed under the 30 minute meals and it is very simple to make!

This recipe was make that GREAT! The texture and taste of the dumplings was perfect and the stew part was wonderful. Everyone had at least seconds of this one! We had a small amount leftover that my daughter and I shared for lunch the next day. VERY good and very easy!

If you would prefer a crock pot recipe, try this yummy Chicken and Dumplings recipe.


1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces (I used 2 boneless chicken breasts)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 carrots, thinly sliced (or about 10 baby carrots)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the hot pot. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Add the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften and the chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.

Slowly add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender (I use my hands), work the butter into the flour until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of peas.

Add the milk and cheese and stir until combined. This should form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough into the boiling stew.

Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.

Cook over low heat until the dumplings have nearly doubled in size, about 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bite Sized French Toast

One of my favorite breakfasts when I was little was by far French Toast! What's not to love about it?? So, when I realized we had some "less than fresh" bread on our hands, I thought this was the perfect solution to use it up!

I used regular sandwich bread, but you could use the thicker Texas Toast or even a bakery type bread- whatever suits your tastes. It does work best to use a sturdy or "stale" loaf of bread. I wanted to make these into "bite size" pieces for the kids. There is something about bite sized food that is super fun for kids! Score one for Mom!

Ingredients (6 servings)

1 loaf bread
6 eggs
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
powdered sugar


Remove crust from bread and cut into fourths.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

Heat skillet to medium heat and melt a tbsp of butter. Dip the bread cubes in the mixture to fully coat. Shake off excess and add to hot pan.

Turn bread to brown both sides, about 5 minutes total.

Keep these warm while you continue to cook the remainder.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

While we continue to be "iced in" the house, I was looking for a good hearty recipe for dinner. I really wanted Chicken and Dumplings, but didn't have all of the ingredients. So, I opted to make a baked potato soup. Rather than searching for recipes, I just sort of winged it to see what I came up with.

The recipe I made, was a lot of soup- especially since only my husband and I ate it for the most part. So, I would probably half the recipe next time which would be plenty. Since we had so much leftover, I heated some up for lunch the next day. If you want to eat the leftovers, be aware that you will probably want to heat it on the stove and add some liquid (milk or broth) to thin it out to a good consistency. While it was still good the next day, I wouldn't say it was as good as freshly made- which is another reason I would just make half next time! But all in all, I would say that this was a good soup and came together very quickly. This would be especially good to make if you had some leftover baked potatoes lying around.

I really wanted to make these French Bread Rolls to go with it, but *thought* I was out of bread flour. That will teach me not to look a little better next time as these rolls would have been fabulous with the soup!


4 baking potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 green onions, chopped
6 strips bacon cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a large pan. Stir in the flour and whisk until smooth.

Slowly add the milk and continue stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the cooked potatoes and onions and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cheese, sour cream, bacon and salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Garnish with bacon, cheese and sour cream. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Barbeque Chicken Fajita Tacos

There are so many things you can make with chicken and so many ways to make fajita tacos as well! I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, but had some barbecue sauce and chicken so I came up with a chicken taco. I basted the chicken with the sauce and it gave it a hint of flavor without being overpowering. You really could use any sauce you like to baste the chicken with and come up with a tasty fajita taco (or quesadilla, or...). We served the fajita tacos with Mexican Rice and it was a very tasty meal. I found that a sweet sauce worked best for our tastes.

Ingredients (4 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
your favorite barbecue sauce
1 onion, cut in strips
1 green bell pepper, cut in strips
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream (optional)

Grill the chicken breasts until done, basting as they cook. Remove from pan to cool slightly before slicing (or shredding).

Add onions and peppers to skillet and saute over medium heat until tender. Add salt and pepper.

Heat up tortillas and assemble fajita tacos with meat, onion and peppers and cheese. Top with desired toppings (sour cream, guacamole, etc). You can also pour on a little more barbecue sauce to enhance the flavor.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Chewy Brownies

I seem to be on a quest for the "perfect brownie" (among other recipes). This past weekend, my husband turned to America's Test Kitchen and they happened to be making the "Ultimate Chewy Brownie". We were definitely intrigued with the recipe and wondered how we would like this version.

There have been a few recipes that I have tried lately that have that one (or more) questionable ingredient that almost makes me ditch the whole thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not (and never have nor will) drink coffee of any kind. So, when I saw that the second ingredient in this recipe was Espresso, I was initially turned off. But, would we be missing out by not trying this recipe? After all, it's the Ultimate Chewy Brownie from their test kitchen! I decided to forge through and went to the store for Espresso and the rest of the ingredients. I will say that while making the batter (especially the very beginning), I was very turned off by the coffee aroma and was very skeptical about the finished product.

I'm a little quirky- I can be uber patient on some things, but not so much on others. And waiting for brownies (or other food) to cool, is not a strong point of mine. I mean, why do I need to wait???? This recipe says to let the brownies cool 2 1/2 hours!!! What?!? So, being the rebel that I am on occasion, my husband and I tried the first bite after about 20 minutes of cooling. Our initial reaction? We both came to the conclusion that maybe we don't know what a good brownie tastes like. I won't deny that I was disappointed after following the directions to a T. Not that this was bad by any means, but it didn't wow us at all. I left the remainder on the rack to finish cooling. When I went back into the kitchen to put them away, I couldn't help but take a little bite. did WOW me then! It's like the whole texture of the brownie changed as it completely cooled. I don't think I have tasted enough recipes (hint, hint) to proclaim this the "Ultimate" brownie, but it sure was good! It is very rich, chocolaty and chewy!

Ingredients (24 brownies or 48 bite sized)

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (I sifted the cocoa)
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp boiling water
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water in a large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.

Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled).

Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous.

Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.

Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Bake about 30-35 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cook 1 1/2 hours. Using foil, lift brownies from pan. Place on wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.