Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Herbed Chicken and Dumplings

This was our dinner last night, but I was so busy nesting yesterday I didn't get a chance to post it. Seriously, my family room has never been cleaner than it is now. Well, there's toys that somehow migrated out of the toy room and some clutter on the coffee table, but the room itself almost sparkles. We had our carpets cleaned yesterday, and I was motivated to clean with all the furniture out of the way. I cleaned baseboards (insert mental image of a pregnant woman with nine days until her due date on hands and knees with a bottle of 409 scrubbing), vacuumed the blades of the ceiling fan, vacuumed up the corners of the room to get rid of dust and cobwebs. I still need to Magic Eraser some spots on the walls, but the room looks great. Our kitchen floor, however, was a casualty to the whole carpet cleaning process. Our couch and loveseat stuck to the linoleum or something and tore it up in a couple spots. Only one is REALLY noticeable and deep. We've always said we wanted to put tile in there, so I guess this is a sign that now is the time. Anyway, in my cleaning frenzy yesterday I also completely cleaned out my car, brought in the baby swing and washed the cover, washed the boy's laundry. I don't remember what else, but I have more on my list to get done today.

On to the whole point of my blog! I was looking through October's issue of Cooking Light over the weekend (somehow I had never gone through it!) and found a recipe for chicken and dumplings that looked really good, and I already had most of the ingredients on hand to make it. Of course at the grocery store yesterday I realized I had forgotten to check the recipe before we left to see what the ingredients were that I didn't have. Oops. Turned out it was only parsley, so that's not too bad. I heart chicken and dumplings, but this was my first time making it myself. My mom made some really good ones when I was little, but she hasn't made them in years. Or at least she hasn't made them for me.

Herbed Chicken and Dumplings
Cooking spray
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup (1/4-inch) diagonally cut celery
1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diagonally cut carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add celery and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Add broth to pan; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, chopped parsley, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, stirring just until moist. Spoon by heaping teaspoonfuls into broth mixture; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until dumplings are done. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaf.


Like I said, I forgot to buy parsley, so I left that out of the soup mixture and used dried parsley in the dumplings. I also used chicken breasts instead of thighs, and I doubled the recipe since it only made two servings. I'm not sure if it's really a recipe that doubles well. I think next time I'd cut down on the amount of broth--six cups was a lot, I think four or five would have sufficed. It also needed a little something more for flavor. The broth/chicken/veggies was kind of bland. I think next time I might toss the chicken pieces in some seasoned flour before browning to give it a little extra oomph and help thicken the broth some. The dumplings, however, were FANTASTIC. The husband said he could have left the soup and just had the dumplings. The boy liked it well enough, although I don't know if he ever tried the dumplings. All in all, I'd try making this again to see if I could jazz it up a bit so there was a bit more flavor to it, but if I still couldn't get it right after that, I'd probably stop trying.

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