Chicken and Dumplings

I had Chicken and Dumplings for the first time when I went to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival and always wanted to try my own. I found this recipe from Rachael Ray that is not only yummy but easy to put together on a weeknight. It’s thick and hearty and perfect for the chilly fall nights we have right now.

One problem I had was finding biscuit mix; my local grocery stores did not have them! Instead, I bought Bisquick mix and added as much water as they said on the package in order to make biscuits. It turned out great. I also find that using chicken breast tenders (instead of chicken breasts) really makes a big difference. My husband bought just chicken breasts by accident once and the chicken got really tough. Meanwhile, the tenders were perfect.

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth (I used stock)
  • 1 cup biscuit mix (like Jiffy or Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice chicken breast tenders into bite sized pieces.
  2. Put a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
  4. Add flour to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Stir in broth or stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add chicken to broth and stir.
  7. Place biscuit mix in a bowl and combine with water and parsley.
  8. Drop 1 tbsp balls of dough into the pot, spaced evenly.
  9. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove cover and stir to thicken. Stir in peas.

Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

I love easy dinners, especially ones involving pasta! I found this recipe from Little Broken and it was perfect. It’s pretty easy to make and the chicken meatballs turn out really moist and delicious.

I did end up modifying it a little bit. I doubled everything except for the amount of pasta, which resulted in a solid 4-5 servings. I think if I would’ve stuck to the original, it would’ve been a good dish for 2 people, but then I would have ingredient leftovers. By doubling it, I was able to use everything I bought from the store.

Also, since the meatball mix was very moist, I used ice cream scoop to form my meatballs, but they didn’t hold their shape well and ended up with flat bottoms. I broiled them for 6-7 minutes because they didn’t seem remotely cooked at the 3-4 minute mark, like the recipe advises.

I’ve pasted the recipe below the way I made it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh is better but I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 – 1/2 reserved pasta water
  • 1 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls/pearls (or you can dice fresh mozzarella)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
  3. Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
  4. Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
  6. Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
  7. Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
  10. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  12. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.

Strawberry Cardamom Linzer Cookies

I haven’t been cooking much lately (unfortunately) but I did volunteer to provide desserts for this year’s Easter festivities. I decided to make my tried and true Banana Bread, as well as linzer cookies, which are not only super delicious but also look very cute.

I came across this recipe from the people over at Home Cooking Adventure (which is also one of my favorite YouTube channels):

The recipe includes the cookie and the jam, and also added a new spice to my rack: cardamom!

In general, the cookies turned out really good and everyone said they looked adorable. My one problem was that I couldn’t get the jam to thicken up as much as the video, so my cookies weren’t as solid as I hoped. I put them in the refrigerate to harden a bit, especially right before transporting. I’ll have to work on that part.

I pasted the recipe below for convenience but you should watch the video for a more detailed version! You can prepare the jam a day or two in advance, or while you’re making the cookies. The recipe makes about 30 cookies total.

Jam Ingredients

  • 14 oz strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Jam Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan, add all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  2. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ground almonds, toasted or plain
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Cookie Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
  4. Beat in vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture and ground almonds, stirring to combine.
  6. Divide the dough into two pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and press into small disks.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
  10. Cut out the cookie “bottoms” and place on a baking sheet. Re-roll the dough scraps to make more cookies.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Repeat the same steps to make the cookie “tops”.
  13. Invert the cookie “bottoms” and add a small scoop of jam to each one.
  14. Dust the cookie “tops” with powdered sugar and put on top of each bottom to make a sandwich.
  15. Let stand for several hours before serving.

Pasta with Pesto Trepanese

YouTube loves to suggest all kinds of videos for me and recently they suggested this cooking video from Laura Vitale:

It’s a recipe for Pesto Trepanese, which is like a pesto sauce mixed with tomatoes. Her version also uses almonds instead of the usual pine nuts. Since the only pesto recipe in my repertoire uses cream and is pretty unhealthy, I thought I’d give this a try. Plus, tomatoes with pasta is just perfection.

I’m happy to say it was pretty delicious! And super easy and quick to make, too. The sauce itself has a tendency to settle, so I’d recommend stirring really well before serving. (I think she says in the video that it’s better the longer you let the sauce soak into the pasta) It has a really nice nutty flavor, especially with whole wheat pasta.

I pasted the recipe below for convenience but you can also check our the recipe on Laura Vitale’s website.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb tomatoes, plum or cherry
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 box whole wheat linguine

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to box instructions.
  2. In a food processor, add tomatoes, basil, almonds, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend.
  3. Add olive oil and continue pulsing until desired consistency.
  4. Add the sauce to a bowl and mix in the grated parmesan cheese.
  5. Toss with pasta and serve.

Easy Mashed Potatoes

While not the healthiest, mashed potatoes are a great side dish to many meals. Growing up, my mother served potatoes with almost every meal. This recipe is how she used to make them and the way I continue to make them now. This recipe is good for 2 people, so feel free to double it if you need more.

The great thing about mashed potatoes is that you can add whatever you want to make them creamy and delicious. I personally use butter and milk or heavy cream, but if I have some sour cream or even cream cheese in the refrigerator, I’ll use some of that too. I might add a little salt and pepper for taste, too.

Ingredients

  • Your favorite potatoes (I like to use either 2-3 large russet potatoes or 4-5 small white potatoes)
  • 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • A few splashes of milk or heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Peel your potatoes and chop into small chunks. Wash them thoroughly to remove starches.
  2. Put the potatoes in a pot that is large enough but will still have extra room. Fill it with water so it is covering all of the potatoes.
  3. Place over the stove on medium-high heat and boil for about 15-25 minutes, or until they are soft.
  4. Drain potatoes but keep them in the pot. Turn off heat. Add butter and milk or heavy cream.
  5. Begin mashing! Your potatoes should be fairly smooth and creamy. If they’re too dry, add some more milk/heavy cream. If they’re too wet, turn on the heat again and cook for a few extra minutes. stirring constantly.

Beef Stew

Since my last recipe from Pioneer Woman was so successful, I decided to try out another one of her recipes: Sunday Night Stew. It’s essentially a beef stew served with mashed potatoes. (I even cooked it on a Sunday, too) It’s one of those dishes that takes a long time (about 3 hours) but it’s very delicious and filling. Plus, it reheated wonderfully to become Monday Night Stew. My boyfriend says it’s now one of his favorites.

This was actually my first time cooking with turnips and I was surprised by how hard they were to dice up. Fun story, the workers at my local supermarket didn’t even know what turnips were and when we eventually found them among the produce, they were mixed in with parsnips. Needless to say, they don’t have the best produce department …

I highly recommend taking a look at the actual blog post because there are a lot of great pictures and extra instructions. However, I’ve pasted the recipe here for convenience, minus the mashed potatoes part. (I used my own mashed potatoes recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 lb beef stew meat
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 4 cups low sodium beef stock or broth (I used broth)
  • A few dashes of worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Add salt and pepper to your stew meat.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot. Add butter and melt.
  3. Brown half of the stew meat in the pot, about 2 minutes. Remove it from the pot and set aside, leaving the oils behind. Then brown the other half of the meat. Also remove it and set it aside, still leaving the oils behind.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the beef stock/broth while stirring. Add the worcestershire sauce and sugar.
  7. Add beef, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  8. Add the turnips and carrots. Stir and let simmer covered for another 30 minutes. If too thick, add some more stock/broth.
  9. Stir in parsley. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Serve with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with more parsley when serving.