Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Old Fashioned Comfort Food

Curt and I have been attending New Life Christian Church for a little over a year. We absolutely love being a part of the church community. The services always provide some eye opening insight and often have me laughing so hard that I cry. One of the great things is that the people there genuinely care about you. Being a decently sized church, there are always families who are expecting babies, or recovering from an illness, or on bedrest, etc... whatever the problem, the members of the church always rally to help those who could use a bit of an extra hand. So.... when a person needs a bit of help, people volunteer to cook meals and bring them to the family so they won't have to worry about a newborn baby and dinner.
A few weeks ago, Curt and I volunteered to bring some food to a family who had 3 children (I think) and 1 newborn. I always worry about making food for kids, because some can be very picky! I decided on making Chicken and Dumplings... a nice warm bowl is always very comforting!

I have loved almost every chicken and dumpling recipe I've tried... from Cracker Barrel style with thick noodle like dumplings and a thick broth... to my grandma's with biscuity type dumplings and a broth. I tried a new one out of my Martha Stewart Cookbook.... Here's my version!
(The weird looking stuff in the jar is home made chicken stock)

* 2 lbs chicken (white and dark meat)
* 1 tsp kosher salt
* 1 tbs butter
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 carrots thickly sliced
* 1 package mushrooms
* 1/2 tsp pepper
* 1 onion minced
* 1 tsp ground thyme
* 2 cups skim milk
* 1/2 lb green beans

For the Dumplings

* 1 cup flour
* 1/2 cup corn muffin mix
* 2 tbs butter
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup skim milk

For this particular batch that I made, I had the shredded meat from a whole chicken that I had used for stock the week before, so I used the meat and part of the stock for the recipe. If you don't have stock, you could just use chicken broth (I just like the flavor that home made chicken stock adds). If you don't have pre-cooked chicken on hand, just cook the chicken in a big stock pot. Season it with salt and pepper and cook until nicely browned, then remove from pot and set aside to cool.

Add butter to the stock pot and add in onions. Cook until the onions are translucent (can you believe I'm making a dish that doesn't require garlic?!) Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and milk until there are no lumps. Add into the boiling stock mixture and add in the thyme. Add in the carrots, mushrooms, green beans, and chicken, then reduce heat to low and let simmer.

In a separate bowl, it's time to start making the dumplings! Mix together flour, corn muffin mix, and salt. Add in the cold butter and mix with fingers until mealy. Once combined, slowly add in milk and continue to mix with fingers. The dough will be very sticky.

Bring the contents of the stockpot back to a boil and drop in the dumpling mixture by the tablespoonful.

Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. Once done, the dumplings will puff up and float to the top!

So this is what I brought the family! I hope they enjoyed it!

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so I whipped up a quick dirt pie... premade graham cracker crust, chocolate pudding, oreo crumbs, a few gummy worms, and a few plastic spiders later and voila! What kid or adult doesn't love this simple treat?!

It was a few days after Halloween... I don't usually have fake spiders just hanging out in my kitchen :)

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