The holidays are over and our guests have gone home. That means no real obligations. We can cook what we want, and can eat at our leisure. This is the perfect time to drag out a soup pot, pick some spices, and start simmering something warm on the burner.
Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 6 to 8
For the chicken
- 1 large fryer chicken, neck and gizzards removed
- 1 onion, cut in half and peeled
- 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
For the dumplings
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup milk (or just enough to make the dough stick together)
For the chicken
Place the chicken, onions, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water maintains a gentle simmer. Cook chicken for approximately 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through (approximately165 degrees).
Once chicken is cooked, remove from the broth and allow to cool. Remove chicken from the bone and shred into medium-sized pieces, discarding bones and skin for another use. Pour the chicken broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth, discarding vegetables. Reserve 6 cups of the broth for the dumplings (the rest can be used for another time).
For the dumplings
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with fingertips until it resembles small peas. Add milk — 1/4 cup at a time — and stir until a ball of dough just begins to form, being careful not to over-mix. Roll out the dough onto floured surface, about ¼ inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into rectangles or squares. Place strips on wax paper and allow to harden up a little, approximately 30 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, bring broth to a gentle simmer and drop in dumplings. Cover and allow to cook for 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add chicken. Allow to cook until thickened, approximately 15-20 minutes, or longer. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Mac and Cheese Veggie Bake
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 medium carrots
- 1 c. unsalted vegetable broth
- ¼ c. reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch cayenne (ground red) pepper
- ¾ c. Gruyère cheese
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 12 oz. elbow macaroni
- 8 oz. small broccoli florets
- 2 medium plum tomatoes
- ¼ c. Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 8-quart sauce pot of salted water to boiling on high.
Add cauliflower and carrots to boiling water. Cook 15 minutes or until very tender.
Meanwhile, in blender, combine broth, cream cheese, mustard, cayenne, Gruyère, salt, and black pepper. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to blender. Purée until very smooth.
Add pasta to same sauce pot of boiling water. Cook half the time that label directs; adding broccoli during last minute of cooking. Drain; return to pot. Stir in cauliflower sauce and half of tomatoes. Spread in 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses and tomatoes.
Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown on top and heated through.
Slow Cooker Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups macaroni pasta
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan (powdered)
- 1 cup Colby jack or Monterey
- 1.5 cup sharp cheddar
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced bacon
- 2-3 tablespoon chives
Add macaroni into a 6-quart slow cooker, then sprinkle corn starch on top and mix so that each noodle is lightly coated.
In a separate bowl, mix water and cream cheese, using the back or a spoon to push cream cheese spreading it into water. Mix until fully incorporated then add into slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Evenly spread using the back of a spoon.
Cook on high for 1 hour 10 minutes, then stir.
Continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes, then stir again.
Serve with freshly chopped chives and be happy you didn’t have to do much 🙂