" There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
- George Bernard Shaw

Chicken (and Vegetables) with Dumplings

Well autumn as arrived in Texas! We've held steady with cooler (read: below 100oF) for almost a week and this entire weekend was overcast or cloudy with drizzly rain. Perfect weather. I just love it.

It made my husband and I wake up this weekend wanting chicken and dumplings. Neither of us have a family recipe, so I did a quick search online (neither of us felt like getting up and digging through our library of cookbooks, either) and found Mommie Cooks. The recipe she hosted looked delicious and simple. So I wrote down the few ingredients I needed (just half-and-half, really) and made a quick trip to the store.

When I started digging in and actually prepping, I realized I made a grave error - I hadn't truly proofread the recipe. Yes, I had read through it, but I hadn't checked through it. I quickly found ingredients missing from the directions (the 2 bay leaves from the ingredients list? Not listed in the directions) and noticed the pictures didn't quite fully match the recipe (there are onions floating in one picture, yet they aren't in the ingredients list). I decided I could brave through and fix these mistakes here (I don't want to sound like I am calling her out, I mean she does appear to have her hands full, so maybe she was just distracted. It happens).

You can find the original recipe on Mommie Cooks' website [here]. Below is the adjusted bit - everything that I did differently and the approximate cook times that weren't listed. After the recipe, I will go into detail about what I plan to do differently next go-round (because there will be another go!).

For the Dough
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 to 1 Cup Ice-Cold Water
- ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ -
For the Soup
4 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Chicken Breasts
4 Carrots, Chopped
2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
1/2 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 Cup Half & Half

Start the Dough
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add the cold water until a firm dough forms. Flour your hands and knead for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot add together your stock, chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and celery salt. DO NOT ADD THE HALF-&-HALF! Heat on medium and cover until the chicken is cooked through - about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Once the chicken is cooked, remove and set side. Pull out the bay leaves, too.

While the chicken cooks, roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut into squares. After the chicken is removed, place the dumpling squares into the broth. As they cook up, they will rise to the top.

While your dumplings are cooking, shred the chicken [Tip Below]. Add to the soup. Pour in the half & half and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve.

About 4-6 servings

Alright, now for the suggestions. While dumping things into the pot, I made the comment that the pot was very crowded - to the point that I was slightly afraid that there would be no stock left by the time the chicken was cooked. I'm happy to report that I was wrong about that. However, there were way too many vegetables for this to be a true chicken and dumpling soup - it tasted more like a chicken and vegetable soup with dumplings tossed in. This made me very sad.

This is not to say that this is a terrible recipe! On the contrary, it is very good and very delicious. I would suggest cutting down to 1/4 of an onion (or using 1/2 of a smaller onion; ours was very large) and definitely add in some pepper! Freshly cracked, if possible. It just missed that oomph the pepper adds. My husband claims there isn't enough salt, but I think it tasted fine on that point.

As for the consistency: I had hopes that adding the dumplings, dusted with a little extra flour, would help thicken it as the dumplings cooked, even just a little. It didn't really do much (not really surprising considering the overall amount of stock versus flour). It was still thinner than I would prefer a chicken and dumpling soup, but when reheated it was perfect (everything had time to absorb the stock in the fridge).

There was just the right amount of half & half to give it a creamy flavor without being too heavy on the dairy. My dumplings could have cooked a little longer (mine came out slightly chewy), but overall they were as expected. I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try! And definitely check out Mommie Cooks, there are some absolutely divine looking meals posted and I can guarantee plenty of them will be in my kitchen soon!


Many people will tell you to shred chicken by hand, but sometimes that means tearing into hot, freshly cooked chicken. This can cause burns, which is bad! An easy way to shred chicken, especially hot chicken, can be found in the kitchen drawer. Sure, it may dirty up another utensil, but, really, if you've got two or more people eating, just wipe one off and give it to your date or family member (I always eat with one of the utensils with which I used to cook, which saves on space in the sink and/or dishwasher).

To shred chicken, first make sure it is cooked! Then, lay it on your cutting board and take a fork in each hand, with the tines turned away from you (hold them in a fist, like you would hold bicycle handles). Use one to hold the chicken while the other scrapes the chicken down and out - toward the cutting board and away from the other fork. After a few swipes, your fork may be have a clump of chicken preventing more shredding. This is fine. Just scrape the chicken into a pile or into a bowl and continue.

If you hold the chicken at one side, you will end with a chicken nugget. Tear this apart by hand.
If you hold the chicken about halfway (for larger pieces), you will end with half a chicken. You can turn it around and repeat the process or stab and hold and repeat with the opposite fork.

Carrot Chicken Bake

This insane concoction came about one night back in 2011 while waiting for the hubby to get home from one of his late classes. I didn't know what exactly I wanted, but I had chicken and a whole bag of carrots. Really, though, I think it was just me throwing things into the pan that I thought would be interesting together. Turns out, I was right!

Carrot Chicken Bake - BEFORE
Salt & Pepper
3-4 Carrots
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Butter
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
12-16 Whole Cloves 
Chili Powder
1 Medium to Large Orange

Preheat the oven to 350oF.

Sprinkle a 13x9 casserole dish with salt and pepper. Peel and cut enough carrots to completely cover the bottom of the dish. Add two heaping tablespoons of minced garlic and generously sprinkle brown sugar over the carrots. Drop in three tablespoons of butter. Place the dish in the heated oven for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is melted. Return to the counter and sprinkle on a little cinnamon to cover, then stir everything to coat.

Clear enough space between the carrots to place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Stud each breast with 3 or 4 whole cloves [This really depends on the size of the breast; use your best judgement]. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cinnamon on the chicken only [The carrots are already coated!] and then add the chili powder over the entire dish [This will cut some of the sweetness and add a nice flavor. As always, use more for more heat and less for just flavor)]. Cut the orange in half and juice with a hand juicer over the chicken and into the carrots. Mashed pulp is edible and perfectly fine to let fall on top of the chicken.

Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The carrots will not be mushy soft and will retain some snap to their centers [which is just perfect if you ask me].

Remove the cloves and serve the carrots alongside the chicken with rice or mashed potatoes, or whatever side you prefer.

Exactly 4 servings, unless you are like a friend of ours, who only ever eats half a portion at a time....

While this recipe certainly looks a little crazy, I assure you it tastes pretty good. As with all randomly-created recipes, this one has had approximations substituted for some of the measurements (carrots, butter, and garlic) and relies on the cook to make his/her own adjustments to other flavors (brown sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder). With any new recipe I try, I always try to follow the exact recipe the first time and add or subtract amounts of various bits on subsequent preparations. This recipe, however, pushes the creativity on the part of the cook the first go round - so if the first time you try this, you think something is missing, don't just automatically give up; try it again with a little more of that one thing you felt wasn't enough. Or, if it has too much of one thing, scale back on that item. Play with it and make it your own! And, as always, if you add something new, let me know so I can try it, too!