Chicken and Dumplings

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I know that my last post I claimed to be trying to loose weight. This is still true. This doesn't mean that I don't love me some good comfort food! Especially when I have sick kids at home and I am so done with the cold weather. So, I decided to make some great Chicken and Dumplings. I found this recipe on Our Best Bites. It is super easy and tastes so good. So if you are trying to loose weight just exercise portion control and then maybe hit the treadmill for 15 minutes. This is a winner.

Chicken and Dumplings
Recipe by Our Best Bites

6 cups chicken broth (1 1/2 boxes or 3 cans) OR 6 c. water + 6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I use 1/2 of a fauxtisserie chicken and it's FABULOUS! You could also use leftover rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
1 c. sliced carrots
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley)
1/2 tsp. basil
1 14-oz. can evaporated milk (fat free is fine)
1 recipe of Bisquik dumplings (recipe is on the box) or 1 small package of Kluski noodles

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add chicken broth, chicken, bay leaf, and basil. Bring to a boil. Add carrots and celery and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until carrots and celery are tender. When carrots and celery are almost done, add chopped parsley. Add evaporated milk. Increase heat to boiling and add noodles or add prepared Bisquik by small spoonfuls (they'll really puff up while they're cooking). Cook until noodles are tender or until dumplings are cooked through (they should appear moist but feel firm; this is after about 4-5 minutes).

Amanda's Dumplings 
 I use these as my dumplings! Super yummy. 

6 Tbsp shortening
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup milk

Cut shortening into flour, parsley, baking powder, and salt. Do this until it resembles coarse meal. Then stir in milk.

Multi Grain Granola

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I apologize for my lazy blogging efforts. I have been attempting weight loss. My man and I have made a goal for losing weight, he and I make such a great pair, I love to make food and he loves to eat. Depending on how much weight we loose depends on where we get to go on our 10 year wedding anniversary this July. We have combined our weight, and if we loose over 60 pounds together by May 1 then we can go to Hawaii (my top choice). Then in ten lbs increments we go to other places like 50-59 lbs we go to Mexico and so on. I am very motivated by this, however my man is dragging his feet. So I am going to get his cute little rear end in gear. I have been experimenting with healthy dishes and have found some really great ones. I am going to share with you one that I found a while ago, that I just love. I have made this many times and it is like eating candy. I found this from friend of a friend's website that cooks without refined sugar and uses whole grains. This recipe is hers and I love it. So give it a try. We love it in yogurt or just handfulls.

                                                                 Multi-Grain Granola

4 c rolled oats
2 c puffed brown rice*
2 c puffed millet*
2 c puffed kamut*
1 c sliced raw almonds
2 c chopped raw pecans
1 c raw cashews (opt)
1 c raw sunflower seeds (opt)
3 c unsweetened large flake coconut*
1/2 c flax seed*
1 1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds*

In a saucepan, heat:
1 1/2 c unrefined, virgin coconut oil* (do not substitute)
2 1/2 c honey
1 1/2-2 T vanilla
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
2 t sea salt

Add any combination:
Raisins, blueberries, cranberries, apricots, dried apples.
My favorite is dried apples.

*All these ingredients should be available at your local health food store.

Pour warm mixture over oat mixture and stir until moistened. Line 3 cookies sheets with parchment paper. Spread mixture evenly on sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes until just golden (do not overcook). Stir occasionally. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container.
Makes about 30 cups.

Cake Decorating

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I had an opportunity last night to teach a little cake decorating class to some young women. We had such a fun time. I promised the girls that I would post some recipes that I used and some pictures.  I have never been trained as a cake decorator. I am pretty much self taught. With that being said, I don't think that you would be too surprised by that. I truly believe that the key to making great cakes is to PRACTICE!! Make lots of cake. Your family and friends will love it! Just see what works for you. It's a fun learning process. Here are some tips that I have come across.

Tip: 1 Make and freeze the cake the day before you will be decorating it. This is specific to two layered cakes. Cook them and then when cooled wrap them really good in plastic wrap. Lay them flat in your freezer.

Tip: 2 I have mentioned this before in a post. The best filling ever for a cake is very simple. You find a small package of instant pudding and mix it with heavy whipping cream and voila!! You have the best filling ever.

I am sure there are more tips, I just can't think of them right now. One of my favorite things about cake is the frosting. Here is the best buttercream!!

Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup of room temperature butter (no substitutions)
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. milk

Mix the first three ingredients until well blended. Then add milk. Mix in mixer for around a minute or two for a nice and fluffy consistency. 

Another really fun cake decorating trick is fondant. I love using fondant it is labor intensive, but really fun to do. One thing that I am a true fan of is not reinventing the wheel. So I found this great video on you tube on how to make fondant. Rather than me doing this, here it is. 

Share with me, your favorite cakes, and decorating tips!!

Marie Calendar's Corn Bread

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who doesn't love some good corn bread?? I love corn bread. Especially with a great bbq chicken dinner. I usually love to make things homemade, but I have never found a recipe that knocks my socks off. I was eating some cornbread at my mom's with some great chili and asked for the recipe and she then showed me her Marie Calendar's Corn Bread mix. This is so good. I am sure most of you know of this, but it is so good. It deserved its own post. I got my mix at Costco. Gotta love Costco!!

Lettuce Wraps

Monday, January 3, 2011

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We started off a little rocky with 3 out of the 4 of us getting strep throat, but it all cleared up before Christmas. For Christmas Eve we spent the evening with my man's family. My mom-in-law decided to order Chinese for our meal. So we ordered from this great little Chinese restaurant ( I will be writing a post about it soon), and got every entree that you can imagine and enough rice to feed a small army. My mom in law made some lettuce wraps, which in my opinion are hard to do. Homemade Chinese food is tricky to do. So I was a little apprehensive, but these lettuce wraps were awesome. You must try them. She found the recipe on line and then made some tweeks here and there. I must say she did a great job. Let me know what you think.

Lettuce Wraps

3 Tbsp Combination Sesame & Olive Oil
1 lbs ground chicken/2 chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnuts
1 cup bamboo shoots
2/3 cup mushrooms
3 Tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic or 3 cloves minced

Mince all these together like crazy. Into fine little pieces (this PF Changs)

Stir Fry Sauce

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp white rice vinegar

Stir these together and pour into ingredients above

Special Sauce

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp. sesame oil

This special sauce is to dip your wrap.

Find some nice big iceberg lettuce leafs and put some of the meat into the lettuce leaf and dip into the special sauce. You will love these.

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