Chicken and Dumplings

Recently when I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables for Chicken and Dumplings, I wondered if I had ever shared that dish in a post for Kitchen Keepers. I thought I surely must have since it is Joe’s frequent request, but I have not, so here is our favorite version. I have sometimes used fresh herbs, and even tried making scratch dumplings, but this one using refrigerated canned biscuits always gets the most votes. Comfort food, made in my grandmother’s soup pot, it is Southern fare sure to warm hearts and bodies on cold nights!

Chicken and Dumplings

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 carrots, sliced

3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme (I use Penzey’s French Thyme)
2 teaspoons Penzey’s Fox Point (a blend of garlic, dill, chives, and salt)

1 carton chicken broth (4 cups)

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken works great!)

1 can refrigerated canned biscuits
salt and black pepper to taste
In a heavy soup pot, heat olive oil and add chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute 3-4 minutes, then add spices, chicken broth and chicken. Bring to low boil and cook until carrots are fork tender. Open biscuits, and tear each biscuit into small pieces, dropping into simmering broth. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 minutes.

 

Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

As I posted a few weeks ago I love one dish dinners. I particularly love to make supper in a skillet. The photos look almost the same! Both contain cabbage but the remaining ingredients are very different. We cut the last small cabbages from our winter garden so this is one of the results. You may want to vary the time for cooking the carrot and cabbage in the beginning. We like vegetables still crunchy, but cook longer if you want them fork tender.

Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

2 cups chopped ham

1 Apple, peeled and chopped

3 Carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 large head or 1 small green cabbage

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Cider vinegar

2 tbsp Olive oil

1/2 cup White wine
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and carrot and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add ham, apple, vinegar, caraway, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring, or until cabbage and apples are tender and most of the liquid has been reduced.

 

Hamburger Soup

This recipe exists in many variations, born of both the yearning for a bowl of good hot soup on chilly days and the habit of checking pantry and refrigerator and producing a nourishing meal out of what is often kept as staples in a well used kitchen. We recently enjoyed a large pot of this soup, had some for lunch the next day, and put the rest into the freezer for a quick meal when needed. Ree Drummond in her blog The Pioneer Woman, calls her version of this soup Hamburger Soup. It is delicious with any name. Try varying the vegetables and spices. This recipe makes a large amount, so plan to share or freeze a batch.

Hamburger Soup

  • 3 pounds Ground Chuck
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 6 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can or box (26 – 28 ounce) Can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups Beef Stock Or Beef Broth, Plus More As Needed
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 6 whole Carrots, Peeled And Sliced On The Diagonal
  • 5 Potatoes, peeled and cut Into Chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, More To Taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley Flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (more To Taste)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the meat.. Remove from heat and drain excess fat.  Add onion, celery, and garlic and stir. Return the pot to heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 15-20 more minutes, until potatoes are fork tender

Soup should be thick, but if you like,  add 1 to 2 cups more broth and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed.

Serve with corn bread muffins.

Roasted Tomato Soup

 

September 1 seems like a day to begin thinking cooler weather and autumnal foods. Although our South Texas temperatures won’t change significantly for a while, there is a barely perceptible change in light and in leaf colors. I like soup any time of year, but it is a favorite as we change calendar pages and look forward to cooler days. This recipe for tomato soup is a new one for me. It is thick, rich, and definitely one I will cook again soon. I found the original recipe in a cookbook Joe gave me in 2010 published by the Junior League of Houston titled Peace Meals, A Book of Recipes for Cooking and Connecting. Isn’t that a wonderful title?

My version is here:

Roasted Tomato Soup

2 cups beef broth, divided

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

6 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 cups chopped onion

8 garlic cloves, minced

4 28 ounce cans fire roasted whole tomatoes, drained

1/ 1/2 cups half and half

freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of the beef froth, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Spray two 9 X 13 baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide onions, garlic, and tomatoes between the 2 dishes. Pour half the broth mixture over each, then place dishes into oven for 50 minutes or until beginning to brown. Pour the remaining cup of broth and the half and half over the roasted tomatoes, dividing equally. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Working in batches ( no more than half the blender jar due to the heat of the mixture), puree the tomato mixture in a blender until smooth. Add each batch to a stock pot, heating gently over medium heat.  Add freshly ground pepper to each bowl as the soup is served. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

When I want to put a simple but hearty meal on the table for a family gathering, I like to use one pan dishes like this one. Any combination of veggies can work, but an assortment of root vegetables sprinkled with salt and chopped rosemary from the garden is one of my favorites. I you do not have a large baking pan like this one, do the same thing in 2 smaller Pyrex dishes. This recipe serves 10.

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 -4 cups small red potatoes

2 red onions cut in large pieces

6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks.

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil (add more if needed to coat all vegetables).

Spray a large (commercial size) baking pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel and line sides of baking pan. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour into center of rows of chicken, filling in spaces around the chicken. Sprinkle all with chopped rosemary. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is done and vegetables are fork tender. If you wish, put the pan under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown the chicken breasts. Serve in pan or remove to large platter with one or two fresh rosemary sprigs as garnish.

 

 

 

Peking Roast

Recently, I opened a cookbook and a clipping fluttered to the counter. I do not know how long it had been there, probably used as a book marker since I am guilty of picking up napkins, grocery lists, and whatever might be at hand to mark my place. I do this with other books as well. It sometimes results in a happy surprise like this. The newsprint was old and beginning to yellow, but I recognized the neat handwriting in the corner immediately. It was a note from my Mother:  “This sounds good- like your cooking.”  I do not remember ever trying the recipe although I often use coffee as part of the liquid in making pot roasts. I also brown a roast to very dark. But I have not marinated a roast in vinegar as this recipe suggests. So I decided to try it soon for 2 reasons. I was curious. But the main reason was Mother’s note. I have been looking through recipes lately, loving the gift of those recipe cards in her handwriting.

Peking Roast

3-5 lb. Beef Roast

garlic and onion slivers

1 cup vinegar

Water

Vegetable cooking oil

2 cups strong black coffee

2 cups water

salt and pepper

With a sharp knife, cut slits in roast and insert slivers of garlic and onion. Place the roast in a bowl and pour vinegar over it. Add enough water to cover the meat, then cover bowl and refrigerate 24 hours, basting occasionally. When ready to cook, drain liquid from meat and pat dry with a paper towel. Cover the bottom of a heavy pan or Dutch oven with cooking oil and heat. Sear the roast on all sides until very dark. Pour coffee over the roast, add water and cover. Simmer over low heat on top of the stove for 6 hours. Add salt and pepper after cooking. (If you wish to cook in a oven, bring the liquid to a boil on a stove burner, cover and place in 300 degree oven for 6 hours, adding liquid when needed.)

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to bake it in a low oven for 6 hours instead of simmering on top of the stove. The results? A kitchen that smelled heavenly all afternoon,  roast beef that fell apart it was so tender, and delicious flavor. My mother died over 11 years ago, and long before that stopped clipping and sending recipes. But she is still giving  to me!

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

2018 has brought with it a hard freeze for the South Texas Gulf Coast. Those who had gardens ready for harvest brought the bounty inside when they could. Friends who knew I liked to cook with the large outer leaves of cabbage brought me a huge beautiful head of cabbage, leaves intact. They also brought a large bunch of broccoli and a head of cauliflower.

For New Year’s Day, I made stuffed cabbage to go with our Black Eyed Peas!

The cauliflower will go into a mix of vegetables when I make chicken curry tomorrow!

And part of this lovely broccoli went into Cheese Broccoli Soup. I have posted a different recipe in the past, but this is our new favorite!

Cheese Broccoli Soup

 

1 large chopped onion

6 Tablespoons butter, divided (2 T for saute of onion, 4 T for making white sauce)

1/2 cup flour

4 cups half-and-half cream

4 cups chicken stock

1 lb fresh broccoli florets  (about 2 cups chopped)

1 cup carrot, diced

1./2  teaspoon nutmeg

16 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Parker Cheese Grits

The most requested side dish for any holiday or potluck offering from my kitchen is Cheese Grits. Every year about this time I can count on making it at least 3 times – once for our church Thanksgiving dinner which is always the Sunday night before Thanksgiving, again for our family Thanksgiving dinner table, and again at Christmas. Years ago, I usually included it for Christmas morning breakfast, but as our family grew older and larger, I began to make a double recipe for heartier meals. I originally used a recipe from a cookbook titled The Texas Experience, given to me in 1984 from my friend Sondra Skaggs. I make a variation of that recipe now because some of the ingredients it called for are no longer available, and I long ago memorized it. But I still open that cookbook and read Sondra’s inscription “To my very best friend with much love . Merry Christmas 1984. Sondra. Then the book practically falls open to the most used page with its directions for “Zippy Grits.”  In my opinion, print cookbooks like this one will never be replaced by online recipes! Thank you, Sondra!

 

Parker Cheese Grits

1 cup quick grits

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup butter

2 cups shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (may use only cheddar if desired)

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Bring 4 cups water to rapid boil, add salt and garlic powder. Add grits, stirring.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Turn off heat.  While grits are still hot, add butter and cheese, blending well. Add milk to beaten eggs.  Drop a spoonful of hot grits into egg and milk mixture and stir, tempering eggs before adding to pot of hot grits. Stir to combine, then pour into buttered  8X11 inch casserole. Bake at 350 degrees until mixture is set and top is golden brown, 45-55 minutes

 

Caramelized Onion, Apple and Brie Flatbread with Rosemary

 

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Flatbreads are one of my new comfort foods!  There are endless variations, most are quick and simple to prepare, and I have not made one I did not like yet. The combination of flavors from caramelized onions, brie, and tart apples pared with a layer of herbed goodness from sprigs of our garden rosemary is wonderful. We enjoyed this flatbread for a light evening meal, along with extra apple slices. Try different apples – we like Granny Smith, but also favor Honeycrisp and Smitten. The sweet, crisp crunch adds perfectly to creamy cheese and onions.

Caramelized Onion, Apple and Brie Flatbread with Rosemary

1 ball of premade pizza dough from the freezer shelf of your supermarket (or Naan, if you prefer)

1 apple of your choice, cut into thin slices (I used Honeycrisp)

1/2  cup cubed Brie cheese 

caramelized onions (see recipe below)

chopped fresh rosemary (Save a sprig for garnish)

Balsamic Caramelized Onions:

1 large sweet onion

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet over low/medium heat.Slice the onions and add them to the skillet. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.Turn the heat down to low, and cook the onions until they are soft, beginning to brown, and there is no liquid in the pan, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside until you are ready to add them to flatbread.

If using frozen pizza dough, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Set out on counter to come to room temperature before handling. When ready to assemble flatbread, pat dough out to a long oval on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Spread caramelized onions over, then scatter slices of apple and cubes of Brie. Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and a few Malton salt flakes if you wish.

These flatbreads can also be grilled on the BBQ. Just set them right on the grill , and bake them the same way you would in the oven. Remove when crust browns and cheese is melty. They cook fast and can burn easily, so be ready with spatula and plate to lift them off.

French Muffin Doughnuts

Long before my cookbook collection grew, and even longer before internet and Google,I clipped recipes from the newspaper and taped them to note cards to save. This recipe is taped to a  bright pink card;the newsprint is yellowed. Our young family members loved these tender little bites as much as Joe and I did.  Fun to make and fun to eat!  They did not last long once out of the oven and rolled in cinnamon and sugar! There are a variety of recipes online with a variety of names – Muffin Doughnuts, French Puffs, Doughnut Muffins.

French Muffin Doughnuts

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

Melted butter, 1/3 cup plus more for sugaring.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to mixing bowl. Combine milk, egg, 1/3 cup melted butter and vanillla.  Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture, stirring only until all ingredients are moistened. Fill cups of greased 24 count mini muffin pan half to 1/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until turning golden brown. Remove from pan, immediately brush with melted butter, and roll in mixture of remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.