Chicken and Dumplings

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, so you know it has to be delicious :-). I couldn't resist trying this one, especially when I saw that I happened to have the exact apple cider in my fridge that she pictured. The ENTIRE family loved this meal...from my husband down to my 1 1/2 year old. I was thrilled that the dumplings actually cooked and held together in a "dumpling" shape :-).

* 2 Tablespoons Butter
* 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
* ½ cups All-purpose Flour
* 1 whole Chicken, Cut Into Pieces (cut Up Fryer)
* Salt And Pepper
* ½ cups Finely Diced Carrots
* ½ cups Finely Diced Celery
* 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
* ½ teaspoons Ground Thyme
* ¼ teaspoons Turmeric
* 6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
* ½ cups Apple Cider
* ½ cups Heavy Cream
* Dumplings:
* 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
* ½ cups Yellow Cornmeal
* 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
* 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
* 1-½ cup Half-and-half
* 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley (optional)
* Salt As Needed

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge both sides in flour.
Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. In two batches, brown chicken on both sides and remove to a clean plate.
In the same pot, add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in ground thyme and turmeric, then pour in chicken broth and apple cider. Stir to combine, then add browned chicken. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
While chicken is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings: sift together all dry ingredients, then add half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.
Remove chicken from pot and set aside on a plate. Use two forks to remove chicken from the bone. Shred, then add chicken to the pot. Pour heavy cream into the pot and stir to combine.
rop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Add minced parsley if using. Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Check seasonings; add salt if needed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Christmas and the New Year

After a delicious Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, I'm ready to ring in a healthier new year. It's super cliche I know, but I've really got to get this show on the road! Preston was born over 1 1/2 years ago now and I feel like I have still not gotten back into my healthy eating and working out habits. So, no more excuses, it's time to get to business. I know I feel better in more ways than one when I am treating my body well so I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to be on the lookout for more healthy recipes to add to our menus!
But in the mean time, here is our traditional holiday meal line-up...

Christmas Eve Dinner
Prime Rib and Grandfather's Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
Yorkshire Pudding (my grandma did little individual ones this year and they were the best ever!)
Creamed Corn
24 Hour Salad (my contribution)
Mom's Rolls
We had Pecan and Pumpkin Pies with Ice Cream for dessert
(I need to get some of the recipes! Since I'm never in charge of making the other items I don't worry about them, but I know I'll want them eventually)

Christmas Morning Brunch 
(this menu varies each year, but it always delicious!!!)
Southwestern Quiche
Mom's Overnight Egg Bake
Grandma's Eggs
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Hot Chocolate with toppings
Gingerbread Waffles with homemade Buttermilk Syrup 
(my mom made these and they were to DIE for...seriously one of the best things I've ever tasted!)

Brownie Covered Oreos

My mom actually made these and then shared some with us, but they were SOOO good and festive I had to share them! She found the recipe on Picky Palate...You HAVE to try them!

1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)
1 package Oreos, I used the Holiday ones
White chocolate, melted for drizzle, or Wilton White frosting pen works great
White nonpariels Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Leave in mixing bowl. Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through (doesn’t take long). As soon as you remove, take a plastic knife and run along edges, (this is VERY important so you get the cookie out with brownies not stuck to pan :)
2. Let cool for 5 minutes, remove drizzle with melted white chocolate or the Wilton White icing pen, sprinkle with nonpariels and EAT! Enjoy :)
Makes entire package of Oreos

Country Chicken with Gravy

Sometimes I'm just in the mood for some classic comfort food and this totally hit the spot! I saw the recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine and was excited that a "fried" chicken and gravy recipe was nearly gluten free. I traded out the flour for cornstarch and served it up with Baked Parmesan Broccoli and mashed red potatoes and it was SO good. I LOVED the gravy most of all and next time I'll make some extra of it.

* 3/4 cup crushed cornflakes
* 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 2 tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
* 2 teaspoons canola oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
* 1/4 cup condensed chicken broth, undiluted (I wasn't sure if this was different than a normal can of broth so I threw in a little chicken bouillon just in case :-)
* 1 teaspoon sherry or additional condensed chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons minced chives

* In a shallow bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Place milk in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in milk, then roll in cornflake mixture.
* In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°.
* Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, pepper and salt until smooth. Gradually stir in the milk, broth and sherry. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chives. Serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings.

Baked Parmesan Broccoli

I LOVE broccoli and was excited to try this new way to make it. It was very good and I'm sure it's even better with the bread crumbs on top giving it some crunch! (recipe from taste of home magazine)

* 4 bunches broccoli, cut into florets
* 6 tablespoons butter, divided
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
* 2 cups 2% milk
* 1 egg yolk, beaten
* 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I left off to keep it gluten-free)

* Place half of broccoli in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; repeat with remaining broccoli.
* Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
* Stir in flour until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolk; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; stir in the cheese, salt and pepper.
* Pour over broccoli. In a small skillet, cook bread crumbs in remaining butter until golden brown; sprinkle over the top.
* Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).

Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is from the always delicious Pioneer Woman. She posted this recipe right before Thanksgiving and I was dying to try it! It just looked SOOO much better than the traditional thanksgiving beans (which I don't love) and it is. In fact I ate it as my main meal by putting it on top of rice. It isn't super healthy of course, because most of PW's recipes are not super healthy, but definitely super tasty :-)! Definitely try this one...maybe when you are having people over for dinner so you won't eat all the leftovers like me!

* 2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, Ends Cut Off
* 4 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/4 Inch Pieces
* 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
* ½ whole Large Onion, Chopped
* 4 Tablespoons Butter
* 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
* 2-½ cups Whole Milk (I used 1 1/2 cups 1% milk)
* ½ cups Half-and-half (I used 1 1/2 cups cream)
* 1-½ teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
* Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
* ⅛ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
* 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
* 1 jar (4 Ounce) Sliced Pimentoes, Drained
* Extra Milk For Thinning If Necessary
* 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Cut green beans in half if you like pieces to be a little smaller.
Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they’re cool and set aside.
Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.
Add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.