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).

Enchilada Suiza Mexican Lasagna

This is a Rachael Ray recipe and overall it was delicious. My only complaint was that mine turned out with too much lime flavor. I don't know if I had really juicy limes or what, but next time I will only use 1. I used corn tortillas to keep it gluten free and left out the hominy. I loved the combination of swiss and monterey jack cheese was especially good!

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
* 2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast (I used 2 cans of chicken)
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon ground coriander
* Salt and pepper
* One 15-ounce can hominy, rinsed (I left this out)
* 1 red onion, chopped (I used white)
* 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, chopped (I used jalapeno)
* 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
* 12 large or 14 small tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 1/3 cup cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves (a generous handful)
* 2 avocados
* Grated peel and juice of 2 limes (I will just use 1 lime next time)
* 1 tablespoon honey
* One 11-ounce package flour tortillas (I used corn)
* 1/2 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
* 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
* 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

1. Preheat the broiler or the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, crumbling the meat, and the cumin and coriander; season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the hominy and cook for about 3 minutes more.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan. Add the onion, chiles and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a food processor, process the tomatillos and cilantro until almost smooth, then stir into the onion mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Rinse out the food processor bowl. Add the avocados, lime peel and lime juice; puree, then season with salt. Stir the avocado mixture into the tomatillo sauce. Stir in the honey.
4. In a dry skillet, or over an open flame, cook the tortillas until charred. In a bowl, combine the monterey jack and Swiss cheeses. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, layer some sauce, tortillas, meat, cheese, tortillas and so on, ending with a layer of cheese. Broil until browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Pass the crème fraîche at the table.

Wild Rice Hot Dish

I saw this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe and have been excited to try it because I LOVE wild rice! It was really good and very filling despite the fact that I hardly put any meat in it. The leftovers were really good for lunch the next day too :-)!

1 cup wild rice (I bought 2 boxes of RiceaRoni wild rice mix and measured out 1 cup of rice)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I only used 3/4 lb)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth (I used beef)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a small bowl, cover the wild rice with cold water and let it soak for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. (I didn't do this since I was using the boxed kind)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large non-stick skillet (12-inch) over medium heat, brown the ground beef with the salt and pepper until no longer pink. Drain the grease from the meat. Transfer the meat to a paper-towel lined plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Return the skillet to the stovetop and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, until the onions are translucent and the most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue stirring and cook the mixture for about 1 minute over medium heat until it is cooked and golden.
Slowly pour in the broth and milk and whisk to incorporate. Add the seasoning salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and paprika and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
Drain the wild rice. Stir it in to the sauce with the browned hamburger. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking dish.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the almonds and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the almonds are golden and toasted and the rice is tender. Serve immediately.

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.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

with Herbed Smashed Potatoes and Buttered Peas with Shallots
This recipe from Cooking Light's December 2010 issue was a delicious comfort food meal! I just made my normal mashed potatoes and since we aren't big fans of peas over here, I used green beans instead and it was delicious. We ate leftovers tonight and I must say the mushroom sauce was my favorite part...delicious!!!

* 1/3 cup grated onion, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 pound ground sirloin
* Cooking spray
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
* 1/3 cup dry red wine (I used beef broth)
* 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
* 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1. Combine 1/4 cup onion, pepper, salt, garlic, and beef. Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
2. Melt butter in pan. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in wine and remaining onion; cook 2 minutes. Combine broth and flour; add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until thick. Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes.

Herbed Smashed Potatoes*
Boil 1 pound new potatoes 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher. Add 1/3 cup half-and-half, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon mixed herbs, and 3/8 teaspoon salt.

Buttered Peas with Shallots**
Cook 2 cups frozen green peas. Saute 1 sliced shallt in 1 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoons olive oil for 3 minutes. Stir in peas and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

White Bean Soup

Hooray! I'm back to taking my own pictures again :-)!
This recipe is from my Southern Living Easy Week Night Favorites cookbook, a present from my mom long ago (and it is full of good recipes). This was super easy to make, flavorful and my kids actually ate at least some of it was a victory in my book. I think I will rinse the beans next time and add some vegetable broth to make up for the loss of that liquid because I have a weird aversion to keeping the liquid in a bean can (I'm weird :-). It was definitely perfect for our colder nights last week!

-1 (16 oz) can navy beans, undrained
-1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans, undrained
-1 cup water
-2 large carrots, scraped and diced
-1/4 c butter or margarine, melted
-1 c chopped cooked ham or 1 ham hock (I diced some ham lunch meat)
-1/3 c chopped green onions
-1 bay leaf

-Combine beans in a large saucepan; mash slightly with a potato masher or back of a large spoon.
-Stir in water, and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated.
-Cook carrot in butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until tender.
-Add carrot, ham, green onions, and bay leaf to bean mixture.
-Cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Mexican Chicken-Hominy Soup with Cumin-Lime Tortilla Chips

I am hoping to get back to taking pictures of my food again next week, but I can't post a recipe without a picture so this pic (and recipe) is courtesy of Cooking Light. I thought this soup was super good and the chips were a nice addition (although just using regular tortilla chips would work too). I switched the hominy for corn and it was a huge hit! Oh, and I added avocado on top...because avocado makes everything better :-).

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 3/4 cups chopped onion (I used some red and some white)
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
* 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
* 1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained (I used 1 c frozen corn instead)
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
* 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
* 4 lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes.
Stir in garlic and jalapeño; sauté 1 minute.
Add chicken, black pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in hominy; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes.
Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 2 tablespoons radishes and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro.
Serve with lime wedges. (and avocado!)

Bean Taquitos with Cucumber Salsa

(picture and recipe from Rachael Ray)
I hate the time change for many reasons, just one of which is the fact that it is almost always dark when dinner is ready and I want to take a picture of our meal. The picture I took of these little taquitos did not look appetizing and I didn't want that to deter you from trying them, so I'm using the one from Rachael's magazine. My children ALL devoured these! They ate more of them than I did! So, needless to say I will be making them again and again. I did not try the salsa because I just didn't have time, so if you do, let me know how it is!

Ingredients: (only the last 3 are for the taquitos!)
* 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
* 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
* Salt and pepper
* 3/4 cup sour cream
* 12 small corn tortillas
* One 16-ounce can spicy refried beans
* 1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber, garlic and parsley. Stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir the lemon peel into the sour cream.
2. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Soften each tortilla in the skillet for about 15 seconds on each side. Place the tortillas on a work surface and spread each with 2 tablespoons refried beans; sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up the tortillas to resemble cigars.
3. Using the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Working in 3 batches and using the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, fry the taquitos, turning, until crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve the taquitos with the lemony sour cream and cucumber salsa.