Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

The weather is definitely colder here in mid-Michigan, and nearly every day I have to rake the driveway clear of golden maple leaves. As the weather turns cooler, I crave hearty food, soups, and stews to keep me fueled.

This recipe came to me by way of the recipe service RelishRelish.com. I was a subscriber several years ago, and loved the original version of this chicken and dumplings. I tweaked a bit by adding celery, garlic, fresh parsley, dried sage, and love the results even more.

As with most soups and stews, taking your time in the first steps of preparation and cooking pays off in big flavor. Don't skip the butter or substitute: you WANT the flavor in here. When you add and slowly stir the chicken broth into the sauteed vegetables, the result should look about like this:

Let the yumminess simmer on the stove while you prep the dumplings. Take care to not overmix these; just get the dry ingredients wet and a little bit more.

The batter will be similar to pancake batter, but thicker. Your spoon probably won't stand up on it's own in the batter. Then drop by tablespoonful into the bubbling soup.

Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Then dish it up and dig in. This is hearty, and very tasty. The leftover soup/stew portion heats up marvelously in the nukerwave. You can also reheat the dumplings, but they do lose their charmed taste after being microwaved; I'd suggest eating them the day of cooking.

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
adapted from RelishRelish
4 servings

For the liquid
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon FRESH parsley, minced
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
salt and pepper to taste

For the dumplings
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon FRESH parsley, minced
3/4 plus 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Prepare the liquid:  Heat butter. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until onion is tender; take your time with this step as it adds depth to the whole dish. Add thyme, sage, and parsley and stir to combine. Add flour, stir to combine. Then slowly add chicken broth, stirring gently to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add cubed chicken and simmer, covered, while you prepare the dumplings. You may want to add more liquid.

Prepare the dumplings:  Add wet and dry ingredients to medium bowl and mix until just combined. The batter should be moist, soft, and thicker than pancake batter. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the liquid. Do not allow dumplings to touch. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender and dumplings are firm, about 20 minutes.

Biscoff-Ghirardelli No Bake Cookies

Those no-bake Biscoff cookies from last month just didn't have enough Biscoff in them to satisfy me.  While they were good, they just didn't scream Biscoff! Biscoff! Biscoff!

So I tried again.

I upped the "Biscoff-ness" by including an entire package of crushed Biscoff cookies - about 44 Biscoff's if you want to count. You might want to include a few more as these were not as thick as a normal no-bake cookie.

Crumbled and crushed Biscoff cookies

Crumbled and crushed Biscoff cookies

Just as tasty, mind you. Perhaps more so.

These, in fact, were so good -and so tremendously rich- that I took them to work. There was NO WAY I was going to allow myself to eat all of these and suffer the highs and lows of repeated sugar crashes. Not that that's stopped me in the past.

For the chocolate, I used Ghirardelli Cinnamon Crunch squares and broke them into tiny pieces by hand. If you're so inclined, you might try substituting a mix of milk or white chocolate chips. I was thinking of trying cinnamon chips, but couldn't find any in my local megamart; they might be overkill, but that's kind of the idea.

The recipe I adapted these from (my mom's recipe - sorry mom) called for 1/4 cup butter; that would have sufficed here. Similar is true of the milk; the original called for 1/2 cup, and that probably would have been plenty. I was concerned about having enough hot liquid to melt the chocolate and added extra.

The "extra" milk and butter didn't hurt one bit, though I'm sure they contributed to making these take longer to become firm. I let them sit overnight on the counter. I also wouldn't recommend making these on a hot summer day, though those are increasingly short supply as Autumn marches on.

Regardless, these are so very tasty I wanted to share them with plenty of people. These were gobbled up by my co-workers in the blink or two of an eye.

And yes, I did keep a small stock for myself.

Naturally.

Biscoff Ghriadelli No Bake Cookies wwwcookbookfetishcom.jpg

Biscoff-Ghirardelli No Bake Cookies

1 white cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 oz total chocolate: see note
3 cups Biscoff cookies, crushed; see note
1/2 cup Biscoff spread

Place waxed paper on the countertop to prepare for dropping the cookie dough. You'll have to work fast at the end of this recipe, so have this ready before you put the wet ingredients on the burner to boil.

Prepare the dry ingredients:
Place the crushed cookies, spread, and chocolate into a large bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon and set aside.

Prepare the wet ingredients:
Place the milk, butter, salt, and both sugars into a pan and bring to a boil. Hold the boil for 1 minute or slightly longer - 90 seconds at the most. Add vanilla, stir, and pour the whole thing over the dry ingredients.

Work quickly to mix the dry and wet ingredients. The batter may get stiff quickly. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper.

Notes

Chocolate.  I took a 4oz package of Ghirardelli Cinnamon Crunch chocolate and broke it up into pieces - about 8oz. The Cinnamon Crunch have a white chocolate top and milk chocolate bottom. The remainder was white chocolate chips; those worked really well last time and would definitely not interfere with the overall Biscoff/cinnamon flavor.

Biscoff cookies. This equals one 8.8oz package plus 12 additional cookies - right around 44 total. Had I been more uniform in breaking these, more would have worked.

And finally, this post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy anything, I'll get a few pennies - hurrah!

Spicy Chickpeas Over Rice

Some years ago a friend shared this totally tasty recipe. I've been in love with it ever since.

The flavors never fail to disappoint and feed me for several days. In fact, I've never gotten around to freezing this recipe because I eat them until they're gone. And this makes a LOT of food for one person who eats like a bird.

The recipe is flexible, too. I've used less onions, more tomato, less coriander, more cumin. I always leave out the cayenne (it's that heat aversion.)

This time around I used a the full tablespoon of ground coriander and a smoke paprika instead of a standard paprika. Both flavors kick the sensuousness of the dish up a notch or two.

The longer you leave the onions in the first stage of this, the better the resulting flavor. Low and slow, people, low and slow for the win.

While the recipe already is satisfying, I wanted to add some dark, leafy greens. Kale was steamed until very tender, and added just before serving. That's a new twist to an already terrific recipe.

Spicy Chickpeas
(Serves 4-6)

5 T oil
2 onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon turmeric
6 tablespoons tomato, chopped
1 cup water
2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Hot rice or noodles

In hot oil, saute onions and garlic until onions are medium brown; this will take a good 20-30 minutes or longer. Add coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric and stir to incorporate.

Add tomatoes and brown lightly.

Add chickpeas, water, paprika, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Stir. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until heated through. Stir in ginger.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Have Apples? Make Apple Hill Bar Cookies!

If your kitchen is like mine, you're drowning in apples this fall. I bought a peck of Ginger Gold apples and made a Surprise Apple Pie. I had more apples left, and they were starting to go bad. I threw them into the crisper in the fridge, and thought about what else I might do with them.

Fortunately a friend came to my rescue by bringing me a cookbook. You all know I have a thing for spiral-bound, local cookbooks, right?

Rainbow In The Wash Water: Stories and Recipes by Bea Smith is a gem of a local cookbook. Smith wrote for The Traverse City Record Eagle and The Charlevoix County Press for many years, and the cookbook is a collection of those columns.

I passed on "Mother's Pork Cake" - a Christmas treat of ground pork, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, molasses, and other dried fruits. Think savory pork fruitcake. The Apple Hill Bars on the next page won. By mile.

I also realized it's been ages since I did a step-by-step kind of recipe, so this is a picture-heavy post. Your tummy will rumble.

This is a bar cookie/cake with a shortbread bottom, apple filling, and crumb topping.

First up, make the shortbread base. I use two forks to mix the ingredients until crumbly.

Then you add in two beaten egg yolks and combine.  I used a fork for a while, then my hands.

You press the shortbread base into into a 9x13 pan. Fingers all the way!

Mix the apples with cinnamon, sugar, and flour, and pour over the base.

Make the crumb by combining  sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon

It will eventually turn crumby, and taste pretty darned good. Next time I might add some chopped walnuts. Spread the crumb over the apples. Use a brush to spread the egg whites, and pop the whole thing into the oven for 50 minutes.

Here's what it looks like hot out of the oven.

Would you like a slice?

My only regret with this recipe is not having a fine vanilla ice cream in the house. This would be divine with that and a hot mug of tea.

APPLE HILL BARS

For The Base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks

For The Apples:
5 cups apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For The Crumb:
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For The Topping:
2 egg whites, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350.

Step One: Make The Base:
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter until crumbly. Stir in beaten egg yolk, and press into 9x13 pan. Set aside.

Step Two: Prepare The Apples:
Combine apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Arrange over the base.

Step Three: Make The Crumb Mixture:
Combine sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon until crumbly.

Spread the crumb mixture over the apples, and brush egg whites over all. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until done. Cool. Cut into bars.