Just Like Grandma Used to Make

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Howdy!

I made some good headway on the ol’ to-do list today, and even threw in grocery shopping and a trip to Walmart, then zipped through all my laundry to boot! I think I was making up for being such a bum on Saturday. ;)

Do you ever feel guilty about not being productive? I think women especially feel weird/lazy if we’re not doing a million things at once. Maybe it’s just me!

At any rate, lunch at my parent’s house was deeelicious, per usual. We had Ruebens, Orzo Salad & veggies!

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My parents went to Macaroni Grill for dinner with some friends on NYE and my Dad’s dish came with zesty orzo salad on the side. Both of them liked it so much that my Mom attempted to re-create it for lunch and although I don’t know what the original tasted like, I’d order her version at a restaurant!

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Orzo is one of my favorite pasta shapes, and she combined it with cherry tomatoes, olives, spinach, red onion, capers and Italian dressing to make a salad full of great textures and flavors. I may or may not have been caught eating spoonfuls out of the serving bowl after lunch… :oops:

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Some crunchy carrots & celery on the side let the true star shine through…

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Ruebens!!! It’s a fact that a hot, savory Rueben sandwich is my favorite hot deli sandwich of all time. Corned beef, swiss cheese, Rye-swirled bread, Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut makes for some darn good eatin’!

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Both my parent’s grew up in Ohio near Pennsylvania Dutch country, where it’s customary to eat pork and sauerkraut on new years day for good luck. Well us kids (ok not “kids”…you know what I mean!) don’t love the dish, but love sauerkraut, so we had that half of the good luck combo, a day late. It works. ;)

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Some sweet red velvet cake starred as dessert!

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My Mom made it herself!!! Right?!

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Thick and decadent. With that classic, cream cheese frosting. Go Mom! ;)

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In other news, my culinary sweater has been replaced with a faux-fur lined, uber-warm Eskimo jacket because I made the ULTIMATE comfort food dinner tonight…Chicken & Dumplings!

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I recently picked up this free, local, foodie magazine that had an entire section of articles and recipes dedicated to dumplings. Um, sold.

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Inside was a classic Chicken & Dumplings recipe that I absolutely could not resist making tonight!

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It was as easy as it was cozy. All you do is combine veggies, chicken broth, seasonings and a whole chicken in a large pot then bring to a boil.

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Mine was a wee bit too small so I had to rotate the chicken several times to make sure the whole thing cooked evenly.

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Said chicken was a Smart Chicken. We quizzed each other before I cooked it.

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This is actually the very first time I’ve cooked a WHOLE bird, and I was kind of freaking out! I was glad that this particular one didn’t have any giblets to worry about – it was ready to use right out of the package.

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Plus I didn’t have to worry about seasoning it, what to do with the skin, etc. – I just threw it in the pot and let it simmer!

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After 90 minutes, the chicken was starting to shred itself.

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See? Falling off the bone tender!

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You could see how succulent and moist it was. Holy cow chicken!

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I removed the chicken from the pot and shredded all the meat.

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Mmmm, it tasted just like the rotisserie chicken you get at the grocery store, but it was homemade with NO extra oil or fat.

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I’ll be eating chicken for days – it made so much!

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Meanwhile I strained the chicken broth, let it cool a bit so I could scrape the fat off the top, then brought it back to a boil. It was time to cook the dumplings. :D

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Ohhhh, the dumplings!

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These Reames Homestyle Dumplings are made in Iowa and I’m not sure if they’re sold in other parts of the country, so any frozen dumpling-style noodle would do.

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I added the package to the uber-flavorful broth and let the dumplings cook for about 30 minutes,

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until they were fat, fluffy and chewy. CRAZY good!!

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Chicken & Dumplings are UP!!!!

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The broth tasted like it was slow-cooked all day long, and got a tad thick from the dumplings. So incredibly delicious!

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And I can’t get over how buttery and succulent that chicken was! Must be the slow cooking process. I would never in a million years compare this to regular poached chicken. It blows it completely out of the water!

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PERFECT Sunday afternoon meal, guys. Low-fuss, easy and so cozy. Just like Grandma used to make! ;)

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Chicken & Dumplings

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8

Recipe adapted from Criss Roberts

Ingredients:
8 cups chicken broth (6 cans)
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
salt & pepper, to taste
4lb fryer chicken
12 oz frozen dumplings

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except frozen dumplings in a very large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes, or until chicken is falling off the bone.
  2. Remove chicken, allow to cool, then shred. Meanwhile strain the cooking liquid into a new pot, allow to cool slightly then scrape off the fat.
  3. Bring broth to a boil then add frozen dumplings and a pinch of dried parsley. Cook according to package directions, then serve over shredded chicken.

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Ooo, I am so cozy and sleepy… :)

But before I go – the Blueberry Muffin Larabar winners! Congrats to:

Catherine: My favorite part of 2010 was a trip my mom took out to Los Angeles to visit me. She is such a big part of my life but I don’t get to see her that often since she lives in Denver. It was great spending quality time together.

Erin: My favorite part of 2010 was the birth of my niece!

shandy (@webgals): OH I WANT that LARABAR! My favorite part of 2010 was my trip to Minneapolis to see a friend and see Wicked again!

Whee!! Email your full mailing address to IowaGirlEats@gmail.com!

Okie dokie, I’m off to go relax. Have a wonderful first week of 2011!!!

~~~~~

Do you enjoy comfort food? What are some of your faves?

I feel like mine all revolve around pasta. Or cheese. Or pasta with cheese – aka spaghetti, mac & cheese and lasagna…mmmlasagna…

OH I can’t forget a nice, warm apple crisp. Comfort food at its finest!!


This Year I Want To…

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HAP-py New Year! Better late than never, eh? ;) Ben and I spent the entire day yesterday being huge blobs relaxing to the ultimate fullest. Flannel pants, slippers, pizza, beer and football were involved… Hey, we did make it out to the mall for an impromptu shoe buying sesh! Not…

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