In scads of ways my hubby and our only daughter are birds of a feather. They form our nuclear family's "blue-eyed duo"; the other two of us--myself and our son--are the dark-eyed contingent. Both Hubby and Darling Daughter thrive on multi-plate spinning--they're totally in their element when they have scads of projects under way at the same time. She takes after her dad in seeing the "big picture" of how things will be accomplished. And our girl definitely inherited her dad's entrepreneural gene and sound business sense.
Their likes and dislikes in food, however, are where the similarities ends. With few exceptions, most of Hubby's faves, which tend to be food items that are grown in a garden, wouldn't end up on any of our "meat-and-potatoes" daughter's wish list.
One of those rare exceptions, however, is Chicken and Dumplings. That's why I've chosen to serve my homemade "Weekday Chicken and Dumplings" recipe for her birthday luncheon this week. Her dad couldn't be happier. It also would be his first pick if he were choosing a birthday meal for himself as well.
Prevention magazine featured this recipe some years back; I tucked it away in my fall recipe binder because I knew both of the blue-eyeds would be thrilled with it. Fresh carrots, celery, and onions are plopped into the steaming broth until they are tender, are drained and set aside, and are returned to it after the sauce is thickened. This dish gets a "double-yum" from me every time.
So Happy Birthday to our baby girl, who this year celebrates her first birthday as the mother of a new baby boy that she and her husband welcomed a few weeks back. Here's hoping her little one ultimately will have vast numbers of foods--both the meat-and-potatoes variety as well as those that are garden-fresh--in his food repertoire.
Weekday Chicken and Dumplings
4 cups defatted reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups baby carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup frozen small whole onions, or 1 cup chopped, fresh onions
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2/3 cup skim milk
1 3/4 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
1 1/4 cup fat-free biscuit mix
1/3 cup skim milk
In a medium saucepan bring broth and bay leaf to boil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and celery. Cook 5 minutes. Add onions and cook 2 minutes. Add peas and cook 2 more minutes until tender. Strain vegetables and set aside. Collect liquid; add broth or water to make 4 cups. Discard bay leaf. Return liquid to saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together flour, seasoning, and milk. Whisk into broth. Cook and continue whisking over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken and reserved vegetables.
For dumplings: In a small bowl stir biscuit mix and milk to form a soft dough. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto simmering stew; cook according to package directions. Dust paprika over the tops of the cooked dumplings. Serves 6.