Monday, January 25, 2010

An Easy, Flexible Meal Idea

A friend of mine gave me this recipe recently, and I haven't been able to find a link for it online, so I decided to share it here. Here are some things that I love about this recipe:
  • It's Flexible: You use what ingredients you have on hand, based on how much time you have to work with
  • It's Make-Ahead: You can mix it up in advance and even freeze the casserole portion in a freezer bag!
  • It's Absorbs Leftovers: You can throw in various leftover items that may be hanging around your fridge
Chicken and Dumplings

  • 3-4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (leftover cooked, or frozen)
  • optional: 1 cup diced cooked potato (such as a leftover baked potato)
  • 1 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup (or equivalent made from scratch, see below!)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Biscuit Dough (10 oz can of refrigerated dough, or home made)

Combine meat, vegetables, soup, salt, pepper and water in a large mixing bowl. (At this point, you could freeze the mixture in a large ziploc bag for future use.) Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and add biscuits to cover the top of the mixture.

Bake for additional 15 minutes or until tops of biscuits begin to brown. Serve.

When I made this, I used leftover chicken and turkey from 3 separate meals that I had been accumulating in the freezer. I didn't have any cream soups on hand, so I made a very simple and fast replacement:

Casserole Filling (in place of a 10 oz can of cream base condensed soup)

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup stock or broth (I had some turkey broth leftover that did the trick. Or you could use water)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: sauteed mushrooms or celery
Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and whisk briskly, combining butter and flour into a smooth paste. Whisk until bubbling, then remove from heat and gradually add milk and stock in small amounts; continue whisking to maintain a smooth texture. Stir until mixture just begins to boil and becomes creamy. Remove from heat and use immediately.


I also made my own biscuit dough for this recipe, during the first 15 minutes the dish was cooking. It's no big deal to make biscuits yourself if you have some self-rising flour.

2 cups of flour, 1/3 cup of shortening, and 3/4 cup milk combine into a floury dough. I don't even use a rolling pin, I just press it out to the thickness I want and cut the biscuits up. I use Hudson Cream Self Rising Flour... amazing! Next I am going to try Cream biscuits, just 2 cups of the flour and 1 to 1 1/2 cups cream, part of a recipe I found here.

This Chicken and Dumplings recipe comes from the Real Simple: Fake it-Don't Make It series, but I couldn't find the link for this specific recipe online. To fake it, you would by a rotisserie chicken and shred it to make a last minute meal with the frozen vegetables, can soup, and refrigerated biscuit dough.

My needs are usually different: I like that I was able to throw it together with all my leftovers and without using processed foods, hopefully resulting in a lower fat and lower salt version. I didn't have to run out to the store, which fit right in with my goal to stay out of the store until the Pantry Challenge is over!


gpopp said...

I have been looking for a good chicken and dumpling recipe, but I want one like the kind my grandma used to make for Southern Sunday Dinners...where you boil the chicken and cook the dumplings in the boiling broth just before serving...any ideas?? I can never get mine to taste like hers did...I am pretty sure she used lard in the dumpling dough...

Finally had time to read the whole blog and catch up what I missed...really inspiring...

Thanks so much,

Michelle said...

Thanks Gina! I don't have a dumpling recipe that cooks the dumplings in the broth, but if you poke around online, I'm sure you'll find a good one...