Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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What’s the definition of comfort food?, Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables. It’s so comforting you’ll get warm fuzzies inside!

I do have to honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings or this dish, I took some help from my local grocery store. I mean, making your own from scratch is probably best and can make all the difference in the world except if you’re like where the value of your time, store-bought dumplings are a quick alternative and a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin, he gives those to me. I render the chicken skin down and collect all the drippings (chicken fat) for recipes like, Matzo ball soup and this dish. The fat adds so much flavor by enhansing the chicken flavor thoughtout certain recipes. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Shredded Chicken

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (4-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, 1 (6-quart) stockpot

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (substitute 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1 1/2 teapsoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half, freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas, optional
6 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Tip: While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for this dish.

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
To start, place 3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a sprinkling of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or (I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least 1-inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil on medium-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. The chicken will typically finish cooking between 25 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone. The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer put into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165-degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Directions For Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots, and celery. Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil, and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the halfway mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth:
In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency. This is my Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables.

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Pasta, Pancetta, And Peas

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Pasta, Pancetta, And Peas is a quick easy weeknight meal and a great dish you can serve up to guests. Let me show you how fast this dish comes together. I’m using a Fusilli pasta for this dish.

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Heading over to my Hanging Herb Garden for fresh basil and mint for my dish.

Mint

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This is what pancetta (Italian bacon) looks like. It’s similar to American bacon in that it’s cured, it is just not smoked. You can get this at the deli counter in your local grocery store. For this dish, you do not want to get it sliced, you’re going to want one thick slice about 1/2 inch thick. The deli employees will just adjust the blade on the slicer to the thickness you’re requesting. You may even be able to find pancetta already diced and packaged.

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Fresh Mint Leaves

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Prep Time: 3 to 5 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 10-inch sauté pan, 6-quart saucepot

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 pound of fusilli
2 1/2 ounces pancetta, 1/4 inch dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
1 good size shallot, halved, and thinly sliced
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pasta cooking liquid
1 tablespoon of finely julienned fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:
Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

In a cold sauté pan over medium heat add the pancetta and cook for 7 minutes. Stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crispy pancetta over to a plate, lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from sauté pan.

Add the sliced shallots and minced garlic to the pan,  saute about 3 minutes until tender. Toss in the thawed frozen peas, to warm through, stirring everything together. Remove from heat. Add the crispy pancetta back in with the vegetables and stir through.

Add the pancetta vegetable mixture, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, half the mint, and half the basil to the cooked pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by the tablespoon if needed. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle remaining basil and mint on top. Serve, passing additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. In 30 minutes you can enjoy Pasta, Pancetta, And Peas.

My Organic Hanging Herb Garden

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Pumpkin Spiced Crumb Cake

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My Pumpkin Spiced Crumb Cake is one of my family’s favorites. I do want to explain why I take help from my local grocery store whenever I make a cake. In the past, I’ve mentioned using box cake mixes. They’re a time-saver, most importantly, there are great box cake mixes out there. First, they’ve come a long way in their quality and variety. Second, why would you break out the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and or cocoa powder, when all these ingredients are already measured and mixed for you!

I start with a basic box cake mix, building a flavor profile of the type of cake I’m looking to make. For example; If I’m making a chocolate cake, adding brewed coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor. I also like to add Ricotta cheese to the cake batter. These ingredients I’ve mentioned. ultimately enhance or make for a more tender cake.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 to 55 minutes (Baking time may vary depending on the type and size of the pan you use)
Equipment: parchment paper, 1 (8 x 8-inch) or (9 x 9-inch) square pan
Yields: 9 slices

Note: I’m using a store-bought pumpkin spice for this recipe. I’ve also included a homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe below.

Ingredients For Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cake flour
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup of chopped pecans (optional)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted and melted

Ingredients For Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice:
teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 pinch of allspice

Directions For Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice:
In a small bowl, whisk the spices together until combined. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

Ingredients For The Pumpkin Spice Cake:
1 (16.5-ounce) box of French vanilla cake mix (Duncan Hines French Vanilla)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4  cup granulated sugar
1 cup of Libby’s pumpkin pie mix
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup of water
pinch of Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:
For the topping:
Using a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, cake flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a spatula until thick crumbles form. Set aside while preparing the cake.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

For The Cake Batter:
Spray pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. Note: This will allow for easy removal.

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add oil, vanilla extract, sugars, pumpkin pie mix puree, and ricotta cheese. Once the mixture is smooth, add 1 egg at a time until incorporated.

In a medium-size bowl, add the box cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, and Kosher salt. Whisk these ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix! Note: If you are doing this by hand, you can use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Cover with the crumb mixture. If needed, break up the larger crumbs into smaller ones.

Place into oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester, inserted into the center, comes out clean, and the center of the cake barely jiggles. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the loaf pans for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Top the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar.

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