Archive for November, 2011

Food to warm your heart

Dinner was so comforting, and would have been perfect on a rainy day. It was very good regardless of the weather outside, and will be making this again (maybe on a rainy day next time).  I have never attempted chicken and dumplings before, but this recipe was relatively easy and quick to make. It was even faster since I used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken that I had in the freezer. Helpful tip: de-bone a couple of rotisserie chickens found at the deli at your grocery store, and place in food storage containers, freeze until ready to use within 4 months.

Chicken and Dumplings

(Servings 4-6, Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)


Chicken and Vegetables:

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds pre-cooked frozen rotisserie chicken, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 quart chicken broth (low Sodium)
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or vermouth (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp of heavy cream (optional)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black or white pepper


  • 1 cup cake flour (can sub all-purpose flour, but use cake flour if you have it, your dumplings will be fluffier)
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup+ 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives, and tarragon (optional)


Add oil to large pot and heat to medium-high. When it is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and sauté until soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and mix well. The flour will absorb all the fat in the pot and will stick a little to the bottom. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir this constantly for 2-3 minutes. Do not let it burn.

Add the sherry and chicken broth to the flour vegetable mixture. Mix in pre-cooked chicken meat, increase the heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer while you make the dumplings.

Make the dumpling batter by sifting together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add (optional) chopped fresh herbs. Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together. (Note: do not overmix! or your dumplings will turn out too dense.)

Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping teaspoonfuls, over the surface of the stew. (Note that the dumplings will easily double in size as they cook.) Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. The dumplings must be steamed with the lid on in order for the dumplings to be light and fluffy, so do not uncover the pot while cooking. If after 15 minutes they are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test) cover pan again, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Gently stir in peas, parsley and cream, if using. Ladle portions of meat, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve. Note that the stew will continue to thicken the more it sits.


November 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Football and Food

The weekend began with waking up at 6am in order to tailgate at the MSU Vs. Minnesota game. We ended up getting there around 9 am to meet up with friends, and eat some delicious food which included Philly steak sandwiches. My cousins were also close by tailgating, so we headed on over to say hi. The game was slightly boring so we ended up leaving at half-time, plus MSU played very disappointingly, however ended up winning the game. We looked at new cars then went to my parents house for dinner.

Normally I am a cold cereal or english muffin person in the morning, it is fast and easy when you have to get up and ready for work in the morning. I was ready for a change related to this cold weather that has come upon us, so I found this recipe a while ago and today was the perfect time to make it. It includes pumpkin, which I am a big fan of this time of the year and will be trying to incorporate more often into my recipes.

The name of the recipe says it all, if you like pumpkin pie you have to make this for breakfast. The smooth creaminess of the pumpkin was so good with the coarseness of the oats, and the subtile crunch of the brown sugar topping. Add a hot cup of coffee and there cannot be a better way to start your morning.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

(Servings 6-8)

  • 2 cup old fashioned oats, not quick cook
  • 2 Tbs whole flax seeds, optional
  • 5 Tbs brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cup milk


  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 4 tsp butter, softened
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 8×8 baking dish.

In a medium sized bowel combine the vanilla, butter, pumpkin,milk, brown sugar, salt and spices. Whisk thoroughly. Add oats and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into baking dish and place into oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 15 minutes, remove and pour topping mixture evenly over dish. Bake and additional 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

November 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm 3 comments

Time to recover (Vegas)

Last week was our trip to Vegas to celebrate Ryan (Roy’s good friend) and I’s October birthdays. We had a great time with a lot of shopping, eating, and of course some partying. Well lets just say staying up till the wee hours of the morning really messes with ones normal routine, and had to recover for a couple of days upon return to real life. I am happy to be home and back to blogging and cooking.

Being picked up at the airport by the limo, let the party begin!!

Peppermill Restaurant, best breakfast in Vegas and walking distance from our hotel.

Jean-Philippe Chocolates and Pastries – Bellagio

Bellagio was one of my favorite hotel/casinos, full of art including the botanical garden, entertainment, and luxury. It is a great place to sit down with a friend for a dirty martini. Runner up – Aria resort and casino is fairly new and very modern, with a truly unique shopping center next door, Crystals at CityCenter™. Some of my favorite brands included Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Versace just to name a few.

For our last night we celebrated at PURE in Caesars Palace.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for this trip and the great friends that made it so memorable!!

This week I planned simple meals since it has been so busy,

Dinner: I used left over beef sirloin roast that was frozen to make this dish

Beef Barley Soup

(Adapted from – Martha Stewart)


(6-8 servings)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pounds beef sirloin roast (precooked from crook pot)
  • 1 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups Homemade Beef Stock Homemade Beef Stock Or Beef Broth
  • 1 bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 acorn squash, peeling and cut into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as cultivated white, cremini, yellowfoot, chanterelle, hedgehog, or black trumpet, cut into 1-inch pieces (I omitted since Roy does not like mushrooms)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions, stirring constantly, until well caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Place meat in pot, and add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Add bouquet garni, barley, and vegetables, and simmer for 1 hour, adding more stock if necessary. Adjust seasonings.

November 5, 2011 at 2:20 am 1 comment

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