Weeknight Chicken and Dumplings

The weather has dropped suddenly in Washington, DC and it has been feeling like Autumn all week. I couldn’t wait to make a nice homey comfort dish. Chicken and dumplings is a favorite in my family.

cd16When I have the time and energy, I prefer to make a huge batch starting with homemade stock. But today is Wednesday. That is not a Wednesday meal for me. Tonight, I adapted it to suit a weeknight meal. Mostly homemade but the broth got a helping hand from some store-bought reduced sodium stock. We’ll punch it up, though, no worries.

I like to add garlic and herbs to my dumping dough for an added layer of flavor. Feel free to adapt and adjust to suit your preferences.

Autumn, here we come!

 

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless chicken thighs

Four stalks of celery

One med-large onion

3-4 carrots

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 32 oz container of reduced sodium chicken stock

Fish sauce

Worcestershire sauce

All-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Crushed red pepper

Garlic powder

Rosemary

Bell’s poultry seasoning

 

 

 

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown chicken thighs, do not cook through, over med high heat.
    • I used four boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use whatever chicken you prefer, though. It’s also easy to scale the recipe up or down.
    • Be careful with breasts as they tend to dry out if not handled properly.cd2cd3
  1. Chop your vegetables
  2. Remove chicken thighs from heat
  3. Add veg and salt and pepperScreen Shot 2017-08-30 at 7.53.32 PMcd4
  4. Add a 1/2 container of reduced sodium chicken broth, stir and scrape up the bottom of the pancd5
  5. Add remaining 1/2 of the broth, fill container with water and add that to the pot as well
  6. Bring to a boil, add the chicken
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
  8. While the chicken is simmering, in a large bowl add 2.5-3 cups of flour, add about 2 rounded tsp salt, plus black pepper, garlic powder and rosemary to taste (or any other herb that you prefer).cd8
  9. Add ice cold water a few tbsp at a time. Stirring in the center of the bowl. Slowly incorporating flour from the perimeter, almost like making pasta.
    • Do this just until the dough comes together. If it is too wet add more flour, too dry then add more water.
  1. Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and gently knead to make sure it’s not sticking. Press, or roll, the dough to about a 1/4″ thickness. Cut into your desired shape.cd9cd10cd11cd12
  2. Your chicken should be ready and tender after 20-25 min. Remove from stock, shred using two forks. Add back to the pot.cd6
  3. Taste your broth, add salt and pepper as needed. I also add about 1/4-1/2 tsp of Bell’s poultry seasoning, two splashes of fish sauce and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust.cd7
  4. Bring to a boil. Gently stir while you add your dumplings one by one. You don’t want to have big ol’ clumps of dough.
    • If you prefer a slightly thicker consistency, I create a slurry of corn starch, splash of Worcestershire and cold water.cd13cd14
  5. Once added and incorporated, allow to simmer for at least 10-15 min

 

CD15cd17cd16

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

Tis the season! Cranberries are available!! This makes me happy, as you can tell. I like to use cranberries as often as I can. They’re yummy and tart, but they’re also really good for you! I like to keep a bag in the freezer and one in the fridge. Next time you make a smoothie, grab a handful and add them! So good.

My son went pumpkin picking and this guy has been gracing our dining room table for weeks. I wanted to make good use of him before he began to rot since he opted out of making a jack-o-lantern. I decided to make some scones. pump

I’m pretty sure that scones were my first foray into “adult baking” (whatever the hell that means lol). They’re pretty easy and the technique remains the same no matter what you add in. I’ve done blueberry, blueberry lemon, cranberry and a few others. They keep very well and if you want, you can freeze the formed scones and just pop them in the oven at a later date!

This is my first time making these. My first time cooking with fresh pumpkin too!

 

 

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 c (packed) light brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

½ cup VERY cold butter

1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)

½ VERY cold milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½-1/3 cup fresh cranberries (or ½ cup dried)

¼ heavy cream

 

(Aside: I used fresh pumpkin for this recipe. I cut the pumpkin, lubed it up with some olive oil. I roasted the pumpkin for about 45 minutes (or until tender). I allowed the pumpkin to cool before scooping out the flesh. If you want to skip this step, feel free to use canned pumpkin.)pump2pump3

Preheat oven to 375.

 

In a food processor, pulse VERY COLD butter (cut your butter into ¼ inch tabs) and flour together until it resembles coarse meal.

pump6

To that, add sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

pump7

In another bowl, combine milk, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth.

pump4pump5

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, as well as the cranberries. Mix until just combined.

pump8

Onto a lightly floured surface knead the dough gently. It may be sticky, just make sure your surface and your hands are well-floured.

pump11

Form the dough into a rectangle about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut the scones into your desired shape, I’m partial to triangles. (Some people like to form a circle and cut “slices”, whatever floats your boat).

pump12

Brush the top with heavy cream, sprinkle with turbinado sugar if you want to be fancy. I sprinkled these with cinnamon-sugar.

pump10

Bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. About 20-25 minutes.

 

MAN! Look at how moist these are!!pump15

pump13pump14pump16pump9

Allow to cool before serving.

I made a quick glaze and drizzled that over the scones. You can find a simple recipe here.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Will keep for a few days but…who are you kidding? You’re going to eat them.

 

 

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Super Chunky Apple Spiced Muffins

muffi9

This is by far my most favorite time of year and these muffins taste like pure autumn. They are generously spiced and packed full of granny smith apples. Happy October!!

Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove? You literally cannot go wrong when you combine these with apples. These muffins are moist and gorgeously golden. I swear I wish I had a piping hot cup of apple cider.

Fun bonus? Your house will smell like love and hugs and cinnamon sticks.

 

 

1 large or 2 medium Granny Smith apple

Peel half of an apple

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt

2 tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp of nutmeg

light dash of ground clove

2 large eggs

1 cup milk, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400 then turn down to 350

Line your cupcake tin

 

In a small bowl combine your eggs and milk, then carefully add your butter after it has cooled.

In a larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, spices, baking powder and chopped apple.muff1-copymuff2

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter will be chunky and you should be able to see all of the pretty spices suspended.muff3-copy

muff4-copymuffi7Fill the liners sparing about ¼”.

Optional: Using a paring knife or kitchen shear, create thin “ribbons” of the apple skin and decoratively place the ribbons on top of the muffins.

muffi5muffi6Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test.

Allow to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

muffi8muffi10muffi11muffi12

Note: Extra batter can be frozen in a ziplock bag. Baked muffins can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 days at room temperature and up to 5 in the fridge, though I promise they won’t last that long.

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved