Comfort Food –
As the telltale chill in the air signals the onset of fall, it’s time to get out those comfort food recipes. Nothing beats a hearty meal at the end of a crisp fall day. Menu planning when the weather changes can be a lot of fun, but the work involved in a lot of cold-weather dishes can be staggering. Chicken and dumplings is a fall classic but it’s loaded with calories from the chicken skin and doughy dumplings. Just because it is comfort food does not mean it has to be unhealthy though.
The key to making this recipe healthier is using skinless chicken breasts so you can bypass the oily skin and dark meat. Extra seasonings enhance the flavor so you don’t notice anything is missing and low fat biscuit mix saves some time. Here is a simpler and healthier way to make chicken and dumplings in a snap.
Chicken Dumplings the Saving Dinner Way
4 skinless chicken breasts (better with the bone in)
4 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
3 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and Pepper
2 cups whole grain baking mix
2/3 cup skim milk
In a large stock pot, put 1 tablespoon olive oil, add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, cook until onion is clear, then place chicken breasts in pot, and cover with water and poach (slow simmer) until chicken is cooked through– about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and cut into bite sized pieces then return chicken to the pot. Add chicken broth, thyme and sage — salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a gentle simmer. If needed you can thicken broth with a little cornstarch by putting a teaspoon of cornstarch into 1/2 cup water or broth and mixing with fork until there are no lumps. Add to simmering pot and stir. Meanwhile prepare the dumplings by mixing the low fat biscuit mix and skim milk until it forms a soft dough. Drop by tablespoonfuls into the simmering broth. Cook uncovered for about twenty minutes or until dumplings appear cooked in the middle.
Variations: Try using Noodle Dumplings
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients with a fork until combined. Roll into a ball. If too wet add more flour, if too dry add a bit more water. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Use a pizza cutter to cut dumplings into desired shape. You can cut them into long fat noodles, or you can use a cookie cutter and make round dumplings, it’s up to you!