Think back to your childhood. What was your favorite dinner? What did it include on the plate? Was it something your mom made? How often did you enjoy it?
In honor of Mother’s Days and all the moms that have slaved over a stove in their lifetime, I’d love for you to tell me what recipe of your moms was your favorite in the comments section below!
I bet that for most of you, your favorite dinner was something mom made that you all enjoyed around the table together. For me, it was chicken and dumplings. For whatever reason, I loved the combination of warm, spicy chicken next to fluffy, creamy dumplings and some sort of vegetable. Every year, for my birthday, this is what my mom would make me.
Back then, we made the dumplings with Bisquick. The chicken was a bit of a process and took some time, but the dumplings were pretty quick. Since my dad can’t have gluten, my mom would make him gluten-free potato dumplings. When all was said and done, I think everyone enjoyed my birthday dinner around the table. But I enjoyed it the most.
Well, my mom and I went out for my birthday this year, so I didn’t get chicken and dumplings. Then I graduated, and my mom said she’d make it for that. I wasn’t pushing the issue because while I wanted the memory of my favorite meal, I was nervous about eating Bisquick, a less than healthy mixture with partially hydrogenated oil in it (something you never want to eat) and bleached flour.
This week, we finally made it. The spiced chicken aroma was floating through the house, wafting its way into my office while I worked. My stomach instantaneously began to growl, even though I wasn’t hungry yet. I’m used to quick dinners so just waiting an hour for this chicken was driving me over the edge.
(If you’d like a whole slew of quick, simple recipes, check out my Recipes section.)
Finally, everything was made and ready to eat. My first couple bites of chicken were perfect: warm, juicy, soft, flavorful. Then I had my first bite of a dumpling. YUCK. It didn’t fluff up like it used to, and I could literally taste the bleach and aluminum from the baking powder. I don’t know if this was from eating so healthy and natural, or if it was a bad batch of Bisquick, but even my mom couldn’t eat them.
Though disappointing, it made me decide to make my own dumplings, using my own natural ingredients. Turns out, this was a cinch! Though not as fluffy as I remember them, these dumplings were full of nutty, juicy flavors and were way more satisfying.
In the end, I once again figured out a way to convert an old, favorite recipe into a new, healthier and more delicious version of that favorite. I’ve talked to people a lot lately about their favorite comfort foods growing up, or things their moms made them, and I realize how important these foods are to people.
It’s the memory behind them that makes them so special. Don’t give them up. Savor them rarely, or figure out a way to make them healthier, like I did. If you need help, let me know! I’d love to help.
Chicken and Dumplings
4 Chicken legs/thighs (or whatever chicken parts you’d like to use!)
Spices (I like paprika and lemon pepper)
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4 cup spelt flour (or flour of choice)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoon melted butter
2/3 cup milk (I used coconut milk) + more if needed
Sprinkle your spices/seasonings of choice on all sides of the chicken.
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large pot and place two pieces of chicken into the bottom. Do the same in another large pot. On medium heat, allow the chickens to sizzle for 10 minutes or until brown. Turn over and allow to brown on the other side.
Once browned, slowly add water to each pot until you cover the chickens. Once the water is boiling, turn heat to low and cover the pots. Cook each for 60 minutes or until they reach the desired temperature on the packaging.
Once time gets down to about 30 minutes, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Drizzle the butter on top and mix thoroughly.
Add milk and knead the mixture ten times. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time if the mixture is still too dry to form dough. (This will depend on the type of flour you use.)
When down to 20 minutes, move two of the chickens into the other pot so all four are together. Cover and continue to allow them to cook.
In the other pot with only the chicken juice, drop large balls of dough into the juice. When all of the dough is in the juice, allow to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Then, cover the dumplings for 10 minutes.
Now put each on plates with a vegetable of choice and enjoy!