Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

Today's recipe is another great find on Pinterest...I just LOVE that site! 

This one comes originally from here and below is her picture of the finished product, because it is much prettier than any I took :)
 She has several other recipes that look worthy of trying (like Zesty Pasta Salad & Lone Star Steak House Cheese Fries - can't wait to try these!!!) so be sure & hop over there & take a looksie for yourself.

I love chicken-n-dumplins' (as we always called them), but I had never made them myself. I just figured they were one of those meals that only a grandma could do the right way :) I made these today & they are delicious, super easy to make & a fairly budget-friendly meal. 

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (3-5)
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 cans (10.5 oz ea.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 medium white onion, diced
4 large flaky refrigerator biscuits

(I also tossed in a little pepper & salt, but that's up to you & your family's personal preference.) 

Place chicken in crock pot & top with butter. Add cream of chicken soup, chicken broth & diced onions. (I used frozen diced onions - maybe 1/2 - 3/4 cup & added a little extra chicken broth about halfway through cooking that I will add at the beginning next time - maybe an additional 1/2-1 cup). Cook on high for 4-6 hours. 

Remove chicken from crock pot & use a fork to shred. Return chicken to crock pot. Cut each uncooked biscuit into 9 pieces & stir into the chicken mixture. Continue to cook on high for at least 30 minutes (I let mine cook longer). 

I love using my crock pot & I'm super excited that not only have I found another "keeper" crock pot recipe, but I've found a superb chicken-n-dumplins' recipe as well! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hot & Sour Soup

One of Toby & I's favorite Chinese restaurant menu items has always been their Hot & Sour Soup. Recently, though, our local restaurants' versions just haven't been the same. So when I came across a recipe for Hot & Sour Soup in a Taste of Home booklet that came with the cookbook I got for Christmas I was super happy!! 

One note I need to make 1st: in a small rural area like ours, finding some (one in particular) of the ingredients wasn't all that easy. Fortunately, once you find them, they are ingredients that you can use more than once for future batches. 

Hot & Sour Soup

3/4 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-1/2-inch x 1/4-inch strips
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cups chicken broth (it actually takes 1 & 1/2 of the boxes shown above)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons chili garlic sauce 
** This is the hardest one on the list to find in our area - I eventually settled on this: 
Sriracha Sauce

but really, it's suppose to be this:

Chili Garlic Sauce

3/4 teaspoons pepper

1 package (14 oz) extra-firm tofu, drained & cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 can (8 oz) bamboo shoots, drained (I cut these in half lengthwise - that's just personal preference)
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained (I cut these in half, again just a personal preference)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup cornstarch
5 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

In a dutch oven, brown pork in oil until no longer pink; remove meat & keep warm. Add mushrooms; saute until tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the broth, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce and pepper to the pan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 10 minutes. Return meat & mushrooms to pan. Stir in tofu, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch & water until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; gently stir in sesame oil. Garnish with onions.

Makes about 2 quarts. 

Nutrition facts:
Serving size: 1-1/2 cups
240 calories
10 g fat
37 mg cholesterol
1,779 mg sodium
18 g carbohydrates
2 g fiber
21 g protein

**Although this doesn't taste exactly like the old restaurant version we remember, it is VERY good. We had plenty left over for tomorrow & I'm anxious to see how it tastes then because I have a feeling the overnight marriage of flavors is going to make for an even better soup tomorrow.  I do think having the right chili garlic sauce would make it even better so maybe I'll see if I can find it online & order it.**

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Pinterest is quickly becoming one of my very favorite internet past times. (As if I needed another way to waste time on the internet! HA!).  I have found some really great ideas & recipes on there. Today I tried something I read on there a couple weeks ago....baking potatoes in the crockpot.
You can read about this technique at the original place I found it (if you like) here...

Or I can just briefly tell you how it works :) 

Wash potatoes

Wrap in aluminum foil

Place in crockpot
Cook on high 6-8 hrs

Remove from crockpot, unwrap & load 'em up with all your favorite toppings!

Doesn't get much easier than that, does it?!? No heating up the kitchen with your oven & no waiting your turn to microwave your potato while everyone else is eating (and, I have to add, these are WAY better than microwaved ones anyway!)

*Note: you have to wrap them in foil & you do NOT add any water to the crockpot...this seems to be the 2 main questions asked over at the blog linked above*