Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

The first time I met the Fox family was at Mythbusters Live. I’ve lived in Kansas City for about 15 ½ years. I barely ever run into people I know out and about. But since I met Jeremiah, it seems like we run into people he knows everywhere – Sam’s Club, the grocery store, dinner, and yes, even at shows. I think we also ran into an old coworker of his at Mythbusters Live.

Travis is the brother of Kelly (mentioned in a previous post). Jeremiah has been friends with the Fox brother since they were little kids. It’s actually really cool because everyone seems to get together around the holidays to celebrate Layla’s (our own niece) birthday. Travis and Molly’s son Lex is pretty close in age to our nephew Aiden. It’s nice to see a second generation of kids playing together.

I’ve made chicken and dumplings before but this is my favorite recipe. It’s easy-peasy since you can cook it in the slow cooker.

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings by Travis and Molly Fox
IMG_0179
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 T. butter
2 cans cream of chicken
1 can chicken broth
2 T. dried onion
1 T. parsley
4 Grands biscuits

Put chicken in Crockpot with butter. Add soups, broth, onion, and spices. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

After it’s cooked, shred chicken and add back to soup. Cut biscuits into 9 pieces. Stir into soup. Cover and cook on high for 1 more hour.

Notes:

  • I used 2 T. of Lipton’s dry onion soup mix.

Crockpot Pork Chops

My days used to be long because I’d stay at work late…usually trying to keep up on my inbox. When I got home, Jeremiah had either finished cooking dinner or it was close to being done. Oh, the good old days.

A few weeks ago, Jeremiah took a job downtown. Part of the deal in him taking the job was for us to carpool. Although our offices are only about five miles apart, it takes me – on a good day – about an hour to get to and from work. I also have a new level of traffic stress sitting in bumper to bumper traffic or dodging car accidents in mid-town. By the time we get home, we are tired, hungry, and stressed.

One thing that has become a saving grace for us is our crockpot dinners. For Christmas, Jeremiah bought me a Crockpot with a timer. (And yes, I requested this gift.) And thanks to Pinterest, we can find lots of tasty recipes to cook in it.

This is a recipe we made for dinner last Monday. We got done eating our serving and Jeremiah said, “Do we have more?” I seconded those words. May you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

FullSizeRender (1)Crockpot Pork Chops from Pinterest
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken
1 envelope of onion soup mix
1 envelope of brown gravy
4-6 pork chops

Mix together the first four ingredients in a bowl. Salt and pepper pork chops and place in the bottom of the Crockpot. Pour mixture on top of pork chops. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Stuffing from Scratch

It’s 5AM and I’ve been awake for about an hour now. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, I had a bit of a panic attack when I remembered that my uniform for work was in the laundry. I jumped out of bed and found myself sorting laundry in the closet as to not wake my fiancé.

I guess that is a bit of news I’d hadn’t shared here. My boyfriend proposed to me at dinner a few weeks ago. It was our 16 month anniversary and we were eating at Houlihan’s in Leawood. It was where we had gone on our very first date. We had planned to go to dinner early because the Kansas City Royals were playing game five of the World Series at 7PM. We were standing outside the restaurant talking about our first date and how we stood outside the restaurant talking after a long dinner. I turned around to walk in and Jeremiah spun me back around before getting down on one knee. I was a little in shock. If I was, you should have heard all the people around us. The people dining on the patio and getting in/out of vehicles were like “Is he prosing?” “Did she say yes?” Of course, without a doubt in my mind, I said yes. We went into the restaurant and the server asked us how it was going. I said, “We just got engaged.” He was like, “Congratulations!” I was like, “It was a minute ago just outside the restaurant. This is where we went on our first date.” The table next to us asked if he could take our photo when he overheard us. He told us how it was he and his wife’s second marriage but when you find the right one, it’s meant to be. The restaurant was so sweet and the manager brought us champagne and dessert to celebrate. Phone calls were made while we waited for our lovely dinner – the George Banks Sea Scallops with risotto and fresh arugula (one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time). As you all know by now, the Royals won it in game five beating the Mets in extra innings. It was also my mother’s birthday so this is certainly a day we will never forget.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been sleeping very long since our engagement. I wake up with ideas about our vows or what food should we make during our engagement photos. The date is set for July 2016 so I need to get cracking on these details. The venue is pretty much set, the guest list has been made, our wedding app/website has been created, half the attendants have been asked (including our adorable 3 ½ month old ring bearer), and the photographer has been selected. However, I have no idea what my dress will look like or what colors I want. I also need to email my hairdresser to see if she’s available. Every hinges on what time my hair can be done. Oh let’s hope she’s available because I have zero skill when it comes to doing my hair. I better email her right now, this is really important.

So since I’m awake and my laundry is in the wash, I decided to write a blog post for all of you. It is Thanksgiving week. Can you believe it? Normally, I would have already scoped all the Black Friday ads and had a plan for our day after Thanksgiving adventure. This year, I’m worried about whether or not I need to schedule a dress outing the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my mother and sister. I’m also not sure what on earth to get my fiancé for Christmas in our $75 spending limit?

In honor of it being Thanksgiving week though, I have decided to share with all of you one of the recipes Jeremiah and I will be making for my family. This is a recipe we learned last year while taking a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. Not to worry my vegetarian friends, I’m including modifications for you to enjoy this recipe as well. I made both recipes for our Thanksgiving work potluck last week.

stuffingApple, Sage, & Sausage Sourdough Stuffing by Rachel Ciordas
12 oz. turkey breakfast sausage
1 tsp. oil
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped apple
2 c. chopped celery
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. black pepper
12 c. cubed sourdough bread
1 can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

Cook sausage until browned. Add onion, apple, and celery. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in seasonings. In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture, bread, and broth. Spoon the stuffing into a sprayed 11 x 7 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Nutrition: Makes nine (1 c.) servings. 208 calories, 5 g. fat, 11.9 g. protein, 28.9 g. carbs, 2.1 g. fiber.

Notes:

  • Rachel said to not use green apples for this recipe. They are not sweet/juicy enough to sauté.
  • Did you know you can eat the leafy part of celery? It’s actually really flavorful.
  • I brought two loaves of fresh French bread at Spouts. I cubed 1 ½ loaves and let it sit out in a bowl overnight. I used the extra bread for a brioche French Toast.
  • I used the local brand of ground sausage. It added some extra flavor. 
  • I’ve found the lowest sodium chicken broth is Rachael Ray’s brand.
  • To make it vegetarian friendly, I substituted veggie broth and removed the sausage. In its place, I put some dried cranberries. After my luncheon, Jeremiah and I mixed the leftovers. It was good so feel free to add cranberries to the original recipe.
  • For a little crisper stuffing, bake covered 15 minutes and uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

National Soup Month

When I think of Beer Cheese Soup, the first thing that pops into my mind is Lazlo’s Brewery. It’s a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The original location is located in the Haymarket District. When I was in college, my friends and I used to walk down there to eat a lot. To this day, I could still tell you what everyone would order. Dan would get the Lazlo Burger and an Empyrean Amber Ale (made in Lazlo’s owner’s brewery). Rob wasn’t a drinker. He always got the French Dip but added Swiss Cheese and sautéed onions. He also ordered a side of ranch dipping sauce for his fries. Lazlo’s makes these great fries. They are crinkle fries with seasoning salt. And Ben always ordered a cup of Beer Cheese Soup. Ironic because Ben was the baby of the group – just 17 years old his first few months attending college.

After college graduations and break-ups, I ended up working for the owners of Lazlo’s. I worked in their neighboring restaurant entitled Jabrisco’s. It was an unusual Italian restaurant named after the owners Jay, Brian, and Scott. (They also had a financial partner who was a dentist but I can’t remember his name.) They had things on the menu like a PB&J wood-fired pizza, homemade spinach pasta, and this to die for chocolate dessert. We also had this amazing patio where I would sell coffee during the weekly Farmer’s Market. I worked there for about eight months as a host/head host. I could sell the bar area better than most on a busy Friday night or Saturday home football game. Following my college graduation, I left to pursue AmeriCorps full-time. But during the time I worked at Jabrisco’s, I learned some great customer service skills, importance to details, and a lot about the hospitality industry.

Today, Lazlo’s has doubled in size and now occupies the space that was once Jabrisco’s. The food is still delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is top notch. The Haymarket has also turned into this major entertainment district.

Although this recipe is very different then Lazlo’s Beer Cheese Soup, it did make me think back to some pretty cool people and an experience that greatly impacted my life.

Beer Cheese SoupBacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken from Pinterest
6 slices of bacon
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. beer
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. half and half
8 oz. mild cheese
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
chives
croutons

Cook bacon and chicken. In a large sauce pan, cook butter, flour, and spices. Add beer, broth, and half and half. Whisk to combine and bring to a bubble. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Add Worchester sauce, chicken, and bacon. Allow to simmer. Garnish with chives and croutons.

Notes:

  • This recipe is good but spicy. One bowl had me drinking three glasses of water, blowing my nose, and dotting my watering eyes. My recommendation is to cut the spice at least to half or maybe a third of the recipe listed above. That’s my plan for the next time I cook it.
  • I didn’t have chicken stock so I used water and put in about 2 oz. more of beer. Veggie stock is also an option.
  • When I make a soup like this I know I am sharing with vegetarian friends, I make meat more of a topping. Canned chicken is another option. I used about a ½ lb. chicken and pre-cooked bacon.
  • I used fat free half and half. I think our Nutrition Manager at work also said that Fat Free Evaporated Milk is another substitute option to make a creamy soup healthier.
  • I used light beer.
  • I used Velveeta cheese.
  • I added parsley instead of chives.

On the second day, I picked up some chicken stock and frozen hash browns. I added about 1 cup of hash browns and ¾ c. chicken stock. I also added homemade croutons. It decreased the water consumption.

Leftover Comfort Food

If you make a turkey for Christmas, here is a recipe I made using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. If you don’t have turkey, I am sure you could easily substitute chicken. I thought it was delicious.

Turkey & NoodlesTurkey and Noodles from Pinterest
12 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen egg noodles
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. diced turkey
3 large carrots

Heat broth to a boil. Add salt, onion, carrots, and pepper. Add frozen noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes. Add flour and milk. Cook until juices are somewhat reduced and slightly thinned. Add meat. Cool slightly before serving.

Notes:

  • Freezer recipe – Just thaw and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  • I used dry egg noodles. It worked just as well and was cheaper to purchase.
  • I used reduced sodium chicken broth. You could make your own with the leftover turkey bones. You could also use 2 parts broth/1 part water to reduce cost.
  • I used skim milk. It had to cook a little longer to thicken but it worked.
  • I used frozen carrots.
  • I add a couple of celery stalks. I think you could also had some spinach to this recipe.

Beefy Cheese Soup

My mother hated potato soup as a child. It is my understanding that she was forced to sit at the dinner table until bedtime on the nights my grandma made it for dinner because she refused to eat it. One of the reasons my mother said she didn’t like it was because she hated warm milk. That said, she will drink hot chocolate made with dried milk.

This potato soup recipe has meat and cheese. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m pretty sure I got this recipe from Misty’s Facebook Recipe group a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy this hearty soup as much as I do.

Beefy Cheese Soup
1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
3 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
4 c. cubed potatoes
1/4 c. flour
2 c. cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

In a large pot, cook beef and onion until over a medium heat. Stir in basil and parsley. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Melt butter and flour into soup. Add milk stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Notes: To make it a little healthier, I used low fat sour cream, 2 percent cheese, low sodium broth, and skim milk.

Spicy Chicken and Noodles

I think I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker email. It’s a super simple and quick recipe. The paprika gives this recipe a little bit of a kick. I also like that it uses yogurt because it is much healthier than most sauce ingredients. The sauce is a little limited on this recipe so double it if you want a more coated recipe.

Chicken and Noodles Paprika

2 c. uncooked cholesterol-free noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 c. plain fat-free yogurt
2 tsp. flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
Chopped green onion (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. Cook chicken, then slice into 1/2 inch strips. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and flour. In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, heat broth, thyme, paprika, and onion to boiling. Reduce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in yogurt mixture into broth. Stir constantly, until thickened. Add chicken back to pan to coat. Spoon over noodles and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 420 Calories. 7 g. of fat, 70 mg. cholesterol, 240 mg. sodium, 55 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber, 6 g. sugar, 37 g. protein. Recipe serves two.

Notes:

  • I make this recipe without the slices of onion.
  • I grill the chicken because it is healthier than cooking it with oil.
  • The website recommends serving this with steamed fresh broccoli.