Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Miracle of Self-Rising Flour

For pancakes and dumplings I used Bisquick for the longest time. Until I discovered self-rising flour. I bought some to make some cheddar drop biscuits like you get at Red Lobster. Then I had this huge bag of flour to use.

Cheddar Biscuits
1 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c cheddar
1/2 cup milk (you may need to add more depending on consistency)
2 Tbsp Mayo

Mix batter until combined. Add cheese and mayo and incorporate mixing a few times. Place tablespoon sized biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. (or in a muffin tin)
bake at 425 for 17-20 minutes.

Since it's cold here in Wisconsin there is nothing better than coming home to some good old fashioned Chicken Dumpling soup. My Grandmother was such a good cook. She would let me be in the kitchen with her but never passed on her recipes to me. Over the years through trial and error I developed my own soup recipes. One ingredient I use a lot is this soup base pictured below. I use it in soups and sometimes even rice, also to make quick chicken gravies.

Grandma's Chicken Dumpling Soup

2 carrots chopped into circles
2 celery stalks sliced down the middle and chopped
1 whole onion (I love onions but my family hates them so it's cooks treat)
2 Quarts water
1 large container of Swanson's chicken broth
1 tsp salt
2 bone in chicken breasts or two boneless ones if you have them
2 TBSP chicken soup base
1 tsp dried thyme and oregano

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
3 TBSP chicken fat (if you ever fry off chicken in a pan save some of the fat and freeze it in a Ziploc)
(note: I have made them without the chicken fat and they taste yummy too)

In a large stock pot boil water, thyme, oregano, chicken stock, onion, celery, and bone in chicken breasts for 1/2 or 1 hour til chicken is falling off the bone and no longer pink. Remove chicken and bones and separate. Add carrots and soup base and salt.  You can add more of the soup base to taste. Continue simmering on medium heat until carrots are fork tender (approx. 10-15 minutes) You may also add diced potatoes at this time if you wish.  If you are using bone in chicken you may have to skim fat off the top of your soup several times. If using boneless chicken breasts dice into large cubes and add back to pot.

Prepare dumplings by adding the self-rising flour, milk, and chicken fat if you have it. Mix til combined. Drop tablespoon sized spoonfuls of the dumplings on top of the soup. It should make around 20 dumplings. Cover pot with a lid. (No peeking) Let dumplings cook for 15 minutes.

Note: I have also made this in a crock pot. You just combine all the ingredients except for the soup base. May be cooked on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Remove the chicken and dice and add the chicken soup base. You have to make the dumplings in this case on the stovetop removing some of the stock from the soup following the same method as the normal soup but you can eat in 15 minutes. Serve.

Uncover soup and test one of the dumplings to make sure they are light and fluffy on the inside. Fight with your family over the dumplings like we do and enjoy!

Also on the agenda today is something my Diser friends will like. I know Christmas is over but my hubby found me some Mickey Gingerbread Snowmen cookie cutouts on clearnace at Walgreens. I am going to make them with a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade recipe for gingerbread. I will post how they turn out.

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