Chicken and Dumpling Soup!!!

If you love chicken and dumplings, this soup will become a favorite!!!   This is a soup, not our recipe for actual chicken and dumplings, so it is a bit different and I do give you some shortcuts on this!!!   Here is what you will need:

4 large, bone in chicken breasts with skin
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced or an 8 oz. bag of baby carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced thin
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
3 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
tsp. curry powder (optional)
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1  (10 3/4 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
1  (16.3 oz.) can of refrigerated biscuits (the Grands work well)

Place the chicken,  vegetables, broth, water, butter, spices, ranch dressing mix and cream of chicken soup in a Dutch oven or large stock or soup pot!  The curry powder is very optional in this, because I know not everyone loves curry, but we do so I add it.  It's wonderful when you have colds and such for opening up the airways.  Feel free to leave it out and it's still delicious.  The ranch dressing mix gives this soup a wonderful flavor also!  Don't leave that out!!  

 Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for about an hour and a half or two hours.  Remove the chicken and place on a plate to cool.  Once it's cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred it with a fork.   Return it to the soup pot.  

I used canned biscuits in this to make it quicker and easier, but if you want from scratch dumplings, you can go to my recipe for Mama's Chicken and Dumplings and make those instead which is what I actually do most of the time!  

If you are using the canned biscuits, roll or press each one on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut in half inch strips.   A pizza cutter works great for this!   Bring the soup up to a low boil and drop the dough in.  Stir just slightly to make sure it doesn't stick together.   Once they are all dropped, lower the heat to simmer and cover for about 20 minutes to finish cooking.  Stir occasionally so the dumplings don't stick together.   Then it's ready to serve!!!  

Chicken and Dumpling Soup!!! 

Hot Dog Chili Sauce!!!

Sometime there is nothing better than a good chili dog!  However, I find the canned chili dog sauces available to be lacking for the most part.   That is why I usually make my own.  It's so easy and tastes so much better.  This sauce can be doubled and then froze for future use also which is nice.  Here is what you need:

1 lb. ground chuck or ground beef
1 small sweet onion, diced fine
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1  (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbs. brown sugar
dash of hot sauce to taste
1 (15 oz.) can chili beans (optional)

Brown the ground chuck along with the diced onion in a skillet.  Drain excess grease.  Add the seasonings, tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and hot sauce.   Mix well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  If you are adding the beans add them now.  Beans are optional.  Some people like a plain, beanless hot dog chili.  We like the beans in it so I add them.  Leave this uncovered and simmer until it thickens up, then it's ready to use.   

This sauce is great on hot dogs, brats, smoked sausages, whatever.  I also use it on nachos, baked potatoes, tater tots, and chili cheese fries!   It's very versatile.  

Christmas Crack!

I don't usually name any of my recipes anything with 'crack' in the name, just because the internet and Pinterest is full of crack this and crack that.  It's been highly overused.   However, this name just fits this to a tee, because of the highly addictive nature of it!!!  This is the second batch I have made already this season and I haven't even taken it to anyone yet!    It's also so easy you won't believe.  Here is what you need:

14 cinnamon graham crackers
1 cup butter  (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips (you can use chocolate also)
1 cup M&M candies (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or nonstick foil.  Lay the graham crackers end to end on the sheet.
 Place the butter, brown sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan.   Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla flavoring and nuts.    Pour evenly over the graham crackers.   Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Remove and sprinkle with the white chocolate chips and M&M's.   You can use whatever toppings you like here.  Mini chocolate chips are good or even crushed peppermints works for a little twist!!!   Cool in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then break in pieces.   You can break this in irregular pieces or us a pizza cutter and cut along the broken lines of the crackers to make squares!!!  This is delicious and it disappears fast!!!  

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