Leftover Chicken and Dumplings

Monday was a super busy day. Chris and I both had lots of errands and stuff around the house to do.  I had to tutor at 6:30 and didn’t even think about dinner until about 4:45 when I realized that Bitsy was going to want dinner at 5:30 and I had no plan!

For a few minutes I did the classic kitchen shuffle.  Freezer..fridge…pantry…repeat. Waiting for inspiration to strike.  We had been working hard all day, and it was a crisp early fall day.  I wanted something hearty and delicious. But, I needed something that was relatively quick and didn’t make too much of a mess as I was going out shortly after dinner.

I remembered this amazing Ina Garten recipe I made when Chris and I were dating. It was so good but, as with many of Ina’s recipes, time consuming.   It seemed to take HOURS the last time I made it and that just was not going to happen.

I threw together a bunch of stuff we had on hand and made a pretty darn good replica of Ina’s recipe in time for Bitsy’s dinner time at 5:30. I made it up as I went, so this is not super detailed but here is an approximation.

I did all of this in a deep skillet with a lid, starting on the stove and finishing off in the oven.

First off, preheat your oven to 375*.

Over medium heat, saute a chopped onion in olive oil and a little butter.  While the onions are cooking, partially cook 1-2 potatoes in the microwave (the dish won’t cook long enough to cook them through if you put them in completely raw).

Add thin sliced carrots to the onions and cover so they soften.

We had a leftover roasted chicken on hand.  I cut up everything that was left on it and added it to the skillet.  We also had a ton of leftover veggies that I added.  I did green beans, butternut squash and a little bit of corn.  Peas would work well too, really whatever you have on hand.  When the potatoes finished I rough chopped them into bite sized pieces and added them to the skillet.

Once all of the veggies were in the skillet, I added salt and pepper, skim milk, and some cornstarch to make a sort of gravy-sauce for everything.  We didn’t have any gluten free gravy in the house, but if you do or if you don’t have to eat GF it would be even quicker to just add a little chicken gravy to the skillet.

I just let the whole thing simmer for a couple of minutes while I mixed up dumplings (or maybe they were biscuits?, I don’t know). Again, I didn’t measure here.  But it was about 1.5c of GF flour (or regular if you’re not GF), 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsps baking soda, an egg, 2 tbsps COLD butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in the KitchenAid until combined.  I slowly added cold milk until it was the right consistency to form into balls.  I made it into 5 balls that I smooshed a little bit and added to the skillet.

I put the whole skillet, uncovered, in the oven until the dumpling/biscuits were golden brown. About 10-15 minutes. Then I served it straight from the same skillet.  10603796_10101043462828937_5981130105168110367_n

It was a HUGE hit! I was very pleasantly surprised.  It was more than enough for the 3 of us plus lunches for Chris at work the next couple days.  This may become a staple in our house!

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On Going Gluten Free

Today marks 9 months since I completely cut out gluten!

What was meant to be a quick experiment to avoid a new medication turned into quite the lifestyle change for our family.  Long story short, I was sick throughout most of my pregnancy with Bitsy. Everyone chalked it up to the fact that I was pregnant.  After Bitsy was born, instead of getting better, I got worse.  I went through months of appointments with specialists, none of whom could provide any answers or relief.  My good friend Cameron is a dietician.  One day, she suggested I eliminate gluten for a week to see if any of my symptoms improved.  

Within days of cutting gluten completely out of my diet, I started to feel better.  WIthin weeks, all of my symptoms had improved. Now, 9 months later, all of my symptoms are better.  I had been constantly weak and fatigued, suffering from frequent migraines and joint pain, and worst of all, terrible GI symptoms.  Except for 2 instances when I accidentally “glutened” myself, I have not had any of these symptoms since December!  

I have been very fortunate to have some great resources at my fingertips to help me with this transition.  

My friend Amanda has been gluten free for years.  She has a great blog, and has written tips about gluten and being gluten free here

Amanda also told me about a great app to use when shopping.  The ShopWell App has a scanning function where you can scan barcodes right in the store.  When setting up the app you program any food restrictions you have.  The app isn’t just for gluten, so it is handy for anyone who has family members with allergies or sensitivities.  This App was a real game changer for Chris and I.  If we were unsure about a product, we used to spend so much time googling to figure out if it contained gluten.  Now all we have to do is scan the barcode!  

A nurse at my primary care doctor’s office was psyched to hear how much better I was doing sans gluten.  She recommended reading Wheat Belly.  I was so glad that I did.  In the book, Dr. Davis does a great job of making medical issues easy to understand and digest (pun intended).  Wheat Belly explains why more people are developing wheat/gluten intolerances and how eating wheat and gluten effect our body systems.  It’s a great read, if you’ve ever considered going gluten free I’d recommend it!  

It’s important to note that while going gluten free is trendy right now, it is NOT a weight loss plan.  When I decided to cut out gluten, I spoke about it at length with my primary care doctor.  While I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac, my doctor definitely thinks I have a sensitivity to all things gluten.  Symptoms that I have had for years, are gone now.  I am nine months into this change, and I plan on keeping it up for a while!