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!

Lentil and Quinoa Chili for a Lenten Supper

It’s Lent and we are Catholic.  That means no meat on Fridays.  I’ve got gluten and wheat sensitivity, so that adds another level of complication. Oh, and we’re broke so we can’t really afford fancy fish.  I have been totally stuck about what to cook for dinner on Fridays.  I have been wanting to try quinoa and had seen some quinoa chili recipes so I decided to try that last night.

I didn’t have a ton of time (or energy) because I had worked in the office all day and then I went straight to tutoring.  I didn’t want to buy a ton of new ingredients, so I made it work with what we had.  I was also trying to make it friendly to Bitsy, so it’s not quite as spicy as I would normally make it.  

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Here is the recipe:

Ingredients (is it weird that we have all of this stuff on hand?):

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup regular lentils
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (I only had Italian spiced ones on hand, I would’ve preferred to use plain)
  • 2 shredded carrots (I peel them and run them through my food processor)
  • Tomato paste
  • Chili powder (to taste)
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package.  This was my first experience cooking it; it’s very similar to cooking rice.  I didn’t have any broth on hand, but if I did I think that would have made it a bit better.

While the quinoa is cooking, rinse the lentils really well.  Put them in a saucepan with 4ish cups of salted water.  Bring it to a boil and let them cook for about 20 minutes (really just while you are doing all of the other prep).

Drizzle the bottom of a large stock pot with a generous amount of olive oil and turn it to medium heat.  Add the green and red peppers and the onion to the oil.  When the onions are almost translucent add the garlic.  Be careful not to burn the garlic…burnt garlic is so gross!

When the peppers are soft and the onions are cooked through, add the beans, carrots and the tomatoes.

By this point, the quinoa and the lentils are probably cooked.  Add the quinoa to the vegetables.  Drain the lentils and add them to the vegetables as well.

Add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a cup of water, chili powder, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper and mix it well.

Turn the heat down and let it simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off.

We served it with shredded cheddar, tortilla chips and hot sauce.  If you skipped the cheese it would be vegan!

Again, I was pressed for time so didn’t really get to let it simmer for long.  Ideally, I think it would be great to simmer for a while to really let the flavors blend.  If I wasn’t cooking for the baby, I probably would have added a jalapeno as well to give it more spice.  The carrots are not really necessary.  I add them to sneak in more veggies and bulk it up.  The carrots also cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes.

I couldn’t believe what a hit this was!  Bitsy had 3 helpings!   Chris loved it and said it was even better when he reheated it for lunch today.