CHICKEN-BISCUIT BAKE

Wonderful winter fare! The bacon in this dish adds a nice note to the chicken, peas, and carrots, and who can resist biscuits (in this case, the ultra-convenient Pillsbury)? Thumbs up again 🙂

Chicken Bacon Bake

6 slices bacon, chopped

1 large red onion, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

6 tbsp butter

6 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup half-and-half

3 tbsp sherry (yes, I used cooking sherry)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 can biscuits (I used Pillsbury 8-count Flaky Layers)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease large baking dish

2) In large skillet over medium-high, cook bacon 5-6 minutes until crispy; add onions, carrots, and celery and cook 5 minutes until veggies soften; remove from heat

3) Evenly spread chicken over bottom of baking dish, followed by cooked veggies and peas; set aside

4) In same large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; whisk in flour and cook 1 minute; gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook 4-5 minutes, whisking often, until sauce thickens; whisk in half-and-half and, whisking often, cook 3 minutes; whisk in sherry and nutmeg and remove from heat

5) Pour sauce over chicken-veggie mixture; separate biscuits horizontally into 2 layers and arrange on top of chicken-veggie mixture (I used 5 of the 8 biscuits and also halved them vertically); bake in oven 20 minutes until filling bubbles and biscuits are browned; remove from oven and serve; yum!

Servings: 6

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CHEATER’S CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

And now for some comfort food–not that Buttermilk Hummingbird Cake wasn’t comforting. In fact, it was too comforting (ask my scales). So why “cheater’s”? Because this recipe is easier than it has a right to be. There’s just no way it should taste this good using so many frozen and canned ready-at-hand ingredients. But it does.

Cheater's Chicken & Dumplings

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup diced onions (I used frozen–see, easy)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1-1/2 cups milk

1-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups sliced carrots (1/4″ thick pieces)

2-12.5 oz cans chicken breast, undrained

1 cup frozen peas (easy peas-y)

1-12 oz can refrigerator biscuits

1/8 cup coarsely chopped parsley (optional)

1) Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat, add onions, and cook 5-7 minutes until softened

2) Reduce heat to medium; add both cans cream of chicken soup, milk, and water; stir to combine; add carrots and both cans chicken breast with liquid; cook 10 minutes

3) Add frozen peas and stir; cut each biscuit into 8 small wedges (I use kitchen scissors) and add to soup; stir gently, lower heat to medium-low, cover with lid; stirring occasionally, cook soup 15 minutes or until biscuit dumplings are cooked through

4) Serve with a scattering of parsley

Servings: 6

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/17/12

CHICKEN AND BUTTERMILK DUMPLINGS

Yes, I squeezed in another soup-y meal before the hot weather hits hard–and this is one of my favorites: Chicken and (Buttermilk) Dumplings! Note: Because I adore dumplings (that’s mom’s Southern belle coming out in me), I went a bit overboard with these tasty lumps of biscuit, so you may want to cut back a little. Your call.

Chicken and Buttermilk Dumplings

SOUP:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1-1/2 lb chicken breasts, sliced thin and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dry thyme

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 tbsp chopped parsley

DUMPLINGS (Note: makes a load of dumplings):

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add oil and butter and melt; add onions, carrots, and celery and, stirring often, cook 10 minutes until vegetables soften; stir in chicken and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes until chicken cooks through

2) Reduce heat to low and add bay leaf, thyme, and pepper; sprinkle flour over top and, stirring continuously, cook 2-3 minutes; stir in chicken broth and cream (Note: unless you like mushy peas, hold off on them); stirring occasionally, cook 15 minutes

3) Meanwhile, in medium-sized bowl lightly beat eggs, buttermilk, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir in flour until dough comes together (will be quite moist)

4) Stir peas into soup mixture, then drop dough by tablespoonfuls on top of soup; cover pot with lid and cook 5 minutes; gently turn dumplings and cook 5-10 minutes longer until dumplings are firm and cooked through; remove from heat, pluck out bay leaf and toss; sprinkle with parsley and serve

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized bowls