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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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

CHICKEN-ZUCCHINI-CANNELLINI BEAN MEDLEY

I’m not big on zucchini unless it’s breaded, fried, and bad news for my waistline, but it was a wonderful addition to this tasty dish. And then there was the cannellini beans and spinach. Many thumbs up!

Chicken Zucchini Cannellini Bean Medley1

Chicken Zucchini Cannellini Bean Medley2

1 tbsp olive oil

4 bone-in chicken thighs

2 cups coarsely chopped red onion

1 peeled and coarsely chopped zucchini

1 cup red bell pepper, sliced

1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1-1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used marinara)

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken and brown 2-3 minutes each side; transfer chicken to plate and keep warm

2) Add onion to skillet and, stirring often, cook 5 minutes; reduce heat to medium and stir in zucchini, red bell pepper, cannellini beans, and spinach and cook 3 minutes; stir in pasta sauce, wine, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

3) Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over pieces; reduce heat to low and cover skillet with lid; cook 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through; serve chicken smothered in sauce and spinkled with Parmesan

Servings: 4