Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Chicken and Cheesy Dumplings

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Food seems to be getting more expensive with each week that passes.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to feed a family well, and still stay within a budget.   It's ironic that the things which are the healthiest are the things which cost the most in the shops and it's the stuff which is loaded in sugar, fat and calories that are the cheapest.

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Walk down the aisles in any grocery shop and you will see what I mean.   There's lots on offer for a pound, but it's all sausage rolls (mostly fatty pastry and cheap fatty sausage, and not much of that!)  jumbo packets of crisps, candy bars, cakes filled with chemicals and artificial flavours, etc.  It's the same in the frozen food section . . . lots of ice cream bars and chips on offer, pizzas, but not a lot that is healthy really.  The last time I bought some apples, I paid more than 50p per apple and that's the truth!

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Another thing I have noticed of late is that sizes are getting smaller.  They may be charging the same prices for certain things . . . but the tins are smaller, etc.  Oh . . .  and don't get me started on toilet paper.   Have you noticed how big around the paper tube in the middle has gotten?  It looks the same from the outside of the roll, but with the inner tube having doubled in size, you are only getting half the amount of loo-roll these days.

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I was recently challenged to create a meal for a family of four for less than a fiver. It wasn't easy but I managed to do it and I think I did it very well, if I don't say so myself.   I created a simple dish of Chicken with Cheesy Dumplings, which I think is relatively low in fat, with lots of veg, and a goodly amount of chicken.

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I had gotten a package of chicken breasts, with two nice sized ones in the pack, for £3.   I cut them into strips and ended up with a nice little pile of chicken.   With a bit of veg and a bit of stock, I created a tasty chicken stew chock full of flavour, with peas and carrots and onions.

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I then topped this delicious stew with some fluffy dumplings, which I added a bit of cheese to for a bit of extra flavour.  The end result was a very delicious meal for four, made from scratch, and coming in at less than a fiver.  You could add some mashed potatoes to make it even more filling if you wished.  We both  liked this.  It really was quite good and fed us for two meals.

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*Chicken and Cheesy Dumplings*
Serves 4 
Printable Recipe 

Cheap and cheerful.  Who doesn't like chicken and dumplings.  If you buy your chicken breasts on sale and freeze them individually, you can bring this delicious entrée in for less than a fiver.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 TBS cooking oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried sage
2 TBS plain flour
428ml chicken stock  (use a stock cube and equivalent in water, 14 1/2 ounces)
225ml water (separate from above, 1 cup)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
150g frozen peas (1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
For the dumplings:
200g of plain flour (2 cups)
4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 TBS white vegetable fat
2 ounces grated strong cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
180ml of milk (3/4 cup, you may not need it all)   

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Season the chicken pieces with the salt and black pepper.  Heat the oil in a large skillet which has a tight fitting lid.  Add the chicken.  Cook and stir until almost cooked through.   Add the carrots and onions.  Cook and stir for a few minutes, then add the stock, parsley and sage.  Cover tightly and cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the frozen peas.  Bring back to the boil, then reduce, cover and simmer for a further few more minutes, until the carrots are tender and the chicken is cooked through.  Shake the flour in a jar with the additional water.   Pour this into the chicken mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required.  

While the chicken is cooking make the dumplings.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  Drop in the vegetable fat and rub it in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.   Stir in the cheese and the milk to make a soft dough that easily drops from a spoon.  

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Using a tablespoon, drop the dumpling dough over top of the hot bubbling chicken mixture in dollops.  Cover tightly with the lid and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the dumplings are well puffed up and look dry on top and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Don't be tempted to peek ahead of time.  Divide the chicken stew and dumplings between four heated plates and serve hot.  



9 comments:

  1. I noticed things are getting smaller to, and I'm with you on the loo rolls too, definitely getting smaller, and I agree it is the fatty sugary stuff which is cheaper, then the powers that be complain we are getting fatter - no don't get me started either!
    I have never thought of putting cheese in the dumpling, I will try that

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  2. It is sad that you speak the truth. Yes things disappear and then reappear in smaller packs etc. As for the loo roll ours is narrower too!

    I would love to try this recipe. Only two of the five of us will eat chicken stew.

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  3. It gives them a nice flavour KC! Makes it that extra bit more special!

    Suze, I first noticed it when I bought a tin of celebrations for Christmas last year. Same price as the year before, but I save my tins to store cakes in and when I got it home and compared it with the one from the year before, it was 125g less in weight and about an inch shorter in height.

    I hate being lied to.

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  4. This stew look really delicious Marie!
    Love dumplings!

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  5. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I believe I'll try this one tonight!
    xoxo
    Dorothy

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  7. Hi Dorothy! I think you will enjoy it! xoxo

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