Lately, I have had so many people ask where I have been and when I am going to get some new recipes up.... I have several to blog....it's just finding the time to blog it!
There is always SO much going on around here! The people that constantly tell you, "it gets easier," are wrong. The truth is, it gets different. Some things get easier, and then they are replaced by things that are just as tough. Developing personalities, girls, the struggle for an appropriate amount of independence, girls, teaching them responsibility, girls, guiding them on how to make good choices, girls, girls, girls...haha. I don't think parenting ever really gets easier, it's the toughest, but most important, precious thing in life. You never know if you are making a good choice or not...and you won't really know until they are much, much older. Such is true for all good parents. But, if you give them as much as you can...I guess that's the best you can do! So, lately we have really simplified a lot of our meals in order to maximize our time!
Two huge ways we have done this...The Crock-Pot and the Omelette.
These chilly temps....chilly for Wilmington, NC at least...have had my slow-cooker working overtime! In the last few days, I have made Chili, Broccoli Chicken Cheddar Stew, Seafood Florentine Chowder and now Chicken and Dumplings! All recipes are coming soon! They all make huge amounts....so that there are lots of leftovers to send the hubs for lunch on these cold days, for a quick on-hand dinner, and even for freezing for later! Awesome time saver and belly warming!
The Omelette bar! I have been chopping a bunch of onions, peppers, mushrooms, fresh herbs and keeping those all ready to go! I keep a ton of egg whites,tomatoes, spinach and chicken sausage...whatever you like in your omelette! It's a quick, easy way to make a healthy meal with very little effort...and they are SOOOO good! You can get a giant serving of veggies in there too! I wilt almost a whole container of spinach for mine! Yum!
Chicken and "Dumplings"
This is definitely a Dump Meal...all you do is dump everything in! The true shortcut here is all the frozen veggies, which are awesome because they don't have the sodium that canned stuff does! And you don't eve have to open the can! It's the simple stuff, right!? And of course, the No Yolks! They aren't homemade dumplings like my Dad has always made, but they plump up nicely and thicken the stew without having to add any flour!
What you need...
1 whole chicken - I usually get the Organic Whole, cut-up chicken bc it's cheaper or 5 breasts
5 cups water
1 cup half & half or whole milk
1 bag frozen peas
1 bag frozen carrots
1/2 bag frozen chopped onions
4 cloves garlic chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped or 1/2 tsp celery salt
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper or more (I love pepper lol)
1 bag of No Yolks Dumplings or Broad Noodles (I have also used the Banza Chickpea Pasta, just reduce your cook time to ~2.5 hours. They break down a little more than the No Yolks, but are just as good!)
Rinse the chicken and place it all into the bottom of the crock-pot. Cover, turn to high and cook for 3-4 hours. Remove chicken from crock-pot to rest on a plate for a few minutes, until it's just barely cool enough to remove the skin and pull the meat. (You should have a good couple of inches of nice broth in the crock-pot just from the chicken!) While it rests, add in the water, half and half, carrots, peas, onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the bay leaves and thyme together and drop into the stew.
*You can use 4-5 chicken breasts in place of the whole chicken, and just add 16 oz. container of low sodium/salt free chicken broth.
Remove the skin from the chicken and carefully pull the meat, discarding the bones, skin and any gristle. You need to pull it while it's still warm to get the most meat and for it to shred easily. Once I have all the meat, I just shred it by hand right over the crock-pot. It doesn't need to be super shredded, since it will do that on it's own as it cooks. It should be very easy to rub between your fingers and shred anyway! After you have added the meat, dump in the noodles, stir well to combine and turn to low heat. Allow to cook for about 4 hours, stirring about halfway through! Remove bay leaves and thyme stems and serve it up hot!
This makes a ton! It's super thick and hearty! And it reheats so easy! I served it to my kids in a mug and it was a huge hit!!!
*All crock-pots cook different. If you find that it is getting too thick, just add more water, 1/2 a cup at a time, or even more half & half for a creamier stew! Salt and pepper to taste as you add more liquid!