Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crockpot Tex-Mex Chicken & Dumplings

I found this recipe on Homesick Texan's recipe blog, then read it later yesterday on Let's Dish's blog. They were both making standard Tex-Mex chicken and dumplings, but today is cold and misty, and I need to use the crock-pot. So I'm converting it and hoping for the best =). '

UPDATE: The chicken and soupy part was fab- my dumplings didn't turn out so well. I'll add pics though and you can maybe see where I went wrong!?

Tex-Mex chicken and dumplings
For the chicken:
2.5 lbs chicken breast (or 1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs... I dislike deboning!)
16 cups of water (1 gallon)
1 onion
9 cloves of garlic, divided
2 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
4 celery stalks, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1 stem of cilantro (optional) plus 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
1 can of Ro-Tel
2 jalapenos, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup of cream
Salt, black pepper, cayenne and cumin to taste

For the cornmeal dumplings:
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 tablespoons of minced cilantro

If using a whole chicken, clean and rinse your chicken and place in crock pot. Add water, onion, 8 cloves of garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves and whole cilantro stem. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 3-6 hours (until chicken is cooked through, depending on your crock), occasionally skimming the foamy scum off the surface.

Remove chicken from pot. After it’s cooled, either shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.

Strain broth and throw out the vegetables as they’ve done their duty. If you've used a whole chicken, you need to remove the fat from the broth. If you don’t have a preferred way of getting rid of the fat or lack a gravy separator, you can try the plastic bag method. Take a quart-sized plastic storage bag, pour some broth into it. You will see the fat rise to the top. Snip a bottom corner of the bag and drain the broth, stopping when you get to the fat layer. (You will probably have to do this in batches).

If you used chicken breast (boneless skinless) place the broth back into the crock pot and add the shredded chicken and lime juice. In a blender, add the can of Ro-Tel, sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro and garlic and blend. Add puree to the pot.

**I have a hand-held blender, so I put the broth back in the crock, add the
Ro-Tel, sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro and garlic- and blend it right in the crock-pot before I put the chicken and lime juice in.
Now add the cream. Add salt, black pepper, cayenne and cumin to taste. Leave the crock-pot on high and bring back to boiling. While the soup is coming to a boil, make the cornmeal dumplings.

Sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the milk with the eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter, cilantro and jalapenos.

When soup is boiling, turn crock down to low and gently drop the dumpling batter into the pot, one tablespoon or so at a time. Do not stir. Place lid on top and steam dumplings for 20 minutes.

Ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls and sprinkle cilantro and cheese on top. Serves six to eight. There's a good chance ours will also have sour cream on top (I'm just sayin').

This, my friends, is my plan for dinner tonight. If you aren't into making your own broth, you may skip the part with the carrots and onions, and put the chicken and a large box of chicken broth in the crock-pot and cook until the chicken is cooked through. I just dislike purchasing chicken broth when I can make it myself and the chicken has to be cooked anyway.... =) I'll post pictures and hubby's response later!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

B's Chocolate Chip Cookies (and Pan Cookie Conversion)

So AceBall spent a few years tweaking his chocolate chip cookie recipe, until he felt it was "the perfect cookie". I can't complain- I eat 'em hot, I eat 'em cold (the day after is THE BEST!) and pretty much any time of the day or night. I have been using the tollhouse pan cookie recipe straight off their site, but it always tastes too salty for some reason!? So I decided to use B's recipe and and see if it was any better. It was! Here it is, the ingredients are the same whether making traditional or pan cookies, just the baking instructions change a little so after you get it all mixed up you have to decide which kind you want ;o).

2 ¼  c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
2 c. chocolate chips

B creams together butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla in the Bosch (note the extra vanilla- we kind of love it here, so we use extra in most recipes!). Then mix in dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda) until it's all well blended. B doesn't bother to mix dry ingredients separately- and truthfully I never do either. Add the chocolate chips last- we've been using 60% cocoa ghiardelli chips from Sam's Club- they're FABULOUS. But they're "dark"- so if you don't like bitter sweet or slightly stronger than semi-sweet- you may of course use milk chocolate (ugh- I think I just threw up in the back of my throat at the thought of it). But I digress.

For traditional cookies, bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes. We like our cookies soft here- we are not fans of Chip's Ahoy. For pan cookies spread it in the pan, bake at 325° for 10 minutes, then 350° for 13 minutes. B reckons you could just bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or so, but we didn't try that way. He baked them first for 10 minutes at 325°, then another 10 minutes at 350°. They weren't done yet so he added another 3 minutes.

Then let 'em cool a bit and cut those bad boys up! They're so good I can't hardly stand it- and nearly put myself into a diabetic coma tonight eating them. I had TWO WHOLE COOKIES- and for someone with a gastric bypass, even with the 1/2 c of splenda- it's so NOT a good thing. But they sure are tasty.....

One of my best girlfriends in the whole wide world (KATIE) has a fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipe as well- I have it written down in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook on a scrap of paper. I'll have to post hers as well in a bit....
Happiness on a Cheri Blum plate.....