Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, Ellie Mack, and her favorite recipe for CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS!
Julia Mathers has had bad dates, but the blind date for a New Year’s Eve party takes the cake. Derek Snow, a sexy ambitious lawyer has definite plans for his future and a relationship is the furthest thing from his mind.
From their first meeting, the fireworks fly as the embers of passion ignite into a blazing inferno. Until Derek’s ex, a fashion model has designs of her own.
As Julia works to overcome her insecurities, Derek realizes a love he can’t deny, but is he too late?
This contemporary romance takes the reader on a treacherous journey of love, betrayal, heartbreak and self-discovery.
RED WINE & ROSES
BY ELLIE MACK
Julia Mathers, the main character in Red Wine & Roses loves to bake. It reminds her of one of the few happy moments in her childhood with her mother. Baking was a bond that made her happy, and a way that she can make others happy.
Sometimes the things we love, the things that make us happy are tied to memories and emotions. For instance a man that loves baseball based on attending ballgames with his now deceased father when he was a boy, conjures the memories of those happy times with dad along with the times that his father tossed the ball in the backyard. We are funny creatures! We know that reliving those moments in our minds will never bring them back, yet the comfort of those memories stir the happy moments allowing us to go on and not slip into a deep pit of despair.
You may think I overanalyze things and I probably do, but I’ve always been one to ask why. Trust me, it drove my parents crazy.
My love for cooking and baking stems from fond memories of childhood when my grandmother lived with us. My mother and father both worked, and Grandma taught me how to cook, sew, and a whole long list of other skills. Her name was Winnie Belle but I only knew her as Grandma. Reaching the great stature of five feet tall, Grandma was a powerhouse of a woman.
She never used measuring cups, or measuring spoons other than having that one china teacup, two-inch diameter base that flared gracefully up the sides flared outward to a four and a half inch rim, with a delicate little round finger hold. It had a pink rose on it, and this was the “cup” measurement.
I have still never had any biscuits that were better than Grandma’s, not even my own. Piecrust that never failed, soups, stews, spaghetti, beef and noodles, chicken casserole and the recipe I will share today – I owe all my mad cooking skills to Grandma.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother was a good cook, but between her full-time job and lack of patience with her left-handed daughter, there were few times that she took the time to teach.
There is something deeply satisfying in “down home” cooking. I know that my family is getting good nutritious foods made from scratch. I don’t buy convenience foods very often. I make my own pizzas, my own burgers, chicken potpies, roasts – you get the picture. My kitchen is usually well stocked. Ironically, I don’t have a pantry per se, I have cabinets, a refrigerator, and a deep freeze. I guess that is a throwback to how I was raised.
It’s the old – “there is nothing in the house to eat” – thing when the hubby opens the fridge twenty times, searches the cabinets and then says – “How can we have just gone grocery shopping and there is no food in this house?” How many of us have heard that, right?
Well next time, give them this answer. “Because your personal chef buys ingredients, not prepackaged, chemical laden convenience foods to feed her family with love and care.”
If that doesn’t stop the complaining then get out a skillet, give them an apron and show them how to transform ingredients into whatever they want!
I’ll warn you though, one down side to being a great cook – we don’t go out to eat very often at all. My husband and family are spoiled with good cooking. Another down side is that it’s harder to say no to tasty food than prepackaged tasteless foods, which shows in our ample figures. My youngest is gearing up to join the air force, and has about 10 pounds to lose. The rest of us need to lose a bit more, me – a lot more.
Cooking makes me happy. Being able to take those raw ingredients – let’s use the example of the recipe I plan to share here – carrots, onions, celery, flour, chicken, and water and transform them into a rib sticking satisfying meal that elicits moans of pleasure from the partakers is somehow gut-level satisfying. In addition, there is the satisfaction of creating something marvelous from the basic ingredients.
How appetizing is raw carrots, celery, and onion, a glass of water, and a boiled chicken breast? Not very. It’s like the punishment of a harsh diet for the extra fluff on your behind. (We’ll just leave it at fluff, shall we?) BUT, take those same ingredients and transform then into chicken and dumplings – and wha-la! The entire family crowds around the table, anxious to dive into their steaming bowl of dumplings.
It’s my oldest daughters most requested meal when she comes home from college!
Ellie Mack received her BS in cartography from Southeast Missouri State University. After leaving the corporate world for the title of MOM, she has pursued her writing dreams. Nowadays Ellie charts unmapped territory through her fiction and humor writing. She lives near St. Louis with her husband of 30 years and their two teen daughters. When she’s not writing, she can be found scrapbooking, crocheting, or cooking. You can find her musings on her blog Quotidiandose. (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com)
Links to Ellie’s website, blog, books, etc.
Facebook Ellie Mack author
Pinterest- Ellie Mack
My blog- Quotidiandose
I hope you enjoy the recipe Ellie is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 221 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
For my recipe, you will need a skillet and a stock pot or dutch oven.
- 2 TBSP butter – the real stuff
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt, black pepper
- 3 stalks celery – washed, chopped ( the green tops and tender middle tops are quite tasty when chopped up for a soup of dumplings and add more taste than parsley.)
- 3 carrots – washed, peeled, and chopped
- 1 whole onion – peeled and chopped
- Spices: sage, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, parsley
- 6 cups of chicken stock or broth
IN skillet: Heat skillet on medium heat. This preheats your pan and allows for more even cooking. Pour in olive oil, swirl to coat pan evenly. Place chicken breasts in skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid to keep moist. About ten minutes then turn over and repeat. While the chicken is cooking, heat stock pot over medium high heat – butter should sizzle when you drop it in – drop 2 TBSP butter in the bottom. Sautee’ chopped veg in the butter. Cover with lid to let it steam while sauteeing and it will go faster. Stir occasionally, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender but not mushy. Add minced garlic. ( garlic burns easily, and burned garlic tastes bitter)
Chicken should be done, cut one in half to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Once cooked, remove from pan to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Pour 1 cup of broth to skillet and using wooden spoon or spatula to get the chicken goodness off the bottom of the skillet. These add amazing taste to your dish, and since we are using breast meat, which is already trimmed of fat and skin this really gives it a boost.
Pour the cup of broth with the browned bits from skillet into the veggies. Stir thoroughly. Add remaining broth and let simmer while you chop the chicken breast. (I usually chop into bite sized pieces. I occasionally have shredded, but the kiddos would often object to long shreds of meat, while chopped pieces were yummy.) Add your seasonings. I use about a half teaspoon of thyme and sage. 2 to 3 bay leaves, depending on how big the leaves are. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add about a teaspoon of chopped parsley. At this point it should taste like really good chicken noodle soup without the noodles. Yes, it’s important to taste while you go, otherwise you don’t know if you have enough salt or other seasonings.
Let chicken and veg simmer while you prepare your dumplings. Cover with a lid while they are getting to know each other in the pot!
DUMPLINGS (I often double this recipe)
3 TBSP shortening
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp parsley
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup milk
Cut shortening into dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, roll to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into one inch pieces. Drop into hot liquid. Stir dumplings into base, cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and cook for additional 10 minutes.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Ellie is giving away a paperback copy of her novel RED WINE & ROSES and two wine charms to a (U.S. ONLY) reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog. If the winner is outside U.S., the giveaway is a digital or PDF copy of RED WINE & ROSES. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Ellie, for sharing your story and recipe with us!