One of my favorite comfort foods is chicken and dumplings. So it really annoys me when I make it and it sucks. Even more so when it’s cold and rainy/snowy/sleety (Hi, welcome to the first day of spring in New England) and I really would have appreciated the leftovers.

I had it down when I was in law school. I’d found a recipe online to start with, made my required modifications (no real onions – only dried minced or powder; only potatoes and carrots allowed), and it used to be awesome. Now, no matter what I use, no matter how I make it, I just can’t get it to turn out how it used to. Some thoughts on this:

  • lack of proper seasoning. For some reason, seasoning didn’t even dawn on me until just before I put the dumplings in. So I had to make do with what I had. Part of the problem here is that I don’t remember what herbs I used to use, and I haven’t been able to find that same recipe again (I had been positive it was, but I’ve done multiple searches to no avail).
  • Shortcut chicken. I didn’t start with a fresh chicken, simmered with the potatoes and carrots. I cooked the vegetables in packaged chicken broth (extra water and bouillon added) and then added leftover cooked chicken that I’d had in the freezer.
  • Chicken breasts. I ended up using all breast meat. I originally typed in more commentary here, but it would have resulted in multiple replies of “That’s what she said!”
  • too much liquid/not enough dumplings. I like a lot of dumplings. I’d say my preferred ratio is more dumpling than stew. Lack of enough dumpling also meant not enough liquid soaked up. Fail whale.
  • Heart Smart Bisquick. Yes, despite my general distaste of mixes, I use Bisquick for dumplings. I am incredibly tactile and I can’t stand any kind of goo/gunk on my palms, between my fingers, or under my fingernails (this is why I do not make cut-outs or my own pie crusts, or knead pizza/bread dough by hand). Bisquick makes things a lot easier, both on my idiosyncrasies and the clean-up. Regular Bisquick makes a great dumpling.  They used to make Reduced Fat Bisquick, which also made a pretty good dumpling. Then they changed it to Heart Smart Bisquick, and it sucks (I don’t like the pancakes it makes, either). Flavor and texture is just all wrong.

I will be honest – the chicken thighs I did in the slow cooker last month did end up also being chicken and dumplings, and it was decent. But still off.

At least the homemade croutons I did worked out (I had a huge Ziploc of Italian bread heels stashed in the freezer, waiting to become croutons and/or bread pudding). Tossed the bread cubes with melted butter, olive oil, dried basil, oregano, and garlic powder; baked at 400 for about 12 minutes.


I had been planning on running some errands today, but this weather has me not wanting to leave the house (trying to run errands in the rain while depending upon public transportation is a huge pain in the ass). So I’m just sitting here, alternating between shopping online for a new desk chair and wandering into the living room and watching season 1 Lost (for the third time) on Netflix.

BTW – in case anyone was wondering, doesn’t exist. Of course I checked. But maybe now I’ll have to switch to season 4 of The West Wing.