Oh man is this good comfort food. On a Friday night after a long week with a cold, this was just what I was hoping for: warm, wholesome stew topped with fluffy-chewy dumplings. F gave the chicken and dumplings a “this is really good” rating and has already requested that I make the dish again, just a few weeks later.
Chicken and dumplings is (are?) actually pretty healthy for comfort food. Veggies, chicken, and stock make up the stew part, and dumplings are just delicious — I don’t really care what’s in them. I was inspired to try my hand at this dish when I remembered that one of my housemates from senior year of college would sometimes make chicken and dumplings. It didn’t seem that difficult (it’s not) and doesn’t require any out-of-the-ordinary ingredients — you probably have almost all of them in your house already.
3 chicken thighs OR boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tsp butter or olive oil, or a combination of both
to taste: salt & pepper
4-6 cups chicken stock
1/4 celery root, chopped finely OR 2-3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2″ pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 onions, roughly chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1.25 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 cups all-purpose or cake flour (I used AP, but Simply Recipes says cake flour makes fluffier dumplings)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 – 1 cup milk
optional: 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer.
In a large pot, heat the butter/olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it with some salt, then brown the chicken pieces in the pot on both sides (start them skin-down, if using thighs). Remove the chicken from the pot and turn the heat off.
Get rid of the chicken skins and pop the chicken into the simmering stock. Cook for ~20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When it is ready, take the chicken out of the stock and set aside until cool enough to shred into pieces.
Moving back to the large pot, turn the heat on to medium-high. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme. Sauté the vegetables until they’re soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken stock by ladleful to the flour-vegetable mixture, stirring well after each addition. The broth should eventually come together nicely. Add the chicken meat, peas, and parsley to the pot. Turn up the heat and let simmer while you make the dumplings.
While the stew simmers, make dumplings: whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the chopped herbs, if using. Pour in the melted butter and milk, then mix with a wooden spoon until everything just comes together (don’t over-mix).
Drop large spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the stew (they’ll float on top). Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, ~15 minutes (do not uncover the pot during this time!).
Roasted parsnip and cauliflower soup is perfect for a quick mid-week dinner. It’s warming, filling, and healthy — plus, it comes together in about an hour. It can serve as a full meal on its own but it also tastes great along with some German sausages and a good baguette.
I adapted this soup from Spoon Fork Bacon; my changes mostly included ingredient ratios, like adding another parsnip and increasing the garlic, cumin, stock, and sour cream (when in doubt, add more spices). The sweet, earthy parsnip flavor dominates the dish in a wonderful way, and sour cream adds a pleasant tang to the final product.
1/4 – 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I go light on this because I’m sensitive to it; feel free to add more to your taste)
to taste: salt & pepper
3-5 cups vegetable stock (start with 3 cups and as more once you start pureeing)
1/3 – 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Combine the cauliflower, parsnips, shallots, garlic cloves, thyme, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a large baking dish and toss until the vegetables are coated with olive oil and spices. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are soft enough to puree.
Just before the vegetables are done, bring stock to simmer in a medium pot.
Add everything from the roast vegetable pan to the stock. Puree with an immersion blender or in a blender covered with a towel, adding more stock or water as necessary.
Stir in the sour cream and bring to a simmer, then serve with more fresh thyme and sour cream.
I’ve recently realized that a lot of Indian food is actually quick and easy to make. This chana and cauliflower masala is another Indian dish adapted from frugal feeding; at least two more of his Indian recipes are on my list to try.
monochrome but delicious
“Chana” means “chickpeas” in Hindustani, so this is a vegetarian stew-like dish made with chickpeas — I added cauliflower for even more health and texture. The dish has a nice spice profile and is great for a quick, warming Friday or other weeknight dinner. It’s also easy to double the recipe for more people. As has been the case in the past, this dish is more flavorful the next day, after the flavors have had time to blend and mellow. Serve this over rice — or not, as it’s hearty enough to stand alone — and feel free to stir in some plain yogurt to cut the spice and add some tang.
Place a medium pot of water on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add the cauliflower and cook 5-10 minutes or until it is firm-soft. Drain and set aside.
Sauté the onions in oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until they are translucent.
In a separate, small skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until they are fragrant, then grind them with a mortar and pestle. Add these and the other spices (through ginger) to the onions in the large pan and cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the tomatoes and water to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, garlic, salt, and cauliflower to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens to your liking.
Serve over rice — or not — and with or without a dollop of plain yogurt.
This soup/stew smacks of health. I’ve called it “Friday stew” because I basically threw in all the vegetables we had left in the fridge. Thanks to the spinach, it ended up a bright-ish green color. But don’t let that turn you off: it tastes delicious, especially with some plain yogurt (or cheese, if you’re F) stirred in.
pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)
Spiced with REWE’s Inseln der Südsee (a mixture of Chinese five-spice, chilies, ginger, cumin, coriander, green pepper grounds, lemon zest, and powdered garlic) — a gift from Maya — the soup acquires a soft spiciness with a slight tang. A squeeze of lemon at the end brightens it all up.
Feel free to make this with any combination of vegetables you have lying around. You can blend it or not; the blended texture is pleasantly thick and reminiscent of dal, and tastes great cold or reheated on the second and third days.
The dish should really be called “miso-sesame dressing drizzled over the best roast vegetables.” While that felt a bit cumbersome for the post title, it aptly describes the following recipe, which was inspired by smitten kitchen (of course).
It goes like this: Roast sweet potatoes and broccoli in the oven. Toast some sesame seeds. Make this kale (with or without the garlic). Prepare rice or another grain. Whisk together the dressing. Combine and eat. Simple as that!
While the miso tastes sort of gross on its own, in the dressing it blends beautifully with tahini, rice vinegar, and sesame oil for a smooth mouth feel with a bit of tang. Roast sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things, and broccoli adds flavor, earthiness, and a health kick. We had kale in the fridge, so I decided to sauté it and include that, too. F and I actually found that the rice was superfluous; include it if you want, but the dish certainly won’t be lacking if you leave it out. Feel free to use your own favorite combination of roast vegetables; the dressing is the star of the show here and would go well with most fall and winter vegetables.
Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Kale Bowl with Miso-Sesame Dressing(adapted from smitten kitchen; serves 2-3)
optional: 1 cup dry rice or other grain, cooked to your liking
2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 small-medium head of broccoli, cut into medium-sized florets
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
for baking/sautéing: olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey OR 1 scant tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Toss the sweet potatoes in some oil, salt, and pepper and place in a large baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then add the broccoli florets and bake for 15-20 more minutes. When you add the broccoli, start the rice cooking (if using).
While the vegetables are baking, prepare the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Toast the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Sauté/steam the kale in some olive oil in a pot over medium heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
When everything is done, serve the potatoes, broccoli, and kale over rice, drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
smitten kitchen for the win — yet again. Almost every recipe of Deb’s that we’ve tried has turned out well. I know I’ve waxedpoetic about smitten kitchen before, but it’s true.
And this baked pasta is no different. Decadent and cheesy, yet surprisingly light. So delicious that F and I couldn’t help having seconds. Nutmeg-y béchamel enrobes pasta, cheesy pockets of mozzarella, and little nuggets of sausage with broccolini on top — what’s not to love?
In all honesty, F prepared this while I was out and about — kudos to him for excellent execution, as always. He makes a mean béchamel and, sauce lover that he is, made a bit more than the original recipe called for. We used caramelized onion sausage, which added a pleasant and subtle sweetness to the dish. Instead of chopping the broccolini (which we used instead of rabe), we lay the stalks whole on top of the pasta before covering everything in parmesan and baking it.
This is basically grown-up mac and cheese, and totally counts as a one-dish meal, though we had some green beans and a salad on the side for good measure. The flavors are reminiscent of broccoli-cheese soup; this is like the deconstructed version. Go make it now, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Cheesy Baked Pasta with Broccolini & Sausage (adapted from this recipe; serves 6 generously, or two with lots of leftovers!)
1 lb pasta of choice (we used whole wheat spirals)
2 bundles broccolini (or broccoli rabe or regular broccoli)
1 lb / 450g / 6 pork sausages, casings removed (we used caramelized onion; feel free to use Italian and/or spicy ones)
200g parmesan, grated
250g mozzarella pearls (or large mozzarella balls, chopped)
3 cups milk (we used semi-skimmed)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 – 1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
to taste: pepper & nutmeg
Cook the pasta as directed. Five minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccolini to the pot. When everything is done cooking, drain the pasta and set the broccolini aside.
While the pasta is cooking, remove the sausages from their casings and cook in oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
Make the béchamel: Melt butter over medium heat in the pan you cooked the sausages in. Stir the flour into the melted butter until smooth, then cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Season with salt, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg, then let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Combine the pasta, béchamel, sausage, mozzarella, and half the parmesan. Stir and spread into a large baking dish. Arrange the broccolini stalks on top, then sprinkle the rest of the parmesan over everything. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy.
We’ve discovered that it’s way cheaper per pound/kilo to buy a whole chicken, roast it, eat some, then create another tasty dish with the leftover meat. In the past, we’ve used leftover chicken for buckwheat noodle salad and borshch, among other things. This week, I wanted to try something new. After scouring a few of my favorite food blogs, I settled on this Fragrant Chicken Biryani because we had almost all of the ingredients and it would make enough to feed us for another meal or two. And since roasting a whole chicken is pretty darn frugal, I thought it appropriate to use one of frugal feeding‘s recipes.
At its most basic, biryani is a spiced rice dish with vegetables and/or some kind of meat. The technique is simple: Sauté onions and spices, cook some rice, add some meat or veggies, stir them all together, then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Voila: a one-dish meal!
I followed frugal’s original recipe pretty closely, though we used more chicken and added leftover roast potatoes, which led us to adjust the spice measurements. We used brown rice in place of basmati. The biryani tasted delicious — F couldn’t stop nibbling at it, and each of us had a second helping. “Fragrant” is definitely a great way to describe this dish; turmeric lends a pleasant yellow color, coriander keeps things bright, red pepper flakes give it a kick, and the cinnamon deepens the flavors. You’ll love it.
[Back to frugality for a second: the 1.9-kg chicken we roasted, which cost about £8, fed us (generously) for 6-7 meals: Sunday dinner for each of us, Monday lunch for F, and Monday dinner as biryani with 1-2 portions leftover.]
1.5 cups rice (I used brown rice, but traditional biryani calls for basmati)
2-4 cups leftover chicken, shredded into bite-sized pieces
optional: 1-2 cups roasted potatoes, cut into small cubes (we had leftovers)
juice of 1 lime
handful of fresh coriander, minced
Start your rice cooking by covering it with 2cm (~1 inch) of water and bringing it to a boil, uncovered. Let it boil until most of the water is absorbed, then put a lid on the pot and turn the heat to low until the rest of the water evaporates.
In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté the onions and spices in oil, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Stir the potatoes and chicken into the onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until the rice is done.
Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).
When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with everything else. Add the lime juice, and stir until combined. Pop the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Stir in some fresh coriander before serving. Feel free to serve some raita or other yogurt sauce alongside.
Yesterday I stumbled upon this recipe featured on Great British Chefs. The recipe gods must have been in sync with our kitchen, because we had all the necessary ingredients — even halloumi, which we had bought intending to grill on the weekend but didn’t because the weather hadn’t cooperated. I immediately sent the recipe to F, asking if he’d like that for dinner (and knowing he’d say yes — who can refuse the combination of cheese and noodles?).
Side note: After deciding to cook this pasta dish, I checked out its place of origin, The Cutlery Chronicles, which is a beautiful blog written and maintained by a Londoner. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for me to add the blog to my Reeder feed.
This recipe is so simple. It is fresh and light, yet filling. We enjoyed it as almost a noodle soup, taking Leyla’s advice to serve the noodles with some of the broth they are cooked in. The broth draws out the creaminess of the cheese and the lemon brightens everything up and complements the mint well. I added frozen peas to my version and used lamb stock rather than chicken stock. This dish is also perfect for a weeknight dinner, as it easily comes together in less than half an hour. It can be a full meal by itself but is also nice with a side of salad.
Halloumi-Mint Pasta with Peas & Lemon(slightly adapted from this recipe)
1 block or 250g of halloumi cheese, finely grated
2-3 tbsp dried mint
handful of fresh mint, minced
to taste: ground black pepper
1.5-2 liters of water + 1 lamb stock cube (or chicken or vegetable stock cube; or pre-made stock of choice)
350-400g whole wheat pasta of your choice (I used a combination of spiral noodles & spaghetti because that’s what we had in the house)
1.5 cups frozen peas
Grate the halloumi and mix it with the mint and pepper. Set aside.
Bring the water with stock cube to a boil, then add the pasta. The water should just cover the pasta, so pour out any excess you may have.
Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Add the peas to the pasta water 5 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking.
Prepare your bowls by spooning some of the cheese-mint mixture into the bottom of each shallow bowl.
When the pasta is finished, ladle some pasta with broth into each bowl. Sprinkle more cheese mixture over this, then add another layer of pasta, if desired, and a final layer of cheese. Finish with up to half a lemon’s worth of fresh-squeezed juice.
Serve the noodles warm, and don’t forget your soup spoon to polish off that broth!