Dumplings are a great meal stretcher and budget friendly. They can turn a small dinner into a lot when you're watching your pennies or stretch your meal when you have unexpected company.
A big pot with a lid
salt and pepper
For the dumplings -
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps.baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Place chicken in a deep pot, cover with water, and simmer until cooked and tender. You can use any kind of chicken parts - legs, thighs, or a whole chicken cut into pieces - whatever you have on hand, or whatever is on sale that week.
When the chicken is cooked and tender, remove pot from heat, scoop out the chicken with a slotted spoon and put the chicken on a plate to cool.
While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth into a large bowl to remove scum and little bits. If there is a lot of fat on top of the broth, you can spoon some of it off and discard it. Then, pour the broth back into the pot.
Add vegetables to broth if desired, or skip to the next step. You can add whatever veggies you have on hand - diced potatoes, or carrots, some frozen peas or a can of corn. Cook the veggies until just tender.
Pull the chicken meat off the bones and cut it up or pull it apart into bite-sized pieces. Put the chicken meat into the broth, stir the mix around and add salt and pepper to taste.
You'll need about a quart of broth to cook the dumplings in; if there's not enough, add some water to the cooking pot. Turn up the heat on the pot until the mix is gently boiling.
Now the dumplings -
Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt into a small mixing bowl.
Add water, stirring, until you have a wet dough.
Using a regular table spoon and a knife, scoop up heaping spoons of dough and drop the dumpling dough into the boiling broth, leaving space between each dumpling. You should have about 12 dumplings.
Then, cover the pot and let it cook for 12 minutes. Do not lift the lid during the cooking process!
(Keep an eye on the pot while it's cooking; sometimes some steam escapes and a little gravy will start running down the side of the pot. If it's a lot, I just wipe the dribbles with a wet dishtowel.)
When the 12 minutes are up, remove the pot from the heat, and take off the lid.
Dish up the chicken and dumplings into a big bowl and serve.
- You can serve the chicken and dumplings in the same bowl you strained the broth into if you want and save yourself from having to wash an extra dish.
Beef and Dumplings -
- These dumplings work with beef, too. When I cook some beef in the crockpot, I save the cooking broth. If I have a little leftover beef from the first meal, I chop it up and toss it into my deep cooking pot with the saved broth and make beef and dumplings. There's a little meat in every bite, and it's a nice budget stretcher!