{Homemade Chicken & Dumplings}

Happy Thursday, friends!  For the NewlyNabors that means kickball with our killer team Racks & Sacks. (Don't hate our awesome team name.  We're unstoppable!  Last season we were undefeated and won the Championship!  That's two, count 'em 1-2 baby, Championships the Nabors have helped win (we just won a softball championship two weeks ago)!!  Woot woot!)  Hope you guys have a wonderful Thursday festivus planned!  Thursday's almost Friday, so why not celebrate right?

Hubs and me after our kickball game last Thursday night.
Softball Champions!
Numero Uno 
Ryan has a thing for Chicken & Dumplings.  He's not picky about them, likes the dumplings flat and noodle like, and the big fluffy dumplings, but every time we go to Cracker Barrel, which isn't often, he order Chicken & Dumplings with a side of dumplings.  Yep, you heard me right -- a side of dumplings.  That's my man. ;)

Obviously I've been on the hunt for a Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumpling recipe since I found out. A co-worker had a baby recently and we're taking her family dinner next week and I wanted to make them something homey and delicious.  As I was going through my pins on Pinterest I stumbled across a Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumpling recipe I have yet made and thought it would be perfect!

Since we're taking this sweet family food I didn't want their night to be the first time I had ever made this, so Monday evening I had my Dad and Aunt over for Chicken & Dumplings.  I found the recipe off of the Eat, Live, Run website, and it is a for sure winner!  You can get the recipe here or find it at the end of this post.

So, this recipe is actually pretty easy.  If you're like me, after a long work day, and likely a work out, the last thing you want to do is go home and prepare a gourmet meal.  For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Milk, a bit less than a full cup
  • 2 quarts Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups Cooked Chicken
I am a huge fan of Rotisserie Chicken.  They are so tasty!  They are seasoned, hot, and ready to go, so I often pick one up on my way home from work or the gym and pull it apart for dinner.  It's also great for any meals that call for cooked chicken, or if you simply don't have the time to cook chicken.  For this recipe, I picked up a lemon pepper rotisserie chicken from our local grocery store and pulled the meat off the bones.  During this process the chicken naturally shredded a little bit, but since you need your chicken shredded for this recipe anyway, I pulled the pieces apart after I pulled them off the bones.  The recipe only calls for three cups of chicken, and now that I'm thinking about it, I didn't even measure.  I pulled as much chicken off the rotisserie chicken as I could manage and put all of it the pot.  (Too much chicken is never a bad thing, right?  It didn't seem to be!)

In a mixing bowl, I combined the flour, baking powder and salt.  The recipe then tells you to cut the butter into the recipe with a fork or pastry blender, but I softened the butter in the microwave a little before I mixed it in and it seemed to blend just fine.

Shred chicken and set aside. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together.  Warm butter for easy blending and add to the dry ingredients.
I then added the milk to the mixture and mixed it with a fork until it became doughy.  I folded the milk in a little at a time and it seemed to form a dough quickly and easily.

Add milk and mix with a fork until the mixture becomes doughy.
While you're preparing your dumplings, put your broth in a large pan and bring to a boil.  The process for making dumplings takes about 10 minutes and should allow your broth to boil during that time.

I brought out the largest cutting board we had registered and received for a wedding gift and added flour to the board.  I skipped over the part of the recipe where it said to heavily flour the space, but quickly adjusted when the dough started sticking to the cutting board, rolling pin, my hands, etc.  Heavily flour, people, heavily flour.

This is my preconceived understanding of a "heavily floured" work space.  Heavily flour your work space, rolling pin, and hands.  About 2x this would be good.
Nearby, set aside a well floured plate to place your finished dumplings on.  My jumbo sized cutting board wasn't enough space for all of the dumpling dough, so I ended up taking chunks of the dough at a time and working with that.  You'll want to roll the dough out thinly, but not so thin that it tears when you pick it up.  after you've rolled your dough out, use a pizza cutter to cut 2"x2" (they don't have to be precise - in fact, I'm fairly certain that my dumplings that were not exactly 2"x2" were tastier. Just kidding, but use the 2"x2" as a guideline).

Take chunks of dough and roll them thin.  Using a pizza cutter, cut 2"x2" squares or whatever you're comfortable with.  (Clearly all of mine were not 2"x2".)
The recipe recommends using a floured spatula to transfer the cut dumplings to your floured plate, but I found picking them up with my fingers was just as effective and perhaps faster.  After each round of adding dumplings to the plate, lightly sprinkle some extra flour on them.  They will help the next layer to keep from sticking to them, and the added flour will help thicken our broth later.

Now aren't those the cutest dumplings you've ever seen?  (Also, yes those are Texas plates.  It's okay to be jealous.)
When your broth is at a boil, which it should be by the time you're done with your dumpling making, drop the dumplings in one at a time stirring while you add.  Towards the end I got fairly tired of stirring, instead dropping in about 5 dumplings individually and then stirring.  It seemed to work just fine!

My little Sous Chef, Oakley Mae.
I then cooked the dumplings for about 15-20 minutes, testing one to make sure it wasn't too doughy.  They were scrumptious!  After your dumplings are done cooking, add in your shredded chicken, some salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

The final product served with ceasar salad.

The recipe was a huge success and we only had enough left over for 1 bowl for Ryan's lunch!  I served 4, and two people had second helpings, so there was definitely plenty.  I've always grown up with my mom adding carrots and celery to our Chicken & Dumplings so I might try adding, after the dumplings have cooked for 15 minutes, a cup and a half each of chopped carrots and celery along with the chicken for some added veggies.  If your family prefers the fluffy dumplings as opposed to the flat noodle-like dumplings, forgo to the rolling pin and cutting board and simply grab small clumps of dough in your hand and throw them individually in to the boiling broth.  This will give you those fluffy doughy dumplings which are always great too.
Have any home cooked favorites you want me to try?  Send me a link in the comments section!

What goes best with Chicken & Dumplings?  Flowers for the chef!  I was spoiled rotten since my husband came home with the gorgeous, sunny bouquet on the left, and my Dad showed up with four beautiful pink roses!  Flowers bring me vast amounts of joy. 

Homemade Chicken & Dumplings
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Milk, a bit less than a full cup
  • 2 quarts Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups Cooked Chicken
1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Briefly warm butter and add into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.
2. Stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture becomes doughy.
3. Pour your broth in a large pan and bring to a boil while you make your dumplings.
4. Heavily flour a work surface. You’ll need a rolling pin and something to cut the dumplings with. I like to use a pizza cutter.
5. Roll chunks of the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Cut the dumplings in squares about 2″x2″.
6. Transfer the cut dumplings to your floured plate.Keep flouring between the layers of dumplings (this will keep them from sticking together and the extra flour will help thicken the broth).
7. Once broth is boiling, drop dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and you’re done!

Bon Appetit!

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