My husband's favorite meal is chicken and dumplings. I won't lie- it's one of my favorites as well. However, I am really picky about mine- when perusing all of the recipes online, I found myself becoming highly unsatisfied with what I found in the slow-cooker department. Basically every recipe I came up with used canned biscuit dough for the dumplings. Now- I am all for easy dinners...
But if you are going to go to the bother of homemade chicken and dumplings... WHY would you skimp on the dumplings?? Why, in the name of all that is holy and right, would you skimp on the best part???
(That goes for Bisquik dumplings as well. You can do better than that. If you are already mixing stuff, mix up some stuff that tastes good.)
I also am not a big fan of veggie-heavy chicken and dumplings. I mean, if you want lots of veggies... well, that's what chicken SOUP is for, right? This is comfort food, people. Quit trying to healthify (I might have made that up) comfort food.
But I digress.
So here is the recipe I came up with. It is amazingly yummy, adaptable, and FREEZABLE. Yes, you make a double batch and stick that baby in the freezer for a grocery-money-is-tight or a I-don't-want-to-cook night. Not that we supermoms have any of those. Ahem.
Now, just like with all of my freezer recipes, this gets prepared up to the cooking stage and THEN frozen. Then you can thaw it in the fridge overnight, stick it in the crockpot in the morning, pop in the dumplings when you get home from work- and dinner is ready by the time homework is done! You can also cook this and freeze leftovers, but I don't know how well the cooked dumplings would freeze. Some people do it all the time, but I like my dumplings fresh.
Homemade Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
(this makes ONE batch- make a double if you want to freeze some!).
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (salted and peppered)
4 cups chicken broth (I use homemade)
2 cans fat-free cream of chicken soup (there, I healthified it for you a little bit).
1 cup white cooking wine (NOTE: if you are freezing this, I would not add the cooking wine until you have defrosted and are ready to cook)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup of carrots, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped (optional, depending on how veggie-heavy you like yours)
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 cups of flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup of milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
If you are going to go ahead and cook this, put the chicken on the bottom of the crockpot, salt and pepper, and then add liquids. I whisk my liquids together with the spices and the cream of chicken soup, and then pour over the chicken. Add the veggies. Cook on low for 8 hours. About an hour before the end of the cook time, remove chicken and shred it, and then add dumplings- drop them in and then sort of push them into the liquid so that they absorb some of the yummy broth. The dumplings are done when they look like biscuits on the inside. NOTE: I would recommend NOT lifting the lid and checking until at least 45 minutes after you put them in. You get lighter dumplings this way.
If you are freezing, add the chicken to a ziploc bag. Mix broth and cream of chicken soup (exclude wine), and spices. Pour into bag over chicken. Add veggies. Squeeze the air out, seal, date and label with name and cooking instructions.
Combine all dumpling ingredients- the mixture will be thick. Don't overmix. (Don't you hate that term?? What does that even MEAN?? I just threw it in there 'cause it makes me sound more professional, haha.) Form into medium-sized balls. If you are cooking now, drop them into your soup about an hour before the end of cook time. If freezing, flash-freeze the balls on a baking pan and then put in a ziploc bag (separate from the soup!). Defrost these in the fridge until you are ready to add them to the soup. NOTE: I always double this for a single meal, because as far as I'm concerned, there are never enough dumplings. :) I prefer "dumplings and chicken", but that's just me.
See how easy those dumplings were?? Why would you want canned biscuits when you can have these??
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Check out my other freezer recipes on the right side of the blog, or my instructions for freezer-cooking here!