I have a picky eater in my home. I'm sure you can relate. Many of us moms are blessed with that one kid who gags at the slightest scent of vegetable. The one who can smell spinach from three houses away. The one who lives off of McDonald's chicken nuggets, Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, and peanut and butter jelly sandwiches.
My picky eater is nine years old, and I have slowly been attempting to wean her out of her "Gross, I'm not eating that" stage. Keep in mind, this is the same child whom I recently took for sushi and her favorite item was the Spam/Tamago Nigiri, so clearly there is no accounting for tastes. But I refuse to go through life making two separate meals for a household of only three people, and I just don't see letting her continue to graze her way through life as a healthy option. So I have been on a mission to find some yummy alternatives.
So far one of our mutually favorite options has been my Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings. Tasty enough so that I neither have to threaten her nor bribe her to eat it; easy enough so that I don't mind cooking it. I grew up on Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings, and it remains one of my favorites to this day.
In my opinion, the best crockpot meals are cheap, filling, healthy, and you can basically just dump the ingredients into the pot and turn it on. This one checks off all of those boxes. Protein (chicken), veggies (carrots), carbs (Dumplings), and a yummy sauce.
I start with lean, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Throw in a bag of baby carrots, a couple of cans of cream of chicken soup, some chicken broth, and seasonings. Salt and pepper to taste. Dump, set, go. (Use a Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner for virtually no clean up.) You could even sneak in some other veggies, maybe broccoli or peas, but I'm not ready to press my luck just yet. Cook on high 5 to 6 hours.
About one hour before serving, use a fork to shred your chicken. It should fall apart fairly easily. Start your dumplings. There are two options for the dumplings. Option one- pop open a can of refrigerated homestyle biscuits, tear into pieces, toss them in. Option two- make the dumplings from scratch. Don't be scared. Option two takes maybe an additional 20 minutes.
For homemade Buttermilk dumplings:
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Chilled, Unsalted Butter
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 cup Buttermilk
Pinch of Salt
In a large bowl, Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter. If you don't mind some extra clean up, use your food processor for this part. Make sure to mix the. buttermilk in by hand though. Mix in buttermilk just until combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Dust counter with flour and form a dough ball. Use rolling pin to roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut square shaped dumplings. Lightly toss dumplings with a bit more flour. (The flour will keep dumplings from sticking together and help thicken up sauce.) Drop and mix in a few dumplings at a time. Cook about 30-45 minutes more, or until dumplings are no longer doughy. Serve and enjoy.
Easy. Delicious. What more could you ask for? Except maybe the Cleaning Fairy to visit.