Monday, November 22, 2010

My Thanksgiving Menu...and Comforting Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is nearly here? I spent all weekend cleaning and getting all my serving pieces clean and ready…and I finalized my menu and made my shopping list so I can hit the grocery store on my way home from work tomorrow. Michael’s parents will arrive from Houston tomorrow evening to spend the holiday with us. Michael’s brother and his wife will be joining us for our Thanksgiving meal, so we’ll be having a family dinner for six at Casa Garcia.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve loved seeing all the festive dishes that all my food blog friends are cooking…your creativity is so inspiring!! I'm planning to try a few of your amazing recipes during the upcoming holiday season. Meantime, here’s my final Thanksgiving menu:

Appetizers: Spicy Orange-Cranberry Nut Mix, White Bean Hummus, Cream Cheese Topped with Homemade Cranberry Compote, Pita Chips, and Crackers

Salad: Bibb Lettuce with Israeli Feta, Pomegranate Arils, Pistachios, and Apple-Poppyseed Dressing

Meats: Smoked Turkey and Ham

Sides: Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato-Pineapple Casserole, Chive Creamed Corn, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, and Decadent Mashed Potatoes

Desserts: Blackberry Cobbler, Pumpkin Pie, White Chocolate-Cranberry Oat Bars, and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I’m not cooking all of this...just the appetizers, sides, and the cranberry bars. I grew up eating my southern family Thanksgiving meals with literally tables full of food, so this menu looks “smallish” to me. But I know it’s going to be plenty of food for our gathering. We don’t get to see our families back home in Houston often enough, so being together sharing a meal is something we’re really looking forward to. Our cat Lucy isn’t sure what she thinks about all the commotion around here the past few days, but she knows to hide under the bed if she needs some peace and quiet!

Before all the pre-holiday hubbub started and we switched gears to takeout and other fast meals – lest I dirty my pristinely clean kitchen – I made a comforting pot of Chicken and Dumpling Soup for dinner this weekend. It was so good and took less than an hour to whip up. It was chock full of veggies, shredded chicken breast, and fluffy parsley-flecked dumplings. I’m sharing this recipe now for two reasons: (1) I don’t have any other Thanksgiving items cooked and ready to post today, and (2) I think this recipe would be FANTASTIC with leftover turkey breast this weekend!

Comforting Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Adapted from The Neely’s @ Food Network's Website

Step 1:  Add one 32-ounce carton of chicken stock, 2 cups water, and two chicken bouillon cubes to a large Dutch oven. Add 2-3 bay leaves, two skinless chicken breasts (on the bone) and a few sprigs of thyme. 

Turn heat to medium-low until it starts to simmer. Cover and poach the chicken breasts for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through

Step 2:  Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Discard the thyme sprigs, but it's ok if some of the leaves have come off into the broth. While the chicken cools, make your dumpling dough. 

Step 3:  To make the dumplings, combine 1 packet of Bisquick, a bit of chopped parsley, and 1/2 cup cream. Stir to combine...the dough will look pretty sticky.

Step 4:  Add 1 tbs. olive oil to a medium non-stick skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels, and 2 sliced ribs of celery. Saute on medium-high until soft, about 5-6 minutes.  While the veggies are cooking, shred the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.

Step 5:  Add the shredded chicken and sauteed veggies to the stock in the Dutch oven. Roll the dumpling mixture into small balls with your hands. I tried to use about 1 tbs. of dough for each dumpling. Drop the dumplings into the simmering broth. 

Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the dumplings are puffy and the broth has thickened. To serve, ladle into bowls and enjoy!

I’m hoping to post in here on Wednesday, but I also realize that it might not happen! Family will be in town, and I’ll be in full-on Ninja meal prep mode. So…just in case I don’t get back by here before the end of the week, I’ll do this now: Happy Thanksgiving from The Weekend Gourmet and the zany cast of characters at Casa Garcia!!!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Friend! Hope you have a super time with your family.... BTW, this soup looks delish. One of {if not my only} favorite meal is Chicken 'n Dumplins. So, I'm anxious to try a soup version.

  2. Whew! Im glad I read the note that you aren't cooking all of that! That is a very impressive spread. Im also jealous its not 100% traditional - at least for our home, its is pretty basic at my family dinner table (turkey mashed potatoes and stuffing), but you have options listed that sound delicious!

  3. Chicken soup does sound perfect right about now. I have my own special involving peas, carrots, leeks, roasted chicken, and homemade broth.
    And your Thanksgiving menu sounds exquisite - tradition but with great modern flourishes.

  4. Your menu sounds spectacular! Happy thanksgiving, Kate @ kateiscooking

  5. your menu is impressing, I think it would have taken you few days to cook all that.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  6. Thanks for all the compliments! Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where you people don't like you to stray too far from tradition, so I tried to do a few tweaks here and there. My SIL is veg, so wanted to make sure she had plenty of options!

    This soup is very good. It would be great for leftover turkey this weekend. Just add shredded roasted breast meat in place of the bone-in chicken breast. Easy peasy!

  7. Ohhh, your Thanksgiving menu sounds awesome! I'm super focused on this soup though. I'm not ready to think about T-day prep yet, and this sounds like a perfect warm-up meal for right :)

  8. Wendy - your soup looks so good and comforting! (and perfect for me and my braces - lol) Your big Thanksgiving get together sounds like so much fun. I bet your family feels lucky to have such a talented cook in you! I had to laugh when I read about having so much food - my family was the same way!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. It sounds like you have a wonderful Thanksgiving menu planned! I wish I could stop over for a bite (or two, or three!) This soup also sounds amazing. It would be a great way to utilize that leftover turkey. Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving!

  10. happy thanksgiving! i love chicken 'n dumplings + think it would be interesting with turkey, too. gotta try this recipe!


  11. A Stylish Blog Award is coming your way! Keep up the great work! I really enjoy reading your blog Wendy.

  12. Sounds like a wonderful meal Wendy!! The white bean Hummus is really intriguing, and I LOVE the cat pic!!

  13. Great menu!! I am sure you did a great job!!! I lurve chicken and dumplings and lurve the Neely's!

  14. Oh, my goodness. I miss Southern comfort food! I am going to have to see if I can recreate this here in France soon! Great post! I love reading through your blog, it never disappoints!


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