Chicken & Dumplings

On a cold, icy night, there’s nothing like Chicken & Dumplings. My mom made the best dumplings and Chad used to beg her to make them for him. It seems like everyone makes them differently and though most all of them are good, these are the ones I love.



Earlier in the week, I had roasted a chicken so I saved all the “drippings”, grease and all, and saved one breast and part of the other one. We prefer less meat and more dumplings and juice. The chicken had been seasoned with lemon and rosemary but there wasn’t a whole lot of that flavor in the drippings . . just enough.

We had coleslaw and dumplings . . nothing else. Vince took his first bite and said “This is the ultimate comfort food!” And it can’t get much easier when the chicken is already cooked and the “broth” is in a jar in the fridge.

By the way, just for the two of us, I make half the recipe and that’s enough for us to have them for two meals. When Chad was around, I always made the full recipe.

Out Into the World

If there’s one thing I really need to work on (and I know there are many) . . I have to do better about leaving the house. It isn’t that I’m scared to leave or that I have bad experiences when I’m out but it’s that there’s so much fun stuff to do at home and if I’m not here, I’m missing out on the time I could be doing fun stuff. I’m perfectly happy to let Vince buy the groceries . . he loves going out. There’s nothing else I need . . just a few groceries every now and then. The mail lady and the UPS man bring most everything else I need.

I had to go out today and I kept telling myself . . just go and you can get back home and then you don’t have to leave again for almost another week when I have a medical appointment.

Last Saturday the meat processing place called and told us our hog was ready to be picked up. They close at noon on Saturday and we were on the other side of our town when they called and the processing plant is about 35 miles from town and we didn’t have time to get there so I told them I would pick it up this week. Today was the first day the weather was decent and I talked myself out of going this morning. I figured Vince and I could go Saturday morning and that will satisfy his desire to go somewhere. At lunch, Vince asked if I had picked up the pork and I told him no . . we would do it on Saturday. He said “Do you know we’re having ice again on Saturday?” NO! Snow tomorrow. Ice on Saturday. NO! NO! NO!  Sunday it will be up in the 60’s so whatever we have will be short lived.

The weather forecast means I had to go . . I had to go to the next town (really the NEXT town) and get the pork and I had to do it today. Since it was below freezing, I went ahead and ran the rest of my errands . . Kroger, CVS, the meat market and the veggie market.

The last time I cleaned out one of the big freezers, I thought I had made enough room for the pork that I knew was coming but I had to cram pork everywhere in order to get it into the freezers. We have two big upright freezers and three full size fridges with their freezers, and one small upright freezer and I don’t think I could get one more thing in any of them. In fact, I had to keep out one pork roast that I couldn’t manage to fit anywhere. We’ll have that for dinner on Saturday.

Bringing in those heavy boxes of meat and digging around trying to get it all in the freezer . . I’m pretty tired! I was thinking I might mention going out to eat tonight but I’m betting by the time Vince gets home, I’ll be back in my “don’t want to leave home ever again” mode.

Ground Pork

Ground Pork

This is the reason I get a pig every year. Some years I’m tempted to tell them that I want bacon and grind the rest up into ground pork. This is so good! I prefer ground pork burgers over beef burgers. We mix the pork with venison, elk and those lean meats when making burgers. There are 35 pounds of ground pork and I’m sure that’s the first thing we’ll run out of . . ground pork! I’m already looking at the weather forecast to see when it will be warm enough to ask Vince to grill pork burgers. Yum.

Spinach Salad

This time of year, I think I could live on Spinach Salad. We have it as a side salad but I also love to marinate a chicken breast in a bit of the dressing with a little pineapple juice added, then grill the breast, slice it up and add a bit of fresh dressing with more pineapple juice, slice the chicken and serve it on top of the spinach salad.

Right now, we have plenty of spinach in the garden and it’s thick and crunchy and juicy — so much better than spinach I can buy locally.

Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

For the salad, I use:

  • Spinach (from the garden)
  • Eggs (from our chickens, of course)
  • Bacon (from the pig we buy at the youth fair each year)
  • Water chestnuts (too bad  . . I have to buy these but once I have more Jerusalem artichokes, I’ll use them)

For the dressing, this is what I use and I double it and and store it in the fridge.

Spinach Salad Dressing
A tangy dressing or marinade.
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  1. 1/2 cup white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1/2 onion, chopped (don't worry about finely chopping - it will be chopped with the immersion blender)
  5. 1/3 cup ketchup
  6. 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  1. Pour all ingredients into a wide mouth mason jar. Using an immersion blender, thoroughly chop/blend the ingredients. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara