I’m finally back to blogging and just in time for this month’s Tasty Tools blog event. After over a week of the soft food diet due to my wisdom teeth surgery, I’ve been craving some comfort food. I saw this recipe in the October issue of Cooking Light and thought what a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. I get my comfort food and I have an excuse to use my dutch oven for the blog event.

I automatically associate my dutch oven with comfort foods; soups, stews, chili, roasted chicken, fried chicken, and let’s not forget chicken and dumplings. This recipe for chicken and dumplings is not like the traditional one I grew up eating from my Granny’s kitchen. The kind I’m used to has soft, flat, noodle-like dumplings and shredded chicken in broth. Full fat, full salt, and no veggies in sight. This version is a little healthier though and just as tasty. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe though so you’ll have some leftovers.

Herbed Chicken and Dumplings


2 servings (serving size: 2 cups)


  • Cooking spray
  • 8  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4  cup  (1/4-inch) diagonally cut celery
  • 1/2  cup  (1/4-inch) diagonally cut carrot
  • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/8  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 3  parsley sprigs
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2.25  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  1% low-fat milk


1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add celery and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Add broth to pan; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, chopped parsley, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, stirring just until moist. Spoon by heaping teaspoonfuls into broth mixture; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until dumplings are done. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaf.

Nutritional Information

285 (16% from fat)
5.2g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.9g,poly 1.2g)

David Bonom, Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2008


It’s that time again to highlight another kitchen utensil in the monthly Tasty Tools blog event hosted by Joelen. This month’s tool is the whisk. Everyone has these in their kitchen and I for one never think twice about pulling one out to beat some eggs or pancake batter. But it’s a handy little tool. I particularly love the one I used tonight to mix up the sauce for my asian pork stir fry. It’s the mini whisk from Pampered Chef. It’s the perfect little tool for beating just an egg or two and whisking together ingredients for a salad dressing or marinade.

I make my chicken stir fry pretty much the same way I made this. We had chicken last night so I thought using some pork chops in this stir fry would be great. It was a very easy and delicious dinner.

Asian Pork Stir Fry

3-4 1″ thick center cut, boneless pork chops (or pork loin), cut into 1″ pieces

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into strips

1/2 a large onion, diced

1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup lite soy sauce

2 Tbsp honey

1-2 cloves minced or pressed garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

Begin by combining the soy sauce, honey, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to incorporate the honey into the soy sauce. Set aside. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the pork to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and carrots to the pan. Cook covered (to steam the vegetables) about 5 minutes. Add the pork back to the pan to finish cooking along with the soy sauce mixture. Add the broccoli the last 5-6 min and cook covered. Serve over rice.

I’m a slacker. I never have time to participate in all the blog events that I would like to. I am really envious of everyone that participates in multiple blog events, but by the time I get home from work I barely have time to cook dinner and the occasional dessert. That’s why I’ve sort of fallen off the wagon with the Tasty Tools blog event that Joelen hosts every month. I thought I wasn’t going to make it this month either but luckily, I remembered I had planned on making these beef kabobs so I figured I could highlight this month’s tool in this recipe.

And the tool of the month is…the pastry and basting brush! What an awesome and often overlooked tool. I use mine all the time and most of the time I wish I had two because it always seems to be in the dishwasher when I need it. Yes, I said dishwasher. I know with most pastry brushes you can’t put them in the dishwasher, but that’s another reason I love mine. I have the chef’s silicone basting brush made by Pampered Chef. I seriously love this thing. It’s heat resistant so you don’t have to worry about it melting should you accidently touch your grill or a hot pan with it. It resists stains and doesn’t retain odors. Another little feature that is simple but very helpful is the fact that it has a little hook on the back so you can rest it on the side of your bowl and it won’t slide down into whatever’s in the bowl. I use it for basting and barbecuing meats and also for brushing delicate pastries with egg wash or butter. I think it’s a great and versatile tool that everyone should have in their kitchen.

BBQ Beef Kabobs

1/2 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, 1″ thick, cut into 1″ cubes

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp of your favorite grill seasoning

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1/2 an onion, cut into 1″ pieces

barbecue sauce for basting (use your favorite flavor)

In a bowl combine the sirloin, onion, grill seasoning, vegetable oil, garlic and worcestershire sauce. Toss to coat the meat and onions. Cover and refrigerate at least 4-6 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before grilling. Skewer the meat and onions on soaked wooden skewers (to prevent burning on the grill). Place the kabobs on a hot grill or grill pan. Once the outside of the meat begins to show grill marks, brush with your favorite barbecue sauce. Grill until the meat reaches desired doneness.

Serves 2



Thanks to Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures for hosting the Tasty Tools blogging event. This is my first blogging event by the way! Normally I’m just too busy to come up with anything for all the wonderful blogging events, but this is my first effort in getting better at that. The tool of choice for this event is the microplane. I got my first microplane not too long ago and I instantly fell in love with it. The first time I grated parmesan cheese with it, I vowed to never by store bought, pre-shredded parm again! The microplane does a much better job! I also love the fact that I can now make recipes that call for zest. Orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest. It seems like there are so many recipes that call for one of those and I’ve always had to skip that part because I had nothing to zest with. But that’s all changed now. When thinking about what I wanted to make for this blog event, I kept going back to limes. I thought about a dessert of some sort but wanted to do something a little different. That’s when I came up with this recipe for coconut lime shrimp. And these are delicious! The hint of lime zest in the breading adds a nice, fresh flavor. Thank goodness for my microplane or else I would have never discovered the wonders of citrus zest in my recipes. I can’t wait to use my microplane for many more tasks in the kitchen!


Coconut Lime Shrimp

14 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails

2 limes

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 Tbsp lime zest

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

canola oil for frying

Place your cleaned shrimp in a bowl and set aside. Begin by zesting one of the limes using your microplane. Reserve the zest for the breading. Slice the zested lime in half and squeeze the juice over the shrimp. You can cover and refrigerate for several hours or just allow to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the breading. In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the bread crumbs, coconut, reserved lime zest and salt. Next, break the two eggs into a shallow bowl and beat them until combined. One by one, dip your shrimp into the egg mixture and then into the breading. Again, dip each one into the egg and then into the breading again. This allows for a crispier shrimp when cooked. Heat about 2 ” of oil in a skillet over medium/hi heat. Once the oil is ready, fry the shrimp, working in batches of 3-4 at a time. Cook on each side about 2 minutes until the outside is golden brown. Place the cooked shrimp on a plate with a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Serve with the other lime, cut into wedges.