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Volume 3 Issue 7

Welcome to My Kitchen

By Mae D. Cox

As a working, single mom of three busy and active children I was forced to plan fast and economical meals. We could not afford the take-out places. In fact we couldn’t afford to buy even those little packages of cookies. If we wanted cookies, we baked them. Back then, I viewed this practice as unfortunate. Today, I see it as we were lucky. We had healthy homecooked meals every day. No fast foods. No frozen dinners. I learned how to make meals economically . . . fast . . . and nourishing!

One of our favorites on a cool fall or winter evening was a big pot of steamy and bubbly chicken and dumplings. The aroma meandering through the house made mouths water!

Chicken and Dumplings
Whole chicken or 8–10 chicken pieces
Water
3 Tbs butter/margarine
1 c Milk
Skin chicken and place in a large, deep pot on top of stove. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low/simmer for about 2 hours or until chicken is so tender it falls off bones. Remove chicken from pot and place in serving dish, reserve broth. Cover to keep warm.
Add 1 cup milk to the broth and set aside till dumplings are ready to add.
 
Dumplings (Easy method):
3 c Bisquick or biscuit mix
1/2 c milk
Place Bisquick in a mixing bowl. Add just enough milk so that mixture is extremely thick, but workable. Sprinkle additional Bisquick on a doughboard and place dough in center. Roll dough around till completely covered. With a rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness — or press out with fingers. Cut dough with sharp knife into 1” squares.
 
Dumplings (Old Fashioned method):
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cold shortening
3/4 c milk
Place first three ingredients in bowl and mix. Add oil/shortening and part of milk. Mix thoroughly. Add enough milk just to make a medium-stiff dough. Sprinkle flour on doughboard and roll dough till covered; knead for 1 minute. Roll dough to 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 1-inch squares.
TO COOK: Bring the broth and milk mixture to a boil. While broth mixture is boiling on low to medium heat, add a few of the dough squares, one at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon and then add a few more squares, one at a time, until all are added. If mixture becomes too thick, add more milk or water. Cook dumplings just till puffy and done — 5 to 10 minutes. If these are over- cooked they will be tough and doughy tasting. Test them after 5 minutes of cooking by removing one in a spoon. Cut it open. If dough is cooked it will look similar to a biscuit. If still doughy, return and cook 5 more minutes and test again.
Serves 4. Serve with sliced pineapple and a green vegetable such as salad, green beans, or cooked broccoli.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
3/4 c shortening
2 eggs
1 c sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2–1/2 c flour
Preheat oven to 400°. Cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and rind. Mix dry ingredients to gether and add to egg mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Roll mixture to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick and cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Place cookies about an inch apart on baking sheets and sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookie is lightly browned. Cool before removing from pan. Frosting can be added when cookies cool.

Date Nut Bars
These are one of my favorites for the holidays. They make a great dish to take to a party or potluck dinner — they look great and taste wonderful — or just for a special family dessert!
2 eggs
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs melted margarine
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c chopped pitted dates
3/4 c chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 325°. Blend eggs and sugar. Add vanilla and margarine. Mix dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture. Add nuts and dates. Pour into a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been buttered or coated with a non-stick spray.
Bake for 25 minutes to a golden brown. When cool, cut into squares and roll in powdered sugar until coated all over.

Comments? Questions?
Let me know what you think of our recipes. Or if you have suggestions or questions, write me!
Mae Cox c/o The LINK or coxmae@aol.com

Copyright © 2006 Modern Media