Easy Chicken and Vegetable Dumplings

Vegetable Dumplings

Every culture has a variation of dumplings: it's simply meat and vegetables stuffed in a tasty crust. Pot pies, pasties, samosas, and toasted sandwiches aren't that far off from the basic dumpling idea. Here are a few delicious chicken and vegetable dumpling ideas to warm the cold nights of winter- including one you can make easily with a slow-cooker before you leave for work.

Basic Chicken and Vegetable Dumplings

This is a lighter take on typical store-bought frozen dumplings. It's a low-sodium and lower-fat version that packs a nutritious punch with protein and vegetables.

  • Cut 1 3/4 lbs of chicken into boneless, skinless thighs or breasts.
  • Toss in flour until coated.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat.
  • Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes until slightly browned, then move the chicken onto a plate.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil and stir in chopped carrots, celery, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Sprinkle one-third cup flour over the vegetables, then add the chicken back in. Add a cup of thawed frozen peas, a cup of water, and two cups of low-sodium chicken broth. Simmer and stir often.
  • To make the dumplings, mix one cup of whole-wheat pastry flour, half a cup of white flour, a quarter teaspoon salt, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and three-quarters of a cup of buttermilk in a bowl.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the dough into the chicken mix. Simmer for 20 minutes until the dumplings have puffed up.

Crock-Pot Chicken and Vegetable Dumplings

This is a very simple recipe that you can make before work and have dinner ready when you come home.

  • Place four skinless, boneless chicken breasts into a Crock-pot.
  • Add two tablespoons of butter, a chopped onion, and two cans of cream of chicken soup (reduced-sodium if possible).
  • Add some chopped carrots and celery to the mixture.
  • Fill with a few cups of water.
  • Cook for 5-6 hours on high. If your work lasts longer than this, you can cook it for longer on a medium temperature.
  • 30 minutes before serving, drop refrigerated biscuit dough into the Crock-Pot and cook on High, or until the biscuits have cooked thoroughly.

Speedy Chicken and Vegetable Dumplings

If you just came home and need to make something quickly, you can use this recipe (which calls for rotisserie chicken).

  • In a Dutch oven, heat up one tablespoon of canola oil on medium heat.
  • Add chopped celery, carrots, and onions; cook until browned, typically for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add two cans of low-sodium chicken broth; stir well.
  • Toss in a little salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix in strips of rotisserie chicken.
  • Pinch off spoonfuls of frozen dough and drop in the Dutch oven. Simmer on medium heat until the dough has cooked all the way through into a dumpling, for about 20 minutes or so.

You can also add other vegetables to the dumpling mix. While carrots, celery, onions, and peas are typically used, you could use eggplant or broccoli in there too.

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The Incredible Health Benefits of Collard Greens

Benefits of Collard Greens

Collard greens have long been a staple of Southern cooking. A cruciferous vegetable similar to kale and Brussels sprouts, collard greens are commonly placed on plates next to fried chicken, potatoes, and gravy. While other vegetables like kale and spinach have long held the limelight, new studies are indicating that collard greens are just as healthy.

Collard Greens Lower Cholesterol

Steamed collard greens easily bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, helping to excrete them from the body. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, so collard greens essentially bind to and remove these acids. This effect was found primarily with steamed collard greens as opposed to raw, and had the greatest cholesterol-lowering benefit of any cruciferous vegetable.

Collard Greens Protect Against Cancer

There are four specific anti-cancer agents found in collard greens: glucosinolates called glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtian, and glucotropaeolin. These words may sound like science fiction characters, but they're actually agents that can support our anti-inflammatory systems. This can help prevent cancer through aiding the body in fighting off rogue cells.

Collard Greens Are High in Vitamin K

A cup of cooked, chopped collard greens has almost 400% of your daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting; a deficiency can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. It's also important to prevent osteoporosis and coronary artery disease. Certain populations, such as patients suffering from liver damage, bulimia, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, can be prone to Vitamin K deficiency.

Collard Greens Contain A Whopping Amount of Vitamin C

Oranges, move over: a cup of cooked collard greens has half your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Though Vitamin C is frequently taken to ward off colds, there are additional benefits such as protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.

Collard Greens Can Protect Your Eyesight

Collard greens are also high in Vitamin A, the same vitamin that's found in carrots. Vitamin A is a retinoid and is critically important in maintaining eye health. Vitamin C also helps protect your eyes as well. For healthy eyesight, eat a cup of steamed collard greens with dinner.

Collard Greens Are High in Fiber

There's a good reason to have a high-fiber diet: it helps excrete damaging LDL cholesterol out of the body and keeps your digestive tract regular. If you've been feeling a little blocked, try some collard greens to get everything going again. Fiber also provides protection against colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Collard Greens Can Keep Your Immune System Healthy

The greens contain a phyto-nutrient called di-indolyl-methane, which has been found to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. If you're looking to stay healthy through cold and flu season, cook a batch of collard greens and serve them for dinner. Di-indolyl-methane also has anti-cancer properties as well, potentiating Interferon-gamma receptors.

Collard Greens Contain Valuable Minerals

The leaves and stems of this wondrous vegetable contain calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese- all minerals important for the bloodstream and bones. Considering this vegetable only has 30 calories per serving, it's a great side dish for dinner.

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Winter Stew to Warm Your Toes

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As the cold weather is upon us and winter lethargy has set in, crock pots seem to be the best invention ever made. With hardly any effort you can whip up a meal that's packed with flavor and requires hardly any time. Warm up this winter with a healthy, yet delicious favorite:  beef stew. This healthier version of beef stew is equipped with lean beef, reduced sodium broth, and tons of veggies including sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms and more. Keeping warm this winter will be easy with this old-time favorite. Loaded with the best veggies of the season, this dish is hearty and filling, and best of all - simple!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds lean beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium white onion, diced
4 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound small cremini mushrooms
1 - 14 1/2 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 - 14 ounce can lower sodium, fat free beef broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare meat and veggies (cut and dice appropriately)
In a 4-quart slow cooker combine meat, sweet potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes
Add entire can of beef broth
Stir in garlic, thyme and salt and pepper
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours

And serve. Really, it's as simple as that! By using a lean cut of beef you lower the fat content of traditional beef stew tremendously. By incorporating the tasty veggies of the season you add nutrients, and not to mention beautiful color to this mouth-watering meal. Of course you can adjust to include your favorite vegetables, or what you have on hand. For a little extra flair, dice up some green onions to sprinkle on top. Add some crusty bread for dipping, and of course to scrape the bowl - you are definitely going to want to get every last bit! Extra tip:  beef stew tends to taste even better the longer it sits. If you have leftovers (unlikely), be sure to save them for a potentially even more delicious meal the next day.