Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken Dumplings

My first "real" ministry job was at the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.  I have great memories and some wonderful friends to this day from my time there. The Lord put us together, no other way to figure it out, and I look back on those days with great joy.  One of the many fantastic people who attended Mayfair was Ms. Mattie.  Mattie was simply amazing.  She was well into her 80's, cleaned the church building every Monday and worked the Nursery EVERY Sunday and Wednesday without fail.  Never called in sick, never needed a break, never complained of being tired or stressed, just served and loved and loved.  She was into her second generation of babies, loving the babies of babies she had cared for in her nursery when I came along.  I learned so much from her about the heart of servanthood.  She is one of my heros.  A tremendous legacy, tremendous.

Keenagers was a group of friends who started playing cards and other games the first Thursday of the month at the church building as Mattie put it, "ages ago."  This group had been together for over 20 years when I started hanging out with them.  What's a lonely single guy to do on a Thursday night?  Seemed like the perfect place for me to be, it was.  I played Dumb Rummy with Dorothy Reeves,  Lois Smith, and Jane Bell just about every week.  Scrabble, dominoes, more dominoes were also played everyone ate then just sifted and settled to their comfortable spot where they played games and laughed a lot.  It was the highlight to most of their weeks.  Lewis and Regina Gandy, Chester and Catherine Goss, and Buck and Ruth Gearheart were the only couples who still attended.  The rest were widowed and lonely. Oh the stories they told, the even better ones on each other.  Cards and games were not the most important thing, food and the fellowship as we ate was.  Kathryn Goss' jalapeño hominy was amazing.  It took me a year to try it because hominy in a spicy cheese sauce just didn't really hit my happy button, but once I did I couldn't get enough of it.  Swannie Stanczyk's mashed potatoes were beyond my ability to describe.  NO clue how she did it.  She always brought them in a 3 quart Club cookware pot, wrapped in bath towels. I should have been embarrassed by the amount I ate, but I was among Mommies and Grammies who loved LOVED to see the young folk love their cooking.  It was my wonderland.  Mattie and I usually cooked our grub at the building since we were there already.  I remember 80% of the stories she told, and desperately try to remember the other 20%.

Chicken dumplings was one of the recipes that Mattie shared with me when I couldn't think of anything to make.  It was from her niece who had been given it by someone, handed down and down, one of those recipes like green bean casserole.  I refuse to call them chicken and dumplings because it really isn't in my book, but it's a fine razor thin line.  The preparation is really very easy, easily started and on the table in an hour, less if you follow the shortcuts I recommend.  I have changed up some things, of course, and share my way of doing the chicken dumplings.

I made this for the kids last night, thinking Kendra was going to be away (JBF) but turns out she was home early.  It was a gamble that the kiddos would hate it, but I was pushing ahead hoping for the best.  Kendra opened the oven and said, "we haven't had that in a LOOONG time."  We were both taken back to Mayfair and Keenagers, and great to have one little smell open up such a wonderful happy memory.

Maybe one day someone will be talking to someone and say, "I read this blog from an odd guy who was a Children's Minister but liked to cook...anyway this was one of his posts, it's really good."  That would be such a compliment to the memories I tie to this recipe.

2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken
1 cup Grated Cheese, plus 2 cups for later
1 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans Crescent rolls
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup Chicken broth
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.  In a medium bowl, place the chicken, grated cheese and seasonings in a bowl.  Mix well.  Unroll crescent rolls, separate into triangles.  Place one tablespoon of the chicken mixture in the wide part of the triangle, fold and roll.  Make sure the crescent is sealed by pinching all of the edges.  Place in 9x13 pan.  Repeat the process until both cans are completed.

In a medium sauce pan, place the soup, milk, and broth mixing to combine.  Heat to near boiling.  Pour over the crescents. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, add reserved cheese and cook 5 minutes longer until cheese is bubbly and melted.


  • You can use left over rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, or slow poach chicken breasts.  I only had frozen breasts, so I went with the slow poach.  Place frozen breasts in a medium sauce pan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, add a very generous amount of salt.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until the breasts are cooked.  The key is to finely chop.
  • The measurements of the seasonings are estimations, I simply sprinkled the poultry seasoning over the chicken mixture, I was generous.
  • Don't freak out when you pour the soup mixture over the chicken, you will want to, but don't.  The liquid cooks down to a thick gravy and really does magical things to the crescents.
  • I think the crispy top of the crescents coupled with the tender savory dumpling like crescents at the bottom are what get me every time.  

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