dinner easy-peasy Family favorites leftovers Soup

Chicken and Dunklings – Featuring Leftover Chicken!

Yes you read that right. Eva called them ‘chicken and dunklings’ one time and that shall forever be what chicken and dumplings are called in this house. We also call peas “Estebans.” I put the story behind that gem down with the pictures.

It’s ‘use what you have’ month here on Cooking While Caffeinated because duh we’re supposed to be avoiding everyone and everything right now (if you’re from the future, or are like, Benjamin Franklin or someone, and have time traveled to now and have already figured out how to use the internet a- well done, and b- we’re mid COVID-19 pandemic), and first up for a dinner we have this Chicken and Dumplings recipe from Tasty. It’s pretty bomb. Changes I made were:

  • Used leftover chicken (so skipped step one)
  • Deglazed with a splash of the white wine I was drinking after adding the butter and flour
  • Used Bisquick to make the dumpling dough
  • Didn’t have parsley, so skipped that
  • Only had fresh thyme from the garden so used that instead of dried
  • Added the Estebans (aka peas… story below) in step 7 instead of 6… they still lost their color and got mushy so next time I think I’d ladle the chix dunks over the ‘bans when serving for nice bright color and flavor

Here’s the breakdown (I put my changes in blue text in parentheses so you don’t have to keep scrolling up and down. See? I’m thoughtful. Also, pics at the bottom):

Ingredients for 6 servings (Six? We got at least eight out of this…)


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth (I use the Better than Bouillon paste)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas (Estebaaaanns!)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

DUMPLINGS (again, didn’t do this. Used Bisquick biscuit instructions instead)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ⅓ cups heavy cream


  1. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides. Remove from the pot and set aside. (I skipped this step entirely and just carved and cubed up half of a leftover beer can chicken. I’m downright surgical at carving birds, but that’s another story for another day)
  2. Add carrot and onion and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for another minute, until fragrant.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter and flour, stirring constantly for 3 minutes to prevent lumps from forming. (then I splashed some wine in.. probably about 1/4 cup, then stirred it around for a minute or so)
  5. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and stir to coat in the roux.
  6. Add the chicken broth, cream, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Once soup is at a simmer, add the frozen peas  (I did this later), cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Make the dumplings: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cream. Stir until mixture comes together into single mass of dough. (Or, follow Bisquick instructions: 2 1/4C Bisquick, 2/3C Milk, stir until combined)
  8. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, (use a normal sized spoon…) form the dough into small round balls about 1 inch (2 ½ cm) in diameter (the dough should yield 14-16 dumplings).
  9. Place the dough balls in the simmering soup (making sure they don’t touch), add the parsley (didn’t have any), and cover. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through.
  10. (Here is where I’ll add the peas next time, into the bottom of the bowl under the soup) Ladle into bowls, giving 1-2 dumplings per serving.

TA-DAAAAAA! Chicken and dunklings for dayyyyssss.


Eva was super psyched at the idea of this, but totally balked at the finished product. Once we fished the dunkling out of her soup, and she was done pouting because I was taking her picture) she was perfectly happy to eat it. Kids, man.


Now, the story of how Estebans came to be…

There are these two books, “The Day The Crayons Quit” and “The Day The Crayons Came Home” that Eva-roo is obsessed with. Ob.Sessed. Which is funny because when I bought them for her at her school book fair she all but lay down on the ground in protest because I was not letting her get one of those toys disguised as books because I am THE MEANEST MOM EVER. Seriously, what is with kids and toys? Jeez, in MY day we played with paper towel tubes and built forts.  I’m kidding, I had like 37 barbie dolls and all kinds of stupid shit. Of course she wanted the toy book. But I digress. Back to Esteban. 

In the book “The Day The Crayons Came Home” there are a few pages dedicated to the crayon color Pea Green. Pea Green is distraught that nobody likes him so he changes his name to Esteban the Magnificent and ventures out to see the world. Sort of…

Normally I’m more of a ‘be happy with who you are’ kind of message, and not the ‘changing yourself to appease others’ one… but the books are adorable so free pass to Pea Green and his journey.

Basically, I highly recommend these books. They’re engaging, they’re silly, and maybe in your house peas will also become Estebans.

Did this blog just turn into Reading Rainbow? I think it may have. LEVAR BURTON YOU DA MAN!

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