Earlier this summer, my cousin Melanie Zook, a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist at Fresh Start Nutrition, launched her first eBook about how to make your own clean and healthy make-ahead mixes, seasoning blends, snacks, breakfasts, condiments, dressings and drinks. I was so excited about Melanie’s new book, The DIY Kitchen Cookbook that I invited her to come to Kenarry to tell you all about it and asked if she’d give you a peek at one of the amazing recipes. Today is finally the day! Melanie is here sharing a delicious recipe for Clean, Veggie Packed Chicken and Dumplings made using her homemade Cream of Anything Soup. I can’t wait for you to check out the recipe and her new eBook!
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Chicken and dumplings. It’s the ultimate comfort food. But it’s often made with canned condensed cream of chicken soup, trans fat laden biscuits and barely any vegetables, other than an onion.
Meals such as this, though, are easy, kid-friendly opportunities to pack in the protein as well as the fiber-filled vegetables, and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices.
This cleaned-up, healthier version of chicken and dumplings is full of nutritious vegetables (that are staples in your crisper drawer and freezer), clean Cream of Anything Soup, trans fat free biscuits, lean chicken, and savory herbs.
The DIY Cream of Anything Soup Mix used in this recipe (from The DIY Kitchen Cookbook or here) is perfect for all your upcoming Holiday recipes (and great to keep in your pantry to clean-up all your favorite Crock Pot slow cooker and casserole recipes). This make-ahead copycat recipe and the others in the cookbook are ideal for your family’s New Year’s resolutions!
And the best part? This recipe for Cleaned-Up Veggie Packed Chicken and Dumplings below is a one-pot wonder—all tossed into your Crock Pot slow cooker.
Clean, Veggie-Packed Chicken and Dumplings
- 2/3 cup Cream of Anything Soup Mix from The DIY Kitchen Cookbook or here
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 large chicken breasts or 5-7 tenderloins
- 2-3 large carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 small tube or ½ a large tube biscuits*, each biscuit cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach chopped**
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook on high for 3 ½ hours.
- Cook for 30 minutes more, or until the biscuits are cooked through.
**Be sure NOT to use the frozen spinach in a bag or cardboard box. That kind is not typically the tender, baby leaves and would give the recipe a very, well, spinach-y flavor.
Tip: I stir frozen corn kernels into my kids’ bowls to cool theirs down quickly, as well as add in another veggie!
If you liked this recipe for Clean, Veggie-Packed Chicken and Dumplings, please share it with your friends or pin it for later:
The DIY Kitchen Cookbook
But where to start? With one ingredient at a time in your pantry, and The DIY Kitchen Cookbook. This e-book is packed with 62 cleaner, healthier versions of what you’d normally buy in a grocery store. We’re all looking to feed our family more whole, less processed, real foods. You can feel good about the make-your-own, copycat recipes in this cookbook because they’re free of unnecessary additives such as preservatives or artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.
The DIY Kitchen Cookbook is available on Amazon.com for only $2.99.
[This cookbook is a Kindle book, but you do NOT need a Kindle device to download or read a Kindle book. Free apps for just about any desktop, smartphone or tablet are available here on Amazon or in your gadget’s app store.]
Save space in your pantry and refrigerator. For example, just by making a jar of the Cream of Anything Soup mix, you can replace the rows of soup cans you may have lined up in your pantry. I also find I run fewer errands when I make my own versions of pantry staples, which saves time and money. Stock up on the main ingredients for your DIY recipes, spend a few hours on a Sunday compiling some of your make-ahead mixes and seasonings, and you’re done.
Make-your-own versions of recipes, such as the DIY Larabars and DIY Gatorade (both are recipes in the cookbook), are almost always cheaper than the store bought versions, so making your own is a big money saver. The cookbook will pay for itself after making just one recipe!
You can tweak DIY recipes to fit your family’s preferences or even allergy restrictions. Use the recipes in the cookbook as guidelines, but then make them your own. There are recipes in the book that are egg-free, gluten-free and nut-free. I’ve added a lot of tips and variations throughout. My kids love to come up with combinations of nuts, seeds and dried fruit for the granola bars. So these recipes are also fun for kids—my older two are ages three and six and often help in the kitchen—measuring, stirring, and to their delight, sampling the chocolate hazelnut spread (DIY Nutella).
You can really pack in the extra nutrition. I’m a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist, so I’ve taken the nutrition guesswork out of the recipes — they’re clean, and whenever possible, full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3s.
Copycat recipes are also green. Premade, processed foods are individually wrapped, then boxed. Think of the packaging waste you can save just by making one tray of fruit leather (DIY Fruit Roll-Ups). These are also great lessons for kids: let them compare the ingredients on a store bought version of a recipe to those in the DIY version. Have older kids calculate the cost difference. Even the youngest of kids can see the excessive waste of some of the products we buy that we can easily make at home instead.
Most importantly, when you DIY in the kitchen, YOU are in control of what goes into your food. Like many of you, I’m a mom, and making sure our kids get the nutrition they need, while avoiding the additives they don’t, is a constant battle. these recipes make that fight a little easier!
Get all these recipes and more in The DIY Kitchen Cookbook on Amazon.com for $2.99!
Melanie Zook, MA, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist. She’s the owner and founder of Fresh Start Nutrition, LLC based in Charlotte, NC, where she offers wellness classes, workshops and lunch and learns, pantry and refrigerator makeovers, and personalized nutrition consultations. Melanie inspires others to take stock of their kitchens and lifestyles in order to start fresh, go green, and live well…every day. She’s a down-to-earth wife and mama of three who brings her professional background in nutrition, education, holistic health, biology, anatomy/physiology and the environment into the homes and lives of others. You can follow Melanie on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.