My sister sent me a text. Not unusual, except for her request.

Can you send me a recipe from mom for chicken and dumplings?

A simple straightforward request, right? Our mother never wrote down the recipe. Her mother never wrote down the recipe. I have never written down the recipe. You see where I’m going here.

If my sister did a lot of cooking, I could explain the recipe easier. But she lives alone and doesn’t have a need to cook for four much less enough for an entire pot of chicken and dumplings.

Life happens in much the same way. You don’t arrive with a manual tied neatly to your foot at birth. Your parents, depending on if you’re the first or fifth, may find this new role confusing.

So, where do you begin?

For the chicken and dumpling recipe, I had to decide if I could reduce the recipe. I texted back for clarification.

“I don’t have a written recipe. Makes a big pot. Plan to eat on it all week?

No response. Google, my best friend, will surely have a recipe that’s similar. I can save time and send her that. After reading ten or so, I decided that my family has a unique chicken and dumpling recipe.

Let’s go back to life and that analogy. New parents always believe that no one has ever held a baby this precious, beautiful, and unique. They begin the journey to parenthood and start searching for guidance.

Parents raise children through trial and error. Some things work, others don’t. You do your best with what you know. You hope that you followed the recipe for raising children. Secretly, you don’t want to find it. You like what you see twenty years later.

You grow up and start your own life. Every day, you search for answers in books, articles, and sometimes parents. At the end of the day, you must decide to create your own life. Ask yourself the hard questions.

  • What matters to me?
  • Where do I want to find myself in one year, five, ten?
  • How do I choose to live this life?

Because, just like chicken and dumplings, you may not have a recipe. That should never stop you from being and becoming your best.

“Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
—Grandma Moses

This is the recipe as I sent it to my sister.

Chicken and Dumplings

Here is the way I make chicken and dumplings, which is pretty much the way mother made them.

Chicken and Dumplings

2 chicken breasts or 3-4 thighs, or a combination

About 6 cups of water (I use a big soup pot and fill it about half-way)

One-half; onion – or however much you want

Celery (chopped up small, or you can put in a stalk and take it out later if you don’t want celery in the final dish)

Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your taste preference

You can add shredded or diced carrots if you want.

Boil the chicken until cooked and remove from the broth. (If you have those big chicken breasts, cut them up I smaller pieces to cook faster) Let cool and cut into pieces.

To make the dumplings:

Bisquick is the easiest. Follow the recipe on the box for drop biscuits but add 1 egg. The dough should be sticky, but not soupy or dry.

Homemade dumplings

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt (I also add pepper and garlic powder)

1 cup milk (don’t pour it all in at once. You might need a little less or a little more. Start by pouring in about 2/3 cup.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Drop the dumpling dough into the boiling water one tablespoon at a time. Once you’ve dropped all the dough in, turn down the heat, and let it simmer on low until the dumplings are cooked. About 15-20 minutes. Just check them. Add the chicken back into the pot and simmer a few more minutes to heat the chicken.

If you want a thicker broth, you can add corn starch. To do that, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to about ¼ cup of cold water and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. add to the broth. The dumplings usually make it thick enough. We eat it like soup.

That’s it…


And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo:Christo Anestiev on Pixabay