Let me be upfront. When I claim to be a beginner cooker, I truly mean that I have very little cooking experience. I had never cooked anything, outside spaghetti noodles, before I graduated from college. I'm very lucky that I married a man who is truly gifted in the kitchen. When I come home from work, he's already got supper started, which is such a relief. I'm happy to do the dishes. When I do settle down to cook, it seems like the simpliest things take me hours, and the recipes always seem to turn out bland. My husband tells me the secret is to improvise, but that's not my style. I'm so much more comfortable with the precision of baking.
But I love spending time in the kitchen, and I'd rather eat at home than sit in a noisy restaurant. So I'm the one who does the cooking experimentation in the house. My husband told me he's always wanted me to learn how to cook chicken and dumplings. His mom used to make the dish. Her version was essentially chicken soup with refrigerated biscuits from a tube thrown into the broth.
I found a from-scratch recipes from one of my favorite sources, Taste of Home magazine. I love that the magazine features so many recipes from Midwestern cooks, including several from Iowa. It was also one of my grandmother's favorite recipe sources, so I'm kind of partial to it.
Anyhow, for the recipe, you simmer bone-in chicken in a Dutch oven with carrots, celery and onion. When the chicken is cooked through, you add the dumpling batter, a mix of flour, baking powder, water and salt. I let the chicken simmer for way longer than called for in the recipe, so the chicken was falling off the bone when I was finished. The dumplings looked fairly good, and it was fun to see them puff up when they hit the batter.
Overall, I wouldn't say this was the greatest recipe. The dumplings were bland, although the homemade gravy helped add some flavor.