Thursday, November 19, 2009


My Venture into Comfort Food

I've been making this dish for years but I've never considered it "blog worthy" enough to post. I happened to make it last weekend for my mother and sister because they thought it sounded good. Because I use reduced-fat milk in this recipe, it tends to curdle easily when heated – a common problem when heating milk with lower percentages of milk fat. As such, I assumed that many of you would not like the look of the finished dish – even if you really liked the taste. I, therefore, had never considered posting the recipe.

I was a little worried about making it for my mother, in particular. She loves things flavored with chicken but is not fond of chicken meat itself. She doesn't like biscuits and she tends to prefer dumplings, etc, with LOTS of broth and this dish is not soupy at all. In fact, there's very little liquid remaining after it has cooked because the biscuits absorb most of the soup – making the finished product oh-so-good. For all of the above reasons, I really didn't think this dish would be up her alley. I was surprised. She and my sister both LOVED it! Trust me. They'd tell me if they didn't like it. My mother thought I was over-reacting about the curdling issue since she could barely see what I was talking about. This is no comfort coming from a woman who wears trifocals. I explained that I didn't want to lose people's respect if they cooked it and the milk somewhat curdled after it was heated. She assured me that the curdling issue could not possibly make people respect me any less. You know, I'm beginning to think that was an insult. Guess who's getting a little ex-lax in her brownies this weekend?!

If the curdling bugs you, as it does me, it can be reduced in a number of ways. In this recipe, you could easily use evaporated milk or heavy cream – both of which would curdle much less than fresh milk. I don't know about you but I'm certainly not going to use over 5 cups of heavy cream in this or ANYTHING. My patootie is big enough already!

My mother and sister asked me where I got the name "Chick-n-Caboodle" from. As you know, I'm horrible about naming recipes. After experimenting with this recipe over the years, I came up with the version I'm posting today. When I got it just right, I almost ate the whole kit and caboodle in one sitting! Chick-n-Caboodle is just a play on that expression.

This recipe is great on any cool day. It's always warm and comforting. This is another mom-approved recipe! Enjoy – and happy caboodling!

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(Printable Version)

6 TBSP butter
1 1/2 bunches scallions (white and light green parts), minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
5 1/2 cups reduced-fat milk
2 TBSP (or 6 cubes) chicken-flavored bouillon
Pepper to taste
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces (I use leftover roasted chicken)
1 TBSP oil
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
About 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots (you could use more if desired)
1 16.3 oz can refrigerated biscuit dough (reduced-fat works great)

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Toss in the flour and cook a couple of minutes, whisking often. Slowly pour in the milk while continuously whisking. Add the bouillon and pepper and stir. Bring the soup to a simmer, whisking every couple of minutes.

While you are cooking the scallions, heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 TBSP oil. Add the potatoes and a little salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes then add the peas and carrots. Cook another 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat while you wait for the soup to come to a simmer.

When the soup begins simmering, add the potato mixture, stir, and cover the pot. Allow it to lightly simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking. Meanwhile, spray a dinner plate with cooking spray. Open the can of biscuits and pinch off 1/2" pieces of dough and arrange them in a single layer on the plate.

After the soup has been simmering for about 7 to 10 minutes, add the chicken and stir. Next, quickly add the pinched-off dough to the pot in an even layer. Stir occasionally while you are adding the dough. Stir one additional time before covering the pot with a heavy lid. Place the pot in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Stir before serving.

Note: Because I normally use low-fat milk in this recipe, it has a tendency to curdle somewhat when it gets hot. This does not affect the flavor but some people may consider it visually unappealing. If you want to reduce the chance of curdling the milk, you can use either evaporated milk or heavy cream instead of reduced-fat milk.


  1. Hello Blog Buddies!
    Due to a known problem with the blogging software I use on this website, you may get an error when you attempt to post a comment. If you try to leave a comment and get an error, simply click the "Post Comment" button again. It should work after clicking the "Post Comment" button one or two additional times.

  2. This looks amazing. Pretty soon, everything I cook is going to be entirely from your blog. Your recipes are always so good.

  3. we are totally trying this - thanks!

  4. This looks yummy and comforting and perfect for winter!

  5. another great recipe Vince, the whole curdling thing is tricky, but i never worry about appearances either. The taste is where it's at! You did make me laugh, describing your mother and her tri-focals!

  6. I haven't tried making this, it looks good. I've heard that creme fraiche won't curdle, might be worth a try.


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