All last week I had been hearing about this big snow storm that was headed our way. My town was supposed to get 10-16 inches, or so they said. Well once again I woke up to hardly any snow :(. I think we had maybe 4 inches. Not cool! I was ready for the big one. I went to the grocery store and hoarded toilet paper and milk, just like you are supposed to. I was even interviewed by a news crew at the store doing a story on people preparing. Which, by the way, I think is really silly. I don’t know about you, but I buy toilet paper every week, not just when it snows! With the lack of snow this Winter has given us, it was nice to have a day “stuck” inside, watching the snow fall. It wouldn’t feel like a snow day without a comforting meal going in the crockpot. That called for….Chicken N Dumplings.
I watch YouTube videos quite often, and one of the people I follow is Rachel Hollis. I came across her videos one day and have been a fan of hers ever since. Soon after I learned about her, she came out with a cookbook called “Upscale Downhome”. I just had to get it! My sister got it for me for a birthday present and I have been happily trying out many recipes. I haven’t been disappointed with one yet! One that I am totally in love with is the Chicken N Dumplings.
Since the slow cooker does all the work for this Chicken N Dumplings, it is the perfect comforting weeknight meal. The hardest thing you will have to do is pull apart a already cooked rotisserie chicken that you bought at the store. You don’t even have to sauté the vegetables first. Just throw everything in, turn it on low, set the timer for 6-8 hours, and you are good to go. Thirty minutes before serving, you drop your biscuit dough on top. The dough will puff up as it cooks, turning into the perfect vehicle to soak up all of that creamy goodness.
Another plus to making this is I get to use the chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock! Yes!
When it’s all said and done, you won’t believe how thick and creamy this turns out. Crispy bacon on top really adds something special and chives bring some freshness.
I love recipes like this where I can toss all the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and enjoy an amazing home cooked meal that night, with minimal effort. Thank you Rachel Hollis for this amazing recipe!
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced,
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
- 2 tsps. garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/3 tsp, dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 2 cups Bisquick baking mix
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup crispy bacon, chopped
- 3 tbls. chives, chopped
- Combine all of the ingredients except for the baking mix, milk, bacon, and chives in the bowl of your crockpot.
- Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving, combine the baking mix and milk in a large bowl. Drop the dough by the spoonful in the crockpot. Cook until the dough is cooked all the way through. This should take about 30 minutes. Serve with bacon and chives on top.
Source: Upscale Downhome by Rachel Hollis
I recommend cooking it on low for a longer amount of time. This really allows the flavors to marry and vegetables to get tender. But if you are in a hurry, you can the cook on high method.
Banana Bread. There are so many variations on banana bread and I love them all. You know I am always trying new recipes, so this traditional bread is constantly undergoing some sort of tweaking in my kitchen. Once again, and not by accident, I found myself with tons of overly ripe bananas. Yay! I thought about making my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread but then I remembered a recipe for Banana Oat Bread I had tried a while back and loved. So here it is, the beautiful and delicious Banana Oat Bread.
One of the things that sets this banana bread apart from all the rest is it’s texture. It is packed with rolled oats and walnuts, which gives it some added crunch. In every bite you can taste a little hint of cinnamon that brings everything together.
There is quite the snow storm headed our way tonight, so I am glad I have a loaf of this bread to munch on while watching the snow fall. I also have a few delicious soups in my meal plan that I can’t wait to make!
Now back to eating my Banana Oat Bread….
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup + 2 tbls. rolled oats, divided
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9X5in loaf pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined.
- Add mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, milk, and chopped walnuts. Mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, 2/3 cup of oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the remaining 2 tbls. of oats on top.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes. If the bread is getting too brown, you can cover it with foil around the 45 minute mark.
- The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let the bread cool before removing from the pan.
Adapted from Spiced Blog.
A couple of weekends ago, Alex and I spent a Saturday in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with the kids. It turned out to be such a beautiful day, and I was glad Alex was able to be off work and go with us!
There is one place we always go while in Lancaster County and that is Lapp Valley Farm. Lapp’s is a working Amish farm where they raise Jersey dairy cows and make the most delicious ice cream out of their milk. Every time we have visited this farm, I am impressed with how beautifully maintained it is and I love that the kids can get out of the car and stretch their legs a bit.
Before buying our ice cream, we always head down to the barn to say hello to the bottle fed calves. If you are lucky, you may even be able to watch some cows being milked. We always really enjoy watching this and it’s great for the kids to see where their milk and ice cream comes from. You will also see a couple bulldogs, cats, and even peacocks roaming around the farm.
After all the animals have been greeted, it’s time to head into the Dairy Store. They have sixteen varieties of ice cream that they feature throughout the year, so chances are they will have your favorite. I’m a plain chocolate kind of gal, so that is what I always get. 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream in a homemade fresh waffle cone. Oh did I mention they make fresh waffle cones? Well, they do! They smell amazing and taste even better.
After getting our ice cream, we head out onto the porch to enjoy it in the beautiful weather. This past visit we learned you have to watch out for the cats! They are sneaky little things and will come take a lick of your ice cream cone if you aren’t looking.
In the Dairy Store you can find more than just ice cream. They also offer butter, milk, and eggs. Did you know that milk from a Jersey Cow is 20% higher in protein and 15% higher in calcium than that of other dairy cows? All of Lapp’s products are hormone free, which means they do not give their cows any unnatural products to increase production. Whatever they are doing is working. Lapp Valley Farm always has us coming back for more. I don’t think we have made a trip to Lancaster County without paying Lapp’s a visit!
Lapp Valley Farm
244 Mentzer Road
New Holland, PA 17557
It’s been a while since I have come to you with a Tasty Place, but here I am! I have been eyeing Ray’s the Steaks for quite a while now and we finally got to eat there! I had seen them on the Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurant list in past years but we have also heard how delicious it was from people we know. We even had a waiter at another top steakhouse in Washington DC, tell us that we had to try Ray’s the Steaks next. Well, we finally did and we were very happy with our service and the amazing food.
Ray’s the Steaks is located in Arlington, Virginia and they are known for their mouth watering fire grilled steaks. They butcher and dry age all of their steaks in house and only serve premium quality. They also have some of the best prices, that we have seen, compared to other Washington DC steakhouses. Alex and I have been to four of the ten steakhouses on the Top 10 Best Steakhouses in DC List and we were excited to make Ray’s the Steaks number five!
We invited my sister Christine and her husband Caleb to come along with us. It was great having a date night out with them! Now, I didn’t photograph their food because I didn’t want to make them wait to eat, but I will tell you what they thought of their dishes!
As is the same with many of my meals, I started by ordering a glass of wine. I chose the Riesling, it’s one of my favorites.
Soon after getting our drinks, our waitress Heather (who was really knowledgeable and helpful) delivered freshly baked Focaccia bread to the table. I think we ate three plates of this bread. Yum!
Our first starter was the Devilishly Good Eggs: steak tartare served deviled egg style. You know a foodie like me was completely intrigued by this and I knew before we even got there, I was going to order them. Yes, I read the menu thoroughly before arriving, it’s what I do. I loved this dish. Something very familiar like a deviled egg but with a major twist. The flavors were great and I really enjoyed the red onions and capers served with them. The red onions added some texture to the plate while the capers added that pop of tangy, lemony flavor they are known for.
We also ordered the Jumbo Sea Scallops wrapped in bacon and served with an apricot mango horseradish chutney for a starter. Let me start by saying these tasted great. The scallops were cooked perfectly and wrapping them in bacon never hurts. The chutney had a very strong horseradish flavor which overpowered the apricot and mango, but I love horseradish, so I didn’t mind. The only bad thing I would say about this dish (and the entire meal) is that the scallops weren’t what I would consider “jumbo” and they only gave us three of them. For the price of the appetizer, I would have loved just one more scallop. I know they are pricey but just one more would have been nice. Like I said, my only bad thought on our entire meal.
Christine ordered the Sherried Crab Bisque, which I didn’t get a photo of. I was able to sneak a taste and I really enjoyed it. I liked the hint of sherry, and there were big chunks of crab in it, which is always great in a crab bisque.
Here come the steaks! I decided on the Filet Mignon Au Poivre. This tender filet came with a seared peppercorn crust and was sitting on top of a port wine peppercorn sauce. Usually, I like my steaks simply prepared but this steak changed my mind! I feel like I have so many good things to say about it. First, it was cooked at a perfect medium, just like I asked for. Second, that peppercorn crust added so much texture and flavor. Every bite I took came with a peppery kick…so good! Third, it was so tender that I cut a piece with my fork. Lastly, that sauce, that sauce, that sauce. There was not one drop of it left when I finished my plate. Every bite I took was dragged through that creamy sauce. I’m wanting more now just thinking about it.
Another thing I loved about Ray’s the Steaks, was that they served family style creamed spinach and mashed potatoes to the table to go along with our steaks. Most steakhouses would of course charge extra for this but at Ray’s it comes with your meal. Awesome!
We ordered the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese as an extra side to share. Now I have had a lot of lobster mac and cheese in my life but this one was the best. Sometimes when you order this dish it comes out way to greasy and way to cheesy (yes, that’s a thing) and you just can’t eat much of it, which is a shame because it’s usually not cheap. This Lobster Macaroni and Cheese was perfect. Big chunks of lobster meat and there was just enough cheese to make the point without everything drowning in cheese sauce. Take a look at that broiled golden brown topping….heaven!
Alex ordered one of the specials they had for the evening. (I should have taken a picture of the specials board so I could remember exactly what it was). I hope I am not getting this wrong, but I think this was the Côte de boeuf. Look at the char on that steak. It was absolutely delicious! It came out a perfect medium rare and was finished with butter. I don’t think steak gets any better than this.
Caleb ordered the Hanger Steak, which he said was the best steak he’s ever eaten! He is still talking about it! Christine had the Filet Mignon with a brandy mushroom cream and she really enjoyed hers as well.
Overall, we had a wonderful evening at Ray’s the Steaks. I love that it is one of the best steakhouses in the DC area but it isn’t very formal or fancy. A lot of the other steakhouses we have been to can feel stuffy. At Ray’s the Steaks the atmosphere is more relaxed and welcoming in my opinion. We liked that!
I highly recommend going to Ray’s the Steaks for your next special occasion. You are sure to have a delicious meal with excellent service!
Ray’s the Steaks
2300 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA, 22201