Healthier Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Vegetables and chicken make this soup hearty like a stew. We’ve made this classic healthier with loads of veggies, no-salt stock, lean chicken breast, and heart-healthy canned soups. Enjoy all of the comfort with less guilt!


2-4 Chicken Breasts, or you can skip the chicken for a veggie version
1/2 Onion, thin slices
2 stalks of Celery (optional)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup each, 3+ Veggies of Choice*
1 box No-Salt Chicken Broth (Veggie alternate: No-Salt Veggie Broth)
1 can “Heart Healthy” Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can “Heart Healthy” Cream of Celery Soup
Pepper and/or Garlic Powder to taste
1 tube of plain buttermilk biscuits (for dumplings)


Place olive oil, sliced onion, and celery in large pot. Sauté until onions and celery are softened. Add broth, 2 cups of water, and chicken. Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through.

Carefully remove chicken from pot and set aside.

Add both cans of soup and 3 cans of water to the pot – with the broth from cooking the chicken.

*Add veggies of choice to the pot. We recommend at least a 1 cup each of three different types of veggies, it’s a preference, add more or less if you like. The best veggies are ones you might see in chicken soup or pot pie: corn, green beans, carrot, peas, celery, mushrooms, broccoli – fresh or frozen, canned get too mushy. Pro Tip: Carrots often take the longest to soften, so you can microwave them for 1 minute first, then add to mix to speed up the process.

Carefully shred chicken with forks and return to the pot.

When veggies are tender, now make your dumplings:

Cut biscuits into 4 pieces each (don’t have to be even), and carefully drop each piece into the soup. These will form the dumplings, and they will cook in the surface/upper part of the pot. (Larger dumplings are made with fewer cuts per biscuit.)

Get the biscuits covered in the hot soup asap by gently folding them into the soup with your wooden spoon. Be gentle and do not stir. Use more of a poking than a stirring method. Keep dunking each biscuit to cook the outside evenly and keep it from falling apart.

Fully cooked biscuits will be stiff masses that look like sticky mashed potatoes.

Add pepper and/or garlic powder to taste.



Taste of Tradition

DeAnna’s Traditional Recipe: “I don’t think any Christmas cookie tray or box is complete without cutout sugar cookies! They are best to put out for Santa too! I use the basic sugar cookie recipe from my very first Betty Crocker cookbook that I’ve had since 1977!”

Betty Crocker’s Frosted Sugar Cookies


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softenend
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar


Frosting (For After Baking)

3 cups powdered sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Decorate: food colors, colored sugar, or candy sprinkles


  • In large bowl, combine powdered sugar, softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond extract and egg – mix with spoon until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Divide dough in half; shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oven to 375°F
  • Roll each disk on lightly floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 2 – to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters into desired shapes. Place cutouts on uncreased cookie sheets, at least 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool 1 minute; transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  • Frosting and Decorating: In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together with spoon until smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too stiff to spread, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Tint with food color. Spread frosting on cooled cookies. Decorate as desired with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.
  • Let stand about 4 hours or until frosting is set. Store in airtight container at room temperature with waxed paper between layers.

Kaylie’s Traditional Recipe: “This delicious recipe is my Grandmother’s. I make it from a hand written cook book she made for my Mom, where they are noted as ‘favorite for Christmas Eve.’ “

Grandma’s Holiday Squares Florentine


4 eggs, beaten
1 can cream of mushroom or celery soup
2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed WELL drained, and minced
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tube crescent rolls



  • In large bowl combine all ingredients except crescent rolls, mix well
  • Unroll crescent rolls, but do not separate. Press rolls into 14×9 buttered baking pan or cookie sheet, pressing seams together
  • Spread spinach mixture over dough
  • Bake at 350°F degrees for 40 minutes
  • Cut into 1 inch pieces, makes about 50 appetizers

Crispy Caramel Apple Pie

A sweet apple pie with caramel notes and a crunchy top crust.

1 frozen deep dish pie crust (place on baking sheet while you prep the rest of the pie)
3 to 4 Apples, peeled and sliced thin (we used 2 large Honey Crisp and 1 Gala)
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
At end to thicken: 1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oats (oatmeal)
1 stick soft butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

OPTIONAL: vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving


  • Place frozen deep dish pie crust on baking sheet to thaw while you prepare the pie filling and topping. Do not pre-bake the crust.

Pie: In large pot, melt butter and cinnamon over medium-low to medium heat

Stir in apples, sugars, water, and vanilla

Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until apples show signs of softening

Thicken by adding the combined cornstarch and water to the mix

Cook until apples are al dente – soft but not mushy, then time simmer for one minute and remove from heat, set aside to cool

Top Crust: Combine all ingredients in a bowl using a fork and chopping movement. You want the mixture to be evenly combined but loose and crumbly rather than a paste.

With crust remaining on baking sheet, fill the crust with the pie filling.

Gently add all of the topping to the top of the pie, distribute the mix evenly over pie up to the crust edge, and then firmly press the topping into the pie to create a top crust over the apple filling.

BAKE pie (on the baking sheet) @425 for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pie begins to golden. (Watch the pie, it can brown quickly depending on the oven.)

REDUCE HEAT to 350 and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. (Watch the pie, it can brown quickly depending on the oven.) 

BAKING NOTE: If the pie seems to be getting too browned, you can CAREFULLY loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil.

Let finished pie cool 1 hour or longer before serving plain, with vanilla ice cream, or with whipped cream. Enjoy!