We didn’t call our oldest son, James, “Pepper Ann” (a cartoon character) for no reason. As a teenager, he doused his food in ground black pepper. He wanted everything to have a very spicy kick. To this day, as a 30-something bachelor, his spice cabinet consists of varieties of pepper flakes, peppercorns, and hot sauces. And salt. That’s it. There’s really no need for flavor nuance if your object is to make your food make you sweat.
Unfortunately, James’ two younger siblings didn’t share his passion. It’s not that they wanted their meals British bland. They just weren’t in their brother’s pepper club.
So I was always on the lookout for main dish recipes that struck a flavor compromise. I was delighted to find a recipe in the 2003 Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbook called “Quick And Spicy Chicken ‘N Dumplings.”There are just some foods you don’t equate with “spicy” – ice-cream cake, mashed potatoes, and chicken & dumplings.
Every single word in the Southern Living recipe’s description appealed to me. It was unexpected and dripping with potential to be the dish my whole family would love. And they did! Win for Mom.
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it a bit healthier (read: lower fat), but it still maintains all the spicy goodness of the original. Hope you will enjoy it like our family does!
4 large, skinned chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups Bisquick Heart Smart Baking Mix, divided
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. ground red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1/4 t. ground black pepper
dash sea salt
3 (14.5 oz) cans 99% fat-free chicken broth
2 T. coconut oil
2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning
2/3 c. skim milk
In a large freezer bag, combine 2 cups of the baking mix and the next 7 spices. Shake to blend. Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the chicken pieces until golden brown.
Add chicken broth and 2 packets of Goya seasoning. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Combine milk and 2 remaining cups of Bisquick in a bowl and stir until dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls into simmering chicken. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cook covered for additional 10 minutes.