special baked chicken

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

This special recipe is dedicated to Alison ~
her kindness reminds me to never underestimate
the power of a Cousin.

~      ~

This recipe crept into my life several decades after it was penned from a very lovable and surprising person. I didn’t discover the recipe among the hundreds of my Mom “Betty’s” other recipes — I found it in my mailbox!

While recently packing up her family’s belongings to move near my childhood home in San Antonio my Cousin Alison came across this recipe from her Grandmother Delores’ cookbook and was kind enough to send it to me along with a few other recipes that will be soon joining the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Alison knew what these recipes would mean to me!

The connection? Delores is my Mom “Betty’s” older — and only — Sister and this recipe is one of a precious few that have found its way to the Betty’s Cook Nook archive that was otherwise missing from my Mom’s cookbook. So Texas-sized props to my Cousin Alison!

A healthy appetite for family

When you’re a grown adult it’s not every day someone seemingly new arrives into your heart. Over the past few years Alison has shown me that even a part of my familiar family can have a surprising impact decades after we first knew each other. I love uncovering all the ways we are alike even when I’m not mining for things in common; a crescendo I hope has no end.

One such example is our thirst for our family genealogy. I heard from my family that Alison had great skills and interest for researching our past but it wasn’t until this month when I realized how true this was!

As a self-proclaimed internet researcher I pride myself on being able to find a lot of things online thru keyword and image searches. Heck, it was this post that helped me reunite with my Mom and her Sister’s childhood home here in Austin 80 years after it was built!

Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

The Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

Shortly after receiving the recipes, Alison and I were geeking out via fierce sms txt exchanges after dual-searching a missing part of our family’s history — my Grandmother “Nanny’s” father, “Joe,” Betty’s Grandfather. I literally knew nothing about him but Alison found out from Census records she accessed on Ancestry.com that Joe was an orphan who came to the U.S. when he was a mere 9 years old! Joe hailed from a tiny village named Horní Lideč in Moravia — a country that is now part of the Czech Republic — and wound up in the farm country of Dime Box, Texas, where my Mom was born… and close to where Alison and I went to college. Gig ‘Em! Alison and I are currently on the hunt for more clues for how we can better know this branch of our family tree.

A wild and wicked past

Not only did the resiliency of my Great Grandfather’s history fuel my curiosity and ignite my respect but Alison told me she discovered her several times great Grandmother was Martha Carrier, a Puritan accused, convicted, and hanged in 1692 for reportedly being a witch during the Salem Witch Trails! Pure craziness! 19 years after Martha’s death the Massachusetts government awarded her family 7 pounds and 6 shillings and reversed the conviction. So humbling!

Martha – along with 19 others are recognized at Salem’s Witch Trials Memorial. I’ve only been to Salem once — on a dark 1990s Halloween’s Eve no doubt. Should my feet adventure to this part of America again, I’ll make sure and visit the memorial site which honors the past by perpetuating the unwavering commitment to social justice.

So what does all this have to do with special baked chicken? Well, quite a lot! Had Alison not sent me the almost-forgotten recipe we likely wouldn’t have dove deep into our family’s roots … or found a dish I hope to meet and eat again! Along the way we shared, learned, laughed, *and gasped* at what we discovered.

The point of all of this is know your family. Not just your nuclear family but as much of where you’ve came from that you can discover! And food is a wonderful way to connect and share the best of family along the way.

On to the most special baked chicken recipe I know!

Foodie Tips

  Apparently sliced dried beef is super salty and we forgot to run water over it per the instructions. I’d suggest following this step!

Special Baked Chicken Dried Beef  Lover of the dried beef, are you? Well, you’re not alone. While one of my Nieces hates dried beef (a.k.a. chipped beef) with a passion she does hold a high regard for its historical significance. Check out this other BCN recipe where we explore another way to fashion dried beef into a, ahem, culinary delicacy.

  Of special note: My Mom advised this recipe can be delayed in a “slower oven” if guests are late.

i. Ingredients

3 ounce package | sliced dried beef
3 large | chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved
6 slices | bacon
to sprinkle | fresh rosemary, chopped
1 can | mushroom soup
1 cup | sour cream

ii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Special Baked Chicken Chipped Beef

1. Run cold water over the dried beef. Dry then place the beef in a 12” x 8” x 2” baking dish.

2. Place the prepared chicken breasts on top of the beef.

Special Baked Chicken Bacon and Rosemary3. Top each breast with a slice of bacon then sprinkle with the fresh rosemary. Place in your oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

4. While the meats are cooking combine the mushroom soup and the sour cream. When “time’s up” on the chicken pour the sour cream mixture over the chicken and continue baking 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Baste here and there, making sure to not disrupt the layering of the chipped beef and the bacon.

Yields 4-6 servings.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

A Copy Of Mom’s Recipe – As Penned By My Aunt Delores (Betty’s SIster).


pk’s rosemary chicken and dumplings

rosemary chicken and dumplingsTortillas

One of my earliest cooking tips hailed from a floury, flat, flying disc-like object; the tortilla.

Cooked in soup, tortillas were the fast and economical way to plump up chicken and dumpling soup, rather than making dumplings by hand. This cooking tip was shared with mom by our family friend and housekeeper Miss “Essie.”

I don’t remember a day when Essie wasn’t smiling. She was rich with a happiness that money cannot buy and she was a hard-working lady who helped our family for many years. She helped Mom pick-up and organize the house as Mom was more than busy raising three boisterous boys (I was the angel son, of course) and working as an independent contractor; a court reporter.

When the temperatures start to drop, I search for loose clothing, as I know chicken and dumpling season is among us. There’s no better comfort food than the warm, silky, doughy greatness of this belly pleaser.

I’m tucking this recipe here in Mom’s digital cookbook as it’s one of my favorites and certainly a dish I would make for Mom, Dad and you. Over the years, I’ve adapted this recipe and often include rosemary, one of my favorite homegrown herbs.

Let’s Get Cookin’

i. soup ingredients

1-2 pounds | boneless chicken breast, cubed.
2-3 medium | white onions (1 onion will be pierced with cloves, 1-2 onions will be chopped)
splash | olive oil for sautéing (or some chunks of butter, if you’d like)a peek at ingredients for rosemary chicken and dumplings soup ~ Mmmmm! Mmmmm!
whole cloves
3-4 medium | carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 sprigs | parsley on stem (or cilantro, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon | salt
2-4 sprigs | rosemary (not chopped, just for flavor)
½ teaspoon | freshly ground black pepper
celery ribs, chopped
4 cups | water (or chicken broth, if you want to pump up the jam)
1 cup | whole milk

ii. dumpling ingredients

1 cups + 3 tablespoons | sifted flour
1 + ½ teaspoons | baking power
dash | salt (and some pepper, if you’d like)
2 tablespoons | shortening, chilled
½ cup | milk for dumplings plus ¼ cup milk for a “slurry”
2 – 4 sprigs (~ 4” each) | chopped rosemary

iii. foodie tips

❤  Add more pepper if you have a cold. Trust me.

❤  You can add more herbs if you like. Bay leaves, cilantro or thyme are all good. You can place the herbs in a cheese cloth and tie-off the ends so you don’t have to “fish” the herbs and stems out of the soup. You can also season the dumplings with some fresh cracked pepper or chopped rosemary or thyme.

❤  Need more fillin’? I’ve tried this by adding a couple of cans of yellow corn and chopped green chilies. My taste buds and tummy “high fived” each other.

❤  If you haven’t already read here on Betty’s Cook Nook, when I say butter, “Falfurrias Butter” is implied. Thank you to my Grandmother, Nanny!

❤  To form the dumplings I prepare them all ahead of time so they cook for a consistent amount of time. To yield about 40 dumplings I use a teaspoon to help cut the dough into similarly-sized dumplings. Hand roll them tight and use flour on your hands if you find the dough becomes sticky.

iv. what to do

1. Make Soup: In a large pot, sauté the chicken with 1 or 2 of the chunk-chopped onions and oil (or butter). Gently place into the pot the onion that’s pierced with cloves then add the carrots, celery, parsley (or cilantro), salt, rosemary, pepper, 1 cup of the milk, and 4 cups water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally (between glasses of wine, of course). Reduce to low and simmer covered for one hour. Simmering will give you ample time to drink more wine and make the dumplings! [ side comment: Please realize step 1 is really 14 steps rolled into 1 but nobody will make soup that requires a lot of steps.]

2. Make Dough: I usually jumpstart my dumplings 25-30 minutes before the soup is done with its hour-long simmer. Sift 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt (and pepper, if you choose) together in a medium-sized mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid). Cut in chilled shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ½ cup milk all at once, any seasonings (pepper, rosemary or thyme) and mix until dough holds together.

three cheers for dumplings3. Make Dumplings: Form your dumplings per the cooking tip above. When they’re all ready remove the onion pierced with clove, parsley (or cilantro) and rosemary from the soup and discard. With a slotted spoon, remove the chunky items (chicken, carrots, celery) from the soup and place them in a bowl to rest/set aside. It’s OK to leave some of the chopped onion in the pot as it’s hard to fish out! Bring the remaining soup to a simmer and drop the dumplings on top of the liquid. Simmer the soup uncovered for 10 minutes; then cover and simmer 10 more minutes.

4. Make Slurry & Prepare To Dismount: Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons flour into the remaining ¼ cup milk until smooth. You just made “slurry!” Stir the slurry into the soup and bring things to a boil. Stir until thickened. Return the chunky items from the bowl to the soup and simmer for a few minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley (or cilantro or rosemary).


~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

How to make Chicken and Dumplings

Piercing the onion with cloves is one of my favorite parts of this recipe

How to make Chicken and Dumplings

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How to make Chicken and Dumplings

Making homemade dumplings is just part of the fun. Eating them is the other part! This recipe will yield about 40 dumplings – Enough to keep me happy for at least a couple of meals! Nom! Nom! Nom!

How to make Chicken and Dumplings

Thar she goes – the onion into the early parts of the soup!

patrick’s rosemary smashed potatoes

tah dah! my rosemary smashed potatoes!
his special recipe is dedicated to my niece Laura ~
her naturally beautiful spirit reminds me that I love her
“a bushel and a peck” more than my never-ending love of potatoes!

~      ~

Mom’s mom “Nanny” used to make her well-known “lumpy mashed potatoes” for special holidays, which were Roger’s favorite time of year. Why? well, on fancy occasions, like Thanksgiving, Roger would perform his signature “choking napkin-in-the-mouth trick,” which usually resulted in Nanny tabbing out, saying “oh, stop it!”

When it comes time to make your own mashed potatoes, I offer-up my home-grown recipe, compliments of freshly-claimed rosemary. After making and tasting these potatoes, you might get all “choked-up” yourself.

In a good way.

i. ingredients

6 | medium-to-large russet, yukon gold or red potatoes
a dash or 2 | gray sea salt
a hearty splash | evoo
38 twists | freshly milled medium/course pepper
6-8 | 6″ long fresh rosemary sprigs (leave rosemary on the stems)
1/2 stick | salted falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
1 cup | sour cream
2-3 handfuls | shredded cheddar and or mozzarella cheese (even better if mixed)
to taste | lawry’s brand black pepper seasoned salt

meet the cast of ingredients for my rosemary smashed potatoesii. what to do

1. Chunk-cut the potatoes 1″ square and place them in an large, empty stock pot. Leave the potato skins on; they add texture and more Vitamin C vs. peeled.

2. Fill the pot and add the salt, evoo, fresh pepper and the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil and stir periodically for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender (when you can easily separate the chunks with your wooden spoon).

3. Drain (do not rinse) the potatoes in a strainer but leave the “loose” rosemary and pepper, clinging to the potatoes. Remove/toss the rosemary twigs, reserving any rosemary leaves for the potato mixture.

4. Return the warm potato mixture to the stock pot and fold-in the butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Stir with a wooden stick, leaving the potatoes somewhat lumpy. Make sure the cheese is melted (reheat a bit if you have to).

5.  Serve potatoes on your serving plate (platter) and top with a dash of freshly ground pepper or Lawry’s brand black pepper seasoned salt. Maybe even more butter. Go on, it’s the Kiker way.

Foodie Tip ~

  If your rosemary is stubborn and won’t fall from the stem during cooking, make sure and clip the green leaves into the potatoes before discarding the stems. These are, after all, *rosemary* smashed potatoes!
  These potatoes are best experienced fresh. You *can* store them in the fridge, but you’ll need to reheat them on stove top or microwave.

Fun Fact ~

  What the heck’s “A bushel and a peck?” Mom’s mom “Nanny” used to say she loved us a “bushel and a peck.” I never really knew the true meaning of the saying until I researched it for this recipe post. Now I get it! “A bushel and a peck” was a song sung by Doris Day. See it here and read the lyrics below.

a picture of my niece laura in an appropriately themed picture frame
Doris Day’s “A Bushel And A Peck” Lyrics

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and it beats me all to heck
It beats me all to heck, how I’ll ever tend the farm
Ever tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo
~      ~