Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is a classic comfort food recipe. I grew up eating this on school nights, coming home from winter track practice to smells of chicken soup and biscuit batter. The base of this dish is a slightly thickened-up chicken soup…. not as thick as a chicken pot pie filling, but more stick-to-your-ribs than traditional soup. Then, free-form biscuits get dropped into the bubbling soup and steamed until you have a dozen pillowy dumpling floating and waiting to be devoured. It’s so good!

Ingredients needed to make Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe requires the typical myriad of chicken soup ingredients; celery, carrots, onions, sage, thyme, etc. I love this dish because of the versatility. It’s great for a warming family dinner, to serve to guests (if we can ever have those again), or to prep for a few days of lunches. It also transitions seamlessly between all-purpose flour and a 1-1 gluten free flour blend, so there are no issues if you need to eliminate the gluten. You’ll see options to make this meal dairy-free as well in the recipe section. Here’s the full list:

  • Butter (or olive oil)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • All-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)
  • Chicken broth
  • Heavy cream (or full-fat unsweetened coconut milk)
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Frozen peas (optional)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Eggs
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Milk (or full-fat unsweetened coconut milk)

Tools used to make Chicken and Dumplings

I can’t say it enough- I love soups. They require so few tools to pull off and they’re really hard to mess up. LOVE them. Here are all the tools you’ll need to make these Chicken and Dumplings easily:

  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large Dutch oven with lid (or a soup pot)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A wooden spoon
  • A ladle, for serving
  • #40 (~1.5 tbsp) cookie scoop (optional, but very useful)

How to make Chicken and Dumplings

As mentioned above, this recipe is very akin to a traditional chicken soup crossed with a chicken pot pie filling. The process starts the same as any other soup, by chopping your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cooking them down in some butter. Once the veggies have started to take on a little color, you’ll sprinkle in some flour and fresh herbs to coat the veggies, then pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. You’ll let the soup simmer over medium heat, stirring here and there, until it thickens up slightly.

While the soup thickens, you’ll prepare a basic biscuit batter of flour, an egg, butter, milk, and a few other ingredients. The batter will be a touch thicker than, say, a pancake batter, but you won’t believe how the dumplings cook up in the soup. It’s amazing!

Once the soup has thickened, add the shredded (and already cooked!) chicken and frozen peas, if using, to the pot. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Lower the heat so the soup is no longer boiling, then use a cookie scoop (or a small measuring cup) to drop roughly 2 tbsp worth of batter into the soup.. The batter will immediately come together to form floating dumplings once it hits the heat, then just keeping adding little scoops until all of the batter is used. Cover the pot completely and walk away for 15 minutes, then return to find the most amazing pot of chicken and dumplings! I love to serve this with fresh parsley over top and an extra crack of black pepper. That’s it!

Looking for other stick-to-your-ribs recipes?

Try these ideas from The Arden Cook!

Pork Chile Verde

Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa Beef Stew

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

For the Soup

2 tbsp salted butter (or ghee)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 medium carrots, finely chopped

5 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp all-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)

4 ½ cups chicken broth 

½ cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Rounded ¼ tsp baking soda

½ cup milk (or full-fat coconut milk)

5 tbsp butter, melted (or ghee)

1 large egg 

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add onions, carrots, celery, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp flour and the fresh herbs, then stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly to avoid flour clumping. Then, add the heavy cream. Simmer over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dumpling batter. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  4. Once the soup has thickened, stir in the shredded chicken and frozen peas, if using. Lower the heat and ensure the soup is not bubbling, then use the cookie scoop or a small 1/4 cup measuring cup filled halfway to drop scoops of batter into the hot soup. The dumplings will immediately start to form and rise to the top. Repeat until all the batter has been scooped into the soup, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and garnish the soup with fresh parsley and another crack of black pepper. Ladle into bowls, ensuring every bowl gets plenty of soup and at least 1-2 dumplings each, and serve hot. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

The crossover recipe to end all crossover recipes….. this stew! Yes, I know that wasn’t a complete sentence. Two of my favorite winter meals are french onion soup and beef stew, and I never really thought of combining them until now. I’d say french onion is my top choice, but it’s frustrating that it never feels like a complete meal. It could be that it’s lacking variety in vegetables, there’s not really any protein, etc. So, I created a cross between the two comfort food recipes, added some quinoa for nuttiness and extra volume, and fully lost it when I tasted the first bite. It was that good.

This recipe is made in the Instant Pot, so it’s relatively quick and easy. The steps can be a bit confusing if you don’t read through the instructions fully, so make sure you actually pay attention before beginning the recipe. But, as long as you read everything, you’ll be left with a delicious, wholesome cold-weather dinner in under an hour. Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew has a fair amount of ingredients, which is part of the reason the flavors are so complex. I would not recommend leaving anything out. Here’s the full list:

  • Avocado oil
  • Beef stew meat
  • Yellow onions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • Water
  • Tomato paste
  • Carrots
  • Quinoa
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Sharp cheddar or goat’s milk cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Toasted bread or croutons

Tools used to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

As mentioned above, this recipe is made almost entirely in the Instant Pot. If you don’t have an Instant Pot but feel comfortable in the kitchen, you could absolutely try making this on the stovetop or even in a slow-cooker. I did not test the recipe using those methods, so I can’t provide specific instructions. However, it will certainly work as long as you adjust the cooking time accordingly (the Instant Pot works much faster than other methods, so any other method take longer to achieve the same beef tenderness and depth of flavor).

I use the Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-qt, linked here. I absolutely love it. I was NOT a gadget-lover in the kitchen until I bought one of these on a whim, and I promise you- it’s life changing. Other than the Instant Pot itself, you’ll want to gather a few more kitchen items to make this recipe a breeze: a cutting board, a sharp knife, a pair of tongs, measuring cups and spoons, aluminum foil, a rimmed baking sheet, and a stirring utensil. I prefer to use my favorite wooden spoon for stirring, as it’s the perfect length for reaching the bottom of the Instant Pot. That’s it!

How to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew is not difficult to make, but it does require a few extra steps to ensure everything is cooked to perfection. It drives me nuts when I make a soup and the meat turns out too tough/chewy while the vegetables are so soft they’re falling apart, so I made sure that didn’t happen with this stew. To achieve the perfect tenderness for both the beef and the vegetables, we actually pressure cook the stew twice. The first time, it’s just for the beef, while the second time is for the vegetables and quinoa. It sounds fussy, but I promise it doesn’t take any extra time than if we were to make this on the stove!

You’ll begin by trimming the beef of any fat or cartilage, then cut down any very large pieces. The stew meat should come already cubed, but sometimes there are a few wild pieces that need to be cut in half. Aim for approximately 1-inch pieces of beef.

Once the beef is trimmed, we’ll work in batches to sear it on all sides using the Sauté feature on the Instant Pot. Working in batches is key to ensure our meat gets browned and crispy. If we tried to sear all of the beef at once, the pan would be overcrowded and no browning would occur. Remember: browning= flavor.

Once we’ve seared the beef, we’ll add all of the thinly sliced onions and shallots, garlic, and a little red wine to deglaze the Pot. It’s very important to scrape up all of the caramelized bits that stuck to the Pot as we seared the beef, as those provide amazing flavor in our stew. Once the onions and garlic have absorbed much of the wine and are becoming tender, we’ll transfer them to a plate and return the beef to the Pot.

Next, add a splash of beef broth and start the first round of pressure cooking. The first round takes about 35 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize, cook, and then release the pressure. While the beef cooks for the first round, we can prepare the carrots, herbs, and quinoa.

You’ll want to cut the carrots into uniform pieces, each about 1/2 inch thick. Gather your fresh herb sprigs, rinse your quinoa, and maybe even have a glass of wine while you wait.

Once the beef is finished the first round of pressure cooking, we’ll go ahead and add the par-cooked onions and garlic, quinoa, carrots, fresh herbs, and remaining beef broth to the Pot. Close the lid again, and pressure cook the entire stew one final time. We’ll only be cooking it for 2 minutes, however this second round of cooking takes more like 15 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize again, cook, and then release the remaining pressure.

Once the stew has finished cooking, taste it for salt and pepper, then season accordingly. Turn your oven to Broil and ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks. At this point, you can top the soup however you see fit. I love to use a piece of toast and freshly shredded goat’s milk cheddar cheese, while Jeff prefers to top his with salad croutons. Alternatively, this stew is excellent served over mashed potatoes, or eaten as-is. You can absolutely customize it and have a delicious meal!

Looking for other soup recipes?

Try these from The Ardent Cook!

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

1 tbsp avocado oil

1.5 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup red wine

One 32oz container beef broth, divided

1 cup water

2 tbsp Tomato paste

3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Toast or croutons, for serving

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for serving

Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Trim beef of any fat or cartilage and ensure there are no excessively large pieces. Each cube should be roughly 1-inch in size. Season the beef on all sides with salt and black pepper. Turn Instant Pot to “Sauté” and sear the beef, working in batches to avoid crowding the pot. 
  2. Once all the beef has been seared on both sides, remove it from the pot and add the onions. Stir to coat in the beef drippings and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to take on some color. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Stir in the red wine to deglaze the Instant Pot. The onions and garlic will soak up some of the wine and start to become tender. Cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the wine has been absorbed by the onions or evaporated, then transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  4. Add the beef back into the Instant Pot along with ¼ cup beef broth. Close the lid and ensure the vent is in the “Sealing” position. Turn the Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” and then “High Pressure.” Set the timer for 20 minutes and let it go. Once the time is up, let the Pot naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then carefully quick-release the remaining steam by opening the vent. 
  5. To the Pot with the cooked beef, add the water, par-cooked onions, quinoa, carrots, herbs, tomato paste, and remaining beef broth. Return the lid to the Pot and follow the same process as above to pressurize the Pot, this time setting the timer for 2 minutes. Let the soup pressure cook once more, allowing for 5 minutes of natural release once the time is up. After 5 minutes, quick-release the steam and safely take the lid off. 
  6. Turn your oven to broil and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks and top with a piece of toast or handful of croutons, followed by the shredded cheddar. Place the filled crocks onto the lined baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy hot!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup is a bowl of comfort, perfect for a chilly Tuesday evening such as this one (if you live in the northeast). While many traditional tortellini soups incorporate a basic cheese tortellini, I’ve chosen to use a variety filled with a mixture of chicken, herbs, and a little ricotta for a dose of protein and extra flavor. If you’d like to keep this soup vegetarian, simply swap the chicken-filled tortellini for a cheese variety and use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken broth. Make this soup dairy free by choosing a vegan tortellini (with a non-dairy filling) and incorporating canned coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. There are loads of ways to make this soup fit into your diet preference, just as long as you enjoy it with a hunk of crusty bread, wrapped in a cozy blanket. I know you’re going to love it!

Ingredients needed to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup calls upon a lot of long-lasting vegetables and canned goods, making it the perfect meal for weeks when it’s already Tuesday and you haven’t made it to the grocery store for the week yet. I’m having one of those weeks. The worst. Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh thyme
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Heavy cream
  • Chicken and herb filled tortellini
  • Tuscan kale
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Tools used to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love a good soup because of the minimal clean up. You pretty much always need a good sharp knife and large cutting board to make my recipes, but other than that, you’ll just want to get out your favorite large soup pot and a ladle for serving. Optional, but not necessary, is a citrus juicer for squeezing the lemons. This one is a force juicer and it makes my life in the kitchen so much easier!

How to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

As with most soups, the base is comprised of a mirepoix. Mirepoix is a term referring to a blend of diced celery, carrots, and onions. It’s the start of many popular dishes in classical French cooking, and it’s what we use to create ample flavor for this soup.

You’ll begin by sautéing the mirepoix with some fresh thyme in olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, you’ll add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth, along with a few seasonings. This liquid gets simmered for 10-15 minutes or so, until the carrots have softened, as they take a bit longer to cook than the celery and onion.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish, including prep time for chopping. Towards the end of the cooking, you’ll lower the heat and stir in your heavy cream, kale, and tortellini.

I recommend using fresh tortellini in this recipe, which is typically found in the refrigerated section by the deli or cheese area. Shelf-stable tortellini takes much longer to cook, and you run the risk of overcooking the vegetables in your base if you choose this variety. If you can’t find the fresh tortellini, simply add the dried tortellini (while the soup is still simmering) a bit earlier, before adding the heavy cream and kale.

At the very end, you’ll stir in the fresh lemon juice (it tends to get bitter if cooked for too long), ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with parmesan cheese. It’s a complete meal packed with vegetables, starch, and protein, and the slightly creamy broth is so soothing.

I like to enjoy this soup with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping, or a batch of homemade garlic knots (if you’ve got the time). I don’t have my own recipe for garlic knots, unfortunately, but there are loads on the internet that don’t require too much time or effort. It’s a great Sunday project if you happen to make this soup over a weekend!

Looking for other cozy soup options from The Ardent Cook?

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

1 medium carrot, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock

1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk if dairy free)

1 (10oz) package fresh tortellini, filled with chicken and herbs if available

1 bunch tuscan kale, ribbed and sliced into ribbons

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp crushed red chili flake

Black pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Stir until the tomato paste is fully incorporated. Season with the salt, crushed chili flakes, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots have softened. 
  3. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream, stirring constantly while pouring. Add the tortellini and kale, then let cook for the time specified on the package of tortellini (no more than 3-5 minutes for fresh tortellini). Stir in the lemon juice at the very end, then season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese, if using. Serve with crusty bread and a big salad, family style. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup is warming, satisfying, and perfect if you’re looking for a savory application for pumpkin. I love a good pumpkin spiced coffee, but sometimes the savory side of pumpkin is neglected when it shouldn’t be!

The soup is vegan, but feel free to make substitutions as needed. I happen to love the taste of the coconut milk in this soup, but if it’s not for you, simply swap it for some heavy cream instead. Same thing goes for the broth- I’ve used vegetable broth, but chicken or beef work too. I never stress over the exact recipe for a soup… if it gets too thick, you thin it. If it gets too salty, you thin it. See a theme? It’s pretty tough to mess up!

Ingredients needed to make Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

This soup packs a lot of flavor and therefore requires a few more ingredients than you might typically expect. I’ve talked about chipotle peppers in adobo before, but they are one of the key ingredients to creating the smoky flavor in this soup. You can find them in most grocery stores in the international foods aisle. Other than the chipotle peppers, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil 
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • Vegetable broth
  • Full-fat coconut milk
  • Coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • Creamy natural peanut butter (unsweetened and unsalted, if possible)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh cilantro

To make the spiced pepitas, which are optional, you’ll need these items:

Tools used to make Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

This soup comes together quite easily and with minimal equipment. You’ll need a sharp knife, cutting board, large soup pot or Dutch oven, wooden spoon, blender, mixing bowl, and a small skillet.

How to make Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Like most soups, you’ll start by sautéing your aromatic base, which in this case consists of onion, garlic, and ginger. The recipe doesn’t call for this, but you’ll obviously need to prep those ingredients ahead of time by dicing and mincing.

Next, you’ll add the chipotle peppers plus sauce, cinnamon, pumpkin, and broth. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes to let all the flavors mingle. For the creamy component, you’ll want to remove the soup from the heat and add in the coconut milk, coconut sugar, and peanut butter. Just trust me on the peanut butter, it makes this soup.

Because we need to blend the soup, I usually pause at this point and make the spiced pepitas. I like to let the soup cool so it doesn’t make the blender explode from the steam. The pepitas simply get tossed with the olive oil and spices, then warmed in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.

Blend the soup using either an immersion blender or regular blender, top with the pepitas (and cilantro, if using) and serve! It’s so delicious!

Looking for other cozy recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Recipe Ingredients

For the Soup

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1-inch piece ginger, minced

2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce, plus 2 tsp adobo sauce

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 (14oz) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

3 cups vegetable broth

1 (14oz) can full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter (unsweetened and unsalted, if possible)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh cilantro, for serving 

For the Spiced Pepitas

¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas

½ tsp olive oil

⅛ tsp chipotle chili powder

⅛ tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. 
  2. Add the chipotle chili peppers, adobo sauce, ground cinnamon, pumpkin, and broth. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Remove soup from the heat and stir in the coconut milk, sugar, and peanut butter. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the soup to cool slightly. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the spiced pepitas. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the pepitas, olive oil, chili powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to combine, then add to the hot skillet. Toss for 1 minute or so, until the seeds are warm and the spices have adhered. Set aside. 
  5. Using either an immersion blender or high-speed standing blender, blend the soup until creamy (you may need to work in batches if using a standing blender). Ladle soup into bowls and top with the pepitas and cilantro, if desired. Serve warm. 
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When reheating, be careful not to bring the soup to a boiling point. This can cause the oils in the coconut milk and peanut butter to potentially separate. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Perfect for game day, a chilly afternoon, or a make-ahead dinner, this Checkerboard Chicken Chili is a staple in my family. My mom used to make this for us kids at least once per week. Her secret ingredient? A jar of white queso blanco. This chili gets its name from the two different kinds of beans we use: black beans and white kidney beans (like a black and white checkerboard). It’s hearty, loaded with veggies and protein, and downright delicious.

Ingredients needed to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

When I asked my mom for the recipe for her chili, of course she responded by saying, “Well, you know I never really use a recipe.” Alas, I got her to give me a general idea of what she uses and how she prepares it. Here’s the full ingredient list:

Tools used to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

The greatest part about soups, stews, and chilis is that they are always made in one pot. Way less mess! I’ve made this chili in both my Dutch oven and my soup pot, and both work well. You just want something large enough to fit all of your ingredients. Here’s the soup pot I love. Additionally, you’ll need a chef’s knife and a large cutting board for all of that chopping.

How to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

This recipe has a bit of chopping to get you started, but then you’re on your way. I recommend chopping everything before any of the cooking begins. You’ll start by chopping the chicken into 1-inch pieces and chopping all of your vegetables. Next, you’ll sauté the chicken until mostly cooked-through, then add the vegetables and spices. Cover with beer, stir, and let simmer until it smells like heaven in your house. For extra oomph, I stir in a cup of jarred queso blanco. This is certainly optional if you’d prefer a thinner soup consistency, or you don’t care for queso. But if you’re open to it, you should definitely try.

Looking for other hearty recipes?

Try these delicious options from The Ardent Cook

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Recipe Ingredients

3tbsp olive oil

2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (4oz) can diced green chiles

1 (12oz) can beer

1 cup jarred queso blanco

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Chop chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Add to the oil, along with the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked through (it’s ok if it’s not all the way cooked, it will finish as the soup simmers). 
  2. Add the chili powder, salt, cumin, and coriander. Stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. Cook for a minute or so, then add the beans, tomatoes, green chiles, and beer. 
  3. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the queso. 
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with loads of sour cream and fresh cilantro. Maybe a cold beer, too. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder is a delicious cross between a late summer chowder and a hearty fall soup. Highlighting the last of summer corn, plus the first leeks and potatoes of the fall season, this chowder is veggie-forward (in fact, it’s vegan!) and leaves you yearning for a bonfire on a chilly night.

Ingredients needed to make Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

The recipe requires a lot of fresh veggies, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. It relies heavily on late summer/early fall transition crops, like corn, leeks, and potatoes. Here is the full list of ingredients you’ll need to make Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder:

  • Olive oil
  • Leeks
  • Celery
  • Red or orange bell pepper
  • Unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy variety)
  • Gluten-free flour blend
  • Low-sodium vegetable stock
  • Fresh corn
  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tools used to make Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

The best part about making soup is that often the tools needed to make it are minimal (insert: one pot meal). This chowder is no different! I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I’ll continue to say it- you NEED a good knife for chopping things in the kitchen. The biggest hazard I find when cooking is when my knife hasn’t been sharpened in a while. Since you’ll be doing a lot of chopping vegetables, do yourself a favor and either A) sharpen your existing knife or B) pick up a new knife set (this is the set I have and absolutely love).

In addition to great knives, you’ll also need the following:

  • Large cutting board
  • Mason jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Wooden spoon (my absolute favorite wooden spoon)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dutch oven with matching lid (or large soup pot)

How to make Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

To make this chowder, you’ll begin by chopping all of your vegetables. I recommend doing this all ahead of time, because once the soup gets going, you want to have everything at the ready to add into the pot. After everything is chopped, you’ll cook the leeks, bell pepper, and celery in olive oil until just soft.

The thickener for this soup is a combination of a flour-almond milk “slurry” (just another word for shaken mixture of flour and liquid), and the starch that is let out of the potatoes as they cook. To make the slurry, simply add the almond milk and gluten-free flour blend to a mason jar and shake it until it’s well-combined. I prefer to shake it in a mason jar because you don’t have to dirty a whisk and it really makes sure the flour is combined with no clumping. You’ll add this slurry to the vegetables in the pot, then add the rest of the soup ingredients.

The soup cooks for 10 minutes covered, then simmers uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened slightly. This soup will not be as thick as a New England clam chowder, but definitely will have some body to it and lightly coat the back of a spoon. It’s beyond delicious.

Recipe Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped leek (about 1 large)

½ cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)

½ cup chopped bell pepper (about 1 medium)

2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk

3 tbsp GF flour blend (such as King Arthur Measure-For-Measure)

3 cups vegetable stock, low sodium 

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)

1 ½ cups cubed potatoes (such as Yukon gold or other yellow-skinned variety)

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley (about ½ bunch)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the leek, celery, bell pepper, and pinch of salt to the hot oil and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. 
  2. Make a slurry: add almond milk and flour to a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds or so until the milk and flour are well combined. Add to the pot with the vegetables, stirring constantly until all of the slurry is incorporated. 
  3. Add the vegetable stock, potatoes, corn, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, cover pot, and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Uncover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer an additional 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in parsley and additional salt and pepper, to taste. 
  4. Ladle into bowls and enjoy by a cool September bonfire. This chowder is especially tasty topped with oyster crackers. Delicious!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

I know what you’re thinking…. why would I ever make a hot curry in the summer? I normally would agree with you! Unless of course you live in the Philadelphia area, where it has decided to rain/thunderstorm every single night the past two weeks. Thunderstorms call for comfort food, and this Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry really hits the spot.

Healthy enough for a weeknight dinner, Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry features the usual Thai-inspired aromatics such as garlic, ginger, and coconut milk. I also throw in a jalapeño for heat, and fresh-squeezed lime juice for brightness. I absolutely love loading in all the spinach as the recipe calls for, and occasionally some broccoli or zucchini for extra veggie content. The meatballs make this curry feel more fun, plus the meatballs themselves are loaded with flavor as well!

I serve Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry over steamed rice or rice noodles for a complete meal, but I’m sure it would be delicious over other things such as cauliflower rice or mashed sweet potato. Get creative and don’t forget to load on that sauce!

I absolutely love seeing what recipes you all are making, and there’s nothing better than getting a tag on Instagram (@theardentcook) with a photo of a finished dish from a reader. I can’t wait to see how your photos of this curry turn out! Enjoy!

Ingredients needed to make Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Many of the ingredients required to make Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry are fresh from the fridge, as follows:

-Ground chicken

-Jalapeno pepper




-Baby spinach

-Fresh lime juice

In addition to those fresh ingredients, you’ll need a few items from your pantry to bring everything together. One of my favorite parts of this dish is the silky sauce, which can be entirely attributed to the use of coconut milk. I only use full-fat coconut milk, and it’s beyond worth it. In fact, I use it so frequently for sauces that I typically order it in bulk.

Everything else you’ll need to make Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry probably already lives in your pantry, but I’ll give you a list just in case you need to stock up:

Soy sauce

Coconut oil

-Chicken broth


-Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

One of the reasons I love this recipe is because the tools required to make it are so minimal. All you really need is a good chef’s knife to mince all of your aromatics, a cutting board, a large mixing bowl, measuring utensils, and a cooking vessel. I prefer to make this recipe in my favorite-ever Dutch oven, but a soup pot or large, deep skillet could work in a pinch.

It’s one pot for easy clean up, and the mess you make while completing the prep work is extremely limited. What could be better?

How to make Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

This recipe has a few key steps. The first step involves properly mincing and chopping all of the aromatics (ginger, garlic, and jalapeño). This step is extremely important, otherwise you’ll end up with huge chunks of ginger and garlic in your meatballs, which can be a bit alarming. If you’re new to mincing and don’t have trustworthy knife skills yet, don’t fret. All you need to do is take your time and really focus on breaking the garlic, ginger, and jalapeño down to very fine pieces. No biggie, just be thorough!

Next, you’ll need to form your meatballs and brown them off in your Dutch oven. This step is pretty low pressure, as it doesn’t matter if the meatballs are completely cooked-through while browning. They will finish cooking in the sauce later on, so just keep your attention on getting a nice color on the outsides. Browning= flavor.

The final step is creating the delicious sauce, which basically involves just dumping the remaining ingredients into the pot and allowing the meatballs to finish cooking. Super simple, and it will create the most wonderful smell in your kitchen. Pretty exciting, huh?

Looking for other comforting weeknight dinner ideas?

Check out these other recipes for delicious and comforting meals that can easily be made on a busy weeknight!

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Bowls with Blue Cheese Celery Slaw

Cheesy Corn and Poblano Casserole

Spicy Basil Stuffed Poblanos

Grilled Chicken, Asparagus, and Brie Ciabattas with Garlic Aioli

Recipe Ingredients

2lbs ground chicken 

1 jalapeno, minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 4-inch piece ginger, minced

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

3 cups baby spinach

1 14oz can full-fat coconut milk

3 tbsp soy sauce, divided

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp honey

Juice of ½ lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Steamed rice, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Finely mince the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Add half to a large mixing bowl and set the rest aside. 
  2. To the large mixing bowl, add the ground chicken, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and a few cracks of salt and pepper. Mix and form into several 1 ½ inch meatballs. 
  3. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meatballs until they are evenly browned. They may not be fully cooked through before browning occurs, which is okay. They will finish cooking in the broth. 
  4. Once all the meatballs are cooked, set them aside and lower the heat. Add the remaining half of the minced ginger mixture and saute until lightly browned and fragrant, about a minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, honey, and remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce. 
  5. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat and allow it to simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs back in and cook the soup for another 5-7 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. 
  6. Stir in the spinach and lime juice, and taste for salt and pepper. Season accordingly. 
  7. Serve immediately over steamed rice, or store in an airtight container for an easy meal prep throughout the week. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.