New Recipe Tuesday – Baked Chicken and Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce

Welcome to New Recipe Tuesday! I am continuing on my ‘no theme’ journey and tonight I took to my many stored recipes on Pinterest for inspiration. I like Pinterest for the fact that you can store endless links to pretty much anything and organize it the way you like it. But I have also found that it is like a big manila folder, stuffed with clippings from magazines and newspapers; recipes that never get made even though they look good and have a pretty picture attached.

So perhaps I need to dig into all these archived recipes and actually make some of them. Seems pretty reasonable to me. And so I hunted around and found this sort-of one pan dish called Baked Chicken and Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce.

Baked Chicken and Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce

The recipe touts itself as being one dish, but in reality that is only the baking dish you cook the final meal in. You have several stove top steps that use several pans, so do not be fooled! It isn’t a hard dish by any means, but you will end up with more cleanup than just a 13×9 pan.

But I digress. Even with the little bit of prep before assembly, this is a super easy meal that comes together fairly quickly. Although it boasts about being a ‘cream sauce’ I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the runniness of the liquid. Even as I was making it, my head was screaming to make a velouté sauce and I was right. I have modified the recipe from the original to include the critical addition of flour to the butter and garlic; making a roux before adding the stock. This will make the dish perfect.

So my version of this recipe will give it a solid A, although the dish I made (and is pictured) is at best a B+. Make it my way and you will love it. The sharpness of the cheese is a nice offset to the pillowy gnocchi and tender chicken. The addition of spinach gives you a whole meal in one pan and rounds out the flavor profile nicely.

I would definitely make this again, and I hope you give it a try. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy and see you next week.

Baked Chicken and Gnocchi with Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce

  • Difficulty: fairly easy
  • Print


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 – 6 oz. bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 – 18 oz package fresh refrigerated gnocchi

For the garlic asiago cream sauce:

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or more, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Season chicken thighs with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides, starting skin-side down, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain and set aside. Drain off any excess oil from the pan.
  3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Stir in chopped spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set spinach aside.
  4. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  5. To make the garlic asiago cream sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1minute. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and Italian seasoning. Cook, whisking constantly, 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the half and half and grated Asiago cheese and blend until the cheese melts. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Arrange chicken thighs into the prepared baking dish. Top with cooked gnocchi, spinach and Asiago cream sauce. Roast in the oven until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.

Baked Chicken and Gnocchi with  Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce


New Recipe Tuesday – Snow Day! – North Indian Chicken Curry

Welcome to another week of no particular theme New Recipe Tuesday. We’ve been pretty busy around here the last couple of weeks. Last week my son was the lead in his high school’s production of “Gypsy”, taking on the role of Herbie and doing a great job. Add to that that it was also his senior show and I am prop master for all the shows…well you get idea.

And then today was a snow day. I am located to the south of Philadelphia and we were in the direct hit of this strange mid March blizzard. Everyone did the “French toast” run yesterday (you know…eggs, bread, milk…lol), but I am from Upstate New York, so no pre planning for me. When the storm fizzled early, I got out my snow blower, cleared the driveway and headed out to the store to gather my ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Call me crazy, but I am just not one to go all berserk over pending snow when I know some guy will be plowing within hours of the final flake. The strangest part was me being the only one at the market except the cashier and one stock boy. That was a bit creepy. Good thing I only needed yogurt, a jalapeño and cauliflower!

With no theme, I opted to go for a Pinterest recipe that seemed like it had full flavor and some heat on this cold day. What I settled on was North Indian Chicken Curry. What I liked about this dish was that it didn’t take the quick course of just adding curry powder. It used a variety of spices, allowing you to adjust if you wanted. It also comes together in one large pan. Very easy and delicious. Everyone loved it and I would make it again. Served with some roasted cauliflower and simple couscous; perfect.

I give this one a solid A grade and hope you give it a try. Very yummy. 

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week!

North Indian Chicken Curry


  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups onions, finely chopped (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 fresh serrano chiles, minced (use a jalapeño as a substitute)
  • 4 lb. bone-in chicken thights, skin and excess fat removed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp. turmeric
  • ¾ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, more for garnish
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1½ tsp. garam masala


  1. Heat the oil in a deep Dutch oven or wide saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are golden brown, stirring often, about 10 to 12 minutes (be careful not to burn them, lower the heat if necessary).
  3. Put the yogurt in a bowl and add the cornstarch, mix well.
  4. Add to the onions the ginger, garlic, chiles and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add chicken thighs and cook until they begin to brown, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the thighs to a platter.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the spices; the coriander, turmeric and cayenne. Stir often and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the yogurt, the cilantro and about 2 tsp. of salt. Add the chicken pieces back into the pan. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil.
  8. Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  9. Add the garam masala and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes to blend flavor.
  10. When serving, garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

New Recipe Tuesday, TV week – Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Chicken

Welcome to another week of New Recipe Tuesday. Alas, we are here for another new culinary creation, but I have no new theme. So I am going to call this my TV week.

I like to watch cooking shows and often catch The Chew while home eating lunch. Sometimes I think they work these shows like ‘cooking for dummies’ and it is incredible to think there are people out there that don’t know to salt their pasta water or cook their mushrooms without salt. Am I being some kind of cooking snob? I mean, seriously, some of these shows have been on for years and they are still giving the same ‘tips’! Most of the time they become background noise and I rarely find anything interesting enough to consider.

So I was surprised today to watch Clinton Kelly make a really simple pasta dish that sounded good enough for me to try. It was logical. It didn’t contain anything weird. It was simple and contained ingredients that made sense. The dish is Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Chicken. The whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes.

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Chicken

The TV recipe can be found on The Chew website, but I did make some changes to it so I will give you my version. I am a big fan of pine nuts so I used them instead of the walnuts in the original. I also baked my chicken like I always do instead of broiling it.

The overall result was very good. I liked the addition of raisins to give a surprise sweetness. I personally am not a fan of raw garlic and even as I write this I have the aftertaste in my mouth. If I made this again I might roast the garlic or even just use garlic powder instead of the cloves of fresh garlic.

So for all my disdain about TV cooking shows, I actually found a good recipe and encourage you to give it a try. Maybe I will see what’s on the Cooking Channel for next week!

Thanks for stopping by. Not sure where we will go next week. Stay tuned, or better yet, offer up a suggestion!

Arugula Pesto Farfalle with Chicken



  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled), personally I would roast it
  • 1 container baby arugula (5 ounces)
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (finely grated)
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)


  • 1 pound farfalle
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (plumped in hot water)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (to garnish)
  • red pepper flakes (to garnish)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


  1. In the bowl of a food processor add the garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Add the arugula and parmesan and pulse until finely chopped. While the machine is running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Pulse in the pine nuts. Remove to a bowl, season with salt and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chicken thighs on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. Remove from the oven and thinly slice.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
  4. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and toss with the arugula pesto. Add the raisins and toss to combine. Divide between bowls, top with sliced chicken, dollops of ricotta and red pepper flakes.

Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Four – American Samoa – Sapasui

Welcome to week 4 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore American Samoa, who joined the US as a territory in 1899. United States influence began in 1872 when the United States Navy met with Chief Manuma to establish a harbor in Pago Pago. Up to the end of the century, a power struggle ensued between the US, Germany and Britain.  A civil war in Samoa brought backing of opposite positions from Germany and US, with each side hoping to gain power to use the islands for whaling and as a coal station. It wasn’t until the signing of the Tripartite Convention of 1899 that the Samoan Islands were divided, resulting in the western islands, controlled by Germany, and American Samoa.

Over the years, there have been calls for either independence or autonomy for American Samoa, but as recently as a referendum in 2010, the majority of citizens decided to remain unchanged. Interestingly, Americans need a passport to enter American Samoa, and they have their own immigration.

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I found that American Samoa is much like its neighboring islands in the south pacific, having large influences from Asia and the Philippines, while also having a sense of mix from American military and European countries. The most unique dish that I found was called Sapasui, which is the American Samoa version of Chop Suey. It uses ingredients that you would find in the traditional dish, including soy sauce and bean thread noodles, but many of the versions I found included canned or frozen vegetables. This is mainly due to the challenges in getting these ingredients on the islands. I also found that Spam was often used, a nod to the US military influence in the region.

American Samoa Sapasui

I decided on a version that used chicken, plus carrots, red pepper and edamame. The dish is really simple, but I found that it lacked flavor. I added some fish sauce (my Asian umami magic ingredient), plus a little hot chili sauce, which improved things, but I was still a little disappointed. It was just ok, so I am going to give this one a B+ and move on.

I don’t think this will come into my regular rotation, but it was interesting learning about this far away island.  I shall continue on my journey, and look to next week to round out our US Territory adventure.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week in the Northern Marianas Islands!

American Samoa Sapasui


Traditional American Samoa dish; their own version of Chop Suey


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 oz bean thread vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 carrots, chopped in ¼ inch dice
  • ½ red pepper, chopped in ¼ inch dice
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame (you can also use frozen peas)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then add the noodles. Turn off the heat, cover and soak noodles for 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the dish.
  2. Add oil to a large lidded wok or pan on medium high heat and stir fry the onions, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and stir fry until brown. Add half of the soy sauce to the meat, stir and lower the heat, put the lid on the pan and allow to simmer until the meat is tender (about 7 minutes). The meat will start caramelizing and the liquid will reduce. Add a little water if required and stir occasionally.
  4. Add vegetables (carrots, red pepper and beans) to the pan after the meat is tender and increase heat to medium, stir frying until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Season with a little salt.
  5. Drain the noodles using a strainer or colander. Add noodles to the pan and gently fold it in. Stir the remainder of the soy sauce, water, fish sauce and chili paste, put the lid on the wok and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

American Samoa Sapasui

Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week One – Puerto Rico – Asopao de Pollo

Welcome to week 1 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  As you all know, I finished our adventure through the Fifty United States with Hawaii, and it was time to look for something new to do. And although I would love to start off on a new worldly culinary adventure, I felt that I was not doing our fine USA justice without a nod to our outlying land masses, otherwise known as the US Territories.

In actuality, there are 16 American territories worldwide, but only 5 of them are inhabited full time. I am going to try to discover interesting foods from these 5 for the next several weeks, and may even throw in the District of Columbia before moving along to somewhere else. What do you think? I like it, and well, it’s my blog, so that is what I am doing.

My first territory is Puerto Rico. By far the largest US territory, Puerto Rico became part of the US in 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. If it were a state, it would be 29th in population and land wise would be larger than Rhode Island and Delaware.

Early on, Puerto Rico wanted to be independent, but by the turn of the 21st century, feelings had shifted. By 2012, with many families with members that lived in the US, Puerto Rico actually indicated a desire for statehood. As of right now, there is nothing pending in Congress to allow them to prepare a state constitution and appeal for statehood, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen in the next 20 years. Can you imagine the US with 51 states?

When it comes to food, Puerto Rico has a very distinct culinary identity. Influenced by Spanish and Caribbean flavors, Puerto Rico has developed many dishes that are uniquely their own. I have a brother in law, Ernesto, who is Puerto Rican, so I went to him for advice on what to make. He gave me the suggestion to make Asopao de Pollo, which translated means “Chicken Stew”. Most people think of Puerto Rico as being tropical, but there is actually a mountainous region to the island, and in the winter it can get quite cool. This is a dish that was created for the colder temps and so with fall peaking around the corner here in Philly, this is a perfect dish for this week.

Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo

This is really easy to make. It comes together in about 45 minutes, including prep, and you make it all in one pot; a perfect weeknight meal. This recipe uses two ingredients that I have never had before; sofrito and sazon. Both of these are integral to Puerto Rican cooking and there really is no substitute for them. There are recipes on the web for sofroto if you feel up to making your own, but Goya makes a jar version and is readily available in the Latin foods section of most large supermarkets. It was literally right next to the Sazon!

I really liked this. It is mild in flavor yet distinct. The rice gives it a heartiness that makes this an excellent cold weather dish. My son said it needed some texture, but I am not sure what I would add to it to give it some crunch without compromising the original flavor. Maybe just a simple side salad to give it some fresh contrast.

I highly recommend you give this one a try. It is super simple and delicious. If our other four territories are like this one, I think I am going to like this extension of the Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Guam!

Asopao de Pollo

Chicken and Rice Stew from Puerto Rico


  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into rough 1-inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sofrito (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 envelopes Goya Sazon sin achiote (without annatto)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a soup pot, heat oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add the sofrito, sazon, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, capers, bay leaf, and 6 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.  If the stew gets too thick, add more stock.
  4. Add the olives and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cilantro.

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Fifty! – Hawaii – Shoyu Chicken, Mac Salad and Haupia

Welcome to week 50 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the last, but certainly not the least, state of Hawaii, who joined the union on August 21, 1959. I cannot believe I did it. All fifty states represented here. From Delaware to Hawaii, we have taken quite a journey through our states, each one unique in its own way. I can honestly say that I learned something from this process. A lot of history about our country, some of it better than others, but I have definitely gained knowledge about who we are, good and bad.

But we’re not done yet! Let’s talk about our Pacific state of Hawaii.

So how did we end up with a state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Well, a lot of it has to do with sugar and of course, location. During the mid to late 1800s, the US government gained interest in the island nation, as it offered a strong strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region and also provided for huge economic opportunity in its sugar plantations. At the time, the islands were ruled by the Kamehameha dynasty, but when the last of the reigning family died in 1872, the islands went into some upheaval and the US stepped in to try to bring control. At the urging of the military and US citizens now living there, the government and Queen Lili’uokalani were overthrown in 1893. US President Cleveland was against annexing Hawaii, but several years later under President McKinley, the islands were officially annexed into the US as a territory in 1898.

After becoming a territory, the US moved quickly to build military bases around the island of Oahu, some still in use today. The US Navy built a base at Pearl Harbor, which we all know was hit by Japanese fighter planes on the morning of December 7, 1941. Twenty vessels were destroyed, over 2000 service men were killed and the attack propelled the US into World War II.

Hawaii wanted to be admitted as a state as early as 1935, but was rejected 3 times before finally gaining enough support with their arguments in 1959. They sent an elected representative to Washington with their desires clearly laid out. They wanted to elect their own governor, have the ability to vote for the president, put an end to taxation without representation in Congress, plus they had proven their loyalty to the US in WWII and more than 90% of the population were already US citizens. In March 1959, both houses of Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. On June 27, 1959, a ballot vote was held asking Hawaii residents to vote on accepting the statehood bill, which passed 17 to 1 to accept. On August 21, church bells were rung throughout Honolulu proclaiming that Hawaii was finally a US state.

Ok. So let’s talk about Hawaiian food. I have been to the Hawaiian Islands several times and I always love the food. I tried to find some recipes that were representative of the local culture, but also had to avoid fish (son won’t eat it). I would have loved to make some cool luau food, but not having taro leaves and a big fire pit in my back yard sent me looking for something else.

Shoyu Chicken, Mac Salad and Haupia

What I decided on were three different dishes! Yes, three different recipes, because I just couldn’t decide on one. The first dish is Shoyu Chicken, which is a tasty braised dish that tastes like teriyaki. It is super simple and flavorful. It is often served as a meat option for the Hawaiian Plate Lunch, which is where the second recipe comes from; Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. This one was also very tasty. It contains more mayonnaise than any other mac salad I have ever made, and everything I read about it is that it is supposed to be that way. It sort of reminded me of deli prepared mac salad. Tasted good, but too soupy. The third recipe was a dessert called Haupia. It is a super simple coconut pudding with only a couple of ingredients. My son described it perfectly when he said it tasted like coconut jello. Sort of jiggly, but flavorful while not being heavy. I bet it would be really good with some chocolate sauce!

So there you have it. Fifty states of New Recipe Tuesday complete. As they say in that old tv ad “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”! Where do we go next? Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe a week or two of reflection and planning for my next adventure. If you have any ideas, please feel free to offer them up.  For now, I want to thank you for following along, and I hope you will continue with me as we move on to our next culinary journey.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week…

Recipe for Shoyu Chicken:


6 – 8 chicken thighs
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cups low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup mirin
4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 -inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick and smashed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish


Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and green onions in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes more.

Remove chicken to a serving platter. Remove garlic and ginger and discard. Bring sauce to a boil, skim off excess fat, and cook until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add chicken, turn to coat, and serve chicken with sauce and sliced green onions.hi-shoyu-chicken

Shoyu Chicken

Recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:


1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole or 2% milk, divided
2 cups mayonnaise, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
Salt & pepper


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the macaroni; cook one minute past done, about 10-11 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

Add the cider vinegar and toss until absorbed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1 ½ cups of the milk, 1 cup of the mayonnaise, the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp pepper.

Once the cooked pasta has cooled for 10 minutes, mix in the dressing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup of mayonnaise, along with the scallions and carrot. Stir to combine, and then season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

Recipe for Haupia:


1 (12 – 13 ounce) can coconut milk
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
34 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut extract
toasted coconut, for topping

Pour coconut milk into saucepan.

Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and blend well.

Stir sugar mixture into coconut milk; cook and stir over low heat until thickened (about 4-5 minutes)

Remove from heat and add coconut extract.

Pour into 8-inch square pan and chill covered until firm.

Cut into 2-inch squares. Garnish with toasted coconut.


Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Nine – North Dakota – Knoephla Soup

Welcome to week 39 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome North Dakota, who joined the union on November 2, 1889. The area of North Dakota was acquired (along with a lot of other states, if you read my blogs!) as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was originally part of the Minnesota and Nebraska territories, but broke off into the Dakota Territory in 1861. Now you will see that next week, South Dakota has the exact same date for statehood. And although North Dakota is almost always listed first, no one knows for sure which state was actually admitted first. There was a fierce rivalry to see which state would be admitted first so on the day of the signing, President Benjamin Harris actually selected the bill order randomly and did not officially record which one was signed first. So no one (except a dead president) ever knew which one was admitted before the other.

Of the many states that I have (and have not) visited, North Dakota is actually one I have been to. You see, I used to work for a travel company whose owner developed a fondness for the area after reading about the many problems that farmers faced in the late 1980s. He decided to set up a data center in a small town called Linton and hire people from the local community. All positions started as part time, and only one person per family was hired to insure the jobs were shared equally. It was such a success that the center grew, many people were hired full time and the owner even expanded in the area to include a luxury team building and conference center called the Rivery. The state was so thrilled with how well Linton did that they offered great incentives to expand, and this is where I got to go to ND. We opened offices in Fargo and Dickinson, and I went there during the training and set up processes to help with their automation. I remember that the people were really nice, the land was pretty flat, and the best hotel in town was a Holiday Inn. Interestingly enough though, I didn’t have the dish that I made tonight. Or at least I don’t remember it if I did.

Knoephla 2
Knoephla Soup

I think I would have remembered this one, especially because it has a very odd name. It is by far “THE” dish of North Dakota, and it is called Knoephla Soup. Pronounced Nip-Fla (I know you just tried it! Roll that P into the F), it is a sort of creamy chicken and dumpling soup brought over from German Russians who emigrated into the region around the same time as those who settled in Nebraska. The word knoephla comes from the German word Knöpfle, which means little knob or button. The dumplings, which are rolled and cut from dough look a little like a knob, so I guess that is why it is called that.

The soup is actually really good. It has a nice balance of richness to flavor and the large amount of vegetables keeps it from getting too thick on the mouth feel. It takes a bit of work to get the dough just right (it was really sticky, had to add much more flour) but once you got everything prepped, it only takes about 30 minutes to actually cook it. Everyone in the family really liked it. I have to say it is not a soup I would make in hot and humid weather again, but come the dead of winter, I think I will pull this one out again.

Knoephla 1
Knoephla Soup

Overall, this gets a solid A. I hope if you have a little time and the weather is a little cooler, you will give it a try too.

See you all next time in South Dakota!

Recipe for Knoephla Soup:

For the Knoephla Dough –
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the dumplings

For the Soup –
1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
3 medium carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups yellow potatoes, diced (about 5 medium)
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked chicken (I used rotisserie)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 can evaporated milk


  1. Make the knoephla dough: Whisk together the egg, baking powder, salt and water. Slowly stir in the flour with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Incorporate flour by hand until the dough resembles a dough that is softer than bread dough and slightly stickier. Cover and rest for about 15 minutes. Roll into ropes and cut into small dumplings (I used kitchen scissors). Spread the dumplings onto a sheet pan and dust well with flour so they don’t stick together.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the carrots, celery and onion in the olive oil and butter until softened. Season with salt, pepper and the garlic powder.
  3. Cover with stock and add potatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, add the cooked chicken.
  6. Add as much evaporated milk as you’d like to make it creamy. Recheck your seasonings and adjust. Bring the soup back up to a simmer.
  7. Drop in the dumplings. Cook them for about a minute or so. The soup will probably thicken slightly from the dumplings and their flour. If it becomes too gloopy, thin it with a little stock or water.
Knoephla 3
Knoephla Soup