5 Important Lessons I Learned from My Mom, a Family Chicken & Biscuits Recipe, & ALL the Best Bloody Mary Garnishes!

In celebration of Mother’s Day — make note, it’s less than a month away! — today, I’m sharing five important lessons I learned from my own mom. Sometimes, those lessons are verbalized and constantly drilled into us as we grow up; other times, those lessons are delivered through observation. So much of what my mom taught me wasn’t structured as a formal lesson. They were the habits, rituals, and repetitive practices I witnessed — many I wouldn’t come to appreciate or “learn” until much later in life… many that left a far greater impact than I realized while I was living them. I’ve modeled things in my own life after my mom (as I’m sure many of us have) and when I think about it like that, it’s a great reminder that eyes are always on us and sometimes, it isn’t the words that leave the most lasting impression. Whether it’s something she said, something she did, or just something she believed, I’m grateful for the ways those lessons molded and influenced me. Get ready for a family chicken and biscuits recipe, why bloody marys are sacred in our family, and more!

*This post is published in partnership with Zwilling; as always, all opinions, concept, and creation are my own.Posts on KelleyNan.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.

5 Important Lessons I Learned from My Mom

1. Keep Family Favorites Alive

In an age of immediate gratification and sourcing recipes being as simple as a Google search or Pinterest inquiry, let us not forget the special gift of meals passed down by our family and the unmatched nostalgia that comes along with them. I’ve shared this before but one of my greatest gifts ever — that brought me to literal tears — was when my mom gave me a handwritten book of recipes of my childhood favorites, penned just for me. If you don’t have a collection of recipes you grew up on, start now — one day, you’ll be so glad you did.

My late grandmother — BeBe (to me) — had a ton of winners I’m so glad my mom collected. Among the favorites… her stovetop chicken and biscuits.

Amazing, Easy Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits Recipe

The recipe has evolved slightly over time but the essence is all still there. The ultimate comfort food, BeBe’s stovetop chicken and biscuits isn’t difficult to make, but, there’s several steps involved and having the proper tools is key. We cook a lot in this house and I’m a big believer in investing in quality kitchen tools. Upgrading your kitchenwares doesn’t have to happen overnight and you don’t have to do it all at once. Collecting a piece here and piece there will help build a modest arsenal of cookware that will make all the difference.

Gifting upgraded kitchen tools and accessories is also one of my go-tos (I also love receiving them!) — they’re perfect for so many stages of life:

  • For a new couple starting out… (instead of purchasing several of the cheaper items on their registry) consider gifting them one quality, long/life-lasting piece. You can even go in on a single piece with someone else. THIS 5.5 qt. Staub cocotte from Zwilling is an awesome, universal piece of quality cookware that isn’t too specific. It’s build as an heirloom piece to last for life and is perfect for everything, from soups and meat to single-pot dinners and baked cobblers. I have it in white (HERE) but it comes in tons of colors; you can find the 7 qt. version HERE. IF you are gifting, I would recommend to go with a more neutral color 😉
  • For the settled ones… they may be appreciating quality over quantity and working to replace some of their starter home accessories, tools, etc. A quality frying pan like THIS Staub 10″ cast iron (with side pour spouts) is an awesome upgrade and works on any cooktop surface. What you cook your food in makes such a difference, especially on the stovetop. I love how evenly my veggies sauté in this pan, but the way it cooks meat is my favorite. Again, it comes in a ton of colors and is meant for life-long use. 
  • For the well-lived ones… are your parents still using all the same cookware/tools/kitchenwares for the past several decades? It’s absolutely awesome if what they’ve worked with all these years has stood the test of time, but if you notice some of their kitchenwares have seen better days, upgrades make awesome gifts (and then encourage them to pass on their old duplicates). I’m a creature of habit so I get it. And there’s a lot of things I have that have seen better days but the thought of spending money to upgrade or replace them is almost painful. Giving something to someone that they may not buy for themself helps make the ultimate gift. Don’t underestimate the power of simple kitchen tools. For those who have splintered old wooden spoons and melted silicone spatulas, when you have nice cookware, you want to have nice tools that are intended for that cookware. THIS Staub olivewood spoon is substantial and easy on your cookware, but pretty enough for display on a countertop crock. You can find a ton of specialty tools HERE, but I love the idea of gifting THIS variety set, especially to go along with a nice piece of cookware.
  • For yourself… even if you didn’t used to rule the kitchen, things may have shifted a bit over this past year. Treat yourself to a well-deserved upgrade, whether that be pots and pans, simple quality tools, chefs knives… You probably have an idea what would have made your life a little easier in the kitchen over the past year 😉 Along with THIS cocotte, for me, THIS Zwilling Pro universal chef’s knife is the single best kitchen upgrade you can treat yourself to. It comes in a few blade sizes; I have the 7″ (HERE) which is perfect — large, but not too large — and it slices through veggies, meat, etc. like butter. It’s the sharpest, most efficient knife we’ve ever owned and is the go-to in our kitchen (just be careful not to cut yourself!) It’s claimed to be the most “user friendly knife on the market” and you can read more about the ergonomic handle and blade details HERE.

Bebe’s Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits Recipe

Ok, so let’s get to the chicken and biscuits recipe! It’s a hearty dish, casserole-like, and the ultimate comfort food. All the tools I used were c/o Zwilling — fun fact: one of the oldest companies in the world — and include:

As I mentioned, THIS chef’s knife is incredibly sharp and unlike most, it glides through celery strings in a single, easy, slice, without a sawing motion. I gravitate toward smaller, non-wooden cutting boards and THIS is a good one. It’s non-porous, sticks to your work surface with silicone feet and is a great size. I have the 10″x12″ but it comes in a few other sizes, too.

Chicken and Biscuits -- Amazing, Delicious Family Recipe

Staub 10″ cast iron frying pan | Zwilling Pro 7″ chef’s knife | Henckels cutting board (I have the 10″x12″) | Staub olivewood cooking spoon | Henckels serving spoon

Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits Recipe

The cast iron pan browns everything so nicely and cooks everything so evenly. I love the pour spouts too, should you need to drain grease when cooking red meat.

How to Make Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits

Staub 10″ cast iron frying pan | Henckels cutting board (I have the 10″x12″) | Staub olivewood cooking spoon 

Top 5 Lessons for Mom for Mother's Day

Lipstick (Schiap color) | Initial Necklace | Long Cardigan

While most of the cookware on Zwilling’s site indicates it can be washed in the dishwasher, most descriptions also advice that hand-washing is best. Taking care of your nice cookware is also something my mom still ingrains in me so my cast iron and wooden tools all head to the sink for washing 😉

Investment Kitchenware & Favorites for the Kitchen

The Staub cocotte can withstand heat, up to 900 degrees F, so it’s perfectly fine to take it from the stovetop to the oven.

Investment Bakeware and Best Cocottes

Favorite Staub Bakeware and Cookware in the Kitchen

Staub 10″ cast iron frying pan | Staub 5.5 qt. cocotte | Zwilling Pro 7″ chef’s knife | Henckels cutting board (I have the 10″x12″) | Staub olivewood cooking spoon | Henckels serving spoon

Amazing, Easy Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits Recipe
5 from 2 votes
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BeBe's Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits

My grandmother, Bebe, was the ultimate hostess and an amazing cook! She was always so gracious and had the ability to take simple ingredients to create meals that were delicious. One of the dishes that she loved to make and serve her family and guests was Chicken and Biscuits. In honor of Bebe this Mother's Day, I am sharing her recipe with a few updates, made by me. The Staub cocotte was the perfect vessel for this dish, along with the pan for prep.

Course Dinner, Luncheon, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword boneless chicken breast, casserole, family, one pot
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts Bebe used a whole chicken that had to be cooked, deboned and de-skinned
  • 3 C Chicken broth
  • 1 Onion -- chopped
  • 3 stalks Celery -- chopped
  • 1 C Carrots -- chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 2 C Milk

Biscuit Topping

  • 2 C Bisquick baking mix
  • 2/3 C Milk
  • 10 leaves Flat leaf parsley -- finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Boil chicken until cooked through, in approximately one cup of chicken broth. You can add more broth or supplement with water until chicken is covered -- I like to add lemon pepper seasoning to the pot.

  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, celery and carrots. Saute the veggies in a small amount of olive oil until they are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Shred the chicken when it is fully cooked. I shred mine in my electric mixer as a great shortcut, on level 2.

  4. In the cocotte, melt butter, stir in flour and add milk slowly. Continue to stir until thickened. Add two cups of broth, the chicken and the vegetables.

Biscuit Topping

  1. In small mixing bowl, mix Bisquick baking mix and milk until soft dough is formed. Drop in small balls on top of chicken mixture. Cook on stove on medium for 10 minutes without the cocotte lid. Then, put on lid and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. If you would like, you may then place the cocotte in the oven and broil for 2 minutes to brown the biscuits. (This step is not necessary.) Sprinkle chopped parsley on biscuits and serve while warm.

Recipe Notes

The leftovers from the dish are great if you have any!

Dave didn’t grow up with a lot of casseroles and typical southern food but this dish — he loves! Be sure to pin one of the images to bookmark it for later; you can also print the recipe, direct from the recipe card.

Delicious Stovetop Chicken and Biscuits Recipe

2. Wake Up & Mark the Day

The age old question — “are you an early bird or a night owl?” is a heated debate — even in our home. Dave and I are total opposites and he swears he’s most productive on the weekends, in the late night hours. He doesn’t even like to “get started” until at least mid-afternoon — even thinking about this is almost painful for me, haha. I’m the total opposite — I rise early and feel my best work is done in the early morning hours, over a cup of coffee, before the sun rises and while the rest of the world is asleep. Whether it’s tackling a few chores; doing the regular, daily stuff; or getting a workout in, I want to have that time to devote all my attention, without distraction. If I have to run an errand, I want to get there when they open. On the weekends, I like to put in my hardest efforts before noon so I can enjoy the second half of the day with a feeling of accomplishment. When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to sleep in. If it got close to 9:00 a.m., my mom would come through the door with the dreaded wakeup question “Are you going to sleep all day? Come on, time to get up and mark the day!” I don’t think getting up early is a law but it sure felt like one, and that’s something I’ve carried with me. Don’t misunderstand — I still don’t wake up, feeling “awake” and “ready”, but your body gets used to it. I don’t think a day passes where I say “wow, I accomplished everything I wanted to and marked off every to-do on my list”, but waking up early is how I get more done than I think is possible, some days. Not everyday has to be a marathon race, but doing something each day — whether it be a chore, something to serve your family (or yourself)… just something that makes the day notable — is something I’m so happy I inherited from my mom.

3. Bloody Marys Make Any Day Feel Like a Celebration

We are big on traditions in this family and one tradition that dates back to as long as I can remember is serving up loaded bloody marys for get-togethers. While I most remember this annual tradition every Thanksgiving — before I even knew what a bloody mary was — I was always interested by all the special additions my mom would add to her bloody mary bars. And just like I’ve shared before in my boards and bars, choices, accompaniments, and ways to personalize your drink/dish makes the moment more special.

THESE mouth-blown, double-walled glass mugs are meant to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold but the most shocking thing to me was how light they are. With a handle and no condensation and a mouth large enough to accomodate all the fixins’, they make the perfect bloody mary glasses.

Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas

Zwilling Sorrento Plus Glass Mugs (set of 4) | Zwilling Longdrink Spoon Straws (set of 4) | Henckels cutting board (I have the 10″x12″) 

Garnish Ideas for Loaded Bloody Marys

Another cool addition for cocktails — and especially bloody marys — are THESE stainless spoon straws. Not only are they perfect for sipping and mixing, but they’re the perfect built-in tool to fish out any accompaniments that make their way to the bottom of the glass. These are also perfect for any drinks that call for fruit. And, how amazing would they be in a root beer/coke float? These will be one of our summertime essentials.

Spoon Straws -- A Bloody Mary & Cocktail Essential

How to Make the Perfect Bloody Mary

  1. Fill your glass with ice
  2. Pour vodka (I usually fill to 1/3 to 1/2 of the glass)
  3. Add Bloody Mary mix — I prefer Zing Zang(leave at least two fingers from the top of the glass)
  4. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  5. Add approx. 1/8 tsp. horseradish
  6. Add a few shakes of hot sauce
  7. Squeeze a lime wedge and then toss the wedge in the glass
  8. Add a dash of salt and pepper
  9. Shake and stir until well mixed
  10. Add garnishes

How to Make a Killer Bloody Mary (+ Tons of Garnish Ideas

Dining Room Sources: Snowball Floral Arrangement Centerpiece | Lamps | Chairs (Linen color)

Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas

  • Stuffed green olives
  • Stuffed black olives
  • Pickled okra
  • Pickled beans
  • Pickled asparagus
  • Pickled green tomatoes
  • Pickled carrots
  • Cocktail onions
  • Pepperocini peppers
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Whole kosher pickles
  • Baby corn
  • Pickled quail eggs
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Hearts of palm
  • Cocktail shrimp
  • Bacon strips
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Celery stalks
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Radishes
  • Cucumber slices or spears
  • Bell pepper spears
  • Mini sweet peppers
  • Jalapeno peppers — fresh or pickled
  • Parsley
  • Lemon wedges
  • Lime wedges

TONS of Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas to Create the Yummiest, Best Bloody Marys

Bloody Mary Add In Ideas

  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Celery salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Lemon pepper
  • Onion salt
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pepper sauce

The Best Bloody Marys w/ Accompaniments

Bloody Mary Glass Rimming Ideas

  • Kosher salt
  • Celery salt
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Onion salt
  • Everything But the Elote seasoning
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Taco seasoning

Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas

4. Handwritten “Thank You” Notes Still Matter

This is something that was drilled into me while I was growing up; I had to write all my own thank-you notes. And, I know that has gone by the wayside for many in lieu of a text acknowledgement but it’s something that stuck with me that I still practice today. And, Eliza will practice, also. While the idea may be old fashioned, showing appreciation is never “old fashioned”. With so many tools to streamline efforts, I think more than ever, the extra effort of a handwritten note of gratitude means even more today.

5. Always Plan for More

Right in the first paragraph of my “About” page, I say “if you’re cooking for two, you should prepare enough for four.” And, I mean it. Whenever I am planning a meal, I never want anyone to not have enough or to feel like they have to hold back/skip portions. For parties, while I don’t like waste, I’m a-ok in trying to get creative with leftovers and/or sending portions home with guests. My mom always prepared a full, serious, spread when she hosted and having more than plenty is what made it feel like a party.

Planning for more isn’t just for food though. Over the years, I’ve watched my mom prepare extra gifts at Christmas (just in case an occasion arises or there’s an unexpected guest) and bring more than was required for school functions. I’ve already gotten to tiptoe into this, prepping a couple more Valentines than was required for Eliza’s class — just in case new students started. It’s inclusive and is a kind, easy gesture to implement.

Impactful Lessons from KN Readers

This past week, I took to Instagram stories and compiled a small sampling of some of the responses I received, regarding some of the favorite lessons you all learned from your mothers/mother figures. Here are a few…

  • Show the respect to others that you expect to receive.
  • Always send a thank you note.
  • Like her mother taught her, to be a strong and independent woman.
  • Always give 100% plus to a job, regardless of what the job was.
  • Nothing good happens after midnight.
  • The Golden Rule.
  • Hurt people hurt people.
  • Happiness is a choice and you should make a point to choose it every day.
  • Always show appreciation!
  • My Mom taught me the quiet way. I will be forever grateful.
  • Always have an open door and no expectations, only happiness.
  • ALWAYS find the good in a person.
  • There for the Grace of God go I.
  • To love without expectations.
  • How to bake.
  • Never judge someone else’s mothering. You never know what kind of mom you’ll be until you are one.
  • Say “I love you” to your kids constantly.
  • That I am loved unconditionally by her.
  • Proper etiquette and proper grammar.
  • How to maintain my home and to be kind.
  • To love God and to know how much he loves us.
  • Be kind.
  • To walk away from unhealthy/dangerous situations.
  • Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  • To have a relationship with God.
  • She’s always in my pocket.
  • It’s ok to say ‘no’.
  • Unconditional love.
  • Rich people don’t have to tell you they’re rich.
  • Not to be a sore loser, but not to be a sore winner, either.
  • You’re in charge of your own happiness.
  • Listen twice as much as you speak.
  • What kind of mom I want to be.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Your word is the most important thing you have.
  • God first, then family.
  • A little sunshine is the best medicine.
  • Sharing gossip doesn’t earn trust with your friends. It does the opposite.
  • Tomorrow is always a new day and a new beginning.
  • You can do whatever you set your mind to.
  • Forgiveness is more for you than the other person.
  • Not to lie. People might get upset or not like what you did, but no one will ever call you a liar!
  • Always tell the truth even if it might be very scary to tell.
  • Quitters never win and winners never quit.
  • Nothing’s more important than family dinners.
  • Always return things you borrow!
  • The generosity of Jesus.
  • Look for the good in everyone.
  • Make your bed every morning, no matter what!
  • Keep your sense of humor and enjoy life!
  • Strength! She was a single mother and now I’ve become a single mother. We’re still pushin’.
  • It’s a good day if I read the obituaries and my name is not there!
  • Respect!

I’d love to hear from you if you have important lessons or lessons that made an impact on you! You can drop a note in the comment section to continue the conversation.

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18 Comments

  1. 4.17.21
    Kimberly said:

    My mom taught me God comes 1st
    And to hold in my stomach and shoulders back.
    One more thing, how to be strong thru poor health-heart transplant.

    • 4.18.21

      Kimberly, I love the life lessons you learned from your mother. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. 4.17.21
    Maureen Fletcher said:

    I have enjoyed reading your Mother’s Day post. Gave me ideas on what to do for my mom on Her day. Your blog is one of the few I subscribe to and I look forward to all your postings.

    • 4.18.21

      Maureen, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. I really appreciate your kind note and am so flattered. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your mom!

  3. 4.17.21
    Brandi Venard said:

    I truly look forward to reading your updates. You are so incredibly talented and I am thankful that you share your talent so well. Your hair looks amazing too! Have a blessed and happy Mother’s Day!

    • 4.18.21

      Brandi, Thank you so much for your sweet note! This was definitely a fun post to write and I loved sharing some of our traditions. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  4. 4.17.21
    Betty said:

    My mom taught me many life lessons. One of those was when you get up you prepare yourself for the day, taking a shower, combing your hair, brushing your teeth and always put on nice underwear, that way you are prepared for the day no matter what comes along. She also taught me that you can have friends of the opposite party or religion because she had many friends 50+ years and they each belonged to different political parties and different religions. They made it a point to not discuss either one because they knew they would never change the other. She said politics and religion are just like quick sand, once you get in you can’t get out. I am so thankful for my mom in so many ways and that is not to say we always agreed because we didn’t. I loved my mom unconditionally and really miss her now that she is gone.

    • 4.18.21

      Betty, Thank you so much for sharing some of the life lessons you learned from your mom. It sounds like she was very wise and had many many friends. Learning to love unconditionally is another great trait to have and being thankful for all that you learned from her. I am sure you will be honoring your mom on Mother’s Day with your sweet memories.

  5. 4.17.21
    Mary said:

    Loved all these nuggets, Kelley! Your website is such a great resource! My mom taught me a lot about presentation–personal, in the home, and on the table!

    • 4.18.21

      Mary, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and for your sweet note! It sounds like our moms are similar with their presentation traditions. I love that and appreciate you sharing!

  6. 4.17.21
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    5 stars
    This is such a wonderful post! I love all of the traditions you mentioned and especially love that you have adopted them as your own. Love all of the tools that you featured. They look like they are top notch quality, but are also so attractive. Anyone of these items would make a super gift!

    • 4.18.21

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! Our traditions are so important and I appreciate them even more as time goes by. You are so right that all of the Zwilling tools I used for meal and Bloody Mary prep/serving are wonderful. I wish I had had them all sooner!

  7. 4.17.21
    Madison Davis said:

    My mom taught me that your neck and chest are also part of your face when it comes to your beauty routine.

    • 4.18.21

      Madison, Thank you so much for taking the time to share this important life lesson. I love it!

  8. 4.17.21
    Denise reich said:

    5 stars
    I love your family and your sweet baby girl. , I feel like I know you I was actually thinking how Eliza s is feeling today
    Lol.

    • 4.18.21

      Denise, Thank you so much for always being the sweetest supporter! I appreciate your note so much and hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day. xoxo

  9. 9.19.21
    Sarah said:

    “Strength! She was a SINGLE mother and now I’ve become a SINGLE mother. We’re still pushin’.” (This is quote from article about what your mom had taught you.)
    This is confusing; you talk about your husband, Dave, all the time.
    I’m going to try this recipe; sounds delicious!!

    • 9.20.21

      Hi Sarah, Thank you for taking the time to stop by. As clarification, this was a quote from a KN reader. Prior to writing the post, I had invited my Instagram followers to share lessons they had learned from their mothers and shared the list in this post. Yes, I am married and am so thankful to have Dave as a husband. I hope you love the recipe!

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