Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chicken pot pie

I grew up eating chicken pot pie, albeit the Marie Callendar frozen pies you find in the freezer section at Safeway. When I hit the teenage years and started paying attention to what I crammed in my mouth, I was dismayed to find out one of those suckers has about ~1,000 calories and just as much sodium. So I haven't touched one in years. 

One of my roommates gave me the inspiration to make my own, "healthy" version of this dish. Or, I should rephrase that and say I walked into the kitchen and she had just pulled a pie out of the oven and my olefactory senses went on high alert. So I decided to give it a whirl. I don't know how she makes hers, but I read enough recipes online to put something halfway decent together. 

Makes 1 pie

2 defrosted frozen pie crusts (I recommend the ones at Whole Foods)
1/2 lb cooked and shredded chicken (Rotisserie works fine, I chose to poach mine)
1/2 sweet onion
2 celery stalks
2 carrots 
1 medium size potato (I used red because I'm lazy to peel and I think the skin looks pretty)
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 can cream of chicken 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you are poaching chicken, put water on to boil. If you are using rotisserie chicken you can skip this step. Chop onion, celery, carrots, and potato. 

Heat up a large pan with some EVOO. Dump the veggies in and stir for a minute, until you can smell the onion fragrance. Take this time to put the chicken in the boiling water, turn heat to medium. Back to veggies, season with salt, thyme, and pepper. I didn't do exact measurements, just go by taste. You can always add more so be light-handed with the seasonings. Turn the heat to low and let the veggies cook for about 10 mins. Half way through, add the peas. 

Your chicken should be ready, depending on how thick the piece is. You can always check by cutting it in half and seeing how pink the middle is. Shred your chicken with a fork and add to the pan of veggies. Add the cream of chicken. I always fill the can 1/3 the way with water, swish, and add to the pan. You don't waste any cream and it cuts the thickness of the sauce. Stir until combined.

Scoop the mixture into one of the pie crusts. Use a fork to make sure it's evenly spread out. Add the cheese. Invert the other pie crust on top and use your fingers to smush the edges together. The last step is optional, but you can brush the top with melted butter or egg yolk. I've gone without this before and it tastes the same. Just looks prettier. 

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 10 more minutes. Take the pie out and let it cool before serving. This step is crucial because the pie is much easier to cut and the slices will hold up much better if you let it cool. Enjoy!

Diced veggies

Right after adding the frozen peas

Filling the pie shell 


Kicking it up a notch with the cheese

Inverting the other pie shell on top

Optional: brushing the top with melted butter
Finished product - trust me, the boyfriend will be impressed!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Kitchen staples

Since I've taken an avid interest in cooking, I've come up with a list of some kitchen staples that I like to keep on hand at all times. I am documenting them somewhere so I will remember what they are!

Cream of chicken, mushroom, and broccoli
Great for soups, casseroles, chicken pot pie, etc.

Chicken broth
My base in all soup

Frozen pie crust
Quiches, pot pies, or you can defrost the dough and use it for other things

Frozen puff pastry
For my salmon with puff pastry recipe


Evaporated milk
For desserts, pancakes, etc

Bisquik mix
Pancakes and biscuits

Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese

Celery, carrots, and potatoes
These veggies are so basic, you can make pot roast in the slow cooker, a nice soup, etc

Canned diced tomatoes
Base for soup, chili, pasta, etc.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pumpkin walnut muffins

Naturally, sanely, and reasonably, late Sunday night I decided to use my ripe bananas to make muffins. I got the mixer out, threw in a stick of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and turned around for my bananas. To my horror, they were gone! I think my roommates might have eaten them or thrown them out. Not to be deterred, I scavanged around for something I could substitute. I found a can of pumpkin and all was right in the world again.

Makes 12 muffins

1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin sheet with Pam. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Alternate adding flour and pumpkin to the batter, mix until well combined. Add rest of ingredients and mix again.

Using ice-cream scooper, fill up muffin sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes until an inserted fork comes out clean.

These babies are moist and delectable. I had one for breakfast this morning, next time I think I'll add some wheat germ and see how it turns out.

Happiness lately: 5-2-11

Giants games at AT&T park
Far up but right over home base!

Has anyone tried this food cart on the third level? I've heard good things.

I opted for the obligatory hot dog.. kicked up a few notches. 1/2 pound Polish dog!
 OPI's Cajun Shrimp
Perfect for spring!
 Argan oil for my hair
Massage in ends after shower and before blow-dry. Leaves you hair soft and silky.