Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie 2

See the sauce bubbling out the side?  That’s what you are looking for.  Crust is golden, now just try and wait while it sets up a bit …. no judgement if you can’t!  I promise it is delicious.

Fall ….. it just makes me want to bake, and roast, and toast.  This chicken pot pie recipe is a staple around here.  You can make it as easy as “pie” by purchasing pre-made pastry shells or make your own – either way, this pie is flaky, tender and bursting with bites of chicken and vegetable goodness.  Serve with a tossed salad and dinner is ready.

Preheat oven to 400

  • 2 pastry shells
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (use leftovers or a rotisserie chicken for simplicity)
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • diced vegetables – your choice and about 2 cups worth of:
  • sweet peppers
  • celery
  • carrots
  • peas (not in my house, neither of us like cooked peas)
  • zucchini
  • corn
  • green beans
  • a generous handful of herbs, I like thyme, basil, oregano and parsley
  • salt and pepper

Brush one pie shell with beaten egg white, sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, just until starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

pie shell

I find if you pre-bake the bottom crust, brushed with beaten egg white, the pastry stays flaky.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on for that extra bit of crunch.  I think you can see here that my bottom crust was in the freezer, thank you Tenderflake pastry!

In saucepan heat olive oil, then stir in onion.  Stir until just translucent and add in the garlic clove.  If celery is one of your chosen vegetables, add it now too.  Allow to saute for a few minutes until just starting to become tender.  Add the flour and create a thick paste, letting the flour cook for a minute in order to remove that “floury” taste.  Gradually stir in the chicken stock, just a bit at a time until it is all incorporated and your sauce is starting to thicken.  Stir in the rest of your vegetables, taste and season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Pour the chicken & vegetable mixture into the prebaked pie shell, and cover with the 2nd pastry shell.  If you’ve purchased pre made pastry, just squish and squiggle it around a bit and play with the edges, nobody will ever know you didn’t make it!

chicken pot pie

The top crust was a pastry shell I had in the freezer, probably leftover from an apple pie day!

TIP:  If you are vegetarian, or just feel like a vegetarian meal, this is so easy to do!  Just omit the chicken and use a LOT more veg.  Instead of chicken stock use a vegetable stock.  Your results will be ever so delicious …. you’re welcome!

Sprinkle the top with a bit more salt and pepper, some Italian herbs and either paprika or a bit of dried roasted red pepper.  (yes, we do our own dried seasonings with the surplus of vegetables in the field)

Put the whole pie in the oven (I’ve learned to have a foil dripping sheet below it…..) and cook for 15 minutes at 400, then lower the oven to 350 and cook for about 40-50 minutes, until you see the sauce bubbling out the side and the pie looks golden brown.

If your pie is looking golden brown, but not yet bubbling out the sides, loosely lay a sheet of tin foil over the pie until you see that bubbling action.

Make sure you let it sit for 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the oven, that allows it to set a bit.  Not that it tastes any less wonderful if it is running all over your plate ……..

chicken pot pie 3

See what I mean?  We couldn’t wait the 15 minutes, but it was delicious.  By the time we came back for seconds it had set up and made nice even slices.  Amazing either way!

Banana Apple Orange Loaf

You know how it goes when the fruit on your kitchen counter starts talking to you when you walk past ……. “Hey Kathy, whatcha gonna do with me”??  That happened this week with a couple bananas looking spotty and a few Mac apples.  Add in a little fresh orange juice and you’ve got a fruit salad in a loaf.

Banana apple orange loaf 1

Chunks of carmelized apple and a bit of orange juice make this the most moist loaf ever.

  • 1 stick (+ 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 apples: peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed  to equal 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • raw sugar

In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter with the brown sugar.  Add the apples and cook over moderately high heat stirring until tender and golden, about 4-6 minutes.  Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla and transfer apples to a plate to cool off.

Banana apple orange loaf 5

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.  I also like to line it with parchment paper.  In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, nutmeg and the remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Banana apple orange loaf 6

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the remaining stick of butter with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time and mix until smooth.  Add mashed banana, orange juice and the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add dry ingredients, and beat on low speed just until combined.  Gently fold in the apples.

banana apple orange loaf 4

banana apple orange loaf 2

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.  Sprinkle raw sugar over the top.  Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  (cover loosely with foil if the loaf starts to brown too quickly).

banana apple orange loaf

The raw sugar sprinkled over top creates this crunchy, crackly crust.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie

I will bet you don’t even know how easy it is to make your own pumpkin pie at home!  Try this one out and you may never go back to grocery store pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie hit all the notes, tender and creamy, with just the right amount of spice to wake up your taste buds.   I used my flaky pie crust with vinegar and egg to make the crust, but if you’d rather, a frozen pie crust will work well too.  Give yourself that break when you need it …

  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired (we like whipped cream).
  3. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Loaf

Still trying to use up zucchini???  Here is a winner, hints of my Mexican Chocolate cake in this loaf, with a bit of cinnamon added to the chocolate and coffee flavours.  If any loaf recipe uses up 2 cups of zucchini it has to be healthy, right??

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Loaf 2INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder (instant)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze all the moisture out)
  • 1 cup good quality chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  (you don’t have to do this step but I like the way it helps remove the loaf from the pan cleanly)

METHOD

Grate your zucchini and allow it to sit while you do everything else, so important to remove the excess liquid.

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Loaf

In a large mixing bowl stir the brown sugar into the melted butter and mix until all the sugar has dissolved, then add the eggs one at a time.  It is really important to add the butter before the egg so you don’t cook the egg!  Stir in the vanilla and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, espresso. Whisk to make sure it is all blended together.

Stir dry ingredients into the brown sugar mixture until just combined.  Gently fold in the zucchini and the chocolate.

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Loaf 3

 

This makes a VERY thick mixture, but don’t worry, it will be moist and delicious.

Coconut Zucchini Bread

Looking for a new way to use up some of that never ending zucchini that keeps showing up in your garden?  This is it … so moist and tender with enough coconut that you get a bit of crunch in every bite.

Coconut Zucchini 3

I keep a cinnamon/sugar mix in a jar – sprinkle it over your loaf before baking and you will be guaranteed an extra crispy loaf top.

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (make sure to drain well and squeeze out extra moisture)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  I like to set in parchment paper also for easier removal.  Run it the length of the pan with a little sticking out each end – easy to grab and keep the loaf whole as you lift it out to cool.

In a mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In another bowl combine sugars, coconut oil, yogurt, egg and vanilla.  Blend and stir in zucchini.

Coconut Zucchini 1

Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl, and stir JUST until combined.  Do not overmix.  Gently stir in the coconut.

Pour batter into loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test, make sure it comes out clean before you remove the loaf from the oven.  Let your zucchini bread rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing and setting it on a rack to completely cool.

Coconut Zucchini 2

The combination of yogurt and coconut oil makes this loaf so moist you won’t even notice there isn’t any butter in the recipe, or need to put it on after!

 

Sparkle Birthday Cake

It is Stella’s 5th birthday today and she wanted a horse cake.  Hmm.  A horse cake?  Well, Hayley found a photo to work with, and I found an amazing cake recipe on “smittenkitchen”, so we were off to the races.  A few hours later and I think we are all really happy with the results!

IMG_5445

Our original inspiration photo had more of a smooth finish, but we wanted this to look like the horse Stella rides – Artie.  Pretty confetti sprinkles inside and it’s a perfect 5 year old birthday cake for a very special grand daughter.

If you haven’t been to the Smitten Kitchen website yet, do yourself a favour and hop on over for a visit.  Deb Perelman has great recipes, both her own and sourced from other cookbooks, they never fail.  She calls this one confetti birthday cake, and it is easy to see why.  Those little bursts of colour just make the cake look like a party already!

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So hard to believe Stella is 5 already!

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Even the bridle turned out really well!

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We were suitably impressed with how well Hayley created the mane.

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It’s working, this is looking pretty good!

 

All right, sorry, enough of the horse cake photos, you are no doubt looking for the recipe! We just had so much fun creating it.  One of the joys with this recipe is that you only use one bowl, and it takes about 5 minutes to put together.

 

IMG_5481

This time, I used 1 whole egg instead of egg whites, and used the batter for filling ice cream cone cups, they bake up perfectly into 9 hand held cake cones.  Gently fold in the sprinkles.

CAKE
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cups (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven: To 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick spray or butter.

Make cake: Beat butter, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating until combined and slightly fluffy. Add vanilla and buttermilk and beat to combine. The mixture will instantly look like cottage cheese and you will be sure it’s ruined but I promise it is not. Add baking powder and cornstarch and beat very well to combine. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat one second more. Add flour and mix just until it disappears. Use a rubber scraper to gently fold in sprinkles.

IMG_5424

It’s definitely a help to have a baker as cute as this 5 year old.

 

Bake cake: Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the side to loosen the cake, flip it out onto the cooling rack, and slide the cooling rack into the freezer until cake is cool, about 10 to 15 minutes.

(If you don’t have buttermilk, just put 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar into a 1/2 cup measuring vessel and fill to that mark with milk – allow to sit for 10 min and gently stir.)

IMG_5482

I used a whole egg for these instead of egg white, just because I wasn’t really concerned about pure white batter.  Simply stand the empty cones in a muffin tin and scoop in the batter.  Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350.

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Look at them puffing up so nicely in the cones – kids love these and they are perfect for a birthday party.

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All baked up and ready to be topped with either icing or ice cream, a hit with the kids either way.

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

The perfect way to celebrate the arrival of summer weather is when the rhubarb is ripe at the same time as strawberries!  Take the tartness of rhubarb with the sweetness of the strawberry and you have a winning combination.

Galette 1

I used my flaky pastry recipe (with egg and vinegar) to create this one … and in case you are wondering what the threads of lighter colour are …. I had a soft apple in the fridge so it got added to the pie.  Delicious!

Have you ever made a galette?  It’s really just a fancy name for a very easy, lazy way of making a pie.  If you aren’t a fan of making your own pastry dough, then just buy a frozen pre made pie crust, tip it out of the tin pie plate and carry on …. if you roll over the edges to take away that little crimped evidence of a premade shell you don’t even have to admit this to anyone!

Preheat oven to 400.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  On a lightly floured surface roll out your pastry to about 1/8″ thickness.  Place on baking sheet (it will hang over the edge).  Put this in the fridge for about 10 minutes while you prep the fruit.

  • 1 pint strawberries, thickly sliced
  • 1 pound very refresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2″ thickness (or frozen sliced rhubarb)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar, to taste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla bean paste

To finish you will need:

  • butter
  • milk
  • raw sugar

In a large bowl toss the strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla.  Spread on the prepared pastry to within 2″ of the edge.  Fold the edges, pleating at about 2″ intervals.  BE REALLY CAREFUL HERE ….. warning is from experience.  If you don’t carefully create these pleats, (sealing as you go) enough to hold the fruit there will be a breakout, and that mess is not pretty!  

Galette 2

Brush the edges of the pastry with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Dot the filling with butter.  Bake the galette in the centre of the oven for 1 hot, or until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown.  Allow to cool before cutting.

Galette

THIS is what happened when I didn’t seal the edges of my pleats together …. really, you should have seen me trying to get the half baked effort off the sheet pan and into something that would hold the juices better, BEFORE it all ran away.  Still tasted delicious, just somewhat messier, but a galette is meant to be free form anyway, right???

 

NOTE – If you are using fresh rhubarb, remember that the leaves are toxic!  Be sure to trim them to remove any leaf.