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.

 

 

 

Cornbread Muffins

I’ve tried a few corn muffins or corn bread, but so often they turn out a little dry or too grainy.  These were absolutely perfect, so moist and delicious with the taste of the corn.  I found the recipe on “Once Upon a Chef” and for the first time, didn’t tweak a thing!

corn muffins 2

Light and fluffy, moist and delicious – what more could you want from a cornbread muffin?

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup milk (preferably whole but low-fat works too)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°Fdegrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. (I prefer to use non-stick cooking spray so the muffins get nice and crisp on the edges.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, break up the eggs with a whisk. Whisk in the honey and then the milk. Add the milk mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir until just blended. Do not overmix; it’s okay if there are a few lumps. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup almost full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are set and golden. Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm.
corn muffins 1

I served these with a slightly spicy chipotle beef stew, so I didn’t want any extra spice here, but next time I might try mixing in a little jalapeño and gouda cheese …… yum.

Morning Glory Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin season or not, these healthy, moist and delicious muffins are a great way to start any day.  Perfect for lunch kits or a mid morning pick up too!
pumpkin-morning-muffins
INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
10 grates of fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 large carrots, grated (should equal about 2 cups grated
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, diced or grated
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, molasses, oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree, stirring just until everything is mixed.
  4. Lastly, fold in the fruits and vegetables, making sure not to over mix.
  5. Grease or line a muffin pan. Then use a 1/3 scoop to fill each tin up. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a middle muffin comes out clean. Remove the pan and allow the muffins to cool for a couple minutes before removing them from the pan.

One of the things that I love about these muffins is how versatile you can be – use any nut instead of the pecan, or replace the cranberries with raisins or chopped dates.  Today’s mix included half a grated apple and 1/3 cup diced pineapple!

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I think these might be my new favourite cookie. I usually go for a crisper cookie, but these are soft and chewy and absolutely delicious.

Deliciously soft and chewy

Deliciously soft and chewy

IMG_6211

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
1/2 cup fine coconut flakes
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate
(We really like a fine bit of chocolate throughout, so we grated it, but if you like it a bit chunkier, just roughly chop it)
1 cup pecans, chopped
large flake sea salt for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl … Flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and kosher salt. Stir well to combine.

In large mixing bowl cream butter with the 2 sugars. When this is light and fluffy add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla.

Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture until well combined. Stir in pecans and chocolate.

Roll into 2″ balls and place on cookie sheet, about 2″ apart. Gently press down slightly.

Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes.

The minute they come out of the oven, quickly toss on a bit of sea salt for garnish.

IMG_6209

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

French Bread

Making bread at home really isn’t that hard – it just takes a bit of time. An added bonus is just how amazing your home will smell.

The house smells amazing and when you pull this french bread out of the oven you will have a hard time waiting for it to cool down enough to slice.

The house smells amazing and when you pull this french bread out of the oven you will have a hard time waiting for it to cool down enough to slice.

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
1 tbsp sugar
1 2/3 cups warm water (105-115°F)
3 tablespoon olive oil

Dissolve sugar in 2/3 cup of the warm water, stir in yeast. Allow yeast to bloom for 15 minutes. Set aside the other 1 cup of warm water, adding the olive oil and vinegar.

Meanwhile – stir flour and salt together. When yeast has bloomed, stir into flour mixture along with the remaining cup of warm water and olive oil/vinegar mix.

It is pretty easy to do this in either food processor or stand mixer, using the dough hook – allow the machine to do some of the kneading for you – but take the time to finish the kneading yourself to feel the texture. You want a relatively soft,but firm dough.

Place in greased bowl, turning to coat with oil – cover, and allow to rest in a warm, draft free place.

45 – 60 minutes later it should have doubled in size. punch it down, turn again and allow to rise one more time until doubled.

Separate dough in half. Roll out and form loaves. Repeat with the other half. If you happen to have french loaf pans, grease well and allow to rise again in those pans. Most of us however don’t have those pans. I used my roaster, with parchment paper separating the two loaves.

Ready for the oven - if you like, give each loaf a few diagonal slices.

Ready for the oven – if you like, give each loaf a few diagonal slices.

Preheat oven to 425 – on lowest rack place 9 x 13 baking pan full of boiling water (hint – put baking pan in oven first, THEN fill with boiling water). On upper rack place baking tray with bread.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until crunchy and nicely browned.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Tomato Thyme Bacon Tart

Fresh garden tomatoes and thyme combined with bacon and cheese

Fresh garden tomatoes and thyme combined with bacon and cheese

Nothing screams summer like tomatoes! This tart is quick and easy to make, allowing the tomato to be the star of the show. Today’s tart was made with heirloom tomato – such a big tomato that it only took 3 slices along with a few cherry tomatoes to fill in the gaps.

This works amazingly well as either an appetizer or side dish.

Roll out 1 thawed puff pastry sheet in to 10 x 14 rectangle on lightly floured surface. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle on 1 1/2 cups cheese (gruyere, gouda and cheddar are good choices). Leave a 2 inch border on the long sides……

Crumble cooked, crumbled bacon over the cheese (4 slices)

Slice tomatoes and layer across bacon/cheese.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

Fold the long sides over to create a border, and fold in the short ends to create a seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut vent holes in the pastry and brush with beaten egg.

Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh basil for serving.