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!

Tart and Tangy Thai Pork Noodles

This makes for a quick and easy dinner, using one skillet (or wok), and just involves a bit of chopping.  As always, please please, taste your marinade before adding cornstarch.  If you don’t smack your lips and say yum yum, try adjusting.  Maybe you like it spicier?  – add chile flakes.  Maybe you like it more tart?  – add lime.  Any dish that has Thai in the title should be well balanced, with salty, sweet, spicy & sour in perfect harmony. Once you get that perfect balance add the corn starch.

Pork noodles

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb boneless pork loin,  cut into strips
  • tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • tablespoons soya sauce (reduced sodium)
  •  4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided use
  •  broccoli florets
  • carrot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • bamboo shoots (optional)
  • water chestnuts (optional)

Realistically – – – all the vegetables are optional, use whatever you like, just make sure you have a good assortment of color and crunch.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, cornstarch, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Remove enough just to cover pork and place in bowl.
  2. Add pork, marinate while preparing pasta and vegetables or up to overnight.
  3. Cook (or soak) rice noodles according to package directions, drain.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic & ginger for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables and saute until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm.
  7. Add remaining oil and pork mixture to skillet. Cook until pork is nicely browned.
  8. Remove pork, keep warm and stir in remaining marinade to skillet.  Cook until bubbly so the cornstarch is cooked through and thickens.
  9. Return pork & vegetables to skillet, add rice noodles, heat through and serve.

Garnishes:  sliced green onions, toasted and chopped peanuts and roughly chopped cilantro.

This dish works equally well if you want to make it a vegetarian dish, or decide to change up the protein, try:

  • sliced chicken thighs
  • prawns
  • seafood

We like rice noodles, but you could easily use any type of pasta you have on hand like chinese egg noodles or spaghetti noodles.

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!

Sunshine Morning Muffins

Morning muffins

These muffins are a great start to any day – they are always delicious right out of the oven, but if possible, even better the next day.

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

3/4 cup dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries or raisins

1 large apple, peeled and grated

1 cup minced pineapple (or canned, crushed, if you want to make it easier!)

2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 – bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven

Whisk together: sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Add coconut, dried fruit, apple, pineapple, carrots and nuts – stir well.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with oil and vanilla.  Pour into the bowl with dry ingredients and stir until blended.

Spoon batter into muffins tins – either lined with muffin cups or greased well.  Fill to the brim.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 10 min before removing.

morning muffins with coffee

Italian Pot Roast

Image

1 stick cinnamon

3 all spice berries

4 whole cloves

8 peppercorns

Combine spices in blender and process until a fine powder – set aside.

3 # outside round, or other less tender cut of beef

olive oil

salt and pepper

3 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

28 oz can of tomatoes

1 cup of good red wine (make sure it is one you would like to drink!)

While oil is heating in fry pan, season beef with salt and pepper – brown all sides in fry pan and place in slow cooker. (you can also use a good braising pan to do this in the oven)

In the same fry pan, saute onions until tender.  Add the rest of the vegetables and saute until just starting to carmelize.  Add the spice mixture, stir well until all the vegetables are coated and cook for a few minutes.  Add the red wine and cook until it has reduced about 1/3.  Add tomatoes, and salt to taste.

Pour sauce over meat.  In a slow cooker this will take about 8 hours, but if you are using a braising method it will take 3-4 hours (keep tasting for flavour and tenderness).  The meat should be fork tender.

The sauce is quite thick so if you are using a braising method, you may need to add a bit more cooking liquid as it cooks, eg a good beef stock.

When cooked, and your beef is falling apart tender, shred with 2 forks and stir in with the sauce.  I love to serve with hand made pasta – in which case I remove the sauce from the cooking pot and add to a sauce pan.  As soon as my pasta is cooked I turn it into the pan to allow it to be fully seasoned by the yummy flavours.  Turn into serving platter and pile your shredded beef on top.

Not only will your house smell fantastic while this is cooking you will be rewarded with a fantastic dinner.