Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Turkey Meatloaf

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Turkey is the start of the Thanksgiving table.  However, once the holidays are over, we often forget about this source of protein.  Turkey can be a budget-friendly alternative chicken and my favorite way of buying turkey is when the ground turkey goes on sale.  It is perfect for making burgers, meatballs, and of course, meatloaf.  Since it is a lean source of protein, the trick to making anything “ground turkey” delicious, is to spice it up and have ingredients that will add moisture.  I have been making this meatloaf for some time, and so I thought that it was time to write it down share it with you all.  This meatloaf is packed with flavor and is just as comforting as your more traditional recipe.

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Ingredients:

1 pound of ground turkey

1 medium onion

1 tsp of garlic

1 tsp of Calabrian chili paste

1 Tbsp of julienned sun-dried tomato

1 handful of fresh basil and parsley (equal amounts of each)

1 tsp of salt

1 egg

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup ketchup

Method:

Add all the ingredients (except turkey, breadcrumb, egg, and ketchup) in a food processor and grind to make a flavorful paste.

Add the past to the ground turkey.

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Add 1 beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and mix everything together, thoroughly.

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On a wax paper-lined baking sheet, shape the turkey mixture into a loaf.  At this point, you can freeze the meatloaf.

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When you are ready to cook the meatloaf, preheat oven to 375F and line and grease a baking sheet.

Place the meatloaf on the foil-lined and greased baking sheet and top with ketchup.  I sometimes like to sprinkle a few red pepper flakes on top of the ketchup, but this is entirely optional.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Broil on high for an additional 2-3 mins to caramelize the sugars in the ketchup.

Let the meatloaf rest for 5-7 minutes and slice and serve.  I like to serve my roasted broccoli rabe with this meal.

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Poultry, Quick Dinner, Savory

Tequila Lime Chicken

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It is warm in New England, which means, it is finally grilling season!  Thank god for that because boring chicken breast tastes best when grilled.  Here is a fun marinade for chicken tenders which I adapted (a.k.a made a smaller batch) from Ina Garten’s recipe.  As long as you have all the ingredients, it is super easy!

Ingredients:

8-10, boneless, skinless chicken tenders

1/4 cup tequila

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 Tbsp of chili powder

1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic

1 jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds if you don’t want it to be spicy)

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of black pepper

Method:

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Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or large measuring cup.

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Pour the marinade over the chicken in a zip-top plastic bag and marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Bring the chicken to room temperature and grill till cooked through.

I like to serve this particular chicken with a salad/salsa made with black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, bell peppers, and scallions.  I like to dress this salad/salsa with a little bit of lime juice (prevents the avocados from browning), salt, and pepper.

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Serve the chicken hot and the salad at room temperature.  I would recommend eating this meal outside with a cold margarita!!

 

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Poultry, Savory

Chicken Roulade

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The humble bird gets an elegant makeover.  This is a showstopper but does require a bit of effort and planning.  I made it extra hard on myself as I did not have a single, large piece of chicken breast to work with.  Usually, you can take a large piece of breast meat, cut it open like a book, pound and thin, and then fill and roll like a jelly roll.  I only had thin cutlets (these cuts are really popular because my husband loves cutlets and Jägerschnitzel), which made the process a bit more challenging.  As for the filling, this is where you can get creative.  I use roasted red peppers and prosciutto, I have read recipes with spinach, cheese, and tomatoes.  Anyway, this is a labor of love, but certainly, worth it if, you like me, are bored with eating chicken!

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Ingredients:

For the Roulade:

5-6 thin chicken cutlets OR 1 large chicken breast, cut open like a book and pounded thin

1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

5 slices of prosciutto

2-3 roasted red peppers from a jar, shredded (you can use your fingers for this, they are usually really soft)

For dredging and frying:

1/8 cup flour

1/4 tsp of salt, black pepper and poultry seasoning (1/4 tsp of each)

1 Tbsp of olive oil

For the pan sauce:

1 medium shallot, sliced

1/2 Tbsp of olive oil

1/2 cup chicken stock, plus an additional 1/4 cup if you need to cook the chicken longer

4 Tbsp of white wine

1/2 tsp of dried parsley ( use fresh if you can, I did not have any)

Method:

Shingle the thin chicken cutlets to form a sort of continuous sheet of chicken.  You will want to do this over a plastic food cutting board.

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Cover the “sheet” of chicken with a large piece of plastic wrap and then flip the cutting board.  img_20200508_110424img_20200508_110437img_20200508_110525This will ensure that the plastic wrap is on the very bottom and the chicken on top.  Lift the cutting board to start the filling process.

Season the chicken sheet with salt, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.

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Arrange the prosciutto slices to cover the entire sheet of chicken.

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Using your fingers, shred the roasted red pepper on top of the prosciutto.

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Now, very carefully, ensuring that you get all the pieces of chicken to move in unison, roll up the chicken tightly like a jelly-roll.

Wrap the rolled-up chicken tightly, with the plastic wrap underneath.

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Twist the free ends of the plastic (two ends of the chicken roll) tightly.  The tighter you twist the more cylindrical the roulade will get.

Chill the roulade for 3-4 hours.  Longer the better.

When you are ready to cook the roulade, place the roulade in a shallow skillet (plastic-wrap and all) and fill with some water and bring it to a simmer.  Continue to simmer the roulade till the chicken turns from pink to white.  Remove from the skillet and place on a cutting board.  Remove the plastic wrap and cool the roulade.

On a plate, mix all the ingredients fro dredging.  Roll to coat the cooled roulade.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the roulade and all the excess flour into the pan– you will need the excess flour to make the sauce.

Brown the roulade on all sides (2-3 minutes per side).  Remove from the pan and set aside.

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Add the sliced shallot and 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil to the same pan and sautee the shallots till golden.

Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low and simmer till the stock reduces.

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In the meantime, slice the roulade with a serrated knife.  Depending on the thickness of the roulade, the chicken may or may not be cooked all the way through.  I notice that my roulade was not cooked all the way, so I returned the slices to the pan with the sauce and added an additional 1/4 cup of chicken stock.

Cook the slices till cooked through and the sauce is reduced.  You may have to remove the slices out of the skillet and continue to reduce the sauce.

Spoon the sauce over the roulade and serve with your choice of sides.  I made green beans and rice pilaf.

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Classics, Dinner, Poultry, Savory

Almost Jägerschnitzel and Spaetzle

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Jägerschnitzel is a classic German dish where a thin pork cutlet is fried and bathed in a rich mushroom sauce.  It is usually accompanied by egg noodles or Spaetzle-a German egg noodle-like dumpling.  This is my husband’s favorite dish to order at the Munich Haus (Local German restaurant).  I call it “almost” because I make it at home with chicken–Perdue sells thinly sliced chicken breasts which are perfect for this recipe.  I have purchased thin-sliced pork cutlets, but then are often never thin enough and I always end up tearing the meat during the “pounding” process.  Therefore, I stick to using chicken.  Also, you can never have enough “chicken dinner” recipes.

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Ingredients–for the Mushroom Sauce:

2 Tbsp of olive oil (additional 1 Tbsp, if you are finishing the sauce another day)

1, 8oz package of sliced mushroom

1 medium shallot sliced

1/2 tsp of dried thyme

1/4 tsp of sweet paprika

1/2 tsp of Worchestershire sauce

3 turns of the pepper mill, about 1/2 tsp of fresh cracked black pepper

1 and 1/2 Tbsp flour

1/ 2 cup chicken stock

Salt to taste.

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and add the mushrooms and shallots.  Saute for a few minutes and once the mushrooms and shallots start to soften, add thyme and paprika.  The most important tip for this step is not to add salt.  Salt draws out liquid from the mushrooms, which will result in steamed mushrooms and not browned mushrooms!

 

Saute for 3-4 minutes on medium and then add the black pepper and the Worchestershire sauce.

Continue to saute till the mixture has reduced, and the mushrooms and shallots and soft and deep brown in color.

 

At this point, you can stop the cooking process and store the mushroom mixture.  I will sometimes do this if I see that the mushrooms are going bad in the fridge.  If you choose to stop at this step, empty the contents into a food storage bowl.  Add 2 tbsps of water to the hot pan and scrape off all the delicious bits and pieces. You don’t want to miss out on the flavor, just because you are prepping ahead of time.  Add the pan juices to the storage bowl, cool, and store in the fridge.

 

When you are ready to make the sauce, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and re-heat the  mixture.  If you are not re-heating the mushrooms, proceed to the next step.

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Add flour and stir continuously till the flour is incorporated and the mushroom mixture

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Continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently to ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom.   Taste for salt.  This is the first time you are adding salt.  I like to this at the very end becasue worhestershire sauce and chicken stock all bring in a little bit of salt. Continue this process for an addition 2-3 minutes till most of the liquid evaporates and it turns into a thick and rich gravy.

I forgot to taka picture, but if you look at the plated food, you will get an idea of what the consistency should look like

For the Schnitzel:

Super thin chicken cutlets–use pork cutlets for the real deal !

Bread the cutlet with egg and breadcrumbs.  I like to season the egg wash with salt and pepper and I use Italian breadcrumbs.

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Fry cutlets in a pan till golden.  If you are making the the sauce and the spaetzle at the same time, you might want to fry the cutlets and store them on a wire rack in the a 175F oven–this will keep the cutlets warm and the wire rack will prevent the cutlets from getting a soggy bottom.

 

Ingredients–for the Spaetzle (original recipe from Tyler Florence)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbsp of butter

1/2 Tbsp of breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp of chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.  The dough should be smooth, tacky, and thick. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, pour the dough into a potato ricer.

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Hold the ricer over the simmering water and slowly push the dough through the holes. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzle floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.  It can stay in the colander for about 10-15 minutes, while to finish up on the sauce and fry the cutlets.

 

Once you are ready, heat butter in a pan (I usually, do this in same pan that I used to fry the cutlets) and add the dumplings and the breadcrumbs.  Toss in the butter, on high heat for a quick 2-3 minutes, till the spaetzle is light golden and crispy.

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Garnish with parsley and they spaetzle is ready.

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To serve:

Plate up a huge pile fo the spaetzle, with a schnitzel on the side and drench the two with the mushroom sauce.

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Dinner, Mexican, Poultry, Savory

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

00000img_00000_burst20200417172959541_coverThis is a fun, nutrient-dense dinner that I wish I had thought to make before.  It looks like you are eating pub-food, but in reality, it is a hearty dinner.  Like any “stuffed” recipe, this can be tailored to your taste or dietary restrictions.  I made it with chicken because you always need to come up with creative ways of cooking chicken breast; you can most certainly make it with ground beef or add no animal protein at all.   This particular version has Mexican flavors.  Personally, I think the spiciness to chilies pair really well with the sweetness of the potatoes.  It is also an easy recipe as it uses ingredients that probably already have in your pantry/fridge.  Here is what you will need:

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Ingredients:

2, medium-sized sweet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned

4, thin chicken breast slices or 1 big chicken breast.

1 bunch of scallions, about 8 stalks– chopped.  Use half for cooking and half for garnish

3 Tbsp of black beans from a 15oz can

3 Tbsp of sweet corn from a 15oz can

1 medium-sized jalapeno, dice half of the pepper for cooking and slice the remaining half for garnish

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1/4 cup of store-bought salsa (spice level of your choice, I used “hot”)

1/4 cup water

1Tbsp of olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Cheese and avocado slices for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F

Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes and cut them in half, lengthwise.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

During the last 9 minutes of baking, add in the chicken breasts.  The goal is to get them par-cooked so as to shred the meat.  You might have to adjust the cook-time depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breast.

Let the chicken and the sweet potatoes cool for about 5 minutes or until you are comfortable handling them.  Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes, leaving a little bit left on the skin.

Using a fork, shred the chicken.  You will end up with approximately, 3/4 to 1 cup of shredded chicken.

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Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add scallions, jalapenos, and all the spices.  Stir everything around in the pan to incorporate and then add the chicken and the sweet potato.  Continue stirring till everything is completely covered in the spice mixture.

Add the corn, beans, salsa, and water, and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

During these five minutes, stick the potato skins back in the 400F oven to crisp up slightly.  If you want the skin to be more crisp, consider increasing the baking temperature and roasting for a little bit longer.

Fill the potato skins with the chicken mixture, I still had some of the mixture leftover.

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After filling the skin, top with as much cheese as you like and serve piping hot with a garnish of scallions, sliced jalapenos, and sliced avocadoes.

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Mexican, Poultry, Savory, Soups, Stew

Chicken Chili

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Last Christmas my in-laws gave us an Instant Pot and it has been a game-changer! To be able to make a “slow-cooked” meal in 1 hour was mind-blowing and the best part is that it actually tastes like it has been cooking all day!!  So far, I have made chicken stew and beef chili with my Instant Pot and they both came out great.  I promise to share those recipes sometime in the future.  Today, I will show you how I made Chicken Chili.  I used to make this on a regular basis when I was in school but stopped making it since my husband prefers beef chili.  You can find the older version of the recipe here.  This time around, I use ground chicken (which is often on sale) instead of pulled chicken,  and store-bought Salsa Verde as a shortcut.  It is a hearty, yet light meal that is perfect for Spring.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

2 medium onions, chopped

2 poblano peppers, chopped

1 tbsp of minced garlic

2 tsp of chili powder

2 tsp of cumin

1/2 tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of chicken stock

1/3 cup of jarred Salsa Verde

1 can of cannellini beans

Salt and Pepper to taste ( this depends on how much salt your stock and salsa have)

Ingredients:

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Set you Instant Pot to the saute setting and heat oil in the pot.  While the oil heats up, chop the onions and peppers.

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Once the oil is heated add chicken, peppers, onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder to the pot.  stir frequently to break up the chicken into small granules.

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Saute till peppers and onions are soft and fragrant, and the chicken is pale brown.  Make sure you scrap the bottom of the pot frequently to lift up the crispy brown bits–that is all flavor.

 

Finally, add the beans, broth, and salsa and stir for 1-2 minutes to incorporate all the ingredients.  I used chicken bullion so I had to wait for about 3-5 minutes for all the ingredients to marry together.  You can do this after you “cancel” the saute setting.  Once everything is mixed, taste and adjust for salt and pepper.

 

Set you Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” on “high” and cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, let the steam escape naturally or if you are impatient like I am, you can use a towel to spin the steam release valve–do this carefully !! Steam burns are the worst!

At this point, the chili is ready.  You can adjust for salt and pepper again.  I added a little more chili powder (because we like it spicy) and left the lid off on the “keep warm” setting.  It allows for some of the liquid to evaporate, making for a thicker chili.

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Serve piping hot with the usual fixings.  We had it with chips and pickled jalapenos!

Indian, Poultry, Savory

Murgh Kofta Rogan Josh

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15 years ago I would scoff at the idea of using “curry” from a “jar”.  15 years ago,  I was not putting food on the table after a busy day at work.  I will admit, I am a curry snob.  Well, let’s get one thing clear, curry really just refers to a slow-cooked, spiced, sauce–it is not a recipe on its own!  However, to keep things simple, I too have fallen into the practice of referring to any Indian saucy dish as curry.  Purists, please forgive me!

Now back to sauces in jars.  There is only one brand that I trust (and no, I don’t get paid by them!) is Pataks.  My Mom used it when we lived in the USA during the early 90s, which means this brand has her seal of approval.  Back then, you would have to drive several miles to get to the nearest Indian Grocery to stock up on these staples.  Now, you can walk into most food stores and find them easily.   One thing I always try to do with these store-bought shortcuts is to add more nutrients to them.  I almost always add vegetables to the sauce, not only does it stretch the meal, but I can get a certain picky eater to eat veggies!!  For this particular “sauce”, I have found that sweet potatoes work really well.  You can use any kind of protein you like (animal or plant-based).  For this version I used mini chicken meatballs, another ode to a childhood “curry” my mother made.  You can check out the recipe for the chicken meatballs here.  With that, here is how I assembled this meal.

Ingredients:

1 batch of mini chicken meatballs

3 medium sweet potatoes, diced.

1 jar of Patak’s Rogan Josh sauce.

1Tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of water

1tsp of chili powder

1 tsp of garam masala

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the diced sweet potatoes.  Saute till the potatoes start to become tender.

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Add the whole jar of sauce and 1 cup of water to the sweet potatoes.  Cover the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  You don’t want anything to stick to the bottom off the pot!

After about 40 minutes, the sweet potato will become tender.  Using the back of a spoon, I roughly mash the sweet potatoes into the sauce.  This adds thickness and a delicious sweetness to the curry.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.  Remember, the meatballs are cooked, so you don’t want to over-cook them or use high heat.  That will toughen the meatballs and nobody likes that!

At the very end, I added chili powder and garam masala, stirred the spices in the sauce and turned the heat off.    At this point, you an let the dish cool down to room temperature, portion it and freeze it for later.

If you are planning to eat right away, I would add the spices along with the meatballs, cook the dish for 10 minutes and serve hot with either rice or Naan or both!!!  Enjoy!

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Appetizers, Indian, Poultry, Savory

Murgh Kofta (Chicken Meatballs)

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This is a “house” recipe.  Traditional kofta has more ingredients and the recipe changes from country to country (India, Pakistan, Turkey etc.).  This version is packed with flavor, has only a few ingredients and can be whipped up in 30 minutes.  It is also a different way to use ground chicken which often goes on sale.  I like to make mini balls and have them with hummus, pita, and a garden salad.  You can certainly make larger patties and make it into a burger!  Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 medium onion, grated directly on to the chicken (you want the juices from the onion)

1 tsp of minced garlic, minced ginger, chili powder, salt, and garam masala.

1 Tbsp of chopped parsley (this time, I did not have any, but I would highly recommend it)

1Tbsp of olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Don’t over mix–you will get hard koftas!

2. Heat oil in a pan.

3. Use a 0.5-inch ice-cream scoop to form mini chicken balls.  If you wet your palms before rolling, you will get smooth, round koftas!

4. Fry on medium-high heat till deep golden brown and cooked through.

5. Serve piping hot!!

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Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Saffron Chicken and Rice

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Over Christmas break, I went back home to India.  It was a glorious three week holiday filled with lots of home-cooked food, family, R&R, and of course shopping.  One thing that I brought back was good saffron from Kashmir–nothing quite like it.  I love the vibrant orange hue and the lovely floral fragrance that saffron lends to any dish.  Spanish saffron is equally delicious and is the appropriate substitute for this recipe, especially since this version is inspired by Spanish-Style Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients: (cooking for two)

5 chicken tenders

1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, and 1 onion–diced

1tsp of minced garlic

1tsp of sweet paprika

2 cups of hot chicken broth

1tsp of crushed paprika

3/4 cup basmati rice

2Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp in a deep skillet.  Chop up the chicken tenders, season with salt and pepper, and fry in the hot oil till pale golden.

In the meantime, soak the rice in cold water–it shortens the cooking time and improves the flavor!

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Remove the chicken and add the rest of the oil in the same pan.  Add the peppers and onions and saute till they are very soft.  Halfway through this process, add garlic and paprika.

While the peppers and onions are softening in the hot oil,  heat 2 cups of chicken broth and add the saffron.  Allow the saffron to bloom–the yellow stock will turn into a dark orange color.

Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the soaked and rinsed rice to the skillet.  Sautee the rice for 2-4 mins till the grains are lightly toasted and fragrant.

Finally, add the hot chicken stock and saffron solution, reduce the heat to medium-high and wait for the rice to cook through.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the chicken to the skillet and continue cooking till all the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked through.

Finish with a garnish of fresh chopped parsley.  Serve piping hot!!!

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Classics, Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken Pot Pie is a hearty meal that will fill you up on any cold night.  I first made this for my father–he loves chicken pot pie!!  When I was reading recipes for chicken pot pie, I was shocked at the amount of butter that the recipes were calling for–and that was just for the filling!  I was not doing that, so I went and got some store bought shortcuts–and it came out really well.  Since then,  I have been following this recipe and it has never failed me.  The additional benefit is that you make the entire meal in a couple of hours and freeze it OR spend another 20 mins to bake it off and you have dinner!  I love making it on a weekend and freezing it down in serving size portions—dinner is then ready in jiff on a weeknight.

Ingredients:

Pre-cooked, store bought chunks of white meat chicken.  I usually get two, 12oz packages.

One, 14.5 oz container of Mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery–all pre-diced!!!!)

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1 package of store bought pie crust

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of flour

2 tsp of Herbs de provence

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken stock

Salt to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your chicken stock is)

Method:

In a large stock pot, melt butter on medium heat.

Once butter is melted, add mirepoix and saute till soft and pale golden

 

Add chicken chunks, spices, and flour and stir well till everything is well mixed.

 

Add chicken stock and cook on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.  You want the filling to thicken.

Once the filling is made, divide into individual bowls.  I have pot pie bowls, and this recipe makes about 4 servings.

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Let the filling cool completely in the bowls.

Cover with store bought pie crust, crimp and seal the edges.  At this point you can wrap the pies with freezer friendly  plastic wrap and freeze down for later.

Cooking instruction:

If cooking immediately:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush the top of the crust with some egg wash ( 1 egg beaten with a little bit of water), and cut a slit to allow for the steam to escape.  Bake for 15 mins till crust is golden.

If cooking a frozen pot pie:

Thaw pot pie in refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Once the pie is thawed, follow the above instructions to cook.  You may need to increase the baking to 20-25 mins to ensure the filling is piping hot.

ENJOY!!!

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