Friday, September 25, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn't love chicken pot pie!  This is a family favorite for sure.  I make a double or  triple batch of filling so I only have to cook once, and freeze the rest in zip lock freezer bags.  It's my motto:  "cook once, eat thrice."  I do this with any recipe that freezes well -- double or triple the recipe.  Then I have a freezer full of ready made meals on days I'm too busy to cook.  When using the freezer meal, I defrost one of the bags in the refrigerator the day I want to made chicken pot pie. I also make double batches of pie crust and freeze half, or buy ready made pie crusts, which is the easiest way to go.  If you are gluten intolerant, there are lots of bakeries that sell ready made gluten free crusts.  Instead of thickening the gravy with flour, use arrowroot powder or corn starch.

My family loves this pie with a simple salad and our favorite dressing.  By the way, I NEVER buy dressing.  I make my own.  Check out some of the dressing recipes in the Salad section!  They are so easy, and free of preservatives!!!

One more tip, when I'm making a casserole or chicken pot pie, I buy roasted whole chickens from Costco for $4.99.  I shred the meat and keep it in the freezer.  So much you can do if you have chicken on hand!  You can also throw the bones in a pot and make your own stock.  I do this once a month and make soup with the stock (check out the recipes for tortilla soup and white bean chicken chili).  Super budget friendly, and homemade meals as opposed to take out or processed food.

This recipe makes two pies:

4 cups chicken, diced into 1/2 inch squares (I buy a roasted chicken from Costco)
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced fine
2 carrots, diced fine
2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil (I buy at Costco)
1 11oz. can white corn, or 1 ear of fresh corn, cobbed
1/2 small bag frozen petite peas (don't add if your kids won't eat )
1 potato, diced into 1/2 inch squares
2 15oz. cans chicken stock
2 teaspoons chicken flavor Better Than Bullion
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup cream
3/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
two pie crusts for a 10-inch pie (a top and bottom)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the potato in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Let cool, then drain off any water.

In a medium saute pan, over medium high heat, add the olive oil.
Add the carrots, celery, onion and half the salt and pepper, and saute until translucent.  Add the potato, peas and corn, and stir to combine.  Cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat.  Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Whisk for about 1 minute until the flour is light brown.  Add the chicken stock, all the seasonings, bullion, and cream and turn the heat to high.  Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens so it is the consistency of gravy. Add all of the vegetables and the chicken to the gravy mixture and stir to combine.   Remove from heat. Taste, and add more seasoning to your liking.

Place one of the prepared pie crusts in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.  (I use a glass pan I bought from Walmart).  Add 1/2 of the chicken filling.  (Once the remainder of the filling is cool, put it in a gallon size zip lock freezer bag and freeze for another day.)  Top the pie with another crust and seal the edges.  Cut a few slits in the top of the crust to vent.   Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Place a thin strip of foil around the edge of the crust so as not to burn.   Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove the foil from around the edge of the pie and bake 5-10 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown all over.   Make sure it's done or the pie will be doughy instead of flaky.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8