With weather across the country dangerously cold, I thought I’d share one of my favorite comfort food recipes. I love to order Chicken Pot Pie at restaurants in the winter because it always seems to satisfy that creamy and crunchy fix I am looking for, but I am always left longing for more of the soupiness that is inside the pastry crust. I developed this dairy free version to fill that void.
This is a pretty simple recipe that can be whipped up on the fly with a grocery store rotisserie chicken if you like. You can even serve this over pasta or rice instead of with the pie crust on the side.
4 cups Chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons flour, preferably Wondra
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups total Diced carrots and celery
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 chicken breast, shredded about 1 cup
pie dough, optional
1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter and then add the flour. Whisk together to make a smooth paste and let the flour cook to a tan color. This is your roux.
2. Slowly whisk in the mustard, wine and chicken stock, or if you prefer vegetable stock.
3. Toss in your veggies, and let them simmer at a low temperature until they are cooked to your liking (5-10 minutes).
4. Then add the precooked chicken and warm it throughout.
5. To serve top with lemon zest and a lemon wedge, and a piece of baked pie crust or French bread.
One of my biggest daily challenges is to try to get a healthy meal on the table that the whole family will enjoy, while still shuttling kids to their afterschool activities. But often after working and then doing homework with the kids and driving them to their stuff, I succumb and just throw together some pasta and sauce or end up ordering takeout. I know it’s a bad habit.
Sometimes I will actually plan out the meals for the week on Sunday, and then head to the grocery store, and then chop up some of those fruits and veggies so they are ready to go. That of course is always the plan, but often the weekend fun and busy week gets in the way of my best laid plans. Continue reading Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups→
There’s nothing like starting a week that you know will be hectic (like the first week of school) let alone worrying about putting food on the table for the family. That is why I’m trying to be a bit more organized with my menu planning for the week.Oftentimes I fall into standard patterns where I buy the same old stuff when I make a trip to the market. Although I do actively try to only make one trip per week, but that doesn’t always work out. And, I bring along the kids to the market so that they can each pick a veggie and/or fruit of their choice. But this also doesn’t always go as planned either, ie doughnuts. Continue reading Dinner Plan Week #1: Man-I-Need-a-Beer Chicken and Chicken Enchilada Soup→
On the way home from work you are fried, so you pick up a rotisserie chicken, only to serve it with rice and salad. And then you come to find that the chicken which looked so juicy at the market was pretty dry. Why succumb to eating it this way?
Ok, yeah, you’re short on time–we’ve all been there. I have fallen in to that trap quite often too. But I started to think about this type of chicken for what it is, a helper in creating a quick meal. There’s no way that chicken which has been sitting under heat lamps for the last 20 minutes is still moist. So why not improve upon it and transform it and still get dinner on the table fast.
And as school gets back to session and the kids start-up their busy schedules once again, I thought it would be nice to add a 20-minute meal to the blog. So many of us are rushing around as it is, sometimes it’s hard to find the creativity and the time to make something different.
2 cups shredded chicken (about 2 chicken breasts)
1 (12 oz.) can medium enchilada sauce
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used a carrot, pea and green bean mix)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup tortilla chips
1 avocado, diced
1. In a medium-sized pot combine the chicken, enchilada sauce, chicken broth, salsa and frozen vegetables in the pot. Bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all of the veggies are hot.
2. Now pull out 4 big bowls, I like the shallow ones for hearty soups and stews. Place at the bottom of each bowl a handful of tortilla chips that you have crushed in your hand and 1/4 of the avocado. Top with a couple of ladles of soup, then a big handful of cheese and squeeze a quarter of a lime in each bowl. Dig in!
I have been inspired by a salad that I bought at Trader Joe’s which I have been taking to work for the last few months. It is a lettuce based salad with chicken and Israeli Couscous. Now, I had never tried Israeli couscous before but I was quickly won over by it’s chewy pasta-like texture. So I scoured the supermarket aisles looking for this stuff and found it in the Kosher section of Vons with the Matzo. What do you know, it says on the package that it’s a toasted pasta, so you really could replace the couscous here with orzo or some other small pasta if you don’t have Israeli couscous available to you.
This is also a pretty versatile salad, you could certainly bring it to a potluck or a picnic since you can make it in advance and refrigerate it. It keeps pretty well.
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup uncooked Israeli Couscous (or other small pasta)
1 apple diced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles (hey: by all means if you hate blue cheese a good substitute is feta here, or you could leave it out altogether)
1/2 loosely packed basil
1/3 cup olive oil
* if you have a prepared pesto on hand (like my pesto which I mentioned you should freeze) this can sub for the last two items on the shopping list.
1. This is pretty simple here. Boil the couscous or pasta as the directions on the box indicate, no need to add salt to your water, we’ll add that later. These little pastas take less than 10 minutes to boil, so stay in the room or set a timer, guys.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor whirl your basil and oil together. Or skip this step if you have already prepared pesto. If you buy the stuff at the store, look for oil and pesto as the first two ingredients. And make sure you get it from the refrigerated section. It’s got less additives that way.
3. When the pasta is ready, drain it and toss it in a serving bowl with the pesto. Make sure that the pesto coats all the pasta well.
4. Then dump in your apples, walnuts, cranberries and chicken.
5. Plate it up and sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons blue cheese on each plate. In the picture above I served it with romaine lettuce leaves to make my lunch feel spa-y. The great thing about this salad is that it’s great at room temperature or cold. So bring it to a potluck or stash it in your work fridge for a hearty lunch.
I feel like I always have leftover chicken, whether it’s grilled or rotisserie, but I get tired of just eating it in a salad or a sandwich. So, I came up with this idea of making pocket sandwiches. I was making a lot of tacos when I figured out that I could put the same stuff that goes in a tortilla in puff pastry or pie dough. You really could put anything in pie dough or puff pastry and it makes it so much fancier and the yum factor goes up. Of course, you’ve got all the golden pastry to sink your teeth into and who can pass up that?
So, I’ve made these stuffed with chili, ratatouille, and this chicken cobb. Anyway you fill them they’re scrumptious. I served them with a salad for a healthy dinner.
Actually for our kids’ birthday party I made these pockets, but filled them with chili. Totally yummy! And easy too. For the party I actually made them a week in advance and then defrosted them and baked them during the party. Love that! Anything I can do in advance to cut down on the last-minute rush to the table is fabulous in my book.
In this version all you need to do is combine some soft cheese with cooked chicken then pile in on some premade pie dough and then dress it up a bit, fold it, bake it and consume with fervent desire.
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup cream cheese or ricotta
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 a red onion, sliced
1 plum tomato, sliced
1 package premade pie dough (2 doughs come in 1 package)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and let the dough come to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicken and cream cheese. Slice all your veggies and cook your bacon in the microwave.
3. Once dough is pliable (about 15 minutes) roll one of the doughs out on a cutting board, it’s really more like unfold it, but the idea is to get it flat without tearing it.
4. Cut the dough in half, a pizza cutter is perfect for this.
5. On one quarter of the dough pile 1/4 cup of chicken and cheese mixture. Make sure to leave about a 1/2 inch perimeter.
6. Top this with 1/4 of the bacon crumbles, 1/4 of the tomato slices, 1/4 red onion slices, and 1/4 of the blue cheese. And hey, if you don’t like any of these things, then leave them out!
7. Now that you’ve got your filling, fold over the pie dough and pinch the edges firmly.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining dough.
9. Brush the tops with a little bit of raw scrambled egg, if you want it to look golden, otherwise you can leave it off. It won’t change anything except the way it looks.
10. Transfer the pockets to a parchment lined baking tray. All four will fit on one cookie sheet.
11. At this point you can either freeze them on the cookie sheet and then transfer them to ziplocs, or you can bake them in the oven for 15-17 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to get brown on top.